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Thread: handheld GPS coverages of AK? User experiences?

  1. #1
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    Default handheld GPS coverages of AK? User experiences?

    I am looking to buy a handheld GPS. I am wanting a unit that has topo maps AND aerial/satellite photos. Both Garmin (oregon) and Delorme (pn-40) offer units that can download or purchase those coverages.

    My beef is that I live in Southeast Alaska and my needs for detail are more than 1:100,000 detail.

    Does anybody have experience with any handheld gps software with good coverages of Alaska?

    Both Garmin and Delorme offer coverages but I need to hear from someone who can tell me about their experiences... like is it worth it. Thanks,

    I am really interested in the aerial/sat photo coverages.

    Sobie2

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    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    I've only used topo so I can't help on that side. Out of curiosity, why do you need aerial photo?
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    You might check out these links.
    http://freegeographytools.com/2008/p...n-handheld-gps
    http://www.mapwel.eu/
    Go to this site.
    http://www.usgs.gov/pubprod/
    and you can see aerial photos that would be available for use. You will have to search around on the USGS site to find what you want.
    Also try
    http://www.jdmcox.com/
    And download his USAPhotoMaps software. With this you can view Aerial photo's.
    Now I know this doesn't directly answer your question, but you will be able to see what is available for your area. And be able to see if it meets your needs.
    I've used this stuff for other projects and coverage varies greatly. For instance I downloaded aerial photos for the Tok area. The aerials along the highway corridor were pretty good. But outside of the highway corridor not so good.
    The sites I listed above will give you an idea of what is available before you buy.
    Hope this helps. Aerial/sat photos on handhelds for recreational use is still in its infancy.
    Unless you want to spend the bucks on a Trimble and Arcview.
    Doug
    "The older I get, the better I was."

  4. #4
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    Thanks travelers I'll check out those sites. There are many good sites where you can download coverages on to your computer, but I want to be able to upload some into my gps. I was just checking on DeLorme's site and noticed that they promote recently added areas and as usual AK wasn't on the list. This is leading me to believe that there isn't any sense of getting a snazzy gps if coverages aren't available. But I am checking to be sure. Lots of times you have to purchase software hoping to get coverages of the areas you want only to be disappointed. Just as frustrating is to call tech support only wasting time getting no where.

    Phish Finder, aerial photos are great for scouting out hunting sites, camp sites, good habitats for what ever you are seeking etc.

    Sobie2

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    Default GPS in Alaska

    GPS receivers do not like things that interfer with the signal. In SE Alaska, my experience with GPS is limited, but it was limited because I was in areas where you did not have a good view of the sky. GPS doesn't like steep mountains and deep valleys, and tall trees, alll of which will interfer with good GPS coverage on land. On water, you should not have a problem.

    I am from Fairbanks, and previously lived in Nome, and working on the North Slope. I have always good luck with GPS because I usually have a good sky view. If I did not, it usually didn't take too muck time to move to where I did have a good view of the sky.

    I have alway used Garmin, mainly because that is what I started with, and their meus are pretty intuitive meaning that you don't need instructions unless you are really stumped.

    As far as overlays of topo maps, or Google Earth, it is pretty fun stuff, but I don't use it so much from the practical side of navagation. I really care about my current postition in relation to waypoints I created, or other canned waypoints that might come with your GPS.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I used a little Garmin eTrex Vista HCx while visiting Ketchikan this summer. My 1:100K basemap was more than adequate for my use. I never lost coverage anywhere I took it, even into the deep woods.

    I don't know if anything past that much detail is going to do you any good. Everything past that needs to be seen on foot by the human eye. My only experience with satellite imagery has been with Google Earth and it simply doesn't focus down low enough in most parts of South East to be any good.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Garmin

    I have used mine several times in alaska and found it to be on the money every time. I bought the alaskan chip for it. I would not go without it. I ALWAY carry my regular paper maps as well and would never solely rely on electronics.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    There isn't really anything that sophisticated on the market for AK just yet. I have some of that functionality on my iPhone honestly find it more a novelty than anything really needed. I have the Garmin 60CSX and it has never failed to get a signal. I leave it in my pack turned on and when I pull it out there has never been a break in the breadcrumbs. I am sure there is a canyon or cave I could climb down into that would shut it down but so far I haven't stumbled into it durring my wondering around the state.

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    Traveler
    Could you expand a little on the Trimble, ArcView please?

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    Quote Originally Posted by goosepilot View Post
    Traveler
    Could you expand a little on the Trimble, ArcView please?
    Trimble makes commercial/survey grade GPS receivers/software. I think they are the market leaders in that field.
    http://www.trimble.com/fieldport_modules.shtml

    ArcView is a industry leading GIS software app.
    http://webhelp.esri.com/arcgisdeskto..._Data_and_Maps

    The company I contract to uses these two products. The Trimble would be the hand held GPS and the ArcView is the desktop app like Mapsource, Maptech, etc.
    The Trimbles are pretty costly.
    ArcView is used by the USFS and many state agency's. I'm not sure if the state of Alaska uses ArcView or not. I've talked with the GIS folks up there and they sent me the data I was after. It worked in Arcview OK. I got the borders for the GMU's from them and converted it to Garmin format.

    I've got aerial photos of where I live that are a year or less old. There are lots of state agency's that have the aerial photos taken, and with some research, a person sometimes can get them. There are also private company's that will take the aerial for a (large) fee.

    The Trimble's are big compared to my Garmin 60csX. Not that handy for hunting use. The Garmin 60 and 76 models are all a person really needs for hunting. I've measured the area of lots of logging units with my Garmin and I'd get within 1/2 acre of what the Trimbles would do. These are 20 to 40 acre units. Pretty impressive for a few hundred dollars.

    The whole GPS thing is amazing. When they first came out we had 300' accuracy, not to impressive. Then the government turned off SA and wow, we get 30' or better.
    I use it for work all the time, saves me tons of time. Even though I use GPS lots, paper maps and a compass is what I like for hunting. I print them out at home before going hunting, way cheaper than the $7 or so for a 7.5' quad.

    Just for everyones info if you need USFS, BLM, State, etc. unit boundaries, closure areas etc. get a hold of the GIS people at the agency in question, they have a ton of info and have always been very helpful to me.

    Be more than happy to help with any (small) GPS projects.

    Doug
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    just curious if anyone has any current info on a good handheld GPS

  12. #12
    Member jdb3's Avatar
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    I've been using GPS in Southeast since the first ones came out. Have used the high-end Trimbles and ARCVIEW for work in the woods. I currently use a Garmin 60 CXS with the Alaska chip and it works just fine. I've used it all over Alaska and always been satisfied with it.

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