Garmin  GPS V 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...

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 GPS 12 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 | MapSource Software | Satellite Antenna

Garmin GPS V

Garmin
BlueChart logoWAAS Logo

Update: 6/1/04

This page describes my experience with the Garmin GPS V, a value-packed unit that in my opinion required very little to improve it.  Indeed the updated unit I purchased just gives "more" of what the GPS V is good at.

On this page I also cover some information about the external antenna for this unit, and a supplemental storage device that I used to extend my ability to store and preserve tracks and waypoints while out on a trip (the Palm m100)

 

gps V - Click to Enlarge

Well that lasted a long time!  I just got a second GPS 12 thinking that would be the answer to my limited track and waypoint capacity...  Actually, getting another GPS is a case of opportunity knocking.  My friend Bill decided he didn't use his GPS enough to keep it.  I guess he knew of my interest in them and offered to sell me it along with all the stuff that he had to go with it.  We struck a deal and I added a third GPS to my list of electronic devices.

Garmin V

gps V

I tend to imagine capabilities of things that I don't own.  Sometimes I have a pretty accurate set of expectations about a device and sometimes I do not.   I expected this device to do things my GPS 12 does not.  I was right about the mapping and auto-routing features - they do work as I expected they would.  That's not too surprising as my friend Jim has a GPS V and he has used these features to my benefit many times.

What I expected and didn't get was significantly better satellite reception, increased track log capacity (well yes and no...) and more map storage capacity than Hugh's eTrex.

Cab Legend - Click to Enlarge

GPS 12 | GPS V | GPSMap 76CSx | Why Three GPSr's? | Palm m100 | MapSource Software | Satellite Antenna

 

-=- originally posted by tunafreedolphin -=-
Why do you need 3 GPS units?

There are a number of reasons why I choose to run three GPSr units.  Here are a few of them.

Running these three units gives me the following benefits (all at one time)
- over 2 GB onboard memory
- 14025 track points for new tracks
- 7026 track points for reloaded tracks
- 2002 Waypoints
- 105 pre-loaded routes
- one display for plain track display
- one display for trip computer (speed, elevation, tine of day, any other data I want to configure)
- one display for active routing and map
- highly available GPSr capabilities (triple protection against hard unit failure)
- portable GPSr capabilities for multiple individuals
- 3" x 6" of effective display area
 

Take an example.  Trail Guide at Camp Jeep.  The trip to the location is 5 hours long each way.  There are three major trail systems on the way there (Big Levels, Shoe Creek, GWNF).  There are over 20 Camp Jeep trails.  The event lasts four days (not counting at least three pre-runs).  There are hundreds of points that I need to be able to locate.  I want to be able to:

  • Auto-route to and from the event

  • Have tracks of each and every trail loaded

  • Have all waypoints loaded

  • Record all my activities on the highway

  • Record all my activities on the trail(s)

One unit just can't do it all (unless I bring along my laptop and spend big time loading and storing data).  With this set up I achieve all my goals and have comprehensive map and destination data at my fingertips at all times.

Here's how it breaks down:

Garmin GPS 12
- track points 1 - 1024
- waypoints 1 - 500
- routes 1 - 15
- displays Position Page during trip (track points on plain screen)

Garmin GPS V
- 19MB maps (road and topo)
- track points 1025 - 4025
- reloaded track points 1 - 2500 (previous trips)
- waypoints 501 - 1001
- routes 15 - 65
- displays map page during trip (tracking on, detailed street and topo maps loaded)
- provides auto-routing during road trip portion of activities
- provides look-up and auto-routing to points of interest (restaurants, services, etc.)
- drives PC map tracking and screen location

Garmin GPSMap 76CSx
- 2 GB maps (road, topo, marine)
- track points
4025 - 14025
- reloaded track points 4026 - 7026 (previous trips)
- waypoints 1002 - 2002
- routes 65 - 105
- displays color map page during trip (tracking on, detailed street and topo and marine maps loaded)
- provides auto-routing during road trip portion of activities
- provides look-up and auto-routing to points of interest (restaurants, services, etc.)

Basically, I started with the GPS 12. I bought a second on eBay to increase the number of waypoints and track points I could reload for trail rides. Then I bought the GPS V to do more advanced mapping and routing.  Then I got the GPSMap 76CSx to increase memory, signal reception, and for color display.

I found that having them all available provided a vast amount of data at a glance.

They also supply deep support for my waypoints and tracks, and a way to provide nearly every member of my family a GPS if we decided to go out on foot. The kids are learning to use them and I find that they can be invaluable in a number of situations. Also, as I tend to consider them a critical system for the type of excursions we do, it's important to have at least one back-up system...

I can run map displays of street maps on one unit and topo maps simultaneously on another - different maps show different features - often a road will not be present on both map sets.  This is very useful in navigating on and off-highway.


Anyway, that's the short answer...

 

GPS 12 | GPS V | GPSMap 76CSx | Why Three GPSr's? | Palm m100 | MapSource Software | Satellite Antenna

 

Satellite Coverage

 

Update 6/2007 - I have modified the antenna mount platform to accommodate three satellite antennas.  See the write-up here.

In practical testing on the trail, I have found that the Garmin V with basic antenna will lose satellite coverage significantly sooner than my GPS 12's.  In fact there are times when the GPS 12 does not lose coverage at all while the Garmin V goes in and out.   I have an Gilsson Amplified GPS BNC external antenna for the Garmin V, so I rigged that up for some more real-world observations.

Gilsson Amplified gps BNC Remote Antenna

I spent a few minutes doing some research on the web and the recommendations for mounting a patch antenna like the one I have were pretty simply.  Put it someplace where it has a 360-degree, unobstructed "view" of the sky.  For me that could only mean one thing:  Roof Rack.

Officer Bruce (AKA Wooly)

I dug around in the garage and found a piece of heavy-gauge metal, bent at 90-degrees and galvanized.  I took out a grease pencil, traced the footprint of the antenna on it, transferred that to the vertical section, then cut it down to size with my hand-grinder.  Then I put it up on the roof rack where the light brackets are meant to go, located the hole for the bolt with my grease pencil, then drilled the hole.  Boom-a-dee-boom-boom-boom.  Antenna bracket.

Next I had to figure out where to run the cable.  That was pretty easy.  There is one small spot at the front corner of the top where it meets the windshield that there is a gap large enough for the cable to pass without being crushed.  I released the top and fed it through.   Then I covered the cable where it would be exposed with some wire harness covering.

Rack-Mounted External gps Antenna - Click to Enlarge
Rack-Mounted External gps Antenna

I attached the antenna bracket to the roof rack.  Since I wanted the flat area of the bracket to be flush with the top surface of the rack, this meant that the gap behind the mounting surface normally used for lights needed to be filled.  I put an extra pair of nuts between the mount and the antenna bracket.  By chance it worked out nearly perfectly.

Rack-Mounted External gps Antenna - Click to Enlarge

I mounted the antenna to the bracket.  The antenna has magnets embedded in the base, but that doesn't make me feel very confident, so I ran a few wire ties around it to keep it from wandering.  I don't think the plastic will interfere with the signal.  Then I wire-tied the cable behind the roof rack frame as best I could to provide some protection from tree branches, and to keep it from whistling when I drive.

Rack-Mounted External gps Antenna

Rack-Mounted External gps AntennaRack-Mounted External gps AntennaRack-Mounted External gps Antenna

I have some extra cable to stash inside the cab.  And I have to refine this attachment system because, as it stands right now, I will have to cut three or four wire ties each time I want to raise the rack to lower the top...  Wire ties are cheap and I always have them with me, along with my favorite side-cutters, so it's really more nuisance than anything else.  And I think in normal use, roof rack cargo will not like the antenna bracket or cable...

Rack-Mounted External gps Antenna - Click to Enlarge

The satellite reception results were pretty good.  Where the accuracy was running about 42 feet on the internal antenna, it increased in accuracy to 15 feet.  I had three or four satellites locked with the internal antenna; 8-10 with the external one.  This bodes well for satellite reception in the woods. 

Tracking

With regard to the tracking capacity, this unit does have greater capacity than the GPS 12.  Whereas the GPS 12 will store 1024 track points, the Garmin V will store 3000.  But it organizes them into 10 tracks, each with a maximum size of 250 points.  (I'm not sure how the remaining 500 points are used but...)  I have found this to be problematic because many of my recorded tracks from the GPS 12, while segmented into smaller chunks, in some cases exceed the maximum of 250 points per segment.  This means using tools to reduce the resolution of the track to squeeze it down to a size the Garmin V will swallow.  In addition to this, I have found the Garmin V does not record as many track points in automatic mode as the Garmin 12.  This means that the tracks resemble routes with a few extra points, but often do not have the fidelity of the Garmin 12 tracks.  They tend not to be very precise as I have come to expect from the GPS 12.

Memory

And finally, the map memory capacity is only 19 MB.  This is astounding.  I can use that up just with the three maps needed to cover the route from home to work, with little left over for any exploration outside that range.  On a recent trip to West Virginia I was able to load the maps needed, but had to make judicious choices so as to balance map coverage with memory usage.  In the process I was unable to load one of the commuting map segments and therefore had to reload the whole mess after my trip.  And loading maps takes about an hour if you load to capacity.

gps V - Click to Enlarge

General Observations

With these limitations in mind, I abandoned my plan to sell on the GPS 12's and rely solely on the Garmin V.  I am not yet confident the lower track resolution will meet my off-road needs.  With experience I should be able to reach a conclusion on this point but my first trip was not very reassuring. 

My present plan is pretty basic.  I will keep the GPS 12's installed in parallel with the Garmin V.   The Garmin V provides excellent routing and points of interest  search capabilities that are very useful on pavement.  I have found it to be reliable for locating addresses and other things that I routinely had to look up on MapQuest or Yahoo! Maps.  The big benefit is that on the road, I do not have access to those assets.  The GPS 12 will provide track recording and track loading capabilities.   I will record high-resolution tracks that I can manually trim down for use in the Garmin V if I wish.  I can use the GPS 12 with my existing collection of tracks.  The Garmin 12 track display is much easier to see in the Jeep and is consequently more off-road friendly than the needle-fine track display on the Garmin V.

I'm not saying it couldn't all be done with the Garmin V.  It's just that my needs probably exceed the limits of either device and I'm not willing to sacrifice anything in either direction.  In practice, I have found that having them all available is very handy.  For example, on the first trip with all three units, I loaded tracks for two different trail systems on the two GPS 12's.  I loaded the maps for the road trip on the Garmin V.  I used the Garmin V for routing to the road destinations (we went to look at some property at a certain address and the Garmin V took us right to it) and the GPS 12's to provide track mapping for the trails we went on. 

Without the GPS 12's, I would not have had room for the tracks, and would not have been able to record a new track without wiping out the ones I was using.  Without the GPS V, I would not have been able to get routing to our pavement destination, and would not have been able to look up new destinations (food, fuel, and another property address). 

Perhaps this demonstrates an insecurity on my part with regard to navigation?  I think not.   Time is at a premium, and these days, so is fuel.  And the trail is no place to get lost with two little kids.  So maybe this is overkill, but I can't begin to describe how great it was on my last trip to have all the trail tracks I could want, directions to and from the trail, the ability to look up our dining selection and go directly there, AND record tracks for new details that we picked up along the way.

Would I recommend the GPS V?  Absolutely.  If you spend most of your time on pavement, want mapping capabilities and auto-routing, and want the ability to look things up on the fly, you will absolutely love the Garmin V!

GPS 12 | GPS V | GPSMap 76CSx | Why Three GPSr's? | Palm m100 | MapSource Software | Satellite Antenna

 

Palm m100

Palm

PalmOne M100 RAM-HOL-PD3U

I needed something to carry along on trips to save tracks from the GPS so I would not lose data on long trips.  The laptop provides this capability but is very large and risks damage or loss every time I bring it.  The Palm m100 solves this problem for me!

See detailed write up on the Palm m100 page here

 

GPS 12 | GPS V | GPSMap 76CSx | Why Three GPSr's? | Palm m100 | MapSource Software | Satellite Anntenna

 

 MapSource Software

   

   

Some MapSource Map Software

Garmin GPSMap 76CSx Handheld GPS Navigator

 

MapGPS 76CSx Screen ViewMapGPS 76CSx Screen View

MapGPS 76CSx MapGPS 76CSx MapGPS 76CSx

microSD MemorymicroSD MemorymicroSD MemorymicroSD Memory

MapGPS 76CSx External Satellite Antenna

MapGPS 76CSx Marine MountMapGPS 76CSx Marine Mount

 

 

I needed something to carry along on trips to save tracks from the GPS so I would not lose data on long trips.  The laptop provides this capability but is very large and risks damage or loss every time I bring it.  The Palm m100 solves this problem for me!

MapGPS 76CSx Manual (PDF)

 

 

GPS 12 | GPS V | GPSMap 76CSx | Why Three GPSr's? | Palm m100 | MapSource Software | Satellite Anntenna

 

 

     

    

 

 

 

Trip Data

You may order a GPS unit or accessories online here.  This 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 | MapSource Software | Satellite Anntenna

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