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Garmin launches Satmap-killer?
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lucevans
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Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:38 am    Post subject: Garmin launches Satmap-killer? Reply with quote

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/news/article/mps/uan/5626

So Garmin has finally released a handheld mapping GPS that can use OS raster mapping. Interesting times ahead!

I still love my Satmap Very Happy
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philpugh
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Colorado has been around for a while now. The Oregon is newer. Both are going to be able to use the new GB OSGb mapping products from GARMIN. There's quite a bit of interest on the GARMIN map-makers discussion list at Yahoo about this as nowhere on the GARMIN site does it mention the word "raster". The images would certainly indicate raster as they have that slightly 'fuzzy' look to them. But the mapping also has routable capabilites for the roads. So there must be some sort of vector component to the mapping. The units can display raster images so best guess is that its some form of combination. I.e raster with some form of vector based information underlying it.

Whether or not it's a satmap 'killer' remains to be seen. A lot will depend upon the pricing of the maps. For existing Active 10 users with investments in mapping - I doubt it. It will please us GARMIN users (sorts out my Christmas present list!). It may persuade potential purchasers to go to GARMIN because of their reputation for reliability and support.

GB Discoverer is due for release in November but the GARMIN site is still very limited with it's info. It's unsure what packages will be available (e.g. ALL National Parks at 1:25K on one card). It would be nice to have the ability to choose what parks etc you would like on the card. We shall have to wait and see.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And good as the Oregon is I don't think it's quite the Satmap killer everyone suggests.

It has a smaller screen and Touch UI which isn't ideal for the more extreme outdoor activities. It remains to be seen if the OS mapping is competitive but AIUI, at launch only some map sets will be available, certain National Park areas. I had a chance to play with one loaded with a small sample OS map recently.

The maps are standard bitmap files and the routing is provided courtesy of the standard Garmin vector mapping, I'm not certain this will work in conjunction with the OS maps though. It also lacks sound so no voice guidance.
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philpugh
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to the limited blurb on the GARMIN website you get the whole of the UK at 1:250K (the OSGB road mapping) which is routable and then the 1:25K or 1:50K when you are there. So you may be right about not routing on the raster maps. Like all marketing info - it's a bit short on detail at present.

I would agree about the Oregon. I had a play with one and I don't think the touch screen would stand up to being bashed about on rocks when scrambling etc. But the case you can get (same as the Colorado case) would do a very good protection job and is simple to use in the field. Normally I don't like having to use a case - but this one isn't too bad.
My Colorado screen is tougher than the Oregon - although the plastic case does scratch a little if not protected. Can't wait to get hold of some of the OS mapping to give it a whirl though!
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lucevans
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

philpugh wrote:
Whether or not it's a satmap 'killer' remains to be seen.


Hence the question mark at the end of this thread's title Very Happy

Personally, I don't think the Oregon (or Colorado) is in quite the same class of device as the Satmap - it's more multi-function (vector & raster mapping, road routing and off-road locating modes) and has gone for gadgetry and style (touch screen interface, cute menu icons, mobile phone-like form factor) unlike the Satmap which is specialized (designed for outdoor pursuits, no routing capability) and robust without bells-and-whistles (tough glove-friendly button interface, replaceable screen cover, field-accessible card slot)

If one good thing comes from this, hopefully it will spur Satmap on to continue to improve their product and iron-out the remaining bugs.

I would normally refer to Garmin's superior receiver sensitivity at this point, but reading the preview linked above, it seems the Oregon isn't so hot in this area (perhaps it was a pre-production model?)
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PloddinPedro
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw the Oregon at the recent Cycle Show at Earls Court. From my conversation with the Garmin people on the stand, I got the impression that the OS maps would be overlaid with the Garmin routing i.e. the Garmin vector would be a layer above the raster OS view. They were saying that this gives the best of both worlds - OS mapping with Garmin routing.

Personally, I have found the Garmin "routing" to be so poor as to be largely useless. It's very occasionally helpful if I want the unit to suggest a route to my destination but I've used it only because the Garmin base mapping is so poor; with a proper map in it, I wouldn't need the auto-routing function. So far, the Satmap still wins for me, because I can devise my own routes, if necessary out in the field, which go precisely where I want them to and which, unlike the Garmin, don't try to invent circuitous routes home just because the unit can't find a 90 degree crossroads across a "Highway"

I also played a bit with the imminent Satmap on-line route building facility and quite liked it, although it works the same as on the A10 itself. I still haven't found the holy grail (for me) of being able to use an auto-routing facility (i.e. one which automatically builds a route following roads a la the Route function in Mapsource) and then creates a breadcrumbs track from it, thus saving me the chore of tracing over the route manually to create a track.

The Satmap screen is also larger. The legibility of the Oregon was fine in the exhibition hall, but of course, so is the Satmap's. I tried a Colorado in a London street a while back, in strong-ish sunlight, and found it much harder to read than my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx, which of course is now "old generation".

I did like the Oregon's touchscreen though - I thought it likely to be more usable when wearing thick winter gloves than the Satmap - the A10's buttons don't have a sufficiently positive "click" for me. How well the Oregon's touchscreen will stand up to physical abuse remains to be seen. The power option on the Oregon is only two AA cells; I couldn't get an answer as to whether it would run from a Power Monkey or similar.

It's going to be interesting to see how the battle devlops, but I think Satmap will face a challenge from the Garmin with OS mapping, if only because first-time buyers commomly don't know exactly what they want/need until after they've bought and used a product like these, and the Garmin name and marketing power will make the Oregon very attractive superficially.
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Physicist
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neither the Colorado nor the Oregon have the Sirf III receiver and are noticeably less sensitivity of the 60CSx. Nor do they have the 60's wonderful screen that can easily be read in daylight. I cant help thinking Garmin has lost the scent here. The Active 10's sensitivity is better than the Colorado or the Oregon but not quite as good as the 60 CSx.

Looking at the Garmin leaflet I picked up at the Bike Show I see no mention of 1:25k OS mapping for anywhere other than National Parks and some long distant paths.

With Garmin seemingly pitching their products (just look at their screens...if you can read them!) at the 'leisure' market the way seems open for Satmap to take over the lead for serious walkers and mountain bikers. Just complete the debugging (almost there) and tidy up a few things like the too-easily scratched screens and the antenna and you will be the market leader for this sector.
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eyeQue
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the Oregon 300 with CityNavigator Europe v2008 and TOPO GB v2 loaded and am rather surprised at comments made above!

No Garmin unit is useful until you load the software as all Basemaps are rather poor [30MB on most units but 92MB in the Oregon/Colorado]

Having travelled 1000s of miles in UK and Europe with CityNavigator I have found the maps and units do not match this comment:-
Quote:
Personally, I have found the Garmin "routing" to be so poor as to be largely useless.


I always plan my European trips on the PC and Mapsource and then transfer them to the unit. The Oregon unit route planning is better than most Garmin Units.

I find the 'touch screen' easy to use and find the lack of antenna and buttons a 'plus'!


The new Discoverer software is here:-

http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/site/uk/cache/offonce/uk/onthetrail/garmin-gb-discoverer/garmin-gb-discoverer-screenshots;jsessionid=60FB1BED1F70B8FAB571C5BF723D35D5[/quote]

It seems to limit the 1:25K to just the set National Parks and trails, but there is some doubt that all are included on one SD card [we will have to wait and see.]

I find the unit will last 8 hours on a set of batteries without trackup/autozoom/and full backlight.

The unit 'fits to the hand' and just slips into a pocket and still has a full signal, and it has a 'screen/button lock' for in the pocket while on.

Yes the screen does not match the 60CSX in bright daylight, but in a car on 12volt charging it is the brightest I've used.
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PloddinPedro
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eyeQue wrote:
Having travelled 1000s of miles in UK and Europe with CityNavigator I have found the maps and units do not match this comment:-
Quote:
Personally, I have found the Garmin "routing" to be so poor as to be largely useless.
I guess it depends on exactly how you use the Garmin. I use mine mostly for cycling on roads and I find the unit's idea of a cycling friendly route, avoiding "highways", mostly farcical, a comment that the rep. on the Garmin stand agreed with. It's not really Garmin's fault as such, it's just that the thing isn't sophisticated enough to work out the compromises that the human brain finds quite logical.
eyeQue wrote:
The Oregon unit route planning is better than most Garmin Units.
You have the advantage of me here, because I haven't used the Oregon. I should be interested to hear more on this, i.e. how is it superior?
eyeQue wrote:
I find the 'touch screen' easy to use and find the lack of antenna and buttons a 'plus'!
I agree with this - I found the Oregon attractive in this respect.
eyeQue wrote:
It seems to limit the 1:25K to just the set National Parks and trails, but there is some doubt that all are included on one SD card [we will have to wait and see.]
Agreed. We'll have to hope they eventually expand the map range to include the whole of the UK, in both 1:50,000 and 1:25,000.
eyeQue wrote:
The unit .... has a 'screen/button lock' for in the pocket while on.
A good plus point.
eyeQue wrote:
Yes the screen does not match the 60CSX in bright daylight, but in a car on 12volt charging it is the brightest I've used.
But I don't need it in a car, I need it legible in bright sunlight on a bike's handlebars!
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philpugh
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's all agree that it's a very personal choice ! We will never agree about which is 'best' - it depends what you use it for.
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johno99
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Agreed with philpugh!

I am a new owner of the Active 10 and my limited use so far has produced these results:
No problem with finding satellites.
Very good at keeping a fix, even indoors and through a shopping mall!
Excellent LARGE screen in bright daylight, rain and dark and easily adjusted backlight. With my eyesight this is a very big plus.
Easily usable positive buttons.
Very robust finish.
Menus a doddle to use.
Definatly a benifit being able to plot a route sat in the pub or as last week in an hotel room.
VERY helpful and freindly Satmap staff. Easily contactable, as I've stated before they actually answer the phone. No menus, no options. One slight problem I had and they rang me back and sent a new mapcard the next day. Emails read and answered in minutes.
I bought the unit to use on my bike or hiking NOT for the car.
If you want one for the car they are completly different. My MIo gives voice instructions, turn by turn etc, excellent but thats what its intended for and if you want a cheap decent one, get a Tom Tom.
All I want now is the promised Route Planner and I will be more than happy.

Thanks
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barny_100
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very long post but got a lot in my head so please bear with me!

I knew next to nothing about the latest GPS systems until a couple of days ago but have been reading up like crazy and can say that at first glance to a novice the Oregon with OS Maps looks perfect. Obviously at the minute the only info available on this combo is a single page about the GB Discoverer and the screen shots but the basic combination looks unbeatable. That's all I wanted - GPS on top of OS maps in a slick package, fantastic.

Then you start digging and, as a newcomer I find this all a bit of a con, realise you'd need to buy software as well to plan routes. Then with the unit you think "what if" the screen got damaged, what about when I've got my big gloves on due to the touch screen etc etc.

At that point I'm wondering what else there is and you read about the SatMap that also has OS maps...

Joystick and buttons design takes care of the gloves issue, replaceable screens take care of damage issue (Hopefully - read a post about poor build quality of replacements?) and the biggie is the upcoming free on-line route planning using the OS maps.

An absolute winner then?

Well not quite, 3 things worry me and are keeping my hand in my pocket for a few months yet.

1. Price of 1:25k OS Explorer maps. 99.99 is frankly obscene considering they cost 9 on paper. The 1:50k maps for all National Parks at 40 is very good value and would seem fair to me per park at 1:25k.

2. A sense of slight amateurishness about the company. Could be harsh but they are many postings about bugs that can only be cured by taking the batteries out, poor build quality around the screens both original and replacement, and the total inability for some peoples units to get a firm lock on location. I understand they are not as big as Garmin but the price is top of the range so expect the product to be too.

3. The way an expensive product requires expensive add-ons to be used properly. What does the 300 get you? Not much of use. An outlay of 370-470 is required to get a fully functioning unit IMO.

300 Satmap, 30 Power pack, 40 1:50k All National Parks SD card and optional 100 1:25k & 1:50k SD Card of most visited National Park. End up paying for the 1:50k twice there - not sure about cost of 1:25k only as a custom map.

I'd have a fantastic unit then (Sort of - it would mean always or sometimes using 1:50k maps due to cost, is that fantastic?), but nearly 500 in the current economic climate?

I guess it's wait and see for the price of the Garmin OS maps. If they are more reasonable that may push me back to the Oregon despite the above.

P.S I understand Satmap have claimed the map prices are down to the OS themselves - be interesting to see if this is the case.
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PloddinPedro
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

barny_100 wrote:
At that point I'm wondering what else there is and you read about the SatMap that also has OS maps... ..... 3 things worry me ......
1. Price of 1:25k OS Explorer maps. 99.99 is frankly obscene considering they cost 9 on paper. The 1:50k maps for all National Parks at 40 is very good value and would seem fair to me per park at 1:25k.
Still a whole lot cheaper than buying the same area coverage on paper and aren't you looking at GPS partly to get away from paper maps?
barny_100 wrote:
2. A sense of slight amateurishness about the company.
Yes, but they're a new enterprise; and you can talk to them, which is more than you can do with Garmin.
barny_100 wrote:
...are many postings about bugs that can only be cured by taking the batteries out, poor build quality around the screens both original and replacement, and the total inability for some peoples units to get a firm lock on location.
I'm not having these problems after the latest software release and I've had software glitches and physical failures with my Garmin; I doubt whether any product in the market is 100% free from such complaints
barny_100 wrote:
3. The way an expensive product requires expensive add-ons to be used properly. What does the 300 get you? Not much of use. An outlay of 370-470 is required to get a fully functioning unit IMO.
I haven't done detailed price comparisons but it seems to me that all the competing products require additional expenditure on mapping software after you've bought the hardware. Price/value is something that differs from person to person, but none of these things is exactly cheap.
barny_100 wrote:
I guess it's wait and see for the price of the Garmin OS maps. If they are more reasonable that may push me back to the Oregon despite the above.

P.S I understand Satmap have claimed the map prices are down to the OS themselves - be interesting to see if this is the case.
I agree with you there.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was going to reply and then saw Ploddinpedro had pretty much summed up my views exactly!

I still use my Satmap on an almost daily basis and it's proved very reliable since the last update some months back. I do think the battery pack ought to be included but aside from that it just works, the screen is the perfect size and it fits in the hand nicely.

As for map pricing, comparing the cost of one map against a county map is hardly a fair comparison and at the end of the day OS set the map pricing and anyone using OS mapping will be paying a similar price, Garmin inc. Expect no favours from OS for Garmin and rightly so.
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have ten minutes watch This Video, although it is very pro Garmin in approach. All electronic mapping at 25K scale is costly, at least with Satmap you have the option for self centered maps of specific area is very handy - Mike
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