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Advice please for handheld GPS

Advice please for handheld GPS


Postby Eshmeister » Sun May 26, 2019 8:40 am

Hi all. I'm looking for any advice on a decent handheld GPS for the hills. I have the view ranger app on my phone but ran into problems with it. Would ideally like something with a reasonable screen that can have maps loaded and easy viewing. Hoping to possibly buy 2nd hand. Many thanks in advance. :D
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby jolly47roger » Sun May 26, 2019 3:04 pm

Most handheld GPS devices have a smaller screen than a phone.

There are many other smartphone apps - for <£20, for example, Locus will give you all the function you need and a detailed map of Britain to download.

What were the problems with Viewranger?
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby Eshmeister » Sun May 26, 2019 3:48 pm

Don't get me wrong I like the view ranger app, it's great. However it totally failed on me in one of the valleys yesterday and I only got a tiny bit of map and the rest was white which rendered it totally useless. Also not great using a phone when it's pouring...the rain kept touching the screen and it was trying to access "hello Google" despite having no reception!!! On top of that if my fingers are freezing its difficult to get my fingerprint thing to unlock the phone. Modern day issues eh!! :lol:
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby Khal » Thu May 30, 2019 5:26 pm

I use a Garmin Oregon 700. It’s small compact and the battery lasts. It’s simple to use and has never let me down. But at the same time I prefer to use ViewRanger on my mobile phone , which in my opinion is far more superior. The phones screen is bigger, but the Oregon excels in less then optimal weather. Another plus side is you can plan routes on the Garmin basecamp.
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby Eshmeister » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:12 pm

Cheers Khal. :D
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby Marty_JG » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:41 am

I had a Montana and returned it as it developed a problem. I had to return the replacement unit for a different failure. I didn't go for a third. Obviously other people will have different experiences. Even so, buttons have advantages over touchscreen in inclement weather. And you already have a touchscreen device.

Garmin have just released a GPSMAP 66 and it's seen as a reasonable improvement on the previous models so the previous ones (62, 64) should start to cycle through EBay. They're button based (so you can use in the driving rain, thick gloves, etc.). (There's a 62 on there for a buy-now price of £135).

As for you phone, get a second app. Redundancy is a lifesaver! (Just as you should always have a map with you even if you have both a phone and a GPS). If Viewranger fails then switch to another using it's own already downloaded maps. I'm having great success with Oruxmaps so far, it's stupidly feature-rich for £3 and it snagged OSM for free in a heartbeat, and you can upload other maps to it too.

A note about Garmin's Basecamp - anyone can use it. No Garmin device required. It's a free download, and you can get easy-to-install Open Street Maps ready for it for free.

https://www.garmin.com/en-GB/shop/downloads/basecamp
https://shop.talkytoaster.me.uk/product-category/free/

There are other places you can get maps from too, but those maps are free & quick to install.

I use Basecamp as my "hub", downloading routes from Walk Highlands, making my own routes, downloading routes to Oruxmaps, or creating them in Oruxmaps and uploading them to Basecamp.
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby Marty_JG » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:04 am

PS, currently a new GPSMAP 64 on Amazon is £180. The 64s is £215, that extra £35 gets you an altimeter & compass.

There are much better options than the Topo maps so you won't need the £240 64st.

(PS, the 62 is GPS only, the 64 is GPS & GLONASS (Russia's GPS) and using both works well.
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby rodderss » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:32 pm

I use a Samsung s2 tablet with viewranger, nice big screen and only weighs 460g and have my phone with viewranger for back up.Uses very little battery on the tablet.

Never needed to use phone as it's always worked perfectly for me.
The white screen on viewranger sounds like you had not the tiles downloaded for offline use.
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby jolly47roger » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:04 pm

The tablet sounds a good solution - but not every tablet has GPS so check before buying.
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby Marty_JG » Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:31 am

I'd say try to ensure it has GLONAS in addition to GPS.

More importantly, check your tablet/phone is at least IP67 waterproof, IP68 is preferable.
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby maremalin » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:12 pm

my 2 cents:
No one mentioned OS Maps. Little over £20 per year gives you annual subscription to premium service. There is app for ios and android. You can easily upload gpx or search already existing routes on your mobile or browser on computer
It works with phone in "flight mode" to conserve battery too.
GPS and positioning accuracy is acceptable as long as you add bit of common sense...

One thing i never managed to get to work properly is tracking / route recording function. Early version of the app recorded position every second and had limit of waypoints. So if you walked more then 3-4h app would crash and route wasn't recorded.

OS Maps apps is good to check position or follow uploaded route.

In my setup i have always printed (part of OS premium) map of area or one of my old OS maps + compass combo. OS Maps app running on the phone with downloaded maps and Garmin watch to record my route :-) so i can upload it to Strava and re-live moments of beauty...
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby crfishwick » Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:05 pm

Eshmeister wrote:Hi all. I'm looking for any advice on a decent handheld GPS for the hills. I have the view ranger app on my phone but ran into problems with it. Would ideally like something with a reasonable screen that can have maps loaded and easy viewing. Hoping to possibly buy 2nd hand. Many thanks in advance. :D


I have most combinations of gps setups. " A tech freak or nerd"

Have reverted back to map and compass plus a garmin fortrex 401. After completing the CWT carrying too much weight especially electronics mostly not needed. :(
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Re: Advice please for handheld GPS

Postby dav2930 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:10 pm

Eshmeister wrote:Hi all. I'm looking for any advice on a decent handheld GPS for the hills. I have the view ranger app on my phone but ran into problems with it. Would ideally like something with a reasonable screen that can have maps loaded and easy viewing. Hoping to possibly buy 2nd hand. Many thanks in advance. :D

A GPS is at its most valuable in the very worst conditions, e.g. blizzards and whiteouts, so it needs to be waterproof and usable with gloves on. I use a Memory-Map Adventurer 2800 which originally came with OS mapping for all the national parks, but for which I got a replacement Micro SD with OS mapping for the whole of Great Britain (for an extra £70). It's thoroughly waterproof, and has an attached stylus which can be used with thick gloves to turn the unit on and operate the touch screen. It was expensive, but has never let me down. I only ever use it to briefly establish my position when needed; the rest of the time it's switched off to save the battery - I navigate using a map and compass.
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