What am I missing out on by not having them on my GPSIII?
I mainly use mine to make waypoints at places of significance, or where I may need them later on, either before then or during a trip in somewhere.
I can save ten track logs, and these are my basic trails in the area that aren't probably on any map anyway, I'd think?
I use mine in heavy top cover and it always seems to work great just stuffed in the top of my pack and left on.
If it looses a signal, you can tell by the "straight" line it plots from the last point it had one and where it picked up the signal again, which is usually only 50-100 feet or so and not often.
I have a great sense of direction in the woods and don't need any help most any time but, after dark when my frame of referance diminishes to several feet instead of yards it can get somewhat trickier, while wasting alot of time and effort if you end up getting into a bunch of thick crap you would normally avoid... on and on and on.
This little thing has saved my life once while snomobiling after dark, once I didn't have it on me and I followed a buddy who said he knew where we were going, which turned out he did but, could remember the way back.
We parted ways on a quest to find the right trail back when we found a road I knew that gave me some sense of direction.
Russell wasn't gone long before he was back on my tail, we ran into someone in a truck that told us exactly what way to go to get out to our trucks.
It was only about +5 deg F and we were almost out of gas looking for our way back, it wouldn't have been pretty had we not made it back.
We probably wouldn't have made it through the night after the temp dropped even lower.
That trip flat scared the crap out of me. Never again will I rely on someone elses sense of dirrection to save my skin.
I don't take it lightly that I have relied on the GPS either, so I always carry a -30deg F sleeping bag when I'm putting "ALL" my faith in that thing too.
Do the maps give you that much better usable frame of referance and should I trade mine up for one?
What is the Etrex Vistas battery life with normal Duracell or Energizers?
One note on battery life....... Try the Energizer Ultra batteries!! I went from 9hrs of life in the winter to 18hrs solid just using them instead.
Saves carrying many extra batteries for headlamps and GPS bigtime! They cost twice as much but they are worth twice as much in battery life too.
Voltage stays higher with them in real cold conditions and, even when normal batteries aren't dead yet, the unit can shut off from low voltage, trust me, that don't happen when using the Energizer Ultras.
When you've went 50 miles on a snowmachine, with side trails and tracks to get lost on everywhere along the way, just to find out the unit shut off shortly after leaving the truck from low voltage, this becomes a serious consideration. Still, carrying it in your chest pocket under your gear is a good idea, it works faster too when you go to use it! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]
How many waypoints and tracklogs will the Vista hold? Mine's 500 and 10 respectively.
I can, if I had the cable, download and upload my saved data to keep track of more but, have just deleated the least important tracklog to store a new one.
It's to a point now, I don't want to get rid of any of the ones I have!
I used a borrowed GPSIII when I went to Alaska a couple years ago. It was my first introduction to GPS and I used it that same year on an elk and goat hunt in Colorado.
Tracking, waypoints, coordinates and accuracy are needed in any GPS, and the GPS III does that well.
Mapping takes it to a whole new level in my opinion. My Magellan has maps that include all roads and waterways. What that does for me is allows me to keep the GPS off (conserving batteries), turn it on, aquire sat's and know where I am in relation to other waypoints, the nearest road, or more likely the nearest creek, lake or ditch.
I have taken my GPS when snomobiling, but we are in an area with a lot of existing roads and trails that are well marked. The GPS did little for me there as I knew where I was at all times anyway.
I have seen the Garmin Vistas with the topo maps put into them and am amazed at the amount of detail. Having 24MB memory allows for that. The Garmins are also a little smaller than my Magellan.
FWIW - I plan on keeping my GPS until it breaks or gets lost. Then I will buy whatever is the neatest thing at that point. Like all electronics technology it gets cheaper as things advance. There is probably no compelling reason for you to upgrade yet, but if you have a chance, play with one of the GPS with a good map in it.
When I used the GPS III they did have the error induction. I was still able to get within 20 yards of somebody elses elk in heavy timber using their coordinates so I could pack it out for them.
Since they removed the error induction we have sat around camp arguing over a couple feet and whose GPS was more "accurate". All of them that recognize enough simultaneous channels to do elevation are good within a few feet.
One time I did take out my GPS during a white-out while sledding. Found out the open meadow I thought I was on was actually a reservoir I had fished on a couple summers before. The map feature is pretty neat.
I have seen and liked the Garmin etrex vistas. I would like to see the Magellan Meridian. They can be configured with 32MB RAM and a color screen.
Thanks for the helpfull review!
Was the accuracy on GPS's still being screwed with back then when you were up here? I can't remember, but it was around then that the quit scrambling them so bad... mine will keep me within 15 feet or so of a foot trail NOW! Way better than before that!
I remember getting back from a trip the day they allowed them to be more accurate, THAT TRIP I sure could have used the extra accuracy, oh well, even though it was practically useless to help keep me on this basically hidden foot trail in the deep nasty crap, it wasn't life or death... just hundreds of yards of Devils Club over my head... that sucked. Never did find the trail again, although I'm sure I crossed it several times, too growed over everywhere.
I'll see if I can't find someone with a map on one to play with, it sounds like a big bonus indeed.
Some of the trails up here in winter time are just dogsled trails and tracks accross lakes and swamps, they just run for miles and miles with snomobile track running every which way, you can get all turned around real easy if you don't pay real close attention. Most of the time, like you, I'm around well known trail and road systems and the GPS isn't even turned on.
The base map in my GPSIII is pretty basic, unless you want to use it in the city or near MAIN roads and rivers, up here they didn't put much effort into the "offroad" trail systems. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] The topos would be nice!