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JimmyB's picture
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Garmin - Oregon 450?? Which GPS to get?

Lookin at getting a GPS unit for the first time. I kind of know what to look for but not everything.  Anyone have experience with the Garmin - Oregon 450?? Or does anyone have a different GPS unit they'd recommend?

Anyone help would be appreciated!

hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
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I have no advice to give at

I have no advice to give at this time as I'm kinda in the same boat as you are. I'm planning to get a Garmin for sure but not sure which one. Cabela's runs sales on the Oregon and the Dakota frequently but the place that sells the maps I want recommend the 62s. Unfortunately that one costs more and i'm not sure whay makes it better. I'm still learning and if I figure anything out I'll post back.

I do think I would prefer buttons instead of a touch screen though as I always seem to end up having problems with those.

Here's the maps I'm looking at with all public land color coded for your gps. Not cheap but I think it would help a lot.

http://www.huntinggpsmaps.com/

expatriate's picture
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Garmin Oregon 450T

I've got an Oregon 400T which is basically the same thing.  I love it.  My first GPS was a Magellan in '96, but I've been using Garmin for at least 10 years.  The Oregon is so intuitive I didn't even have to dig for instructions.  The display is terrific and it seems to track roads more accurately than the Vista.  The topo maps are easy to read and well done.  Navigation, controls...flawless.  It's small enough to slip in a pocket and you can buy a carabiner clip that locks onto the attach point on the back of the unit.  That's awesome for hooking onto a belt, pack strap, whatever.  Lots of extra little features that are neat to have, too.

Topgun 30-06's picture
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Looks like we can at least

Looks like we can at least agree on a GPS unit there EX!  I have been using the Garmin Legend for some time and you can't beat it for my purposes!

JimmyB's picture
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Location: Northern Utah
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Thanks for the info guys! So

Thanks for the info guys!

So pretty much Garmin is the way to go brand wise? So do you have to buy different maps for the location you want or is that if you want it for driving direction or topo maps? I'm getting the GPS for my dad cause he was mad we got "lost" elk hunting this past season in Montana. So he'd only really be using it for marking camping spots/trail cams/hunting spots, and of course where he parked the 4 wheeler haha.

expatriate's picture
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Garmin

Before going any further, JimmyB, note that Topgun and I agreed on something.  Dancing  This is a big deal.

As for Garmin, they put out good stuff.  My first was an eTrex Camo, followed by a Vista, and now the Oregon.  The Oregon comes pre-loaded with topo maps -- all of them for the entire nation.  So there's no need to upload maps, as was needed in older technology like the eTrex series.  This is a testimony to advances in memory chips.  My Vista used to show topo maps, but compared to the Oregon it's like watching an old black & white TV vs a blu-ray.  It really is a gorgeous display, and the topo maps it shows are shaded for relief.  Seeing the topo map really adds a lot to your situational awareness.  Simpler units may record waypoints, but they're just dots on a screen with an arrow showing you how to get there.  A topo unit like the Oregon really pulls it together, because it shows you the terrain around you, plus streams, roads, etc.

You can navigate roads with the Oregon, but if you're thinking it's going to do what a nuvi will do on your dash, it won't.  It'll show you where you are and do point to point navigation, but it won't select streets for you and tell you when to turn.  But that's not what I got it for -- I got it for topo mapping, and for that it excels.

I don't know what your dad's experience level is with GPS, but I've always been able to pick up a Garmin and use it in a couple minutes without instructions.  They do a fantastic job with the human interface part of their design, which is why I keep going back.

JimmyB's picture
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Location: Northern Utah
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My dad has only used GPS on

My dad has only used GPS on his IPhone haha. From what everyone has told me the Garmins are very user friendly so I think he'll be able to figure it out without me having to show him. Cabelas sale on GPS units this weekend so I think I'm gonna have to go grab that Garmin Oregon tomorrow! I'm just gonna get him the 450 not the 450t and buy the topo map software separate. Cabelas shows 2 different topo map SD cards and they are both the same price. What's the difference between the 24k and 100k topo SD cards?

expatriate's picture
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Garmin - Oregon

The difference between the two cards is scale.  On standard topo maps, a 1:100,000 scale represents 1 degree of longitude and 30 minutes of latitude per sheet.  1:24,000 scale represents a 7.5 minute quadrangle.  If you laid it out on a grid, there would be 32 of those 7.5 minute quadrangles for every 1 x 30 sheet.  So a 1:24,000 map represents a closer look at the terrain and shows more detail, elevation lines are closer together, etc.  I believe the standard nationwide map loaded into the 450T is 1:100,000.  I've always found that plenty detailed enough for what I do.  I'm navigating, not surveying.

So look close at what the two mapsets are offering.  You're balancing square miles of map vs detail.  The 1:100,000 set won't get into the high-level detail, but you can load a lot more map for the same size file.  So if you buy the 1:100,000 mapset, you'll pay about a hundred bucks for a map that covers the entire US.  If you buy the 1:24,000 set, you're looking at around $130 for a region; Garmin's Southwest DVD, for example, covers Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.  The SD cards are cheaper, but files are smaller -- the Mountain Central card, for example, covers Colorado and Utah.

FWIW, the difference in retail price between a 450 and a 450T is a hundred bucks.  So the cost difference between buying the 450T vs buying the 450 and a mapset is a wash.  But the Cabela's website shows the 450 on sale for $249, which is $150 less than retail and definitely changes the math.

JimmyB's picture
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So the area specific ones are

So the area specific ones are going to be more detailed than those SD cards that covers the whole country?

expatriate's picture
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Garmin

The important thing to look at is the scale.  There's only so much info you can put on a disk or card, and the extra detail in the 1:24,000 maps require a lot more info than the 1:100,000 maps for the same geographic area.  It's sort of like digital cameras -- a 1 megapixel camera will give you photos that are only a couple hundred kilobytes apiece, whereas a 10 megapixel photo might be 4 or 5 megabytes.  Higher resolution equals more memory space needed.

If you go with the 1:24,000 maps, you're going to get higher resolution -- but your map won't cover as much geographic area.  This is why the 1:24,000 maps cover smaller regions than the 1:100,000 maps.  Again, from my experience I've been OK with the 1:100k maps, because I want to see hills and don't need contour lines that show minute changes in elevation.  Generally speaking, 1:24,000 (7.5 minute) maps are the highest resolution maps you can get out of USGS.  If in doubt, find samples of the two scales and compare.

JimmyB's picture
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Location: Northern Utah
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Alright, thanks for all your

Alright, thanks for all your help! I think I'll just buy the GPS and let my dad decide on what map he wants!

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