Garmin  GPS12 Personal Navigator

Navigation, Communication, Computing and Power systems - Click to Enlarge

Garmin

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD! - Click here for details!

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!

 

My GPS Trail...

May 2007

As of this writing, I have owned a GPSr for six years.  In that time, I have become very familiar with the use of electronic navigation devices.  They have provided me with so many benefits over my previous use of map and compass, it would take a whole write-up just to cover it.  Come to think of it, that's what this page has become.  This first section is a brief summary of the various devices and my experiences with them. 

Garmin GPS12

6/29/2001 - GPS 12 (my first GPS)

Hugh Long gave me the GPS12 when he upgraded to a Garmin eTrex.  This GPS has basic tracking and routing capabilities without mapping.  I was very successful using this device by first consulting online maps at topozone.com to get the various map coordinates I wanted, then loading waypoints into the GPS12 to mark the points on the route I wanted to hit.  By printing maps and keeping a record of the track point names, I was able to complete three years of increasingly complex trip navigations with very few mis-steps.  I still rely on this unit to give me a basic track view of my track log because it is very easy to see in the Jeep.

 

Garmin GPS12

5/7/04 (added second GPS12)

In preparation for Camp Jeep 2004 I concluded that I did not have enough memory in the GPS12 to load all my tracks for the Oakridge trails.  I wanted to have all the trails loaded so that if I needed to move about the property, I would not need to reload my waypoints and tracks.  The only way to do this inexpensively was to purchase another GPS12.  So I bought one on eBay for a few dollars.  To say they had become bargains would be an understatement.  By purchasing the second GPS12, I doubled my track point (from 1024 to 2048) and waypoint (500 to 1000) capacities.  This made it possible to store all my tracks and waypoints for Oakridge.  It also made it possible for me to record new track data if I wanted to over-write the tracks I had loaded.

gps V

6/1/04 (GPS V)

No sooner had I installed the second GPS12 than my friend Bill Smith told me he was selling his GPS V along with his software and accessories.  It was a good deal so I went ahead and bought it.  It may seem a bit extravagant to have three GPSr units but I found having a mapping unit to be a substantial upgrade in terms of usability.  It also provided me with the capability to auto-route to destinations - something the GPS12 did not offer.  This significantly reduced the time it took me to plan trips, and gave me a lot more flexibility once out on the trail.  This further enhanced my navigation options, track and waypoint storage capacities.  I use the GPS V to navigate and route with maps, and use the GPS12's to track and display other location data that is not visible from the GPS V map screen.  This full-view helps me keep track of many navigation data points and helps explain why I have three GPSr units in my vehicle.

MapGPS 76CSx

5/30/07 (GPSMap 76 CSx)

Three years later and I am still very happy with the GPS V.  I purchased one for Maria and installed it in her Cherokee.  At first she thought I was being silly but soon she discovered it's value and became a dedicated user.  We bought a new vehicle that came equipped with a factory unit that works very well although the user interface and artificial limitations diminish it's value for people like us who might be considered GPSr "power users".  Still the OEM unit is good enough that for most everyday needs does not require a backup.  We did bring the GPS V units with us on our trip to Canada "just in case" and to record our track, but the OEM unit navigated us to every destination successfully.

Last year my friend Mike showed me his new GPSMap 76 CSx.  After one outing with him I knew it was going to be my next GPSr.  I had to wait a while to save up for it.  Willys Points that is...  Anyway, I finally ordered the unit.  What's notable about this unit in the main are the following points:

  • 10K track point memory (vs 3000)
  • 1000 Waypoint memory (vs 500)
  • 2gb microSD memory card (versus 19mb on the GPS V)
  • bright color display
  • super-sensitive receiver
  • USB computer connection (much faster upload/download)
  • electronic compass
  • barometric altimeter

Of course there is much more, but these are the things that come to mind first.  I am also please to note that a much better bracket than that for the GPS V is available, making the layout much like the GPS12 when mounted in the vehicle.

 

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD! - Click here for details!

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!

GPS 12 | GPS V | GPSMap 76CSx | Why Three GPSr's? | Palm m100

 

Garmin GPS12

This page describes my initial experience with GPSr devices, specifically the Garmin GPS12.  This GPS though not a mapping unit continues to provide stellar performance to the limits of it's design.  In terms of placing a point on the planet none of the GPS units I have purchased since do any better job than this one.  The GPS12 is made obsolete only because of it's storage limitations and it's lack of mapping functionality.  But for simple point-to-point navigation and for verifying arrival at a preciously identified position on the planet, this unit is still very relevant.

On this page I also describe how I installed this and other GPSr units into my Jeep, and something about successfully using a GPSr unit like this in conjunction with online mapping resources like topozone.com.

Follow the links above to learn more about the other GPSr units I own.

Garmin gps12 Navigation

I wouldn't call myself a "know-it-all" (even though my wife thinks I think so...).  But when it comes to navigation, I have experience just short of military operations with map and compass so I am very confident when I go out to new places.  I know that as long as I keep track of where I'm starting from and pay attention along the way, I probably won't get lost or waste time thrashing my way along, trying to figure out which way to go. 

When I learned that GPS units were to become available to everyday people, I was interested but never got around to buying one.  At first the prices were what kept me away.   Later, I decided that I would spend the money on other things.

But having seen them in action, especially some of the better units, I am a convert.  Oh, I will still keep my maps and compass with me at all times (batteries go dead and satellites have "selective availability" so it pays to have a back-up system. 

Initializing
Compass View

The first time I saw one in use it made my map and compass reading look silly and incompetent.   Sitting in the drivers seat of his Jeep, my friend Hugh took on the persona of Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" books:

He could

  • "see" things not visible,

  • make turns that always lead to the right place,

  • find his way back to anything you could imagine. 

How'd he do dat?  Triangulation my man, with a palm device.   His unit has maps in it, so it goes beyond the capabilities of this device (why do you think he got a new one!)

Well as it turns out, he had his "old" GPS, a Garmin GPS12,  lying around and let me have it on what I guess is extended loan.  He passed it to me on our first Garrett County trip.   I took it that day with a great deal of excitement, and wished I had the manual and an hour to study instead of just hitting the trails that day.  It sat in my front seat calling my name the whole time.

I came home and downloaded the manual, read it cover to cover, and played with it until I pretty much have it all under control.  This particular unit is mainly useful for retracing steps or locating previously entered "waypoints".  It has the capability to accept downloaded waypoints as well.

Satellite View
Tracking View Software

I have DeLorme's Street Atlas USA CD and Topo USA.  After some fiddling around with them, I got the GPS to connect with my PC and there on the screen was my position and track!  Awesome!

For now, I am very happy to have something that will make it possible for me to more precisely locate my position on maps, add accurate detail to existing maps, and even help keep me from getting lost - I hate to ask for directions...

Software

Just when I thought I had it all under control, I found some software on the web, suggested by a co-worker who uses the same unit.  This software allows me to download my track, waypoints, and routes.  It has some nice software that lets me add waypoints, get coordinates from my track, and generate some graphic plots of waypoints, routes and tracks.  I have since used this to add info to my trail reports.  This is nice software.  I have tested it with Windows NT, Windows Millennium Edition, and Windows XP Professional, and it works fine.  Go here for more details and free download.

 

DC Power CordSwivel BracketGarmin gps12

Installation

The unit came with a swivel bracket and power cord.  This led me to another of my brainstorming sessions about how to install the unit in the Jeep without making any holes.  And I would need to add a power outlet because the cigarette lighter was already in use for the cell phone.

Weather Resistant 12 volt Power Socket

I went to Wal*Mart and purchased an all-weather 12vdc socket.  I chose it over the other ones because it was sealed in rubber and had a self-closing flap that flips down over the outlet when not in use.  I figured that sooner or later it might get wet so....  And if nothing else, I didn't like the looks of the cheesy metal ones.

Power Socket Wiring

I crimped on a spade connector to the hot lead, an eye to the ground, and unlike the CB installation, connected this to the UNSWITCHED hot wire inside the dash behind the glove box.  My Jeep did not have a 10-amp fuse installed yet so I put one in.    Funny how stuff doesn't work without one!

Power Socket WiringPower Socket showing tie (red arrow)

I taped the spade connections to prevent shorting and routed the extra wiring out of the way.  Rather than drill holes, I used some cable ties to lash the socket to the plastic ductwork that runs along the lower edge of the dash.  I worked it out so the plug just sticks out below the dash but is still out of sight unless you get down on the floor level (see photo below). 

gps Power Plug poking below lower edge of dash

This way I can plug things other than the GPS into it without too much trouble, but it is out of sight and out of the way of passenger feet, which as we know, are not as well trained as a regular driver's feet!

Wire Anchor

I ran the power cord for the GPS up the front of the dash and used a couple of self-adhesive cable guides to keep the cable from wandering around but also free to be moved if necessary.  I stowed the extra cable behind the glove box.

To mount the swivel bracket, I had to do some thinking.  I had read that the rubber portion of the "coin tray" on top of the dash was removable.  And sure enough, it removed very easily since it is not glued or held on in any way. 

I measured the base of the bracket, located the placement of the bolt hole for mounting it.  Then I fished around inside the dash and discovered that even with A/C and an AM/FM/Cassette player installed, I could still get my hand up under the coin tray through the area behind the glove box (glove box removed).  There was about an inch of clearance - enough to feed a washer and locknut onto a bolt. 

Dash MountDash Mount

So I went ahead and drilled my one hole, being careful not to bash through and hit the top of the radio.  Then I threaded the oversized washer and locknut onto the bolt - not real easy but not as hard as the rear tow-hook bolt inside the frame... (Note:  I could have removed the snap-on dash vent cover panel and three screws and the dash center bezel...)

Dash MountDash Mount

Once it's secured, I put the GPS into the bracket, plugged the power cord into the newly installed socket, and there it was.  Satellite Guidance!  If I ever sell the Jeep, I can just remove the bracket and put the rubber pad back into the coin tray.  The hole will be hidden.    The socket simply disconnects and so on.  Pretty easy. (Note:  The coiled cord visible in one of the photos above is an extension cord that connects the cell phone plug to the cigarette lighter outlet.  I guess I should go ahead and install another socket....)

GPS 12 | GPS V | GPSMap 76CSx | Why Three GPSr's? | Palm m100

 

Second GPS12 - Update: 5/7/04

After a few years of using the GPS on every single trip, I finally exhausted the storage capacity of the unit.  I had resorted to swapping out waypoints along the way when I used up all 500 slots.  Most of the regularly traveled trails remain loaded but if I want to go to Maine, Assateague, or a couple other spots, I need to load those waypoints and whack the ones I keep daily.

What has not changed is the rugged reliability of the unit.  But due to the strides in technology since this unit was produced, many people are selling their old Garmin GPS 12's and getting the more up-to-date units.  I considered this, but because I really wanted to keep money in my pocket, I decided instead to simply purchase another GPS 12 and install it in the Jeep.  I got a used unit on eBay for less than $70, picked up the bracket and power/pc cable at rock bottom discount prices, and soon had the second unit installed.  I simply added an accessory plug splitter/converter to create a second plug for the power cord, and routed it the same way as the first unit.

Two gps 12's - Click to Enlarge

The bracket came with the swivel base and clamp nut, so I installed it using the recommended #8 pan-head nuts and bolts.

There are several benefits to this set-up:

  • Dual Display - Run the tracking window on one unit and the data display on the other

  • Double the capacity - 1000 waypoints, 2048 track points

  • Redundancy - I never considered what I would do if my only GPS failed while on the trail - Now I have a back-up

  • Flexibility - I could share one of these with my wife if she decides to take the Volvo trail riding...

  • Price - I think I saved a lot of money over buying a unit that would provide the same level of capability

My first application of the new capacity will be to load up all the tracks I have on file for Oak Ridge.  I have found that I did not have enough track memory in one unit to cover all the trails.  With this set-up I can load some of the trails in one GPS and some in the other.  When we run the trails, I just run the track display in whichever GPS has the track.  When I run off that track, I switch to the other GPS.  This should be really handy for Camp Jeep in July.

A side benefit of this install was the opportunity to purchase a power cable that also provided a pc connection.  Now I can run my laptop plugged in to the GPS while I am on the trail.  Previously I was not able to do this practically because the plug I had only allowed for either a PC connection or a power connection to the GPS, but not both.  Another problem solved!

 

GPS 12 | GPS V | GPSMap 76CSx | Why Three GPSr's? | Palm m100

 

 

GPS 12 | GPS V | GPSMap 76CSx | Why Three GPSr's? | Palm m100

 

     

    

GPS 12 | GPS V | GPSMap 76CSx | Why Three GPSr's? | Palm m100

 

 

 

Trip Data

Even a basic GPSr like the Garmin GPS12 will provide the high-tech navigation that makes moving in unfamiliar territory very easy.   It should be remembered that GPS is very reliable when it is available.  Just remember that batteries wear out, electronic devices can get broken or lost, and believe it or not, GPS can be unavailable either because of weather, war, or other conditions that make the satellite signals difficult or impossible to receive.  You should still have a compass and good maps in your vehicle.

TopoZone and Trip Planning

Combine this with TopoZone.com and you can really get your trips laid out and your route planned in advance.  I have gone to many trails that I have never been to before, and so far (knock on wood) have not gotten lost.  I just sit down, go to TopoZone, locate the trail from whatever info I have (sometimes nothing more than a street name, or landmark name, and a state), then mark the trail entrance, trail junctions, and any other landmarks (like a river crossing or a mountain summit).  With this loaded into the GPS, I can tell if I am near a turn, then with my DeLorme map (or printouts from TopoZone), I can orient myself and stay on course.  The track lets me backtrack out if things get too hairy...

 

 

GPS Data

GPS Waypoints and Map Coordinates for all of my trips are available on this web site.  Each trip report has GPS info associated with it.

Sample GPS Data Page

On the trail - Click to Enlarge

This page demonstrates an example of the GPS Data pages available on 4x4ICON.COM.

Each page contains a set of coordinates, links to a map showing the location of that coordinate, and in many cases, a Track Legend graphic that shows the relationship of waypoints on the trail.

I do my research, GPS tracks from prior trips, and topographic maps, and prior trip refreshers.     Starting from scratch, the planning can take several hours, perhaps spread over several separate sessions.   The results of this work is found in the GPS Data on these pages.

I always do careful research to gather detailed information about the places I travel and document.  I study the topographic maps and other information that I can find, create and load waypoints into the GPS, create a GPS "Route" that will act as our map on the trip, and print copies of both the route and topo maps that I have created and studied.

Planning
Planning
Planning

By the time I hit the road for the trail, I have a good mental picture of the map, have the GPS loaded with everything needed to navigate, and have everything I need for a successful outing. 

I can't imagine jumping in the Jeep and going out to a previously unexplored region without this level of preparation.  I am sure that unplanned trips that fail have often failed due to lack of planning.  That could always happen to me too, but I think it is less likely.  I can honestly say that I have never gone on any trip without this planning, even if I am not leading the group.  I trust people, but I also want to be prepared...

Printing of this page and loading of the waypoints into the GPS before a trip is recommended.  By using the maps in concert with GPS Waypoints, it is possible to locate and navigate trails without previously visiting.

Careful use of this data and verification of all entered waypoints will assure a successful trip to this location.  We recommend printing out the data page and Track Legend to supplement your GPS coordinates.  We also recommend using a compass and DeLorme's Maps as a second source of information when traveling on the trail.

4x4 ICON cannot be responsible for improper use or errors in GPS programming.

 Way Points

GPS Waypoints

Green Ridge State Park Waypoint List

Waypoint Description Lat (N) Long (W)
117 Park Headquarters Exit 64 39 40 10.4 -78 26 31.3
118 Park Entrance Exit 62 39 40 35.8 -78 27 29.8
119 Pic Lic Rd Entrance 39 39 56.4 -78 27 47.8
121 End of Pic Lic Rd 39 40 29.1 -78 30 6.9
122 Group Area w/ Hill Climb 39 39 8.9 -78 28 43.1
124 End of Wallizer Rd 39 38 23.2 -78 28 34.8
125 Outlook view 39 36 59 -78 29 23.7
126 Start of Kirk Rd 39 34 30.2 -78 30 46.1
127 Entrance to ORV Trail (East Valley Rd) 39 34 6 -78 30 9.5
128 Exit from East Valley Rd 39 38 55.9 -78 26 40.4
7/15/01 Update      
131 Power Lines at Stafford Rd 39 36 14.8 -78 28 22.0
132 ATV Trail (Dead End) 39 35 3.2 -78 29 37.7

Excel Format

Trip Reports (Note:  Actual GPS data pages will contain live links to actual trail reports
with photos and a narrative that describes the trail
)

  • 7/7/01

  • 7/15/01

  • 2/10/02

  • 10/26/03

This sample is incomplete - the actual GPS Data page for this trail has considerably more data available.  Purchase Below:


GPS Waypoint Data

Green Ridge State Park Waypoint List

Purchase GPS Waypoint data and access to topographic maps
 of this trail using Pay Pal!

Pay me securely with any major credit card through PayPal!

GPS Waypoint data is now available for a moderate fee ($5.00 U.S.).

This contribution allows us to maintain this web site, collect and maintain GPS waypoint data, and periodically verify its accuracy.  All GPS Waypoints have been verified in the field.

If you would like to purchase the coordinates for this trail, simply complete the two questions below and click "Buy Now" to pay for your purchase using Pay Pal.

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GPS 12 | GPS V | GPSMap 76CSx | Why Three GPSr's? | Palm m100

 

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