Sunday, March 18, 2012

Handheld GPS FAQs

Here’s a list of posts covering a wide range of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about handheld GPS receivers:

General handheld GPS FAQ

Garmin-specific handhed FAQ

Garmin map product reviews, FAQs, etc.

Handheld GPS buyers guides

What else?

Do you have suggestions for other handheld FAQs worthy of a post? Chime in below.


  1. Can you advise me? I would like to buy a Garmin hand-held for my jogging through state parks etc. I am looking for:

    1. not too big
    2. No need for camera, or speciality features
    3. I would like to use map function and track my route (can’t do with Forerunners)
    4. accuracy is important

    Many thanks,

  2. Rich, I would like to see a post on more diferences between routes and posts besides your basic post. I would be interested in issues of where each is valuable, elevation issues, turning tracks into routes, etc. Thanks, Steve

  3. Shaun Simpkins says:

    I’m wondering if there will be any issues with downloading UK Ordinance Survey (OS) maps to an Etrex 20/30 or Oregon 450 purchased in the US. I’m aware that Garmin products are sold in the UK and through the OS website, but they are “UK-configured”, just as US products are “US-configured”. As far as I can tell, the only difference is which base map is loaded. I don’t know, for example, whether the unit will understand the Ordinance Survey’s location naming system (example: 257 142). Both Garmin and the OS direct me to consult the other for definitive information. Frustrating.

  4. I’m interested in the Garmin Etrex 20. I have a concern about one very annoying, to me anyway, behavior of some GPS units that I have used. I mainly use GPS for bicycle trail riding. At the trail head I turn on the GPS and ride. When I return to the trail head I turn the unit OFF, load the bike on the car and drive home. When I turn the unit on at home I see it has added to the odometer, “as the crow flies”, miles from the trail head to my home. These are useless straight line miles and makes the main odometer and trip odometer worthless. I had a Delorme PN20 which exhibited this behavior and Delorme fixed it with a firm ware update. I also had a Etrex Venture that did not ever do this. Does the Etrex 20 do this?

    • Yes, it does. Until and unless they come up with a fix, you can diable tracking to circumvent it.

      • Thanks. I think I’ll try one.

      • Have another concern about this. After disabling the tracking function and then turning off the power, will the unit remember the tracking is off or will it default to tracking-on when powered back up? This happened with the Delorme PN20 before the fix. Disabling the tracking with this unit had no affect. It still added the straight line miles.


  5. @Russ – Cool! Let us know what you think of it.

  6. Dave Barnes says:

    Hi everybody,
    My wife and I are going on a bus tour of Scotland and Ireland. I have never owned a handheld GPS and was wondering if I could use one on the bus to keep track of our location? Would the device stay updated while riding on the bus? Any suggestions as to brand, model, etc. would be appreciated.

    Thanks for your help,

    Dave Barnes

  7. Dan Scott says:

    Does anyone use the Garmin Map64st and have a family member watch them while out of cell service via Garmin’s “Live Tracking”. And is there a way to send an “OK” message via satellite? Like you can through a spot device….

  8. very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

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