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Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app 

Do you use a handheld gps and recommend it over alternate gps's? What gps do you recommend?
Poll ended at 14 June 17 10:31 pm
Yes 9%  9%  [ 3 ]
Yes, definitely recommend 39%  39%  [ 13 ]
No 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
No, definitely not recommended 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Unsure 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
Garmin 42%  42%  [ 14 ]
Magellan 6%  6%  [ 2 ]
Other 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 33

Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app 
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Post Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app
Hi, I would like to know about the mapping and the zoom level on handhelds please.

I bit of a history run down ...
I have been geocaching for 10 mths and operate the geocaching.com and GCDroid apps on android, and two car gpsr's, Garmin 255 and 2797.

The Garmin 2797 is practically useless for geocaching. The Garmin 255 is much better than the 2797 for geocaching.

The android apps are my preference over the gps in that I can zoom in fairly close to the cache location which I really like, but the obvious fall backs are battery life, mobile reception for data, and the gps accuracy. So this is when I turn to my Garmin 255 which has better battery life, better accuracy, no need for reception, and it doesn't bounce around like the android does. But, my problem here is that it 'appears' not to zoom in as close to the geocaches like the android does.

I know you'll tell me car gpsr's are for cars etc and they are obviously not as good as ????

So I want to know if anyone has tried geocaching in this way, got fed up with it, bought a handheld and would not look back because the zoom is far more superior, and/or the maps are far more superior?

That being the case, what cheap gps would you recommend?


I'm not sure what I would be happiest with, I know some are touch screen and some have a mouse/joystick so I am wondering if I would get ticked off with a mouse/joystick.


14 June 16 10:31 pm
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Post Re: Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app
I haven't used in-car gps because I have had three different in-car units over the years (not for caching) and could see they just wouldn't cut it.
I have only used Garmin (60 followed by a 62). I've been very happy with both and the zoom is plenty good enough.
I have played around with the official app and also geosphere on my iphone but still much prefer the Garmin 62 for accuracy, battery life. If I'm caching on a weekday I usually get a lot of work and fire brigade related calls so caching via phone becomes a pain in the arse.

Whatever you choose, make sure it has paperless geocaching ability. There's a lot of good gear available but remember, you get no more than you pay for. Is $400 really a lot of money compared to the cost of gear for tennis, footy, cricket or any other sport/hobby?


14 June 16 10:54 pm
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Post Re: Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app
I use a Garmin Montana 650T hand held GPS unit but it also doubles as my in car GPS as well
In car I can use navigational aid whilst in the field it has very good zoom in/out capabilities.
For me I have a 300KM radius from home of both GC and GA caches loaded (10,000 Caches loaded)
My smart phone with c:geo is my backup emergency GPS unit - but is not good in rural areas


14 June 16 11:24 pm
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Post Re: Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app
I find the question too open to answer with the options provided and the description and options not matching the question.


15 June 16 11:01 am
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Post Re: Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app
lucky1955 wrote:
I use a Garmin Montana 650T hand held GPS unit but it also doubles as my in car GPS as well
In car I can use navigational aid whilst in the field it has very good zoom in/out capabilities.
For me I have a 300KM radius from home of both GC and GA caches loaded (10,000 Caches loaded)
My smart phone with c:geo is my backup emergency GPS unit - but is not good in rural areas


I second the Montana. I have used a 650T for a number of years in both the car and field and have no problem with it. The pre-loaded base map is suitable for my off road needs and the ability to add extra maps like Open Street Maps is excellent. There is also Garmin's Birdseye aerial photography available to download (at a cost) if you want the off-line aerial views although the downside is you need to have downloaded the aerial imagery before you head out.

The Montana is at the upper end of the price range however as mine survived a road hit at 80km/h :oops: ](*,) I think it is worth it.


15 June 16 11:39 am
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Post Re: Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app
I used a TomTom OneXL for my first 1,000 finds...those were the days. :D

Now at 5,000 finds I've done all my caching via phone... but keep meaning to buy a real GPS. They are awesome, but the price keeps me second guessing my actual need.


15 June 16 1:15 pm
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Post Re: Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app
Initially I used a Garmin 255W in conjunction with a Garmin 60CSx. I loaded geocaches as POI to the 255W using a program written by Pilotsnipes. The 255W would get me close then I use the 60SCx. I then decided this was a bit clunky so purchased a Magellan 710 which does everything - in car navigation, paperless, easy to swap modes, great maps, zoom, handles waypoints especially well for Waymarking but isn't cheap. It's rugged which is just as well as it has accompanied me in several nasty falls.

I also use the GC App & GA App to record results or as local databases.

If you want all the bells & whistles then both Garmin & Magellan types are going to be expensive. More cachers use Garmin so probably best to go that way. Ferdinand was my favourite explorer so .... & I have no regrets.


15 June 16 3:20 pm
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Post Re: Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app
I used to have a TomTom in the car, and tried to get it to lead me to caches at least close enough to park, though I then used a dedicated GPS (that had no more ability than follow the arrow in those days to get to the cache). The problem I found with the TomTom is it would often know there was a path from somewhere else than the nearest parking, so take me there - in one case in Perth about 4km from the cache, not realising I was quite capable of walking across 50 metres of grass.

Since I got the iPhone I generally just use that as I have cache notes for every cache in ACT/NSW loaded in, a habit I haven't changed even though my job role has changed about a year ago and I do much less field work - it was quite possible before then for a call out to have me 200 km from home with no warning if something broke. So the 500 cache limit on the old yellow etrex was of little use as that only got me about 20km from home in Sydney. And I generally find it accurate enough to make a find except under really poor conditions, when I might retry later with the dedicated GPS (I have a Garmin 60cx). I could upgrade to a dedicated unit that holds the notes, but don't think it would help me make enough more finds to be worth it.


16 June 16 10:51 pm
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Post Re: Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app
When I was quite active I used my Garmin Oregon a lot, but nowadays I'm a very infrequent cacher (10 ro so a year) and find my phone is good enough for finding.
Still not 100% convinced that hiding using a phone is good, but I haven't done side-by-side testing in recent years with better phones than I had when I was active.

For convenience and ease of use a phone now trumps all GPSrs by a large margin, but accuracy is probably another matter, albeit improving on the phone front.


18 June 16 8:52 am
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Post Re: Question - GPS - car vs handheld vs phone app
Thanks everyone for your comments, I very much appreciate them. This has certainly helped with the questions I had. :D


20 June 16 4:07 am
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