View Full Version : Help with GPS selection

04-25-2006, 10:44 PM
I am working with an increasing number of non-military trained personel and find myself responsible for selection of new GPS units.
Whilst most GPS units are becoming very user friendly and I love my Foretrex 101, I was wondering if any of you know if any current 12 channel commercially available units will after initilization automatically display a navigation page that can be set up to display a MGRS.
For example, if a trained Team Leader where to "fall over" and I had to use a radio to get an untrained person to switch on the GPS they would just be able to give me a Grid.
My old Garmin 38 (6 channel) was slow but did this. Would like something like a ETREX or Explorist? but neither of these seem to perform the required function.
Hope this is an appropriate forum as I guess most of you guys would understand my requirement.

04-26-2006, 12:22 AM
GPS selection is always a pain, as far as you direct question goes I have been annoyed by the same problem, none that I have found keep a running display of grid, simple as it sounds it is not a standard feature. On all the Garmin units if you press and hold the enter button it will plot a waypoint at your current position and it will imediately show the grid. For the purpose you describe this may be a simple training solution, since there is only one button to push and hold on any Garmin unit.

The legend C is very simple to get the grid, as soon as you, press the scroll button down it shows the cursor arrow which gives you the position of the cursor but it starts out over your position. Otherwise the legend C is not as easy as some other units like the 60Cs is one of the easiest to move through, it has the same button configuration as the the Garmin V, which is a good GPS but now being discontinued. The RINO series are a pain to navigate through compared to any of the others because there are so few buttons, so everything is a drop down menu and selection. Like all units once you get used to it it is not too bad. The Rino is UHF radio and has poor clarity but descent range and penetration. The ping feature that sends your grid to the other Rino is useful for small units in a city, a in house QRF response. Especially if it is not primary comm then there will be no traffic for anyone to listen to.

Other things to consider is size and memory, memory is especially important if you use the Lead dog software for Iraq and Afhanistan. The software requires a minimum of 8mb downloadable from the internet and transferable to as many GPS units as you like. I recomend more memory as after just over a year in the sand I have just under the max of five hundred waypoints stored. The program also allows you to save files with routes, waypoints and transfer them on your computer. It can work like falcon view but only with the maps from the program, and you can transfer all the routes and waypoints to all the gps units simply by PC transfer. Downfall is it is not transferable PC to PC and it is 350 per download, but for the map data it is well worth it. The map Data from lead dog is actuallymore up to date than the maps on Falcon View, and any of the printed maps. In many cities there will be roads that are usable on the lead dog software and not even a dirt trail indicated on the actual printed maps. Also you can print small maps of cities with the program on a regular printer and if the city is to large then just tape a few pages together. Greater Baghdad takes about four 8 1/2 x 11 sheets, an easily usable size for one person to cary and handle, smaller cities can fit on one sheet.

more than you probably wanted to hear but I hope it helps.


04-26-2006, 07:24 AM
garmin etrex vista has MGRS. I use it all the time and just love the damn thing. The single downside to it is that on really crazy rainy days it doesn't get great reception...that's where the tradeoff between size and power comes into play. I would recomment etrex vista hands down...it just does anything you could need. If anyone needs more than that can do, they need to work on their own skills.

04-26-2006, 07:45 AM
+1 on Mig's thoughts...

Got my eye on one of these if I come back to the box...


I have a 60CS (no expandability and no removable memory) in daily use and can't say enough good things about it. Pricey and death on batteries, but extremely simple to use.

The GPS 60 series has several lower-priced models also.

There are 2 buttons that matter on this unt: "Power" and "Page". The "Page" button moves through a series of displays, to include the "Map" Page (visual representation of position) and the "Data" Page (numerical representation of position). The rest of the user interface is extremely well thought out; so much so that a few minutes of one-on-one and a half-page of printed instructions laminated and dummy-corded to the antenna is all that's required to train someone to call up routes.

04-26-2006, 08:35 AM
I just picked up a Rino 110 for a ridiculously low price. Anybody know if it has the option of MGRS? I'm using it for comm and to verify my position on the map so I didn't get anything fancy, but it'd be nice to have MGRS on there too.

P.S. I haven't gotten the unit yet otherwise I'd have just played with it and found out. I'm impatient, not retarded.

04-26-2006, 11:49 AM
The Rino series all have MGRS. To display MGRS on nearly all Garmin series GPS's that have them available, all you have to do is change the map readout type in the settings menu. Thommo, a good, tough, proven GPS is the Garmin Etrex series, especially the Vista. It has WAAS on it as that will allow for better accuracy. The Foretrex 101 is the best wrist-top mostly due to its usage of replaceable batteries. The 201 has a rechargable battery that only lasts approx. 16 hours.

04-27-2006, 02:04 AM
Thanks guys for the feedback, Mig sounds like we have both been dealing with the same problem.

I love my Fortrex 101 because I can customise a screen to display my MGRS in a large easy to read format and it will just update as I move.
It does however require to move through the initialization pages etc to get to. (Fine for the experienced user)
The full screen MGRS display I find ideal if I am chasing a "runner" and trying to co-ord a search crew at the same time.

I agree that I may just have to use the MOB/Waypoint Enter Hold arrangement as it is looking like the funciton I require is too basic.
Thought I would ask anyway.

Think i will recomend a ETREX (need to purchase about a dozen). Whilst most users will be experienced I need to have a worst case senario in place. Yes a laminated "Idiot" sheet attached to or in the GPS pouch may be a back up.

Hanzo all modern GPS should be able to display MGRS.

Ref Foretrex 101, I average about 20+ hours out of one set of quality alkaline batts. For me this is usually ample for a week + using it to check Nav as required and deal with 1 or 2 incidents/prolonged periods of use including a couple of hours of illuminated use.

My AO is the Norther Flinders Ranges of Australia so updates and memory is not a problem.
Just need to locate within a 100 metres in an emergency and preprograme in about a dozen way points per exercise and about a dozen features for reference (for inexperienced users to use as a "go to" if necessary.

Above all nothing beats adequate training with a map and compass (but life is getting easier with these modern gizmos).