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Should I buy a Satmap or Similar Device?
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TheMidnightRambler
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Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:01 pm    Post subject: Should I buy a Satmap or Similar Device? Reply with quote

My wife and I have become keen walkers and also join friends for group walks. We use guide books and associated OS maps, (though none of us would claim to be expert map readers) but we often get lost, usually because weíve taken the wrong footpath along the way. The problem then is determining exactly where you are on the map to get yourself back on track.
For this reason, Iím wondering if it would be worthwhile investing in some sort of hand-held GPS unit that actually shows your position on a map?
Looking at whatís available it seem the Satmap meets the criteria perfectly; but I have to admit I was a bit shocked at the price and even more-so if you wish to add maps - £80 for an OS map of Kent.
Nevertheless if I it will add value and enjoyment to our walks then Iím happy to make the investment.
With this in mind, Iíd be grateful for any advice, recommendationsí and perhaps any alternatives to the Satmap so I can make an informed decission

Many thanks
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Rogerfrit
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Joined: Dec 17, 2003
Posts: 141
Location: North Devon - England

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no hesitation in saying - Go ahead.
I have had my SatMap for over 3 years, and I love it. It has never let me down (at least, not since the early freezeing problem got fixed)
The confidence of always knowing exactly where you are is priceless.
The maps may seem expensive, but if you get the new Regional maps with huge areas at 1:25k they are pretty good.
http://www.satmap.co.uk/ukstore/product_info.php?cPath=123_160_232&products_id=4021
For robustness, ease of use and functionality I don't think there are any competitors.

Good luck
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sussamb
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Joined: Mar 18, 2011
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Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use an Etrex 20, they can be bought for around £160 and there are free OS style maps available through www.talkytoaster.info

Garmin also provide a free program called Basecamp, that allows you to download routes etc to your Etrex Smile
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Gibbo10
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Joined: Sep 21, 2008
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Location: Swindon, Wilts

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sussamb wrote:
I use an Etrex 20, they can be bought for around £160 and there are free OS style maps available through www.talkytoaster.info

Garmin also provide a free program called Basecamp, that allows you to download routes etc to your Etrex Smile


Boo hiss, this is a Satmap forum!!!! Laughing

I'd recommend the Satmap without hesitation as well. I have nothing to compare it against but whenever I have looked at the quality of the map rendering and the speed etc against garmin it appears to be a much better product. It seems to beat most GPS in independent tests.

If you go for the Active 10 plus with full GB 1:50k maps then you will never need to buy another UK.

I only ever use 1:50k and it is perfectly up to the job, yes you can get 1:25k for much lower detail e.g field boundaries and I have it for my local area but still tend to use 1:50k anyway.

In the bundle you get all the following:

This bundle also include the Great Britain (Whole) 1:50k Map Card worth £210

It says on their website that you get access to the Online Route Planner & Route Share Network, but that is now called Xpedition and it is a fantastic route planning tool with online free access (1 year) to 1:25k and 1:50k maps
so you can always plan at 1:25k online before you go out, even if you don't have those maps installed.

Whatís in the Active 10 UK PLUS box?
GPS
Voucher for 1/3 off first map purchase
Access to the Online Route Planner & Route Share Network
2700mAh LiPol Rechargeable Battery
Wall Charger & Multi-Country Adapters
Car Charger
Battery Caddy (for AA batteries)
USB cable
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WalkerDan
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Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can only echo Gibbo10' comments. Have had a Satmap now for 2 years without any problems. Have had a couple of Garmin units previously but switched to Satmap when they incorporated OS maps. Good detail and a decent size screen are plus points and there are some good deals these days where the UK 1:50,000 map is included in the price so make sure you shop around to get this.
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sussamb
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Joined: Mar 18, 2011
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Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gibbo10 wrote:
sussamb wrote:
I use an Etrex 20, they can be bought for around £160 and there are free OS style maps available through www.talkytoaster.info

Garmin also provide a free program called Basecamp, that allows you to download routes etc to your Etrex Smile


Boo hiss, this is a Satmap forum!!!! Laughing


Laughing Afraid of the competition Wink Laughing Laughing
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stevesimler
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Joined: Jan 23, 2012
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too am new to Satmap and would recommend to but - the maps are a bit expensive but they are very comprehensive (0S 25 and Europe maps) and the SD cards are very easy to swap in and out. My previous GPS took a micro SD that needed tweezers to take out. So go for it!
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LostMike
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Joined: Jan 17, 2008
Posts: 360
Location: Monmouthshire

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a long-term user of Satmap and think it will be ideal for you.

I note that the maps referred to by sussamb (the talkytoaster ones) appear to be based on openstreetmap, as such, they will not look quite like the ones you are used to (i.e. OS GB). The great thing I find is being able to look at the device and be shown exactly where I am on the background of a familiar OS map.

Yes the OS maps are quite expensive but then so are the paper ones and these are waterproof!

If you use the new Xpedition software that comes with the A10 you can plot your route in advance and easily load it on to the A10. Then during your walk the device will tell you, at a glance, how close or how far you are from your planned route.

If you do take the plunge do let us know what you think of it.
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mikealder
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Joined: Jan 14, 2005
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Location: Blackpool , Lancs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Satmap without a doubt, when you have tried a number of different units the active10 stands out by miles from the crowd, easy to use, great display and decent maps.
Depending upon how large an area you tend to walk either the single County map or a "self centered" map where you choose the actual coverage required and pay just for what you need at the scale you want - Mike
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sussamb
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Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess given that this is the satmap forum there are bound to be strong advocates for it ... Wink

@ Themidnightrambler

There are of course many more GPS handhelds out there Smile
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satmapian
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Joined: Jan 14, 2009
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstly if you're walking in places where getting lost could put you in danger (I'm thinking mountains) then you really need to know how to use a map and compass. Although very reliable your Satmap can fail or you could drop and break it. Also the military can and do occasionally block the GPS signal in local areas , so GPSs don't work.

I use my Satmap as my main navigation tool, but always have a map and compass for when things go wrong, or I want to look at a map that's more than 3" or so long.

I would recommend a Satmap, but if you have a smartphone take a look at Viewranger too. I'm not sure about pricing these days, but if you have the phone you already have the hardware. I haven't used it myself, but I'm pretty sure there was a good deal for around £40 ish for all the national parks at 1:50,000 which is all the detail you need really. Of course your phone won't be as robust as the satmap.

I like my satmap because it allows me to concentrateon the walk, rather than the navigation.
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TheMidnightRambler
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Joined: Feb 24, 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MidnightRambler here: Many thanks to all of you have responded, all with good advice. and it seems without doubt you all rate the Satmap.
In particular, Satmapian you raise a very valid point about not relying on technology totally and emphasised the importance of being able to read a map and compass; but realistically we are ramblers, not trekkers and much as I like to think we would be walking in mountains, in reality its unlikely.

And thats one of the key reasons why Iím considering a Satmap; its so we can spend more time enjoying the walk and less time consulting the map. Most of our walks are between 5 to 10 miles long in the countryside and by the coast. With this in mind do you think this is an unrealistic expectation? By that I mean for this type of walking if I bought a Satmap would I only need to use a printed map for backup?

I was also interested to note that some of you mention the application where you can plan routes. We use Walking World http://www.walkingworld.com/ quite a bit to plan our walks along with the Pathfinder Guides which includes GPS data: Would I be able to load this information into a Satmap unit?

Iím also aware you can use your smartphone and I have tried using the View Ranger App, but find itís fiddly and quite often you have to either wait for/or canít get a signal, or all the journey information has to reload once youíve moved to a new location.
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sussamb
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing wrong with a satmap but for the use you're intending there are cheaper options out there (ducks in anticipation Laughing ), as you've already alluded to satmap is an expensive option.

Having said that most GPS, including satmap, allow you to download GPX files (like the route files from walking world) although with satmap it's a two-step process, you download the GPX file for the walk and use the transfer software provided by SatMap to export it to the device.
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TheMidnightRambler
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sussamb. Would you be prepared to name any of the cheaper alternatives to Satmap? Thanks
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sussamb
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

See my post above Wink (Post 3 in the thread)

(ducks again Laughing )
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