GPSr screens in a storm

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wayn0
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GPSr screens in a storm

Post by wayn0 » 18 June 23 2:34 am

Hello,

Do modern larger (not mini) GPSrs have touch screens like modern phones?
If NO, how do they perform in heavy rain.. I assume they perform well??

I exclusively search for geocaches on an iPhone. I was recently out in a severe storm hunting a trig and three caches. Even though my phone is waterproof I have it in a waterproof pouch when it rains. Rain drops hitting the screen causes chaos haha. The waterproof pouch gets me through light to heavy(ish) rain but the volume of water I was dealing with nearly had me abandon the search. My phone was at its absolute limit of capabilities. The temperature also dropped significantly causing condensation inside the pouch which upset the screen even more. This is the first time I have seriously considered the possibility of getting myself a GPSr, BUT, only if they work well in heavy rain.

Any feedback appreciated. I'll get myself to my fav hiking shop soon enough for a look but I wanted to ask geocachers first.

For GPSr users, are there any negatives with your geocaching experiences because you use a GPSr?

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Now_To_Morrow
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Re: GPSr screens in a storm

Post by Now_To_Morrow » 18 June 23 11:30 am

I can only answer your touch screen questions. I don't know about how it works in heavy rain.
Garmin have the etrex touch series
https://www.garmin.com/en-AU/search/?qu ... ex%20touch
which I've found work pretty well. I have had the etrex 25 for 3 years and have used it a fair bit over that time. It's still going which I didn't think would happen to be honest.

Rumour has it they may no longer sell them though.

I have found a number of times that I can't touch the screen at the bottom for a short while but still can touch elsewhere, making a locked screen a pain in the arse. You see, you need to lock the screen so you don't accidentally hit buttons that ask you if you are sure you want to delete everything. I usually put it in my backpack pocket and hear it beep every now and again thinking I'm touching the screen and trying to unlock it. Then when I do try to unlock it, my patience is tried as it doesn't seem to work for a bit. This isn't all the time, but on the rare occasion. Having purchased it online I didn't bother with the long warranty process of getting garmin to check and fix or replace if faulty. So it could just be that I got a dodgy one.

I have used it in the rain and the screen doesn't seem to pick that up, but it was light rain and I didn't really want it to get too wet. The screen certainly isn't anywhere near as sensitive as a phone though.

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Re: GPSr screens in a storm

Post by mattyrx » 18 June 23 9:16 pm

Hey Wayn0,

I have an eTrex SE at the moment, and had an eTrex 10 prior to that. Both not touch screen, but both ‘mini’ in size. I like that you can use them when its pouring rain and don’t have to think twice about them getting wet or muddy.

The eTrex SE (as well as some of the other new Garmin devices) integrates with Garmin Explore – an app and web waypoint management and mapping service. You can set the GPSr up to navigate to a waypoint, then put it away and use your phone’s app to continue the navigation. It syncs via Bluetooth. It allows a more familiar interface of your phone to be used to navigate, zoom, mark waypoints etc. Should the heavens open and your phone need to be put away, you can pull out the waterproof eTrex and without any need to set anything up - continue navigation on it.

If you’re serious about getting a bigger GPS and don’t mind shelling out a bit of cash, then you could replace your inReach mini with a GPSr with that facility built in. The GPSMap 67i has buttons and all the benefits of a GPSr, including the Garmin Explore sync – but it also has all the Satellite comms stuff that the inReach mini has.

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Re: GPSr screens in a storm

Post by wayn0 » 20 June 23 1:23 pm

Thanks for the feedback and info, I appreciate it.

Looking at my current iPhone which is only about a year old, the Apple case has been flogged and damaged so it's done it's job. The screen is cracked. This happened when I was trekking to an old trig location and I found nothing haha. The views were good though!

I'll probably (almost certainly) upgrade my InReach Mini to a larger version with satellite tech before my next iPhone upgrade, which may be sooner than later with this cracked screen.. it's no longer water proof and I doubt even water resistant. It would be nice to just use my phone as a backup navigation option when hiking and for photos. Even those bulky safety cases you can buy wouldn't have saved my screen that day I cracked it. Plus, I find them annoying when wanting to capture images, which is regularly.

mattyrx wrote:
18 June 23 9:16 pm
GPSMap 67i has buttons and all the benefits of a GPSr, including the Garmin Explore sync – but it also has all the Satellite comms stuff that the inReach mini has.
WOW I just had a look at the one, she's a fine unit!

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Re: GPSr screens in a storm

Post by mattyrx » 21 June 23 1:03 pm

I’m interested to see if Apple’s iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via Satellite is taken up by hikers in place of things like the Spot Messenger or inReach devices. If you’re only a casual hiker and don’t do too many multi day hikes it could be a compelling reason for some to upgrade/change to the current Apple phone. One less device to carry when hiking. I believe the feature is free for 2 years after purchase of the handset. The cheapest Garmin inReach subscription would cost $480 for the same period. It’s starting to prove itself with some rescues in the US being initiated by a satellite SOS message being sent from an iPhone.

I don’t have an iPhone or inReach, but have a PLB in my backpack. Though I think if ever there was a real emergency and I needed to get a message out, it would be kind of nice to be able to send a text and then receive updates back rather than setting up a beacon then sitting there and crossing your fingers and not knowing if the cavalry is going to get to me before dark.

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Re: GPSr screens in a storm

Post by wayn0 » 21 June 23 2:37 pm

Yes the SOS feature in the iPhone 14 is a nice addition. I need to learn more about it before my next upgrade. I currently have a busted (but still working fine) iPhone 13. I usually get 3-5 years out of an iPhone but not this time. It's $500 for a screen replacement. At that price I'd rather get an upgrade. The cameras improve every year so there's another incentive right there.

I used to carry a PLB. What sold me on the InReach setup was the ability to potentially communicate with a rescue team. For example, I could be stuck somewhere with a moderate injury but have appropriate first aid items, food, water and shelter to last a few days. I could let them know to not drop-everything and spend 8 million dollars to rescue me ASAP but rather try to get a team out in the next day or so while maintaining communication. I would like to give them options if I could as the situation may be critical but not urgent.

mattyrx wrote:
21 June 23 1:03 pm
I don’t have an iPhone or inReach, but have a PLB in my backpack. Though I think if ever there was a real emergency and I needed to get a message out, it would be kind of nice to be able to send a text and then receive updates back rather than setting up a beacon then sitting there and crossing your fingers and not knowing if the cavalry is going to get to me before dark.
That is a valid concern. I spent three days and nights trekking through the Gold Coast Hinterland to test my then new InReach setup. On my last day I left Springbrook plateau and dropped into a valley near the Warringa Pool area. The tracking function stopped working until I was close to out of the valley around Purling Brook Falls. Also during this time I had zero communication success which highlighted serious limitations. This is fine if you are aware of such limitations. It took a few hours to get myself out of the valley and that was when able-bodied. It could have taken a couple of days if I was seriously injured. I think PLBs are okay for road trips and boating but, in my opinion, they are not suitable for hiking. The not knowing if anyone received a message would be an unpleasant situation!

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