Author Topic: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs  (Read 4525 times)

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Offline jbennett

Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« on: February 15, 2016, 10:55:07 am »
I'm in the process of trying to decide which GPS unit to use to supplement my Garmin 1000 for super long tours.  The Garmin 1000 does absolutely everything I need it to do, but the battery life just isn't all there.  I'd also like to have a GPS unit that I can set way POIs on that tells me information for the point - like food, camping, etc.  I'm learning that the Garmin 1000 doesn't account for this.  Do the eTrex units?  If not the eTrex units, what other units should I look at?  I'm ok to load the longer routes in pieces in order to avoid issues, if that's what it takes. Thanks in advance for any information!

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2016, 02:36:30 pm »
Look for some of the AA powered battery extenders for the Garmin 800-1000 units.  I've got a Verbatim, but there are others out there.  My 800 lasts 8 hours on internal charge, and another 16 hours with 4 AAs (I use rechargeables).

I've been using free OSM maps, which lack the POIs.  Maybe Garmin's maps have them?

Offline mdxix

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2016, 10:57:37 pm »
Why not use a mobile device for POIs?

The capacity of POIs is only one of the problems on GPS devices. Searching, browsing, & finding POIs on a small screen with low resolution using a micro joystick-like device or small arrow buttons is tedious at best, if not impossible.

Compare that with the big screen, high resolution, & easy navigation on mobile device. There are some recommended apps for your device. They hold unlimited number of POIs, at least as much memory as you have on the phone.

Offline jbennett

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2016, 09:30:21 am »
Why not use a mobile device for POIs?

The capacity of POIs is only one of the problems on GPS devices. Searching, browsing, & finding POIs on a small screen with low resolution using a micro joystick-like device or small arrow buttons is tedious at best, if not impossible.

Compare that with the big screen, high resolution, & easy navigation on mobile device. There are some recommended apps for your device. They hold unlimited number of POIs, at least as much memory as you have on the phone.

Mobile devices are great when you're basically credit card camping or going to be stopping at campsites with power.  A lot of my adventures take me completely off the grid, even out of cell reception.  One such example: The great divide.  While I have a generator hub, I also have a number of devices that will require power and the generator hub just doesn't provide enough juice to charge them all, thus I need to limit the heavy battery use items as much as possible.  Especially for my trip across Utah and Nevada later in the summer.

Offline jbennett

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2016, 09:34:45 am »
Look for some of the AA powered battery extenders for the Garmin 800-1000 units.  I've got a Verbatim, but there are others out there.  My 800 lasts 8 hours on internal charge, and another 16 hours with 4 AAs (I use rechargeables).

I've been using free OSM maps, which lack the POIs.  Maybe Garmin's maps have them?

I already have a 12,000mAh battery pack for use with my devices, but I'm going to be getting a backup GPS anyways and wanted something that didn't require that much juice, unlike the Edge 1000.  I really don't want to be relying on heavy battery use items when I'm literally days from any power source other than my generator hub.

Offline tex232

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2016, 02:00:49 am »
I found waypoint and POI usage too much of a pain on Garmin units. And the proximity alerts are not so good. So I also use Locus Pro on my Android phone for that, mainly to have it vibrate for a proximity alert so I keep it in my pocket.

Offline jbennett

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2016, 12:59:00 pm »
I found waypoint and POI usage too much of a pain on Garmin units. And the proximity alerts are not so good. So I also use Locus Pro on my Android phone for that, mainly to have it vibrate for a proximity alert so I keep it in my pocket.

May I ask which Garmin units, specifically?  Also, proximity alerts.  Are you saying this based upon missing POIs in town or out on the back roads or?  I'm not familiar with Locus Pro, but I'm assuming it requires cell service and data in order to operate?  Can you cache maps for offline use and get the same results?  How likely were you to feel the phone vibrate in your pocket?  I've found that I never feel my phone vibrate, even when it's on the highest setting.  I can't imagine I would feel it on dirt roads.

Offline DarrenBnYYC

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2016, 04:10:32 pm »
One issue to be aware of with cell-phone GPS is that they aren't very battery efficient. I can get 2 days of riding out of my Garmin eTrex while continuously running, but only about 5 hours out of my cell phone if the GPS is continuously running (otherwise, I only need to charge it every 3 or 4 days -- the GPS is hard on cell phone battery power).

Personally, I much prefer a AA battery-powered GPS, like the Garmin eTrex or Oregon for routing and POIs, including proximity alerts. I just carry some spare batteries and purchase more on the road, as necessary. It is easier and lighter than carrying around big lithium USB power supplies and having to find places/time to recharge them.

Offline jbennett

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2016, 04:15:57 pm »
One issue to be aware of with cell-phone GPS is that they aren't very battery efficient. I can get 2 days of riding out of my Garmin eTrex while continuously running, but only about 5 hours out of my cell phone if the GPS is continuously running (otherwise, I only need to charge it every 3 or 4 days -- the GPS is hard on cell phone battery power).

Personally, I much prefer a AA battery-powered GPS, like the Garmin eTrex or Oregon for routing and POIs, including proximity alerts. I just carry some spare batteries and purchase more on the road, as necessary. It is easier and lighter than carrying around big lithium USB power supplies and having to find places/time to recharge them.

This is exactly why I won't use my phone for GPS.  For longer trips, it just isn't practical.

What exactly is the difference between the eTrex & the Oregon?  Garmin seems to have 3-4 units that all really do the exact same thing, just in different packaging.  So what gives? hehe

Offline DarrenBnYYC

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2016, 04:32:32 pm »
The eTrex 20/30 units are a basic handheld GPS, driven by a small joystick and finger buttons, whereas the Oregon units have similar capabilities but provide a slightly larger display and they use a touchscreen interface.

The newer eTrex 25/35 units are a bit of a hybrid of the two above -- same size and shape as the eTrex 20/30 but with a touchscreen interface. Most cyclists prefer the joystick/button interface, especially if you wear gloves while riding.

If you want to compare the features of these units, the Garmin.com website has a pretty good compare function. For example:

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/catalog/product/compareResult.ep?compareProduct=156873&compareProduct=156867&compareProduct=113532&compareProduct=518046

Offline jbennett

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2016, 04:34:18 pm »
Yes, I spent quite some time comparing features and that's why I was still unsure.  The feature charts basically say they're the same thing, just in a different housing.  Sounds like the 35 is still the way to go for me.  Thanks!

Offline DarrenBnYYC

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2016, 04:44:16 pm »
I think that's a good choice -- if I were buying a new unit for touring, it would be an eTrex 25 or 35.

Don't overlook good apps for smartphones, though. Smartphone GPS units have one big advantage in that they can store custom data sources (e.g., imagery, topo maps) and display them at much higher resolutions than a Garmin handheld.  I really love an Android app called Backcountry Navigator, and I carry detail topo maps, satellite imagery, OSM road maps, and landowner maps on it. It even has a cool feature to create a geotagged photo-log, if you use your phone for photos (I do).

Another good Android app that is fairly similar is Osmand. It can do on-the-fly routing, which Backcountry Navigator does not, but I use the Garmin for that anyways, so I don't use this software as much (helpful in the car, though).

Offline tex232

Re: Looking for the ideal GPS unit for a ton of waypoints & POIs
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2016, 03:13:31 am »
If cell phone is in airplane mode with only GPS on and not recording the track, battery life is pretty good. I do use a dynamo and cache battery. But I do use an edge1000 for following the track due to better battery life with the display on for hours and recording my ride.

Apps like Locus Pro let you more easily manipulate POIs and waypoints. Being able to set a proximity alert for something not on the GPS track is nice too (and not necessarily close to the track). And I can edit/download tracks when on route if some route change occurs and write that to the Garmin SD card without a computer.