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I am stuck at work today instead of out gold hunting and I am wondering how many of you use off-road type GPS (Topo GPS) instead of a good old fashioned topo map with Map measurer roller?

I have a very basic GPS that does not contain any maps. You can put in coordinates of where you want to go and it will point you in the right direction as the crow flys.

You can also mark where you park your vehicle and document where you walked, etc.

I find it to be a pain in the a%^ waiting to get satellite locks and fumbling with the buttons.

If your using a GPS what do you recommend?

If you use a topo map, why do you prefer that over GPS?

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I still like a good o`l hard copy Topo Map. If you need to get somewhere very specific though, the GPS is the best bet. I actually prefer doing all my searching on Aerial Photos first, then Topos , then GPS cords entered into system if needed.

Get a good topo program for your GPS (if its capable), you will like it. I like to run the gps a good five minutes before I utilise it for navigation for the best satellite links.

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Hey Old Salt,

I like to use USGS topo quadranges IN CONJUNCTION WITH my GPS. You'll start out scaling minutes and seconds on the margins of the maps but, eventually, you get to where you can just estimate or eyeball where you are after a quick glance at your LAT, LONG. The map software for your GPS is the next step, if you want to spend the money. I'm an old school guy, so I still like to photo-copy the section of the 7.5 minute quad where I'll be, and take it with me in the field, ALONG WITH my GPS. The guys that only use the maps in their GPS have never been able to scribble notes on, or sketch features on their GPS screens. Also, orienting the paper is fast and absolute.

Nuff Said, Ben

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My experience has been that UTM, NAD27, is the most accurate...It seems foreign at first, but it is very accurate, right down to the few feet..I do have those grids on my custom maps, but still include the old fashioned ways too...Cheers, Yer Unc in the Dubyah

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OldSalt....I've been using GPS for about 21 years.....both on the ground and in aircraft....their

an amazing piece of equipment....if money is not a problem and if you get out in the really wild

country...mountains or desert...then a GPS that has a mapping function built in is a great way

to go...if it will download map programs from your computer ...even better...the best of both

worlds is all the above and a hard copy of your travel area...like Unc. Ron says the most

accurate is the UTM coords ....Lat./Lon coords are designed for the curve of the earth and

you have to use a formula to be very accurate....UTM is made for the military and is more

map friendly since it is designed for a flat surface and is more accurate....

Accuracy is Dependant on the satellite system itself since it's accuracy is controlled by the

US Military...a program called "selective availibility"......extreme accuracy can be obtained by

installing addition equipment such as for aircraft or ships at sea....

My GPS will do all of the above but here in Brazil topo maps are controlled by the military and

are DEFINITELY NOT for civilian use...the military here almost arrested me just for asking for topo's....

so I just use mine for tracks....locations(way points)...and where my truck is when in new


If yours is taking a long time to lock on ....trying getting in a clear area...no trees...you need at least three

satellites for navigation or maybe you have an older unit....most o f the newer ones lock on very fast....

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I use a Garmin, Legend with a topo chip. Great little unit, but as others have stated, I too use it in conjunction with a paper topo. The batteries last a fairly long time, but the paper topo is solar powered. If the sun is out, I can read it. If it isn't, I can't. LOL

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I run a Garmin GPSmap 276C with the Topo software. I've used it all over the world, and it's perfect for tracking your routes. The beauty of it is the ability to link it to your computer and dump all your saved tracks, it's also real user friendly. It's a little pricey, but worth every penny. Some of the smaller Garmins don't have the memory for that many tracks. I've actually got to the point where I keep the laptop in the truck booted up to a 110v converter, and run google earth on a cache. It lets me compare the two, I also have Topo Explorer (7.5 quad maps) set up in the same laptop as backup, and for comparison. Holly crap, I've turned into a techno geek!


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I also use a Gramin GPS, a laptop, loaded with topo software (plus discs) & a 12V 600 watt power inverter to power them, plugged into the cig lighter.

I have an exterior GPS antenia mounted on my jeep cherokee roof & built a sturdy laptop holder mounted in front of my between the seat console.

Also have google earth pro loaded in the laptop.

That way, if needed, I can even get an aerial veiw of where I am, or what I am looking for.

I can roll down about any trail, road or whatever & know where I am (+/- 40 ft), updated every 15 seconds.

For footwork, I just unplug the Garmin & hand carry it.

Once you learn to use one, they will guide you about anywhere.

Many times, because I can navigate in the dark of night.

I have used the system to find & flag property end lines or whatever, in the dead of night on roads, when I couldn't sleep.

Next day, just roll out, have coffee & go find the flagging. Then, get to work.

Out & about a power inverter is a great thing.

You can run or charge about any little electric thing.

About every auto parts store carries them, under $100.

Also have a SAT uplink phone (Iridium - not cheap), as down in canyons, or in rugged mtn steep terrian cell phones hardly ever can get a repeater signal.

Also carry EMT grade first aid kit in the rig.

Once, I tangled with some sheet metal & had to do a suture job on myself (no fun).

Otherwise, I would have bled to death, long before I even got out to the pavement.

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Another note on GPS/Topo maps. As I've seen mentioned with regards to UTM's vs Lat-Lon, and NAD 27 vs WGS 84. I've found it easier to run a pre-grided map in MGRS which is a simplified version of UTM, and much more user friendly when using a GPS/compass/map/protractor. On NAD27 vs WGS 84, NAD 27 will show much older road systems, logging/mining etc. CAUTION, make sure your GPS is set up for the correct datum relative to the maps your using, our you will be several hundred ft off which really sucks at 0200 looking for a fork in a logging rd that doesn't seam to exist!

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I used to use GPS/laptop combo. You really cannot beat that combination for in vehicle navigation. However, since Delorme came out with the PN series GPS I have gotten lazy and just use my GPS Loaded with Delorme TOPO maps. I still am addicted to paper maps, there is just something fascinating about them that draws me to study them also.

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Paper maps and a Garmin Map60CSX. Gps talks to the computer and I have the separate Garmin chip for both Mountains South which includes AZ and East Coast to cover my home territory. I have been using map and topo since my teens 45 years ago so they are second nature to me. Compass is always there for a back up if the batteries go dead! It HAS happened before.

My very first garmin was the cheap etrex which was slow, slow, slow to boot up and I would lose signal in heavy tree cover. The Map 60 is quick ... usually locating and locking on 3 or more sats within 15-30 seconds ... and no lose of signal in the trees!

Mike F

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Living in a country where it's against the law the poses topo's and none available to down

load to my GPS here's something that's actually fun...find your desired territory on Google

Earth....put place marks where you want way points to be ....load the coords into your

GPS ....select the altitude you desire and print the area...works pretty good...down side is

uses a crap load of ink....but you have your map with all the waypoints marked.....

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I have ben using DELORME Topo software for 10 years now on my computer, and laptop. For traveling crosscountry and hunting teritory. Year to year buck scrapes, and deer runs. I finally upgraded my GPS from a Garmin + to the new DELORME PN-series. You can upload to the computer from the GPS, or vice-versa. Add aerial photo to the GPS where you can look at the topo map, or aerial pictures. The DELORME topo map have very good details, I also purchased the 3_D TopoQuads CD for AZ. There are some details differences, but the Topo Version 8 is very good! The new PN-40 is one super unit... 500MB of available onboard Flash memory, also support high-capacity SD card up to 32 GB. DELORME also got a MapLibrary. Purchased of a GPS unit, or software package usually give you a $40.00 data download credit. What kinda data? Color aerial,USGS b+w aerial, USGS high resolution city color aerial, and 10-meter color satelite, plus USGS7.5 min quads, and NOAA nautical charts. I am very please with the GPS unit, and mapping software. I used RAM mounts on my boat, my bike, and vehicles. I will never run off the edge of a topo map again :laught16:

More Au to you,


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