Which GPS should I buy ?
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| Himalayan Xplorer

Which GPS should I buy ?


I want to buy a GPS System which should not be very costly also offering the basic functions. I have never used a GPS so dont have any idea of using it.

Do the normal GPS comes with features like Altimeter, thermometer, waterproof ?

Kindly suggest me good brands and if possible their link.

Thanks in advance.



109 Replies

| Explore Nature - Enjoy Nature - Trek


:) Hi Mountain trekker !

I am also fellow trekker & adventurere.

I also intend buying one and I have gone through info available regarding most of the models available in India. But seriously, none has come to my notice that would serve our purpose best. The reason, there is no digitised tarrain maps of himalayas (so far I understand). So at most, the GPS would be able to give you longitude+latitude of the location, which you have to refer to detailed (physical i.e. paper map) to get your fix (present location). Most of the GPS announce of 200 cities map, but that would be only useful while in those cities only.

There is altimeter function in some models (based on satellite data received and digitized map loaded in the GPS) but shall not be accurate. Other functions - temperature, barometer - mostly not available.

Regarding models available abroad, I thought of importing some, but again the position will almost be same as we have to load the digitized map(s) of areas (himalayas - as I know) we intend to visit.

Since GPS phenomena is new in India (very recent in fact). Unless you need it very urgently, I suggest wait and watch new models. Sooner than later models with all our requirements would be in market (As of new, prices approx, are 15K onwards for some useful models). Let the competition help us.

I also welcome other fellow IMers knowledge (to update me :D )
Life is a Journey ! Spice it with Adventure !!
| lukee

you nead a good tracker

I am not an expert on GPS's but I have gone through at least a half dozen of 'em in sailing, motoring, hiking and kayaking.

The glitzy ones are not necessary and DEFINITELY do not get the skinny ones like tomtom. They are very nice for motoring. I prefer the inexpensive Garmin GPS's. The Etrex (sp?) line lets you track and interface with the computer. It is also water resistant. really.

the con in that the display on the cheap model is kinda small, so it is hard to read. Especially for a guy in his 70's like me! I use a Garmin Vista and have a Novigon (hohum) cheapo in my car. I also use a bluetooth Starz tracker which is solar powered but you need to plug that into a PC to get the readout.

Make sure that the display is bright and large unless you are clark kent.
| Maha Guru Member
Hi, MountainTrekker.

Here's a link to a review article that also has an intro to the technology generally. That might help narrow your options and better inform your decision. The two names that seems to be the most highly regarded are Garmin and Magellan.

I have a Garmin eTrex HC, which has been very well reviewed. At about US $160, it's considered a good "entry-level device," very accurate in my experience, and probably as much functionality as you could need for trekking. It has a direct-connect for my computer to download maps and good memory capacity. You can find a detailed review of it here. Of course, like most gadgets, you can spend a lot more and get a lot more, usually, a lot more than you need.

Hope this helps.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ~Helen Keller [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
| Maha Guru Member
The above is what I saw in a consumer review. I have a Garmin with a beautiful 4.3 display, street pronounciation, and site return (Christmas). My boy, the navigator, says my older Magellan has more intuitive menus..
| Maha Guru Member

Originally posted by: edwardseco View Post

My boy, the navigator, says my older Magellan has more intuitive menus..

Good point about the menus. I have no basis for comparison, but I agree that the Garmin menus are less than intuitive. In fact, some are downright counter-intuitive! But having figured out how to use it for my needs, I've been happy with my Garmin nevertheless.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ~Helen Keller [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
| Maha Guru Member
Love that avatar..
| Maha Guru Member

Originally posted by: edwardseco View Post

Love that avatar..

ever try to travel by magic carpet without a GPS? i really appreciate my garmin! ;)
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ~Helen Keller [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
| Maha Guru Member
Good one:)..
| Vamachariya
Anyone found a reliable set of GPS maps for India?
New home for my photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/abracax/
| Maha Guru Member
There is such as people here pointed out me in another context. However, two limitations, detail about house numbers and alleys and the danger of using one as a driver were mentioned. Still, I am going for it next trip! Can you imagine how helpful this would be in Japan with lack of serial house numbers..
| Maha Guru Member

Originally posted by: edwardseco View Post

Can you imagine how helpful this would be in Japan with lack of serial house numbers..
I believe Japanese GPS maps have the necessary detail, and are heavily used in Japan exactly because of the problem you mentioned.

India, on the other hand, is still somewhat stuck in the "as long as photos of Howrah Bridge are forbidden, the Pakistanis will never able to find it" mentality. I don't know of any source of Indian terrain GPS maps or detailed GPS city maps.
| Maha Guru Member

Consumer heaven..
| Loud Noisy Bird
For those whose phones include GPS, even the Nokia maps, of this city at least, are quite detailed.
Life gets aadhar every day.
| No no, I am not a Senior Member
If you are looking a GPS for trekking purpose then most of the maps available in India are of no use. Mapmyindia is known to have the best maps for India, but only for cities. In Indian cities, I do not see any need to talk to satellites to know the way. Just ask any person walking on road and you will have the shortest way with you.

Now, if you are on mountains or in jungle, you need something which have satellite imagery from which you can figure out the details using your skills. I haven't seen any such map till now. Specially, the Himalayan region. However, Google and Yahoo satellite imagery is helpful at many places. So the questions is how to use this google and yahoo maps into the GPS device?

I used a third party application (mgmaps) for this. It gives you the freedom of maps. You have to download the maps on computer and then store on your mobile phone. Buy a GPS receiver and it will talk to your phone via bluetooth. The overall solution is cheap (USD 100 including extra battery and memory card) and I am happy with it unless some good solution is available in India for trekkers. The best thing about this solution is, if at one place, google maps are better while at other yahoo maps are better, I am free to use that.