[lug] GPS recommendation

Ted Logan ted.logan at gmail.com
Sat Sep 1 18:42:07 MDT 2007

On 9/1/07, Chris Brotherton <chris at protonlab.net> wrote:
> I am interested in getting a hand held GPS unit.  I was something that works
> with linux and that I can pull real time data off of.  The ability to load
> maps would be a nice feature, but probably not necessary.  Anyway, I am
> completely new to GPS units and looking for recommendations.

I've had a Garmin eTrex Vista for almost four years and I've been very
happy with it. It's Garmin's most expensive and feature-full hand-held
GPS for hiking and general outdoor activity. (The Vista Cx costs more
has a color screen and more memory for maps, neither of which seemed
worth paying an extra hundred dollars for.)

An entry-level Garmin eTrex[1] will cost about $100 retail and gives
you a pretty basic unit. My unit[2] costs $200 retail and features
more memory and a higher-resolution screen plus a Hall-effect compass
and a barometric altimeter (cheaper models rely on the GPS signal
alone for direction and altitude).

[1] https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=6403&locale=en_US
[2] https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=163&locale=en_US

The one thing I haven't been excited by is the ability to download
maps onto my unit. My experience has been that the maps are expensive
and not very detailed. [3]

[3] http://www8.garmin.com/cartography/ontheTrail/

I can confirm that the eTrex Vista's RS-232 serial cable (which I
think is included in the package) works well with Linux. I use
gpsbabel[4] to download the track log (and view it in Google Earth)
and push waypoints to and from the unit. It also supports real-time
reporting of track data, which I used the one time I went wardriving.

[4] http://www.gpsbabel.org/

Ted Logan
Software Engineer
ted.logan at gmail.com

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