Garmin this, Garmin that...

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by cam_roger, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. cam_roger

    cam_roger Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    91
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I had an old school Garmin gps (non mapping) and it treated me well. But why do all I see on this board is Garmin gps units, period? Doesn't anyone use Magellan? Their new line uses SD cards instead of proprietary cards that you can only get so big. I mean a 512mb SD card is pretty cheap compared to a 128mb Garmin card. Does Magellan just not have the software tools neccesary for our application?


    Any input is appreciated,
    #1
  2. spagthorpe

    spagthorpe Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Oddometer:
    15,226
    Location:
    San Diego
    You can get the Garmin 2610 which uses CF cards, a 2GB card will hold the entire North American mapset.

    I've had a couple of Garmin units, and my 276C kicks so much ass, I really can't think of wanting anything else. Proprietary cards or not. A big part of the equation for me is the software, and MapSource is better than the others I've seen.
    #2
  3. Kaumajet

    Kaumajet H.I.D. Positive

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Oddometer:
    10,137
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Echo above comments, and I've flown with several of their brilliant aviation units.

    Innovative, great customer support, great hardware and great software leave me not feeling the need to look elsewhere. And I don't think I'm missing much.
    #3
  4. roamer

    roamer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2003
    Oddometer:
    314
    Location:
    Gold Canyon, Arizona
    Same here. I have 4 Garmins. Plus, my friends have Garmins, witch means we can swap routes and tracks via email real easy.
    #4
  5. svwayne

    svwayne Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oddometer:
    945
    Location:
    Lawrenceville, Jawja
    I went the Lowrance route for 3 reasons -

    1. Uses cheap SD cards for map\route storage. I don't have to carry a laptop with me if I need more map coverage. I just carry a postage stamp sized SD card with the data I need and swap it out when needed. FWIW - I've got the majority of the SE, in high detail, loaded on a 512MB SD card.
    2. The Lowrance software, MapCreate 6.3 Topo, has everything I need for national forest, water, and public roads in one package. Comparing this to my buddies Garmin software I would have needed 3 different sets of software from Garmin for the same coverage. FWIW - It appears that Garmin, Magellan, and Lowrance all purchase their map databases from Navteq. Then each manufacturer wraps their own GUI around the Navteq database. Lowrance chooses to give you all the database info instead of separating national forests, topo, and roads like Garmin.
    3. I purchased the H2O plus package which came with software, SD card, card reader\writer, and 12vDC adapter for ~$260. Seemed like a lot of value for my $$ compared to similar Garmin and Magellan handhelds.

    P.S. Several members of this board have had good experiences with Lowrance customer support.

    P.S.S. If you want autorouting then look at something other than the H2O. I prefer to map my routes ahead of time so autorouting wasn't high on my priority list.
    #5
  6. cam_roger

    cam_roger Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    91
    Location:
    Minnesota
    1. Autorouting is not high on the list, but a useful tool for sure.

    2. So there is no way for my freind with the street pilot to share data with a magellan or a lowrance? I understand they have different software so routes and the such wouldn't be possible, how about waypoints?

    3. A couple of years ago when I looked at Garmin it would have cost me about $500.00 in memory cards just to take a two day trip with detailed maps (you know for when droning gets a little old), has this changed?

    I want to save some dough, I like SD cards (I have some for other devices and they are readily available EVERYWHERE), but I also want what works. I have no problem getting another Garmin, but I just thought it odd that I didn't hear much about the magellan products, they have certainly been around a long time and I just assumed that they had a viable product. Is Magellan's mapping software the weak point? Is no autorouting the big weakpoint of the Lowrance? I've been to mega-lo-mart and tried asking questions there but I think the only true way to find out is to try them for a while, just hoping someone has tried the Magellan and can give some feedback.


    Thanks for the info guys,
    #6
  7. sdmotor

    sdmotor Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,684
    Location:
    Gaslamp!
    I'm using a Meridian Platinum with direct route and have been happy with it. I like the auto-routing and it also has a mini weather station that tracks barometric pressure and provides temp. I am looking at the Lowrance that a couple people here are using but the magellan dose everything I want. The SD cards are also a big plus.
    #7
  8. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    65,459
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    For durability, inexpensive CF cards that can carry all the maps of the US, and pur functionality, the Garmin is hard to beat.

    IMHO the few dollars you save on a Magellin wont make up for the quality maps, auto-routing and support of the Garmin units.

    Jim :brow
    #8
  9. ODSC1

    ODSC1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Oddometer:
    215
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    I've used the Magellan Meridian Gold for all my DS and off-road rides for the past 3 years. It works great! The SD card was one one of the selling points for me. Being able to store routes and tracks for a whole trip on the card is really nice. For more information on GPS units check this site, http://gpsinformation.net/ .

    My club regularly organizes GPS guided dual sport rides. This means providing routes in both Garmin and Magellan formats. The best programs I've found to convert formats is Easy GPS and GPS Trackmaker .

    Brian
    #9
  10. torags

    torags Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,483
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Just got an Iway500. Great unit, full of features, cheap, but verrrry heavy. More than 2lbs. and has a hard drive.

    I wouldn't get it for off road, for slab - I'm concerned. I mounted the unit on 1/2" foam. Happy with the shock absorbing, but now I'm concerned about the RAM clamp holding the unit while it whips around. I'm now trying to figure out a lanyard solution, because I think it's going to pop off - just when?
    #10
  11. funkydrum

    funkydrum Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    373
    Location:
    Sand, whoops and tight trees...
    Originally Magellan and Trimble were pretty much the only game in consumer GPS. However, Garmin was aggressive with product development, had a great user interface and I think just out-sold Magellan.

    There seem to be some very happy Magellan users (I like their new hand-held units). But as someone mentioned, Garmin has become so prevalent that sharing waypoints, tracks, routes, etc. is difficult if you are a Magellan user.
    #11
  12. wickedsprint

    wickedsprint Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,386
    Location:
    USA
    The fact that 90 percent of Garmins are completely waterproof, and have much better mapping is why I personally stick with them. Some of the Garmins I will not consider anymore after owning, pretty much anything in the etrex series since they are basically glued together, or rather snapped together with a flimsy rubber band wrapped/glued around them and with their click stick issues. I would however at least own an etrex yellow for top speed tests since I basically consider it disposable for its price if it gets detsroyed falling off.
    #12
  13. fifthcircle

    fifthcircle Beer Knurd

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,847
    Location:
    Knee deep in diapers, Nebraska.
    I print out maps from Mapquest for the price of ink and paper!

    If I get lost....I look at the map:D
    #13
  14. Lujo

    Lujo Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,040
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Here's another vote for the Lowrance H20 Plus. Utilitarian compared to Garmins, but sees satellites *much* better than a Garmin Legend, and in bang for buck the Garmins didn't seem to come too close.
    #14
  15. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Oddometer:
    8,886
    Location:
    Nebraska
    And what if you don't know where you are located on the map...
    #15
  16. Vstromdek

    Vstromdek Vstromdek

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    141
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Good point. The "minimum" benefit of a gps, seems to me, is that it tells you where you are, when you don't know.
    #16
  17. eap

    eap El Adventurero Solitario

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,341
    Location:
    Maryland, Least Coast USA
    Put it in gear and proceed forward - you will find your location soon.
    #17
  18. spagthorpe

    spagthorpe Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Oddometer:
    15,226
    Location:
    San Diego
    Where you are IS the important thing, but I've gotten so used to the auto-routing on the Garmin. I set where I'm going, and then I just ride. If I see a cool road to the side, or a neat squiggle on the GPS, I just go that way, and the unit constantly updates the route based on where I am right now. I always get where I'm going.

    The other thing that's cool to do, is just set your destination via shortest routes, and stick to it. Sometimes you find a really great road that you would never have otherwise known about if you had plotted the route ahead of time.
    #18
  19. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    65,459
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    And this is exactly why I purchased my 2610. Then I found out how great it is when traveling around the country for work. Makes finding where I need to go effortless, and takes a lot of the stress out of commuting in unfamiliar cities.

    Jim :brow
    #19
  20. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Oddometer:
    22,868
    Location:
    The Submarine Mines
    Garmin customer service is unmatched (IMHO) in the industry.

    For the one problem I had with my ETrex, they bent over backwards to get me a new GPS within a week. The shipping label had the replacement unit going out before I even sent the broken unit back to them.

    That and their products are pretty much the bees knees for functionality and dependability. I don't shop around for a different brand of GPS because I'm absolutely content with the experiences I've had with my Garmin units.
    #20