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  #11  
Old November 8th 03, 12:33 PM
Jim Hutton
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Default GPS Advice

On Fri, 7 Nov 2003 18:50:56 -0000, "www.amforbes.com - professional
photography" wrote:

Ok thanks for the info - loads to think about and a few sites to visit.


You might add the newsgroups alt.satellite.gps and
sci.geo.satellite-nav. There are some excellent FAQ sites which you
will find via these groups.

Is the idea to leave the thing switched on when I am walking and then upload
it to my pc.

Do they come with maps built in or do I need to buy that later?


Depends on the make. Magellan only allow Magellan maps, Garmin have
both Garmin maps and the possibility (if you learn how, and its a bit
complicated) of creating your own maps. All the commercially
available maps for the UK show only roads - footpaths & most tracks
are missing, as are any other detail useful to walkers.

I am busy creating my own footpath maps for my Garmin Vista. Cotswold
Way, parts of Lakes & Brecons so far. Quite laborious, and made no
easier by the Ordnance Survey's attitude to copyright.

However, even without detailed maps I prefer to have a 'mapping' gps,
which will at least show you your track visually in relation to
waypoints etc.

Incidentally, the discussions about WAAS are a bit irrelevant. Almost
all GPS have it, but it isn't any use in the UK at the moment - in
fact it makes my Vista much slower to lock, and REDUCES accuracy.

What about these american ones that have the 2 way radio built in - are they
any good?


Sounds unlikely - 2-way radio is so short range, especially in hills.

Jim Hutton


  #12  
Old November 8th 03, 02:20 PM
Mark Cavendish
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Default GPS Advice

On Fri, 07 Nov 2003 18:02:10 GMT, "Jiffy" wrote:

Err, we're still in the test phase. Note this from
http://gpsinformation.net/waasgps.html
"Europe's EGNOS system (compatible with WAAS but for operation in Europe) is
in the test phase now and is transmitting a "do not use" flag. Magellan GPS
receivers ignore this flag and use the signal anyway (for what it is worth),
but Garmin receivers honor the flag's intent and will not use the EGNOS data
as long as the "do not use" flag is set."

The April 2004 date for official launch is widely stated. For example:
http://www.pocketgps.co.uk/egnos.php

So be careful with the current Egnos signals otherwise you could be Waasting
your time!


Trust me to get it wrong - it was the end of the initial test phase
that I *thought* was the end of testing! Put it down to EGONOrance!

Having said that I've never switched WAAS off and since I'm getting
3m accuracy have found no need to - and that includes the precursor
to Artemis when we were due poorer coverage. Hike most w/ends, under
tree canopy and in steep sided valleys and I've only lost lock 1/2
dozen times (50% in car when travelling in north direction where sat
coverage is not so good).
Mark
  #13  
Old November 8th 03, 06:31 PM
Jim Hutton
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Posts: n/a
Default GPS Advice

On Sat, 8 Nov 2003 12:18:24 +0000 (UTC), "Joe"
wrote:

Hi Angus
Just a few thoughts having recently upgraded from a Summit to a Vista.
Try to see a working example before buying. The Higher resolution Vista,
Venture & Legend screens have quite small text and can be difficult to read
if your eyesight is not excellent. In my view, the larger the screen the
better.


Agree entirely - screen is very crisp and clear, but very small. I
had to upgrade my specs to multi-focal to see it. But its a
trade-off, big screen = big unit. The Vista is shirt-pocket size and
very light - fits in the hand a treat. NB it works best when flat or
nearly, which is fine for reading it (like a book), but not so good
for carrying it in a pocket. I carry mine either in my hand, or
tucked into an elastic loop on the rucksack strap.

Currently in the south UK, WAAS is not much use, especially under tree
cover, but may improve next year when fully up and running.
The battery drain on the Vista is high compared with the Summit. Use 2200mh
rechargeables if possible and carry spares. The smaller AAA cells on the
Gecko range have been known to give problems.


I get 8 - 10 hours of continuous use on 1800maH NiMH rechargeables.

For hiking use, the track scale range is greater on the Vista (down to 20
feet units as against 200 foot units).


Didn't know that - but certainly the Vista tracklogging is both
accurate and flexible - you can set parameters for logging points, or
use an 'auto' setting, which uses a quite sophisticated algorithm to
decide when to collect points, which maximises accuracy and storage.
10,000 track points storage, which should be enough for a week's
walking, plus up to 10 saved track memory.

In built mapping can be useful for matching roads to footpaths etc. (The
main reason for my change).
Remember to think about what software you will be using either now or later.
(Can be expensive).
Good Luck

Agree with both the above points.

Jim Hutton
  #14  
Old November 8th 03, 07:12 PM
Dominic Sexton
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Posts: n/a
Default GPS Advice

In article , Jim Hutton
writes
On Fri, 7 Nov 2003 18:50:56 -0000, "www.amforbes.com - professional
photography" wrote:

Ok thanks for the info - loads to think about and a few sites to visit.


You might add the newsgroups alt.satellite.gps and
sci.geo.satellite-nav. There are some excellent FAQ sites which you
will find via these groups.

Is the idea to leave the thing switched on when I am walking and then upload
it to my pc.

Do they come with maps built in or do I need to buy that later?


Depends on the make. Magellan only allow Magellan maps, Garmin have
both Garmin maps and the possibility (if you learn how, and its a bit
complicated) of creating your own maps. All the commercially
available maps for the UK show only roads - footpaths & most tracks
are missing, as are any other detail useful to walkers.

I am busy creating my own footpath maps for my Garmin Vista. Cotswold
Way, parts of Lakes & Brecons so far. Quite laborious, and made no
easier by the Ordnance Survey's attitude to copyright.

However, even without detailed maps I prefer to have a 'mapping' gps,
which will at least show you your track visually in relation to
waypoints etc.


Most GPS receivers that do not have uploadable maps / base maps still
have a map screen that displays waypoints, routes and tracks. The only
recent receivers I recall that didn't were the Magellan 300 (Pioneer) &
the 310.


Incidentally, the discussions about WAAS are a bit irrelevant. Almost
all GPS have it, but it isn't any use in the UK at the moment - in
fact it makes my Vista much slower to lock, and REDUCES accuracy.

What about these american ones that have the 2 way radio built in - are they
any good?


Sounds unlikely - 2-way radio is so short range, especially in hills.

The Garmin Rino models are FRS units (the US equivalent of the Euro PMR)
which have a very limited range and are not legal for use in the UK as
far as I know because they do not adhere to the PMR standard.


--

Dominic Sexton
http://www.dscs.demon.co.uk/
  #15  
Old November 8th 03, 07:14 PM
Dominic Sexton
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default GPS Advice

In article , Mark Cavendish
writes
On Fri, 07 Nov 2003 18:02:10 GMT, "Jiffy" wrote:

Err, we're still in the test phase. Note this from
http://gpsinformation.net/waasgps.html
"Europe's EGNOS system (compatible with WAAS but for operation in Europe) is
in the test phase now and is transmitting a "do not use" flag. Magellan GPS
receivers ignore this flag and use the signal anyway (for what it is worth),
but Garmin receivers honor the flag's intent and will not use the EGNOS data
as long as the "do not use" flag is set."

The April 2004 date for official launch is widely stated. For example:
http://www.pocketgps.co.uk/egnos.php

So be careful with the current Egnos signals otherwise you could be Waasting
your time!


Trust me to get it wrong - it was the end of the initial test phase
that I *thought* was the end of testing! Put it down to EGONOrance!

Having said that I've never switched WAAS off and since I'm getting
3m accuracy


How have you determined the accuracy? The estimated accuracy the
receiver reports cannot be relied upon.

have found no need to - and that includes the precursor
to Artemis when we were due poorer coverage. Hike most w/ends, under
tree canopy and in steep sided valleys and I've only lost lock 1/2
dozen times (50% in car when travelling in north direction where sat
coverage is not so good).


There are plenty of satellites visible to the north of the UK over the
pole. They are lower in the sky than other directions but they are none
the less useful as long as they are not obscured.

GPS mission planning software can show the sky plots and visible
satellites from any location given a current almanac. Trimble have a
free mission planner available he

http://www.trimble.com/planningsoftware.html


--

Dominic Sexton
http://www.dscs.demon.co.uk/
  #16  
Old November 9th 03, 12:10 AM
Paul Saunders
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default GPS Advice

Mark Cavendish wrote:

Trust me to get it wrong - it was the end of the initial test phase
that I *thought* was the end of testing! Put it down to EGONOrance!

Having said that I've never switched WAAS off and since I'm getting
3m accuracy have found no need to


There may be a slight misunderstanding here. I routinely get 3-4m
accuracy in the hills with my GPS12 which has no WAAS, because of the
clear sky views. I think the typical 15m quoted accuracy is an average
of typical conditions, and most people typically aren't on hilltops.

If a non-WAAS GPS gives 3-4m on the hilltops, then when WAAS is fully
operational you should get sub-1m accuracy up there.

Paul
--
The October Project 2003
http://www.wildwales.fsnet.co.uk/october/october.html
http://www.wilderness-wales.co.uk
http://www.photosig.com/go/users/userphotos?id=118749


  #17  
Old November 9th 03, 08:22 PM
Mark Cavendish
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default GPS Advice

On Sat, 8 Nov 2003 19:14:03 +0000, Dominic Sexton
wrote:

How have you determined the accuracy? The estimated accuracy the
receiver reports cannot be relied upon.


Benchmarks for height - +/- 1 metre accuracy on my STP
Combination of O/S maps and Fugawi which seem reasonably accurate ;-)
Car tracks are sufficiently accurate to determine that I've been
driving on the correct side of the road!
Hiking slightly more difficult as O/S maps aren't always accurate (but
I usually find I've crossed a footbridge and not waded thru the
river!)
Since I'm also interested in my total elevation climbed on a hike I
also check total ascent vs total descent and these are usually within
1-2 metres. Which ain't bad over 25km and 1500m! Mainly hilltops but
also some steep sided valleys/tree canopy in the mix. Certainly
altogether more accurate than my fumbling around with a compass/map
(which I occasionally do to keep in practice for when my STP does let
me down!)

There are plenty of satellites visible to the north of the UK over the
pole. They are lower in the sky than other directions but they are none
the less useful as long as they are not obscured.


Whilst, yes there are often sufficient sats to the north, there are
times when there are insufficient, combined with poor line of sight
(placed on dashboard so car body tends to block sides/rear) resulting
in loss of lock - just as I find the same problem in tunnels, the only
other place I lose lock ;-)
Oh, yes, and occasionally lose lock from my window at home (faces east
and sometimes there are, again, insufficient sats). And yes I've used
an app to track the azimuth and elevation and watched as the sats
disappear leaving me without lock!

Mark
  #18  
Old November 10th 03, 11:28 AM
litherland-1
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default GPS Advice

Mark Cavendish wrote in message . ..
On Sat, 8 Nov 2003 19:14:03 +0000, Dominic Sexton
wrote:

How have you determined the accuracy? The estimated accuracy the
receiver reports cannot be relied upon.


Benchmarks for height - +/- 1 metre accuracy on my STP
Combination of O/S maps and Fugawi which seem reasonably accurate ;-)
Car tracks are sufficiently accurate to determine that I've been
driving on the correct side of the road!
Hiking slightly more difficult as O/S maps aren't always accurate (but
I usually find I've crossed a footbridge and not waded thru the
river!)
Since I'm also interested in my total elevation climbed on a hike I
also check total ascent vs total descent and these are usually within
1-2 metres. Which ain't bad over 25km and 1500m! Mainly hilltops but
also some steep sided valleys/tree canopy in the mix. Certainly
altogether more accurate than my fumbling around with a compass/map
(which I occasionally do to keep in practice for when my STP does let
me down!)

There are plenty of satellites visible to the north of the UK over the
pole. They are lower in the sky than other directions but they are none
the less useful as long as they are not obscured.


Whilst, yes there are often sufficient sats to the north, there are
times when there are insufficient, combined with poor line of sight
(placed on dashboard so car body tends to block sides/rear) resulting
in loss of lock - just as I find the same problem in tunnels, the only
other place I lose lock ;-)
Oh, yes, and occasionally lose lock from my window at home (faces east
and sometimes there are, again, insufficient sats). And yes I've used
an app to track the azimuth and elevation and watched as the sats
disappear leaving me without lock!

Mark

What makes you say that O/S maps are inaccurate, having used them for
many years I find their accuracy probably the best in the world. I use
a mapping GPS and plan my routes using Fagawi which include the
1:50,000 Landranger series.
In every day use the route when overlaid by the GPS track the
comparison is spot on. I have no reason to doubt the mapping so I am
curious about your remark.
  #19  
Old November 10th 03, 02:47 PM
Mike Clark
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default GPS Advice

In article , Jiffy
wrote:
[snip]
PS: I went for a Garmin Geko 301 imported from America. With no
customs duty (but maybe VAT to pay) it works out a LOT cheaper. Main
downside is poor battery life of 9 hours on paper (in real life I
don't know as it's ain't arrived yet). It takes AAA batteries but I've
decided that's not a downside for me as I've already got 750mah AAA
NiMH batteries and they're so light I don't mind carrying spares.


The Geko 301 is now my main unit and I'm very pleased with it. Before
that I used a Summit. Regarding the spec and software differences it's
hard to justify the Summit now without a dramatic drop in price compared
to the Geko 301 or some major improvements to the software of the
Summit.

Battery life of the Geko isn't proving to be too bad in practice. I've
been using 750mAh AAA cells and I've been regularly getting over 6 hours
and often over 8 hours of use, even with WAAS enabled. I do usually have
the compass disabled which helps. A great software bonus of the Geko
over the Summit is that you can toggle the compass on and off with a
long press of the "menu page" button. ON the summit you can turn the
compass on this way but to turn it off again you need to navigate
several menus!

The actual case design of the Geko 301 is better than the 201. It is too
easy to accidentally activate the "on" button of the 201 when carrying
it in a pocket or rucksack.

Mike URL:http://www.path.cam.ac.uk/~mrc7/
--
o/ \\ // |\ ,_ o Mike Clark
\__,\\ // __o | \ / /\, "A mountain climbing, cycling, skiing,
" || _`\,_ |__\ \ | immunology lecturer, antibody engineer and
` || (_)/ (_) | \corn computer user"

  #20  
Old November 10th 03, 02:49 PM
Mike Clark
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default GPS Advice

In article , Jiffy
wrote:
"Mark Cavendish" wrote in message
...
On Fri, 07 Nov 2003 13:53:09 GMT, "Jiffy" wrote:

Also, from April 1st 2004, Egnos will be operative. This means that if

your
GPS has WAAS capability it can be accurate to about 3 metres.


Hey, don't let my "chunky" SporTrak Pro hear you say that otherwise it
may stop giving me WAAS info. You're a year out - 2003 and my STP used
the test signals prior to this - in fact I've never *not* had WAAS
(unless you count the 2 day glitch a few months ago)
Mark


Err, we're still in the test phase. Note this from
http://gpsinformation.net/waasgps.html
"Europe's EGNOS system (compatible with WAAS but for operation in Europe) is
in the test phase now and is transmitting a "do not use" flag. Magellan GPS
receivers ignore this flag and use the signal anyway (for what it is worth),
but Garmin receivers honor the flag's intent and will not use the EGNOS data
as long as the "do not use" flag is set."

The April 2004 date for official launch is widely stated. For example:
http://www.pocketgps.co.uk/egnos.php

So be careful with the current Egnos signals otherwise you could be Waasting
your time!

Cheers, Jiffy


Your wrong. The latest software updates for Garmin do allow the EGNOS
signals to be used


Mike Clark, URL:http://www.path.cam.ac.uk/~mrc7/
--
o/ \\ // |\ ,_ o Mike Clark
\__,\\ // __o | \ / /\, "A mountain climbing, cycling, skiing,
" || _`\,_ |__\ \ | immunology lecturer, antibody engineer and
` || (_)/ (_) | \corn computer user"

 




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