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post #16 of (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 08:30 AM
Headed for the Mountains
 
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I've done a little research into what you can and can't load onto the newer GPS unit's in terms of other maps (aside from Garmins Mapsource stuff).

You can load a .kmx file into a Garmin (or Magellan). These are the same files that you can import into Google Earth. The restriction is you can load a maximum of 100 'tiles' or individual .jpg's onto the unit at one time (a .kmz file is essentially a bunch of spatially corrected .jpg files in one file).
This is ok but it means you can really only load one map of less than 100 tiles or several maps not exceeding 100 tiles.

To give you a sense, a standard 1:50,000 nts sheet, given a good resolution (1024x1024), will be roughly 150 tiles. You can reduce the resolution to less than 100 and still have a usefull map but if you tried to reduce it, to say 50 tiles, the resolution begins to deteriorate... at least on Google Earth.

I have ordered a Garmin Oregon 200 to check it out. Once I've done some testing, I'll up-date this post.

If anyone has one of these units, and wants to help with testing let me know. We just need a way of moving the files back and forth (they're not too big, but could choke your email).


Mapitfirst
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post #17 of (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 02:07 PM
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Unlock codes are nothing new, other venders offering GPS maps such as Bluecharts for marine maps sell you the complete package, but you have to purchase unlock codes for the region you want to use.

Not that I would ever advocate finding a way around the unlock codes, but I certainly know they exist.

Also, the association between your GPS unit ID and your unlock is simply so a user cant share his unlock code for any given map product with another GPS owner. This does not mean that you cant purchase a new GPS and use your paid for maps, it simply means that you have to let your vendor know you have a new GPS and update them with the new GPS unit code. I did this myself after Wilderness Seeker tossed my old GPS into the Squamish river.

Lastly, someone above mentioned that you can only have 100 map tiles loaded onto any Mirco-SD card you insert into your GPS, I'm pretty sure that limitation on mapping segments is actually 2025, and that with a software update on your Garmin GPS, you can use up to 4GB micro-SD cards. If you still have spare room on your micro-SD card after installing 2025 map segments, you can load more onto it but they wont show up on your unit. There is a way around this too though, changing the name of the database file.

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post #18 of (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 10:35 AM
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I recieved the New Oregon 200 on Tueseday and have had a couple of evening to play with it.

It took me much longer than I wanted to register and up-date the unit with the latest firmware, but you only have to do that once right?.. ok once in a while.

My first impression is that it is awesome. The touch screen interface is uber easy to use compared to the older models. Finding and adjusting setting were quick and easy. The older method that required many button pushes to hopefully find the right menu are gone.

The unit was very quick to find my location while inside my house and had good signal strength while indoors.

The screen is not super bright in the normal mode but quite acceptable when you pump up the backlight. This is easy to do but I don't know what effect this will have on the batterylife. I went outside to test this but it was late in the day. A full sunlight test yet to be done.

I installed the maps (Canada Topo) and dropped on most of Canada onto a 4gig sd card I had lying about. Again the user interface made it very easy to enable the topo maps. With that said, the MapSource software still feels cira 1990-ish.

The Topo Canada maps draw very quickly wether you are zooming in and out or panning. Again the touch screen makes this very inutuitive (think iphone - sort of). The find a place works well (tried an obscure mountain in the Monashees and it found it) but it was slow to search.

I managed to load some of my topo maps onto the unit but ran into the 100 tile limit on my first try. It still draws the maps but not all of it. The error message acutally indicates that not all the maps tile will be drawn.

I cleaned up the maps and had a single map sheet installed and it worked quite well. However, the draw time for the custom maps is much slower than the Topo Canada maps. I was beginning to think that the resolution was terrible when zoomed in but it slowly upgraded the image (think Google Earth in slo-mo). I just needed to be patient.

Monster indicated that you can load 2025 map tile onto the sd card and not hit the 100 max tile limit for custom maps as described on many web sites. I will need to play with it some more to see how I can load more custom maps on the SD card and not run into the 100tile limit.


Summary:
Excellent interface
Fast to locate position
Fast map drawing times
More testing yet to do.
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post #19 of (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by mapitfirst

Monster indicated that you can load 2025 map tile onto the sd card and not hit the 100 max tile limit for custom maps as described on many web sites. I will need to play with it some more to see how I can load more custom maps on the SD card and not run into the 100tile limit.
Don't listen to Monster. You've been on this board long enough that you should've figured that out.
As far as I know unless you make custom maps, there is no way around the 100 tile limit.

Once again to reiterate, only 100 tiles from Mapsource, at no time should you ever listen to Monster.
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post #20 of (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Marc
at no time should you ever listen to Monster.
LOL



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post #21 of (permalink) Old 02-04-2010, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Marc
at no time should you ever listen to Monster.
Normally I would completely agree with this advice however according to garmin.com

Question: Is there a limitation as to how many maps can be loaded to the micro SD card for my "x" model gps?

Answer: Currently the expandable memory devices are limited by the size of the data card being used in the device or up to 2025 map sets.

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post #22 of (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 08:30 AM
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I'm still digging into this but it seems that the 2025 limit refers to the Garmin maps (Topo Canada for example). The custom maps (kmz files) are where the troubles begin.

Here's the Garmin link for creating your own custom map from Google Earth. Not efficient by any means but it does work.
http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/cac...aps#fragment-2 Google Earth knows the limitiation of the unit so it will reduce the image quality until it fits the 100 tile constraint.

The 100 tile limit seems to be causing Garmin a headache as I read through some of the blog sites. There are lots of solutions being put forward on how to manage the images. Space on your device is not the issue but the processor can't render that many images (remember, they are jpg files). The best solution I have seen is that the unit only renders images within the current GPS position at some predefined zoom scale and disregards the others until you move into a new image space.

Who knows how it will turn out but I hope for a solution sooner than later. There has to be some hak out there staying up late, eating frito's with Star Trek playing in the background who will come up with a solution.
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post #23 of (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 11:16 AM
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I think the difference here is between a drawing and a picture. Ibycus and Garmin topos, Metro Guides and marine charts are drawings, not pictures like a google earth snapshots. So they require far less resources from your GPS for decompression and display.

Regular topo and marine charts are simply drawings and, if you look at a topo map of all of Canada, you will see that various regions are divided into sections which Garmin refers to as "map sets", probably so as not to confuse them with the grid lines of Northing and Easting on topos.

I can confirm that when dealing with line art maps, my GPS can be loaded with a total 2025. Of course I still have room on a 4GB card after this so one solution a few have come up with is to modify the maps so that the boundaries of a 'map set' contain a much larger region of the map.

My suspicion is that the confusion here is one of both terminology and technology. I'm not sure who first used the word "tile" but what they possibly meant was "pictures" because much like your cell phone, a hand held GPS can both store and display in RAM far more text than they can pictures.
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