Another Reason to Keep Using Map and Compass

More evidence that too much reliance on GPS navigation erodes your brain's navigational skills:


Does GPS Make the Backcountry More Dangerous?

Here's an interesting article from a recent issue of Outside magazine:


Garmin Oregon 600 vs. GPSMap 64s

Now that I have a few months experience with the Garmin 64s and Oregon 600 in the field, I can say that the 64s is the best of the two. Although the touch screen on the Oregon 600 is very usable and is the best GPS touchscreen I've used, the Oregon's fatal flaw is that the software locks up. The screen freezes and the unit doesn't respond to any of the buttons. The only way to recover the receiver is to remove and reinsert the batteries. This happens several times a day and is simply unacceptable in a navigation device.

Garmin eTrex Touch

Garmin has brought touchscreens to the eTrex line with the eTrex Touch 25, 25, and 35t. All three units have the same color screen, 1.43 x 2.15 inches (160x240 pixels), which is slightly smaller than the Oregon 600. The smaller screen is appropriate for the smaller size and lighter weight of the eTrex series. This is the same size screen used on the non-touch GPSMAP 64 series, by the way.

I have to be upfront here- I've never been a fan of the eTrex user interface- I've always preferred the interface on the non-touch units, such as the current 64 series. But I admit that I like the touch screen and the interface on the Oregon 600 series. In their favor, the eTrex units are the lightest trail GPS receivers from Garmin and they do everything that's essential in a trail GPS, so if you're a serious backpacker where weight is a concern, they're worth a close look.

Street GPS vs. Smartphone

Updated February 2015: Exploring With GPS, the Book

Garmin nüvi 57 and 58 Series

This new 2015 Garmin nüvi series of street navigators feature 480 x 272 pixel, 5-inch screens and an amazing array of features for the price. As with all stand-alone navigators, these units have the maps and points-of-interest (POI) data stored in internal memory and are not dependent on a data connection, unlike a cell phone. This means you'll have navigation guidance anywhere the unit can see the sky, even in remote areas far from cell towers.

Some of the features: Garmin "Real Directions" gives spoken directions in relation to nearby landmarks, such as "turn left after the gas station." Foursquare adds millions of new POIs, and "Direct Access" guides you into parking lots and makes it easier to find a specific shop within a large shopping mall. Junction view shows you a picture of upcoming exits, with an arrow in the correct lane- really useful for multi-lane exits. School zone warnings give you advance notice of special speed limit zones and school crosswalks.

All of these nüvi's are compatible with the Garmin BC 30 Wireless Backup Camera. Up to four of these cameras can wirelessly send images to the receiver.

The 57 series includes maps and POI's of the lower 49 states, while the 58 series adds Alaska and Canada. The base 57 and 68 models have maps that can be updated by purchasing updates as desired, while LM models have free lifetime map updates, and the LMT models also have free lifetime traffic.

Garmin nüvi 67 and 68 Series

This new 2015 line of nüvi street GPS receivers have the same features as the 58 line but with a 800 x 480 pixel, 6-inch screen. The 67 series includes maps and POI's of the lower 49 states, while the 68 series adds Alaska and Canada. The LM models have free lifetime map updates, and the LMT models also have free lifetime traffic.

Does GLONASS Affect Battery Life?

When I started using the Garmin Oregon 600, I noticed that the battery life was much less than the Garmin GPSMap 62s. I attributed that to the touchscreen or the GLONASS receiver, which the Oregon 600 has but the 62s does not. I just received the new GPSMap 64s, which is the 62s updated to include GLONASS, and that gave me the chance to test the two under similar conditions. Much to my surprise, I found the battery life of the Oregon 600 to be about the same as the 64s, both with GLONASS enabled and disabled.

Garmin nüvi 3597LMTHD

If you want it all, this is the street receiver for you. The nuvi 3597LMT is the 2013 update of the 3590LMT and features a 5-inch multi-touch screen with pinch and zoom, lifetime maps of North America, customizable "dashboards", free lifetime HD digital traffic with faster updates, more secondary road traffic coverage, and no ads. Traffic information appears on the side of the display so you can still see the driving map. The 3597LMT also includes lane assist, Bluetooth, Android smartphone link, an SD card slot, voice navigation, spoken street names, landmark navigation, junction view, real time traffic, a powered magnetic mount, pedestrian navigation, and an audio book player.

Garmin nüvi 3597LMTHD 5-Inch Portable Bluetooth Vehicle GPS with Lifetime Maps and HD Traffic


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