Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!

20 May 2013 15:00 - 20 May 2013 17:26 #1017 by onflipflops
onflipflops created the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Judging from the available GPS trails on this forum, I suppose some (perhaps all, ;) ) of you here have more experience with GPS than I have.
I don't own a GPS device, but am thinking of buying one.
I love exploring unknown terrain, but in Thailand's dense jungles it can be extremely hard to keep track of where exactly you are. Of course I would never totally rely on an electronic device. After getting lost once in Khao Phanom Bencha NP, and my lucky encounter with 3 poachers that helped me finding the way out, in the dark! (Another of my many unbelievable stories, haha) I now always carry a compass. Which is useful if you know where the main rivers or roads are. But I believe a GPS device could help me out more accurately and help remember the trail for a next time.

I did a bit of research myself and found the Garmin GPSmap 62s, which seems to get good reviews. It's not the cheapest, but I rather spend a bit more on the right device, than getting stuck with a device that does not suit my needs. Does anyone of you have experience with this device, and what's your opinion? You know the conditions in these forests in Thailand, so I suppose I don't need to explain what I need.
Hope it can handle humidity and has good reception. And if you know of any abilities that I should take into account when deciding, all advice is very welcome.

Thanks in advance!

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20 May 2013 16:39 - 20 May 2013 16:46 #1018 by jonathanbkk
jonathanbkk replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Paul is the expert on Garmin but I am very happy with my etrex 20 without any issues using it in the jungle

I didnt need all the bells and whistles available on some of the larger units thus I went with this model. Mine is also water resistant thus I am not worried when it rains

**update, just checked the website for garmin, looks as though they have changed since I bought mine but the one you mention seems perfect**

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20 May 2013 16:55 #1019 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Thanks for your reply. Much appreciated!

What I like to do is save the trails I've walked, and add a Point Of Interest here and there (preferably with the possibility to add some text to specify the POI).
Is it possible to save all trails in a specific area (national park) and next time when you're walking in the jungle see where all the trails/ POI's are?

This might be a stupid question, but I simply have never used a device like this.
I think I don't need all the bells and whistles either. Just want to see the trails I walked before, and add new trails. And obviously I want it to work well.
I will have a look into the etrex series.

Thanks

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20 May 2013 17:21 #1020 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
While checking youtube for the Garmin eTrex 20, I see it seem to do what I just asked for in my previous post.
Thanks again. Now I need to find a place where to buy it here in Thailand.
I did find a place that sold the Garmin GPSmap62s, but the price of 25500 baht seemed a bit steep to me, especially since the same model sells for about 11000 baht in my home country... That's a bit too much of a difference.

Do you happen to know any store in Thailand that sells Garmin devices?

Thanks

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20 May 2013 17:25 - 20 May 2013 18:23 #1021 by admin
admin replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!

onflipflops wrote: ..........


Is it possible to save all trails in a specific area (national park) and next time when you're walking in the jungle see where all the trails/ POI's are?


Yes you can do all of that. Garmin has a free program (base camp) so you can easily manage, adjust, file and notate tracks and create your own collections.

I really like the etrex models, you can just slip them anywhere and forget about them, my old etrex is still my fav. I also use a rhino when I am doing "off piste" macro stuff, but thats because my regular exploring buddy has one too so we can become separated and still see each others location on the screen and have radio contact also. I also have an Oregon somewhere but found it a bit too "geeky", the etrex really is the best all rounder IMHO. I know Tim likes the GPS62s and they are the ones that they supply to the rangers also. All are suitable for jungle use. Just choose the style you like.

You dont really need a map if you are using for the forest, and buying in the states or elsewhere was much cheaper when I bought mine also. Hence I bought in the states. Shops that sell in Thailand and have websites are "gadgettrend" and "eagle gps".

You might want to invest in re-chargable batteries or a battery pack also. I think 24 hours is the longest you can get out of a set of batts.

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20 May 2013 19:38 #1023 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Thanks for all the info. I'm actually glad to hear that it does not matter all too much what you get, it all works.

4 - 5 months ago I bought a set of Eneloop batteries. That seems to have been a great buy.
I've put them in my SB700 speedlight and even though I don't use the speedlight every day, I do use it quite a lot. Only recently I replaced them (when I thought my batteries died when I encountered the Binturong in Pangsida), but then I discovered that they actually were still functioning fine.
Never had such long lasting rechargable batteries.
I suppose they'll work great in in any electronic device.

But anyway, I haven't done much overnight trekking. So if they last a day, that should be enough for me.
Seems like it's going to be a Garmin etrex20. Hope I can find it for a reasonable price in Thailand, though so far my search resulted in 13600 baht at thailand-gps, but back home about 6000 - 6500 baht, that's a significant price difference. I will think about it how much I want it now, or if it can wait for the next family visit... Which isn't very soon...

Thanks again for all your help!

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21 May 2013 11:41 #1025 by jonathanbkk
jonathanbkk replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
I bought mine on floor 2 of Fortune Tower Rama 9 (opposite Central), they did a good enough job educating me on how to use it so I just went ahead with it. The costs were not that bad compared to the USA thus I just went for it.

As mentioned it saves your previous trips, also you can download maps from this website and load them into your Garmin meaning your totally prepared for your trip.

Other than keeping me out of harms way I also like the trip statistics. It calculates how many minutes you walk, how long you are at rest, and total distance to name a few. It becomes a bit of a game for me to get back in the same time as it took me to walk out. Recently at Thor Thip and down to KU camp the trip back is always brutal as its uphill so its fun to see your times etc.

As for batteries, yes always have 4 since Garmin can chew them up fairy quickly.

Also worth buying the clip attachment, I usually prefer to have it hanging off my back pack strap for easy access

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03 Jun 2013 22:13 #1074 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Hi Jonathan,

May I ask how much you paid for the device, approximately? And how long ago?
The only times I go to Bangkok is when flying in/ out of the country. But am thinking of a shopping trip for the specific purpose of buying the GPS, and if there's a lot of camera gear available, I might return home with more than planned...

Any idea if there are decent spotting scopes for sale as well?

Thanks for your advice!

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04 Jun 2013 11:23 #1078 by jonathanbkk
jonathanbkk replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
I will try to look through and find my receipt, but I think it was about 13,000 baht. I cross checked it against american prices and it was only like 1,500 more so I went through with it in Thailand vs waiting for someone to bring it over to me.

As for photography stuff I have a great connection at Fotofile MBK, his name is "Oi" and if you mention you know me he will give you a sizable discount off retail. Definitely compare his prices against any connections you might have such as your home country or Hong Kong. Most of the time he comes up like roses. Reason for his discounts are because a friend of mine is a professional photographer and he has spent over 2 million baht with him, plus myself and two other friends who have given him a good income over the last couple of years so he takes care of us and any referrals.

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04 Jun 2013 21:22 #1080 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Thanks again. I actually hoped it would be cheaper.
Back home the eTrex 20 sells for 180 euro.
Which is about 7000 baht. That's quite a difference... hmm, have to think about that...

And thanks for sharing your connections at Fotofile. On their webpage I noticed there are a few branches in MBK, where is Oi staying?

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05 Jun 2013 20:06 #1083 by jonathanbkk
jonathanbkk replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Oi mostly hangs around on the 4th floor main shop, but you can ask for him if/when you arrive to confirm.

I may be around the GPS shop within the next week, I will check in to get their current pricing for it if I am around there
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05 Jun 2013 20:16 #1084 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Hi Jonathan,

It would be great if you could ask around for the pricing of the eTrex20. Saves me the 3hr (one-way) trip to get there.
And thanks again for all the details. Much appreciated!

All the best!

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06 Jun 2013 20:35 #1090 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Today, I searched the webpage of tarad.com and found a business selling fishfinders and GPS devices. They sell the eTrex 20 for 8500 baht, the belt clip which was not mentioned on their webpage, but after an inquiry by email I soon received a reply that they sell it for an additional 500 baht.

I believe the rate includes free shipping within Thailand, though EMS service would cost an additional 100 baht.

Sounds like a good deal to me. The price difference with my homecountry is not worth the waiting time.

BTW The GPSMAP 62s sells for 14900 baht.

They emailed the eTrex 20 was not in stock so it will take another 10 days before it arrives.
They replied in English, and promptly, so far seems like they offer good service for reasonable rates.

I'll add a link to their webpage (available in English and in Thai) for those who are interested.
www.fishfinder-gps.com/?lang=en

Thanks again for all your help and advice!

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21 Jun 2013 00:32 #1114 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Received my Garmin etrex 20. 8500 baht for the device, 500 baht for the belt clip, 100 baht EMS shipping.
Total: 9100 baht. Quite reasonable compared to the other rates I've found online.

As mentioned I'm quite happy with the good service of the above mentioned seller. The email replies were prompt, and so was the shipping after I had made the payment.

Now, I can't wait to take it out there...

Thanks for all your advice!
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05 Jul 2013 21:56 #1141 by angiud
angiud replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Hi, I'm new and I want to say hello to everybody! I think somebody know me already ;-)

I start with a question about GPS.I would like something allowing me to track my trek on a map, possibly the Google earth. Canh I do that with the Trek20 or I must buy the 30?

Is it enough sensitive to get a point in the forest too? Both the GPS of my Galaxy 4 and of the Canon 6D fail to get a point when covered by few trees too.

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07 Jul 2013 09:27 - 07 Jul 2013 13:39 #1145 by Paul TW
Paul TW replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Hi Antonio,

How could we not know who you are with your fantastic photos. I am a really big fan!

Any Garmin GPS will let you do what you need.....

For Google Earth, you download your track from your GPS to a free Garmin program called BaseCamp. In BaseCamp you can edit the track easily and cut out bits you don't want or move bits. Then you can either export as GPX file and import into google earth or, more simply, just right click on your track and a menu will come up that says "view contents in google earth". So any Gramin GPS is OK as its done by BaseCamp not the GPS unit itself.

If you mean having the google earth on the screen of your GPS - I don't think that can be done with any of them. The they did introduce a download service called "birdseye" which did enable downloading parts of "google earth" to the GPS itself BUT it was rubbish - with very little detail.

You can get the "thailand map" on your GPS but all it will show on your screen when your are in a NP is a green background. Same as a GPS in your car.

All the new handheld garmin models work under heavy forest cover. No problems there.

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16 Aug 2013 16:55 #1248 by Xenocrab
Xenocrab replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Recently Garmin Etrex 10 with Thai language option www.garmin.co.th/products/onthetrail/eTrex10/
are available from ESRI Thailand for 5000 Baht each. Phone +66-0-2636-8421 (Sathon Road, Bkk)

www.esri.com/apps/company/contact/index....kup&country=Thailand
This must represent the cheapest hand held GPS option in Thailand
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07 Dec 2013 20:15 #1520 by angiud
angiud replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
I'm getting a Etrex30 as a present from Italy. Do you think that that I can get the Thai map from Thailand-gps or whoever sell it in Thailand?

see here:
thailand-gps.com/index.php?route=product..._id=0&product_id=187

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07 Dec 2013 23:43 #1521 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Hi Antonio,

Maybe it's an option to download a free openstreetmap (OSM) of Thailand. That's what I did.
However, I forgot where I got it from... I found it with help of google, so I suppose you'll find it if you try.
Not all roads are on it, though most are, and it even showed some trails in Khao Yai national park.

Enjoy your new present, ;). I'm very happy with it (I have the Etrex 20), and should have bought it years ago...
It has made exploring new areas a lot easier. Though I still carry 1 or 2 compasses as backup just in case it would ever go wrong.

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08 Dec 2013 08:17 #1522 by angiud
angiud replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
My first target with the GPS will be (if it will be possible) the uploading of a custom map (based on hi-def jpeg of Google Map)of my island Koh Phangan, to survey the trails and the dirty roads and overwrite to it.

Should be possible, but I don't know how much difficult (I'm not so much a computer nerd...) :lol:

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08 Dec 2013 13:24 - 08 Dec 2013 13:27 #1523 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
I did exactly that. Though not sure if it is non-computer-nerd friendly, hahaha.

It's quite a time consuming process, especially when you do it for the first time.
I used a combination of software to get to the results as pleased.
I have used an add-on (plugin) in my Firefox browser called Fireshot to create a JPEG of a map. It is basically a print-screen function only you have the option to print screen the total webpage including the areas that are not visible in your browser window unless you scroll down/to the sides.

Then find the coordinates in google maps of the centre of the area you'd like to map. (open google maps and right click and choose 'What's here'). I've did this for you and the center of the island is about 9.734521,100.022278.

Initially I did it both in the Satellite view and the Terrain view. But now I only use the terrain view on my GPS system. However in Terrain view you can't zoom in as far as in Satellite view.

Copy below code (it includes instructions how to adapt), open Windows Notepad (if you are on MAC, I'm not sure what to use; perhaps just some html-editor).
Paste the code in notepad and save it. Now it will be saved as *.txt. Change the extension into *.html

Open it in notepad (or an html-editor) and adapt the iframe link following the instructions. You might have to save it every now and then and open the page in your internet browser to see if the area shows as you'd like.

Then click on the file to open it in your internet browser.
I use Firefox for which you need to download the above mentioned plugin called fireshot, there might be other options for other browsers.
You'll see the FireShot icon in your Firefox browser. Click the little arrow to open the menu and choose 'Capture Entire Page and ...'. After you click this you get a list of options. Choose 'save' and then save the file as JPG on your computer. You now have a jpg map of your area.

Here follows the code that you need to paste into your Windows Notepad. And adapt it according to the instructions.
<!--
Change t=...
EXAMPLE: 
t=p is terrain view
t=h is satellite view
t=m is map view

Change ll=... , ... 
EXAMPLE:
9.734521,100.022278 
By right-clicking in a google maps it should show the option 'What's here'. It will show the coordinates of that location.
Choose the center of the area you'd like to map.

Change z=...
maximum zoom in terrain view is z=14; in satellite or map view you can zoom in even further.

Change width; in pixels
Change height; in pixels
Adapt the width and height untill the whole area you'd like to map is visible.

-->

<iframe width="1500" height="1700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://maps.google.com/maps?num=1&amp;t=p&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;z=14&amp;ll=9.734521,100.022278&amp;output=embed"></iframe>



Next step is to download Google Earth.
And follow the instructions on the following page:
garminbasecamp.wikispaces.com/Custom+Maps

If your total area jpeg is larger than 1024px x 1024px the Garmin system will reduce it, if you don't like that you need to split the image in multiple blocks of 1024 x 1024px and not more than 3MB.
If you upload too many custom maps to your system you can notice it gets significantly slower when starting up.

Not sure if this long post will scare you off, ;).
Anyway it might be useful for some, if not, I now created an online manual that I can use myself in the future when I forgot again how to do it ;).

Maybe somebody knows a better way.
And actually the first part to create the jpg map could be easy when the area is small, however I first tried it with Khao Yai and since it's huge it's a painful process...
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08 Dec 2013 18:01 #1524 by angiud
angiud replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Wow, now I must digest all your wonderful instructions...

For now just say I did already a hi-res map of Koh Phangan with Google Satellite Map Uploader in .jpg.

Now, next week, when the Etrex will arrive, I'll start to play. Due to the lack of trail maps here in Thailand, should be interesting to develop something.

Thank you again for the explaination ;)

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08 Dec 2013 21:46 #1525 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
If you have a jpg of the area, you probably only will need the link that I posted.

One question, could you tell me where to find this Google Satellite Map Uploader?
Sounds interesting.

Enjoy your play time ;)

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09 Dec 2013 19:01 - 05 Jun 2015 13:50 #1530 by angiud
angiud replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
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20 Dec 2013 11:54 #1543 by angiud
angiud replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Got the Etrex, downloaded (with some fight...) the OSM maps of Thailand. On my PC the map is shown in very good detail, with colors and level curves, but on the GPS screen the details are a bit disappointing. But now I must become more used to the device... :P

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20 Dec 2013 13:22 #1544 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Good luck with it. It won't take long before you get used to it.

About the maps.
Turns out I rarely look at the maps other than at a global view of where the roads/ rivers might be.

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20 Dec 2016 14:29 #4118 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
After about 3 years, my Garmin Etrex 20 is starting to show severe signs of wear. As seen in the pictures the bits of duct tape hold some buttons in place, but now the top buttons are nearly gone as well.
Maybe it is partly the climate that affects the rubber, but probably also that this device has been heavily used, hanging on my belt next to e.g. a torch and other gadgets which probably have caused the wear while hiking.
Has anyone else had similar trouble, or have I just abused it too much, haha?




It still works, but due to the lack of the buttons, I need to use some sort of stick to press the inner buttons on the board.
Obviously it is not exactly weather proof anymore either, so I guess it is time to say goodbye to this handy device. Because relying on this device when in the jungle seems a bit too tricky. I might anyhow try to 'fix' it with some more duct tape and in case I would intend to do some far offtrail tracking, just have it as some last resort spare device in the bottom of my bag... But anyway, it seems time for a new one.

I am now considering to upgrade to the Garmin GPSMAP 64s. The same webpage http://www.fishfinder-gps.com/ from which I ordered my etrex 20, still seems to be by far the most affordable. Most other offers I have found online are nearly 10000 baht more expensive for the same device... not sure how this can be, but anyway.
I guess I will try to find another solution instead of hanging it on my belt, in the hope it will last a bit more than 3 years.
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20 Dec 2016 16:42 #4119 by Paul TW
Paul TW replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
I had an Oregon 550 that fell to bits too (very disappointing). My old eTrex Vista® HCx (old style) is still going strong and my fav. I also have a Rhino (with radio and buddy tracker) that is still holding up very very well but I don't use it that much these days TBH.

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21 Dec 2016 11:09 #4120 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Choosing a GPS device. HELP Needed!
Yes, I guess I should just be a bit more careful with my gear.

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