GPS

Kristie

Mama Bear....
Staff member
So - I wanna know...and we've probably already had this conversation at some point in the forums...but...

What's a good portable GPS that you can take up in the air with you and go into the outback/mountains/grand canyon with???? We've had a garmin before, but it wasn't as strong as we thought it'd be after doug took a spill mountain biking...

we'd also like something that we can download maps into (if there is such a thing)...

So, I'm also looking for one that'll be a bit more rugged for beating on...

Thanks!!
 

Kristie

Mama Bear....
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
I think Dell makes a good one ...

[/ QUOTE ]

UGH! not DELL again!!! hahahhaa
 

aloft

New Member
Which model Garmin did you have before? Their eTrex Legend or Vista are good units for outdoor/hiking/biking use, but the display is a bit small for flying (though they do have the coveted HSI display that my GPSMap 76 does not!) My unit's a good compromise in that it has a decent-sized display, easy-to-use controls (easier than the eTrex, IMHO), and isn't too big to use for outdoor purposes (like the 295/Streetpilot series). I know you're looking for alternatives to Garmin, but the truth is, Garmin is the gold standard for consumer-grade GPS receivers at the moment; they don't come any better.

eTrex Vista:


GPSMap 76/76S:


Garmin has a new unit coming out in January called the GPSMap 60C which looks interesting...appears more rugged than the 76 series, but a bigger/better display than the eTrex series (color too!)


 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
So here's (another?) stupid question - could one of the handheld "sport" GPS' be used for aviation purposes??

I realize they wouldn't have the ICAO identifiers, but would they work at all for getting an idea of what your coordinates were and how far from a certain point (say... an airport?) you are?
 

Eagle

New Member
in theory the sport ones can not be used as they do not update fast enough.

But that may just be the hype to keep the av units so expensive.

What you pay for huge is the database. (jepp revisions) and the rubber stamp from the gummit saying it won't explode in an airplane (tso)
 

SUSPilot

Well-Known Member
Although you cannot use a handheld GPS (aviation or otherwise) for aviation. I have a non aviation GPS that I use as a backup, and have used for VFR navigation before we got are Garmin 430. They update information fast enough for VFR navigation, and while it does not have aviation databases, it does have just about any airport that you would want to fly to(listed by the airport name not the identifier). Most of the stuff that comes out for aviation costs more because it is for aviation, and extra testing and insurance costs have incurred in bringing it to market. This can be seen in most of the Garmin line of handhelds. They each have a non aviation version that is significantly cheaper, and the aviation version can be used as the non aviation version when the road basemap is loaded into it.
 

Josh

Well-Known Member
Cobra has some nice small models out now. 18 channel receiver is nice. They are smaller and more rugged case design. Cheaper as well. Not really lotsa maps, but the size is nice.

But Garmin is kinda the standard that others are compared to, since they are the big fish. I personally like the idea of using the non-aviation models, since they list airports in most all cases of the map holding ones. And if you can upload waypoints, you can upload airports and VORs in your area. Not much else you'll need on a handheld GPS, that can't be used for an approach anyhow. If using it to go from point to point, that's the basics. I like the size of the Garmin Geko models, but again, if you want maps, not for you. The size is awsome, and they are cheap.

Now the aviation models are nice if you want to see airspace, and skirt along a Class B or somethin'. For seeing stuff, I like the Lowrance Airmap 500 (and 1000) for the huge easy to read screens. Simple command systems. But, size may not be a good thing out of the plane.

If the etrex series is a big enough screen for ya, I think that is the way to go. The Vista can be found cheap on ebay, as can all the other models. The emap series is a bit larger, but doesn't seem as rugged.

http://www.garmin.com/outdoor/products.html#mapping
http://www.garmin.com/products/emap/ (if you can find one, likely on ebay)
 

aloft

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
in theory the sport ones can not be used as they do not update fast enough. But that may just be the hype to keep the av units so expensive. What you pay for huge is the database. (jepp revisions)

[/ QUOTE ]Yup....except for the update speed thing. Sport GPS receivers update once per second, I don't think aviation GPS units update any faster. Like the $40 "aviation" kitchen timers, you're paying $$$ for aviation GPS because that's what the market will bear (all of us being rich pilots and all).

The good news is, for the determined (and technically inclined), it's now possible to create your own aviation maps for Garmin map-capable units with a couple tools available on the internet. Here are some screen captures from my non-aviation Garmin GPSMap 76 of the maps I've made straight from government DAFIF data (note in addition to airports, airspace boundaries and navaids, the presence of fixes, obstructions, and runway outlines. I've put a lot of time/effort into this, but it shows what's possible) :

 

Josh

Well-Known Member
Cool what you've done with that 76. Is that possible with all the current map models? I'm considering a vista or venture, and doing this. Those picts are the first time I've seen the result though. Looks good. Is it easy to update, without changing all the work much, such as if airspace changes.

What I want, is something small as possible, so I can always bring it along, in those planes that don't have DME (which is most of 'em)

Like your new hat, and hair, too


Josh
 

aloft

New Member
It's a standard MapSource .img file, so it should work with all map-capable Garmins (doesn't include the eTrex Venture, I assume you meant the Legend).

Airspace changes aren't too difficult, but aren't something I've been able to automate or script somehow. The map creation process goes something like this: import the DAFIF ESRI shape file of interest into OziExplorer. Each file contains global data for that particular type, so you'll have to whittle it down in OziExplorer to just the item you want, then export that track to an Ozi .plt file. Using a program called GPSmapper (and, optionally, another called GPSMapEdit), you create a map by collecting any number of points, lines and regions defined by OziExplorer .wpt or .plt files, and compiling them into a MapSource .img file with cGPSmapper.

The source data is all available in digital form from the government's DAFIF program (do a search, I'm too lazy to list the link).

Once you get the hang of it, it's not too difficult to crank out maps for additional areas; I threw together an airspace map of Hawaii for my Thanksgiving trip out to the islands, it took only a few hours to cook up:



(Yes, the land mass outlines are a little simplified--hence HNL's runways being out in the harbor--the land outlines came from Census data rather than USGS data--which is available and usable, but trickier to deal with and I haven't tackled that yet.)
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Pretty cool looking at the airspace around KSNA.

I never realized that it went out that far!
 

aloft

New Member
It didn't used to; it grew eastward about a year ago--a fact that even Jeppesen was slow to pick up on; their database didn't have it right for something like 6 months after the change. In fact, my GPS map had the change before Jepp's did!


Thanks for the link, Minuteman, I hadn't seen that before, it's quite useful for my purposes!
 

av8rmsu

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
So here's (another?) stupid question - could one of the handheld "sport" GPS' be used for aviation purposes??

I realize they wouldn't have the ICAO identifiers, but would they work at all for getting an idea of what your coordinates were and how far from a certain point (say... an airport?) you are?

[/ QUOTE ]



I have an old "plane Jane" Magellan that doesn't have any databases in it. (other than decent sized towns) I just type in the coordinates out of the AFD and then save them to the database, with the ICAO identifier as the name. It does have a good moving map and many other features that show course lines.

Works pretty good for only $100 of eBay
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Although you cannot use a handheld GPS (aviation or otherwise) for aviation.

[/ QUOTE ]I assume you mean as a primary means of IFR navigation.
 
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