Jun 28, 2012 at 12:07 am #1291465
After reading here what people use for navigation I thought GPS receiver might be useful. What is the simplest UL GPS receiver. I need it to display current coordinates, nothing more. I think long battery life and good sensitivity are another important features.
Searching on ebay for something like that and found this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-5-LCD-GPS-Tracker-GSM-GPRS-Surveillance-Quadband-SOS-Mobile-Phone-Wrist-Watch-/251093527443?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a76572b93#ht_5688wt_1110
It does have GSM also, so you can call from it. $60. However that color display is a disadvantage. Not that clear, and of course eats battery power faster. Why they put that LCD on it?
Any other options you know? Things like Garmin eTrex 10 are unacceptable, because of weight and unnecessary functionality. Need small and very simple device.Jun 28, 2012 at 12:13 am #1890725
I did also see some GPS enabled watch. But these are expensive for me. I mean spending $250+ on GPS is a no go. I would rather invest the money in lightening my big three items. If there are no ~$100 solutions, I will keep using my map&compass style.Jun 28, 2012 at 12:30 am #1890726
If only it displayed UTM coordinates.Jun 28, 2012 at 12:43 am #1890730
HOLUX M-241 BLUETOOTH USB GPS LOGGER weighs 62g (including AA battery) and displays current position in lat/lon. However, most land maps do not have detailed lat/lon marked on them, so this might not be useful for navigation.Jun 28, 2012 at 1:39 am #1890732
I have an app on my smartphone which gives me a location, it was a free download and I have my phone with me anyway, so no extra weight!Jun 28, 2012 at 3:46 am #1890737
If you carry a compact camera: some models also have a GPS function,…Jun 28, 2012 at 4:29 am #1890742
Actually my Holux M-241 weighs 53 grams with a lithium AA which lasts at least 18 hours. If you print maps or have them printed (mytopo) you can easily have the lat.long grid put on instead of the UTM grid. I find the Holux very easy and accurate and it only costs about $65. It will also record, tracks, distance and give altitude.Jun 28, 2012 at 6:32 am #1890755
Great! Thank you! I actually use my own software (I wrote it :) ) for printing map of region of interest. I may generate either UTM or latt/long grid (I'm currently implementing this). So it's OK.Jun 28, 2012 at 6:47 am #1890764
BTW, I don't use smartphone. It's expensive and more a toy than tool for whatever. Its battery power lasts for 1.5-2 days maximum. That makes it unreliable. Yes it is multifunction. You can even watch movies, but you need to carry or extra batteries with it or solar charger which is heavy and unreliable. I use Nokia 1280 which weigh 70 gram. I charge it once in two weeks, it has flashlight which I forgot to turn off and it was ON for the whole night wasting 25% of the battery! It is also my alarm clock and a cell phone. It has monochrome screen which is very readable. And yes, it costs only $20.
Why pay more?Jun 28, 2012 at 9:58 am #1890816
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
I think you are asking alot for $100 (maybe you could buy previously used…)
If you buy cheap, it will likely be a poor performer. You will have problems with satellite locks under trees or in canyons. You will be lucky if it's waterproof (it will say it is but it won't be), and durability may be an issue.
Garmin makes the Fortrex series which many people on this forum use. Stripped down (remove the strap) and it weighs 65 grams (this includes two lithium batteries). This unit will hold a satellite lock very well and is pretty basic.
To stay closer to your $100 limit, I think the Etrex 10 is your best bet and is pretty basic but works extremely well. I think on a low budget, you may have to sacrifice either weight or quality/performance.Jun 28, 2012 at 10:23 am #1890824Jun 28, 2012 at 10:35 am #1890827
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
IMHO a decent GPS reciever needs to display maps.
For a few ounces more I'd choose a mapping GPS to help make accurate route plotting or route change decisions.
Sometimes backpacking purchase decisions steered mainly by weight considerations can be the wrong decision once in the field.Jun 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm #1890891
Get an old Garmin Geko.
–B.G.–Jun 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm #1890915
Inaki Diaz de EturaParticipant
@inaki-1Locale: Iberia highlands
> IMHO a decent GPS reciever needs to display maps.
but a decent map reading experience does not fit in a GPS receiver screen.
Paper for actual, useful, reliable map reading. GPS for coordinate location when needed. It makes a lot of sense to keep each tool for what it does best.
I'd also love to find something like what the OP asks for and it's sad years go by and nothing seems to turn around. I still keep and old Geko that works but it's too heavy for what it does for me. That Holux thing has been around for a while but only lat/lon? UTM is much more user friendly and it's present in any serious map. I'd expect it to be present in any serious reciever.Jun 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm #1890927
I agree that a real map is the best way to go and use the GPS to pin point where you are when you need it. I have used the Holux in many SW canyons and other places to make sure the side canyon I want to exit is the correct on for example.
What I don't really get is the resistance to Lat/long vs. UTM. They both give you two numbers that you look up on the grids on the map and there you are. Sure UTM is in meters and more uniform across the globe and you can maybe find yourself down to the closest 10 meters but no one is that exact unless you are mapping something for future use.
Seeing as how the whole world was mapped using lat/long and it is still the main grid used in most applications I don't understand the difficulty. To me one is like speaking spanish and the other french, they both say the same thing.Jun 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm #1890941
Harrison, Wilderness Press, Halfmile and Postholer maps are all in UTM. I'm not going to get those guys to republish their maps in lat/long. Since they are uniformly UTM, UTM makes sense. Every other maps I recall that pertains to the PCT is also UTM. What's the resistance to using UTM?Jun 28, 2012 at 5:16 pm #1890948
@creakyLocale: New England
+1 on the old Geko. If you want what you say you want, this is it.Jun 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm #1890968
just trying to answer the original question of the smallest simplest GPS. Of course your list is PCT centric and I'm not sure a GPS is really needed there most of the time anyway. I think the OP is looking for a GPS for more off trail type uses.
I too wish the Holux also did UTM but it doesn't so I have adapted.Jun 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm #1891007
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Checked out a Foretrex 301, and it didn't give UTM either. Am I missing something?
As far as UTM is concerned, you can pinpoint your location on a map, but I wouldn't want to do it in the field. So key points on the map are premarked with UTM coords at home, where it is much easier.
Have no idea how some of you get much use out of maps on tiny screens. I need to eyeball a huge area to effectively navigate, using water courses, peaks, etc., especially off trail, or in the numerous wilderness areas where the USFS is forever dropping trails and they become unrecognizable and even unsafe. I never see anybody out there, let alone anybody navigating with tiny screens with no UTM and no paper maps. Hmmmmm.Jun 28, 2012 at 11:02 pm #1891010
I hardly get any use out of the screen on my Garmin Oregon. I turn it on long enough to write down my coordinates, and then turn it back off. It's the wrong gps solution for the way I hike. I'd be looking to replace it right now if it didn't have a waterproof camera.Jun 28, 2012 at 11:12 pm #1891011
Jeremy and AngelaParticipant
@requiemLocale: Northern California
I'm pretty sure you should be able to configure the Foretrex models to display UTM.
If your map is to a common scale, you can use a UTM grid reader to easily get more precise coordinates, or to locate yourself. (The reader linked there is about the size of a business card.) Very handy when plotting locations, particularly if you're coordinating with others or not even carrying a GPS.
Peeve: The various display formats used for lat/long coordinates, e.g. W120°58'57", W120°58.292' or "W120.8362°".Jun 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm #1891012
Jeremy and AngelaParticipant
@requiemLocale: Northern California
Given the current size and power draw of GPS chips (about 7x7mm), it seems it might be possible to embed a chip, antenna, battery, and e-ink display into something similar in size and shape to those LiveStrong bracelets. Only output would be UTM coordinates, so only a single line of text, and probably a touch sensor for power and datum changes.
My question is, would a battery sufficient for a few weeks run-time fit in something that size? How feasible might such a project be?Jun 29, 2012 at 12:16 am #1891013
"What's the resistance to using UTM?"
One thing is a small factor, but I learned land nav way back when they were still trying to perfect the magnetic compass, so I grew up with lat/long. Also, I think in terms of feet or yards or miles, not meters and kilometers. From time to time, I have converted over to use UTM, but so few of the maps that I've seen have a very robust implementation of UTM. I've also converted over to use the Military Grid and used that for a time. Some of the topo maps use both lat/long and UTM, so it really doesn't matter.
Some of the problem comes from the datum. So few people deal with the datum when they refer to lat/long, UTM, Military, or anything else, and they don't seem to realize how far that can skew your apparent position. I contacted a GPS manufacturer one time about the database that one receiver product used, and I asked about the datum. Their answer was, "Huh?"
–B.G.–Jun 29, 2012 at 12:20 am #1891014
"My question is, would a battery sufficient for a few weeks run-time fit in something that size?"
I think that would be very tough. The display, however small, is the power hog.
–B.G.–Jun 29, 2012 at 1:57 am #1891022
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
>> Checked out a Foretrex 301, and it didn't give UTM either. Am I missing something? <<
Yes you are missing something. Look under setup/units and you can set the Fortrex to UTM.
>> My question is, would a battery sufficient for a few weeks run-time fit in something that size? <<
As I mentioned in my post above, you have to pay the big bucks for the ultimate light weight GPS. The Ambit would do just what you want and if the GPS was only used briefly to pick up a coordinate (it even does UTM), it would last a long time and could be recharged with a small USB charger. The downside is that it's $500. Wait a few years and competition in the market place should make watches like the Ambit affordable (maybe…).
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