GPS

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,672
2,465
Pestletown, N.J.
The pine barrens are vast and you need to focus on a particular area that you are interested in for lat/lons.
One of the easiest ways to obtain latitude and longitude geographicals for your gps unit is to use maptech.com.
Go to "online maps" on their site and type in a location . Bring up the first USGS quad map listed for the area that you are interested in.
As you drag your mouse over the map you will see the latitude and longitude displayed in the box on your left.
You can select a format on Maptech of degrees minutes and seconds (dd mm ss) or degrees and decimals of a minute(dd mm.mm). Make sure your unit format in your gps is set for whatever format that you intend to enter into your gps. Mixing formats will throw you out hundreds or thousands of feet. Read your manual about the various formats.
The lat/lon indicated on Maptech is extremely accurate. I am a land surveyor and I use it all the time for initial research when preparing project maps.
Scott
 

Ben Ruset

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wis bang said:
Delorme 'Street Atlas' and 'Topo USA' do the same thing. You can locate alot of things and get the lat/lon.

Neither of them are true USGS 1:24000 topo quads like you would get on Topozone.com.

TopoUSA looses a LOT of detail that is on the paper maps.
 

wis bang

Explorer
Jun 24, 2004
235
2
East Windsor
That's true

I agree, Topo USU w/ it's 50' contours is almost useless in most of New Jersey, and it only gives a feel for the land topography when there are large changes in contour. I think the latest street atlas is more useful as it outlines most state & federal boundaries in green and has most roads and the locations of all the abandoned and active RR lines too
 

Boyd

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Jul 31, 2004
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I know this thread is a little old, but I'm new around here and maybe my impressions will be useful to someone anyway. I've got two GPS'es - a Magellan Meridian Gold portable that I got two years ago and a Garmin StreetPilot 2620 automotive unit that I got two months ago.

I am really a "Mac Person" and do some pretty advanced things on several machines including CAD, 3d modeling, computer animation, digital video, etc. Unfortunately there just isn't much support for GPS and mapping on the Mac however, so I have an old hand-me-down P2/400 that I use with the GPS'es. I have the general purpose DeLorme Topo USA and Nat'l Geographic Backroads Explorer. For the Magellan I have MapSend Streets and Mapsend Topo which can upload detailed maps to the handheld GPS. For the Garmin I have MapSource Topo in addition to City Navigator database for the entire US that is pre-loaded onto the 2620's microdrive.

Of all these my favorite (so far) is the Garmin MapSource Topo. The StreetPilot 2620 has a 2.5 GB internal drive (mine has a removable compact flash card, although evidently the newer units have non-removable drives) but there is around 500 MB free to upload other maps. There is a menu option on the GPS that lets you choose the mapset you want which I find really handy. The City Navigator maps support full auto-routing so you can just enter a starting point and destination and it will guide you. However the topo maps can't auto-route. Nevertheless, more often than not I work with the topo maps because they have a lot more interesting stuff in the database and are great when you wonder "what's that lake over there?" They really seem to have all the little sand roads and streams on them and the topo contours match the actual elevations measured by the GPS very well. The 2620 is also a real pleasure to use; it has a lot of user-customizable features, the color screen is really bright and readable in full sunlight and the touch-screen interface works very well.

On the trail I use the Magellan with its topo maps. They really aren't as nice as the Garmin maps. They use a less accurate system of mapping contours that doesn't give you a lot of useful feedback out in the pines. I was just recently at Forked River Mountain for example, and you would be hard-pressed to realize that it wasn't just a flat plain from the Magellan map. But the Garmin showed all the contour lines. Things like streams are also generally just skinny lines on the Magellan where the Garmin does a better job of showing the actual shape. The Garmin website has a neat feature where you can display their maps to see the amount of detail. If you go to this link and pick one of the US Topo maps from the drop down menu you can navigate around in it.

Having said all this however, the Meridian is a nice solid unit that manages to keep satellites locked pretty well even under heavy tree cover. I imagine I'd be happier with the Meridian Color, but not enough so to spend for the upgrade. Now unfortunately the portable Garmins with color screens get expensive if you want more than 24 MB of memory (and I would). It's also unfortunate that they don't have memory card slots like the Meridian.

Anyhow, those are a few random thoughts for anyone thinking of getting a GPS or software. I think the StreetPilot 2620 is just terrific and I'm totally hooked on it. The 2610 is pretty much identical except it doesn't have the full US database pre-loaded on a microdrive. But with compact flash cards getting cheaper and cheaper, you can get your own 2GB card and load it from the included City Navigator disks and probably end up about the same. With the 2620 they don't include the PC software since everything is pre-loaded, I had to buy the topo maps separately but I think they're a "must have" if you want to explore the pines.
 

njvike

Explorer
Jul 18, 2003
353
1
Sparta, NJ
home.earthlink.net
That's true

wis bang said:
I agree, Topo USU w/ it's 50' contours is almost useless in most of New Jersey, and it only gives a feel for the land topography when there are large changes in contour. I think the latest street atlas is more useful as it outlines most state & federal boundaries in green and has most roads and the locations of all the abandoned and active RR lines too

The street Atlas is pretty good. I also use it to find abandoned and active RR line as well.

I wish they had something for that would work with the NAV system that I have in my Expedition. It's okay but I wish the company that made it for Ford would offer something in addition.
 

Ben Ruset

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Ken,

You're still much better off with a handheld unit loaded with street level and/or topo maps. That way you can use it when on foot.

You could get something relatively inexpensive like a Garmin GPSMap 60C, or the 76C which has 115MB of memory - plenty room for maps.
 

njvike

Explorer
Jul 18, 2003
353
1
Sparta, NJ
home.earthlink.net
bruset said:
Ken,

You're still much better off with a handheld unit loaded with street level and/or topo maps. That way you can use it when on foot.

You could get something relatively inexpensive like a Garmin GPSMap 60C, or the 76C which has 115MB of memory - plenty room for maps.

I think you're right. I just wish I could've had something that would've utilized the Nav system but I checked with the company this morning and they said No but they are offering enhanced maps. Unfortunately, they sell them by the region and go for $115 for each CD.

What is a good mid-range unit?

Ken
 

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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Boyd said:
I am really a "Mac Person"

Only three people so far that I know of are Mac users here, so welcome to the club. The only way to go.

Guy
 

Boyd

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Thanks TeeGate, but I'm too new around here to make trouble by starting a "my dog is better than your dog" discussion :wink:

Another interesting GPS from Garmin is the Quest http://www.garmin.com/products/quest Have not ever seen one in person, it's a new model, but it looks like a portable version of the 2610 without the touchscreen or compact flash memory.

Regarding "plenty of room for maps" I guess everything is relative. The entire routable City Navigator database for the US and Canada is ~2 gigabytes for example. I uploaded maps for all of NJ, PA, most of NY and parts of a few other states and it took about 88 MB to give you an idea of what to expect.

If you get a Garmin and want maps that show the little back roads, swamps, streams and lakes plus points of interest then you'll also need MapSource Topo US which is extra. Like I said, these maps are not routable like the City Navigator which I think is also extra on the handheld units, isn't it? I have used the City Navigator database in the pines and a lot of the little sand roads aren't on there. Right out of the box the GPS'es usually only feature a "basemap" which has very sparse detail that only shows major roads. Of course even the cheapest most basic ones can plot your position and track so you can navigate back to a starting point though.

If you can afford it take a look at the 2610 and 2620, the removable compact flash cards are a big plus, and the memory capacity is much, much higher (2.5 GB vs 115 MB). It's really disappointing that Garmin doesn't put a data card slot on their portable GPS'es. That would let you easily switch between different maps, like I can do on my Magellan Meridian Gold. But it's a gotcha because I think the Garmin maps are better... guess you just can't get it all from one unit.

NJvike, that's really ridiculous with the factory installed unit and the cost for additional disks. Sorry to hear about that.
 

Teegate

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Boyd said:
Thanks TeeGate, but I'm too new around here to make trouble by starting a "my dog is better than your dog" discussion :wink:
.

I don't think that is possible with only three of us :)

Guy
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
12,407
2,630
Pines; Bamber area
Boyd said:
The Garmin website has a neat feature where you can display their maps to see the amount of detail. If you go to this link and pick one of the US Topo maps from the drop down menu you can navigate around in it.

Thats pretty neat that the Garmin topo has Aserdaten and Red Oak Grove on it. Still, it does not show the roads with all the curves like a regular Topo map. Are there map programs for GPS units that mimic the detail of the USGS Topo Maps?
 

Boyd

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The roads I've driven track very closely to the maps for the most part, but true, it doesn't look quite like the paper maps. And of course due to the limited screen size and resolution, even on the color units the maps don't look the same as the PC screen.

There is another whole approach to GPS'es that use scanned maps and ariel photos. Have not personally delved into these, but I think they are mostly geared to use on PDA's. I've read about various problems with PDA's as GPS'es since using a stylus is awkward, they generally aren't as rugged, the software can crash, and memory/processor speed can be limiting factors. But they certainly have a loyal following.

This website has a lot of info on various GPS topics if you're interested: http://gpsinformation.net. And I also like the forums they have here: http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/default.asp?CAT_ID=2
 

Ben Ruset

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The Garmin Topo program is a higher scale map than the "standard" 1:24000 USGS topos that we all know and love.

Garmin Mapsource City Select v5 has many of the sand roads on it. For example, it lists the road leading to Nash's Cabin as "Nash's Cabin Rd." While it's not a topo, the amount of detail it has for some of the unpaved roads is commendable.

The Garmin Quest isn't out yet. The only other Garmin unit besides the Streetpilots that take removable memory is the iQue 3600, which quite frankly sucks for use out in the woods. That's why I upgraded to the 76CS.

I have maps for all of NJ, a good chunk of NY, Long Island, and all of Colorado on mine with room to spare.
 

Boyd

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If there's any interest I could post some screenshots of the Garmin and Magellan maps as displayed on the GPS for a few locations in the pines using both the Topo and City databases.
 

Teegate

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davensj said:
I just bought a eTrex Legand, Does anybody have a list of way points for the Pine Barren area?

Dave,

What do you think of your Legend?

Guy
 
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