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Maps on GPS receivers?

Question:
I read your review on the GPS receivers. I just have a couple questions.

Next year I am leaving home to hike from from New York to Seattle. Of course, I am planning the trip to the finest detail. I am taking maps and a compass. But I was also looking into the additonal benefits of taking a GPS receiver. Do any receivers contain maps of trails and areas to camp along those trails. If not is it really worth it to invest in a high quality receiver.

Thank You,

Dan Hileman

Answer:
The maps that are included on GPS receivers only show waterways and major highways. For the use that you describe you wouldn't use this feature unless you need to see where the nearest town is. You probably should look at the the mid-range receivers.

If you plan to use the GPS to get you to your next landmark you will want to keep the distances between the landmarks relatively short, because the GPS will always give you as the crow flies bearings to your destination. The GPS can't take into effect the barriers that may be in your path. The one thing that a GPS will give you is the peace of mind in knowing that no matter the visible conditions (whiteout or darkness) you should get a position fix as long as the unit is not obstructed by cliffs or buildings.

If you have access to a computer and mapping software you may want a model that can download the routes for recording your trip. If you will not have access to a computer until after the trip is completed you will want a GPS receiver that will hold enough landmarks to record the whole trip.

If you want to have confidence in the GPS receiver you will want to spend some time with it before you go and be sure you understand the relationship with the map and compass.

We mentioned some books in the sidebar of the online article that will help with understanding how to use map, compass and GPS.

Jeff Porcaro



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