GPS Question?

16 replies to this topic
  • Marnegro

Posted August 05, 2003 - 02:53 PM


I did a search for GPS but all the hits that came up where a little out dated.

I was wondering if any of you have any experiance with th Magellan Meridian or the Sportrak Map? Pros & Cons?

thanks in advance :)

  • Indy_WR450

Posted August 05, 2003 - 03:18 PM


I use the sportrak with the US topgraphic software. It does not show county gravel or fire roads. I went to many trails in Colorado and the roads shown on county maps are not on the topo software. The area is shown but no real details. The drawback to the small sportrak is the display is so small that you can only see a window that is about a mile in size. You zoom out and lose all the resolution. so you end up hunting around on the map with a magnigfying glass type view and you have to know the area for it to be easy to use.

  • pedman

Posted August 05, 2003 - 05:14 PM


I have the Magellan Platinum and enjoy every feature on it. I use it with Magellans Topo/Street software and I am inpressed with the information that it comes with. For Utah the information on Topo/Streets is very accurate. When I ride, i log the entire route and then upload the information to the national geographic topo for utah to get enen more detail.

I had a etrek Venture before and it was good and I am sure the unit that is equivalent to my platinum is good to but I like the larger display for viewing.

Hope this helps....Good luck!

  • toyota_mdt_tech

Posted August 05, 2003 - 06:03 PM


I had a Garmin Etrex Vista and it was nice. I used a Garmin Emap now and you can upload maps or topography into it. Also you can always get updates from the Garmin website for free all the time. It has mapping for the entire western hemisphere in it now, even Cuba!

  • N7SLC

Posted August 05, 2003 - 06:10 PM


I had a Garmin Etrex Vista and it was nice.

I second that. I am using a Vista now and it's a very nice unit. The fact that it has 24mb ram helps in loading a ton of maps into it.

The free updates are definitely a plus! :)


  • groundhog

Posted August 05, 2003 - 06:14 PM


I have the Magellan Meridian (green). I use both Magellan's MapSend and ExpertGPS. The Meridian doen't show too many trails on its own, but it does show some. Same with MapSend. I researched quite a bit before I bought mine, and I don't think any GPS shows many trails on thier own. Also, you can't load maps except for the maps from the manufacture's software into any of them that I know of. The maps 3rd party software shows you on your computer are different maps & can't be loaded to the GPS. You can however, load waypoints and routes (that you create) from the software to the GPS.

I like using ExpertGPS. It downloads (internet) either aerial photos (mostly Terraserver) or topos (mostly USGS or National Geographic). Then you can find trails (the aerials are particulary good), plot waypoints and/or routes. Load these into your GPS and follow the yellow brick road! When you get back from your ride you can download the tracks that you rode & plot them on the same/or a different map. It is pretty easy from there to see where you were & where you could have been - or where that side trail went. ExpertGPS works with most GPS units. They have a free version to try out and I think it is about $65 to buy - that includes maps & aerials for the entire US.

One reason I chose the Meridian is the large buttons & screen. Easy to use with gloves on, easy to see while you are riding (I have mine mounted on my bars in a small camera case with a cut-out for the screen). Is has also proved to be pretty shock proof. I have been using it for 2 years with no failures.

In short, If you are looking for unknown trails I think the answer is more in the software than in the GPS unit.

Hope this helps

  • yamahasocal450

Posted August 05, 2003 - 06:54 PM


ihavethe sport trak plus and it works sweet.. it can store lots of data for topographical maps etc the only thing i wish it had was longer battery life.. other than that great package :)

  • ddialogue

Posted August 06, 2003 - 03:33 AM


I use the Garmin Etrex Legend and have been very happy with it. 8mb ram is more than enough storage for what I use it for (on my dirt bike.) I think the screen could be a little bigger and the battery life a little longer but it's worked out ok. My brother built me a power supply for the gps that runs off the motorcycle battery and is water resistant. Now I never worry about the batteries dying on the gps while I'm out riding. I mount it to the bars with a ram mount from :)

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  • Dog58

Posted August 06, 2003 - 04:03 AM


I bought a Garmin Gecko. Real inexpensive and easy to use. I just wanted something to show me which way was back to the truck when I'm out on single track. I just mark the truck as waypoint one and then when I'm pooped and ready to quit, it shows me the way back. I've been out on rides where nobody knew which way was back, the sun was directly overhead and all the trails look exactly the same. Took another hour to get back when we were probably less than a mile away if we knew which direction to go.

  • Dan_Lorenze

Posted August 06, 2003 - 04:29 AM


The best advice I can give you is to buy a Garmin with Mapping. I've called Garmin in a pinch on their 800 number and they've talked me through some troubleshooting. When I dropped and fried my Garmin 12 they took it back and sent me a brand new one.... Nice people too... That's a company I can stand behind... My father has the Garmin 76s, It's everything you'de ever want from a GPS...

Good luck,


  • Marnegro

Posted August 06, 2003 - 06:06 AM


I think I will go with the Magellan Meridian. I would like to up-load maps and mark trails. I am planning on attending a Baja GPS event this year and want to get an intermidiate unit that I can learn on and grow my knowledge of GPS navigating.

Here is the link if anyone is intrested.
4th Annual Baja GPS Event :)

Thanks for the help.

  • toyota_mdt_tech

Posted August 06, 2003 - 03:57 PM


...the only thing i wish it had was longer battery life.. other than that great package :)

Hey, chances are you can swithc is to "battery saver" mode, my Garmin was tough on the battery also, its looking all the time for the sattelites, in battery saver mode, it will take a quick peek about once every 5 seconds or something like that. The batterys seem to last forever now. It doesnt refresh quite as quick, but 5 seconds isnt too bad.

  • pedman

Posted August 06, 2003 - 05:05 PM


Also, check to see if you can track your direction of travel by satellites instead of the electronic compass... if you have this feature. This will save your battery too.

Good luck!

  • N7SLC

Posted August 06, 2003 - 05:51 PM


Also, check to see if you can track your direction of travel by satellites instead of the electronic compass... if you have this feature. This will save your battery too.

Good luck!

Not sure about the others, but the electronic compass on the Vista is defaulted in the off mode. If fact, the only time you'd really need to turn it on is if you NEED to know which way is north and the GPS won't lock onto the satellites do to tree cover, high canyon walls, etc.

I would assume that the few other models that have the electronic compass(luxury feature) would be similar to the Vista in it's operation.

Keep in mind that a gps antenna is an active antenna. It uses an electronically rotating antenna system to calculate the distance from the different birds and along with the receiver, they use power...

MOST gps offer the option to turn the receiver off so you can use other features which offers longer battery life but they will not track in that mode. If you are tracking, you're sucking the batteries down...


  • Rich_in_Orlando

Posted August 07, 2003 - 02:38 AM


Here's a battery hint: use rechargeable NiMH batteries instead of alkaline. You can get a set of four Energizer NiMH batteries at WalMart for less than $10 and I think the charger is around $20. They last so much longer than alkalines and since they are rechargeable you'll make up the initial investment in just a few rides.

  • PumpkinHumper

Posted August 07, 2003 - 04:52 AM


Here is a pretty handy site for GPS stuff.

  • GPS Dual Sport

Posted August 07, 2003 - 05:00 AM


Are any of you Magellan GPS users going to the Big Bear Run dual sport event this weekend? The club will have the entire course available for download to your GPS at sign up. Since we started doing the GPS thing 4 years ago we never had a Magellan GPS user show up for the data download. There is a real question if the software we're using will work properly with the Magellan hardware. Be sure to ask for the GPS guys Gil, Kevin or Dan at sign up. Be sure to bring your data cable so we can transfer the data. For all you Garmin GPS users we have all the models dialed in for download. Show up with fresh batteries and you will be good to go.


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