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Thread: Ideas for 1st timer GPS

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Scarborough, Maine
    Posts
    43

    Default Ideas for 1st timer GPS

    Hey everyone! I'm very new to this sport and I am looking at different GPS units and how they work. I already have the ones that I want to attempt around my house area. I'm hoping to snatch up one on Friday during Black Friday if I can find one on sale....

    What ones do you find would be good for a newbie? I'm pretty computer/technical savvy so I could figure just about anything out. I take it from what I read you have a computer program that hooks up to the GPS unit and that is where you enter the Coordinates of the cache? Sorry if I sound really quite naive because well I am! ha-ha I have a computer (obviously as I'm writing this) so that wouldn't be an issue.

    I looked and I didn't really see this exact question around the forumns anywhere...if someone has a used one i'd be open to that as well for the right price. I'm not brand specific even though some of you I see are so that's not really an issue for me either - at least till I get one!

    Anyways thanks in advance for any help!

    Brenda

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Solon, Maine
    Posts
    5,940

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    Hi, Brenda, and welcome!

    Here's a recent thread that discussed your very question. Don't know how much help it will be, but it's a start. LOL!

    And probably the most popular program for managing geocaches is GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife). Do a search in the forums on GSAK and you'll find many discussions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Unity, Maine
    Posts
    3,866

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmeserve View Post
    Hey everyone! I'm very new to this sport and I am looking at different GPS units and how they work. I already have the ones that I want to attempt around my house area. I'm hoping to snatch up one on Friday during Black Friday if I can find one on sale....

    What ones do you find would be good for a newbie? I'm pretty computer/technical savvy so I could figure just about anything out. I take it from what I read you have a computer program that hooks up to the GPS unit and that is where you enter the Coordinates of the cache? Sorry if I sound really quite naive because well I am! ha-ha I have a computer (obviously as I'm writing this) so that wouldn't be an issue.

    I looked and I didn't really see this exact question around the forumns anywhere...if someone has a used one i'd be open to that as well for the right price. I'm not brand specific even though some of you I see are so that's not really an issue for me either - at least till I get one!

    Anyways thanks in advance for any help!

    Brenda
    Well first off, welcome to geocachingmaine.org Brenda . . . we're always happy to "see" a new face.

    As Bruce/WhereRWe mentioned I think there was a thread or two with a similiar theme . . . however if the thread that Bruce added does not answer your questions ask away.

    To answer one of your first questions . . . you do need a computer . . . but only to access the internet and geocaching.com to get the coordinates for the cache. While some folks may elect to hook directly to the computer and download the cache coords (which many GPSreceivers can do) others may opt to just get the info from the web pages and manually input it into the GPSr.

    Beginning cachers often start out going to geocaching.com, plugging in a zip code and finding local cache information and then manually inputting the coords into their GPSr . . . or they'll write down the cache name, coords and clues on a notebook. Eventually, if the geocaching bug snags you as it does some folks, you'll want to upgrade to a PDA (such as a Palm) which can download all the cache info for a specific area (i.e. all of Maine) and update that information every week, day, month, etc.

    So . . . in summation to your question . . . no, you do not necessarily need a computer to hook up to your GPSr.

    And so now we come back to your original question . . . what GPSr to buy and what should you be looking for in terms of features. Honestly, there are a few different types of GPSrs out there. First and foremost, you will want a hand-held unit and not one of these car-mounted GPSrs which seem to be all the rage . . . because many of these caches are located in the woods (with the exception of some LPCs and GRCs -- that's geo-speak for Lamp Post Caches and Guard Rail Caches -- which you can access almost without getting out of your car -- just ask Hiram357 -- we tried to do just that in a parking lot in Auburn last winter.)

    After that it comes down to manufacturer and while there are a few manufacturers out there, for most folks it comes down to the great Ford vs. Chevy debate . . . or in this case, Garmin vs. Magellan (or is it Magellan vs. Garmin.) There are pros and cons to both manufacturers and folks on both sides will vehemently support their manufacturer of choice while simultaneously degrading the other manufacturer . . . but that's just because they are jealous of my Magellan.

    All kidding aside, both companies tend to produce some good GPSr units. Garmins have a lot more users and have a well deserved reputation for fantastic customer service and reliability (we believe one of our cachers -- Hiram357 is in fact a field tester for them as he has dunked his Garmin in a snowbank, attempted to drown it in a river and has dropped it more times than he has toes (he's from Ohio which explains the 14 toes ).

    Magellans on the otherhand have fewer users, but the units seem to be just as tough and tend to offer more bang for the buck when you buy a "bundled package" including maps, cords, mounts, etc. Magellans also however have a past reputation for poor customer service . . . something I have never needed to check out since my Magellans have worked flawlessly . . . it is also worth noting that Magellan was also bought out by another company a few months back.

    Whichever manufacturer you choose there are some basic things you would most likely want in a GPSr . . . but a lot of it is subjective. For example, I'm very much a visual-learner. Because of that I like my GPSrs to have mapping abilities and the ability to upload more detailed maps (the base maps included with GPSrs that have mapping ability are usually not very good). I also like color screens while using my GPSr in the car or on the snowmobile or ATV . . . this said, mapping ability and color screens are not crucial to geocaching . . . you can purchase a GPSr very cheaply without color or maps and find caches just as easily as the high winder fancy models.

    OK, I'm tired from all of this typing . . . hopefully this answered some of your questions . . . and maybe some other folks will chime in now with some more advice.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Machias, Maine
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    120

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    Well I was orginaly going to add something, but I think Firefighterjake has said it all.

    I would only repeat that you do not need to spend a lot of money.....cheaper ones work just as well as the more expensive ones. Try to find a gpsr with mapping software included. It is much cheaper this way and it comes in handy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Norway, Maine
    Posts
    262

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    Well I don't know that the cheaper ones work as good as the more expensive as I have a cheaper one and couldn't find 3 of Gob-lers caches this weekend that everyone else seems to have.
    _________________________________________________
    Disallusioned former correction officer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Machias, Maine
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    120

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    I've had good luck with mine, although I am still a "rookie" and do not have much to compare it to. I spent about $175ish on my Magellen Explorist 210 Bundle Pack. I guess it may be closer to a middle of the road one then cheaper. My point is just that you do not need to spend a lot of money.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Solon, Maine
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    Quote Originally Posted by darterkitfox View Post
    Well I don't know that the cheaper ones work as good as the more expensive as I have a cheaper one and couldn't find 3 of Gob-lers caches this weekend that everyone else seems to have.
    Sheesh! We have a "top-of-the-line" Garmin 60csx, but we have trouble finding caches sometimes anyway! LOL!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Auburn, Maine
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    621

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    Welcome Brenda A great place to start is a geo event - lots of folks there that can help you out and even help you find a cache or two. The upcoming geo events are listed on the home page of this web site

    Quote Originally Posted by darterkitfox View Post
    Well I don't know that the cheaper ones work as good as the more expensive as I have a cheaper one and couldn't find 3 of Gob-lers caches this weekend that everyone else seems to have.
    Gobler's hides can be pretty tricky. His coordinates have always been spot on though (in our experience). Lucky for us he's pretty generous with the hints
    If you want to try cross country skiing, start with a small country

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Solon, Maine
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjpreb View Post
    Welcome Brenda A great place to start is a geo event - lots of folks there that can help you out and even help you find a cache or two. The upcoming geo events are listed on the home page of this web site
    Don't think there are any events hosted by GeocachingMaine.org members in the near future, but RULOST2? and I plan on hosting our 4th annual Winslow Winter Weekend Waypoint Warrior Wingding (WWWWWW4) in late February.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Unity, Maine
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    3,866

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    Quote Originally Posted by darterkitfox View Post
    Well I don't know that the cheaper ones work as good as the more expensive as I have a cheaper one and couldn't find 3 of Gob-lers caches this weekend that everyone else seems to have.
    _________________________________________________
    Disallusioned former correction officer.
    Not everyone . . . I keep going down to Auburn and I keep DNFing some of his caches . . . I also have a knack for always getting lost in that city for some reason as well.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

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