Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Winter to Summer in 2 days

Well, looks like we skipped spring and went directly to summer. Weather has warmed up considerably and most of the trails are quite dry. It will probably take a little while to wear down the ruts created during the wet times but it is time to head out.

I noted in the farrunner forum that the trails around "hole in the wall" have been blocked and posted with no trespassing signs. No indication why or who. I am researching but if anyone has any additional info, please post in the form or comment here at the blog.

Picked up a new GPS the other day at REI because of the sale but was a little disappointed. My Garmin Forerunner 205 and 305 have served well and are easy to use. I bought the GPSMAP 60CSx which is highly rated but for the uses I have here, did not really work well.

The major complaints I have are

1. When you turn it on, it starts collecting data unliked the 205/305 where it starts when you push the start/stop button. Did not see in the manual any way to turn it on/off other that the power switch.

2. It does not come with any high quality maps and the default map is not very detailed. A $125 optional map seems a bit much for a high end device. There are some open source options that can be loaded. I knew it did not come with the map software but was disappointed with the default maps.

3. The computer interface was spotty. It would not sync with TC (garmin's training center software) and interfacing to sports track required downloading Garmins Communicator API plugin.

4. The downloaded tracks were "strange". There were a bunch of small (3-10 sec) tracks along with the main track. Not sure why there were there. I do not think I turned the unit on/off a couple of times at the end of my test hike.

5. The provided software is MapSource does not play well with Windows 7. After loading tracks from the device and then tying to save them in the default directory, it has permission issues which implies to me that it did not setup the directory permissions for Vista/Win7 which is probably because it came out before Windows was released.

The unit was accurate and collected data during the hike while attached at my side via the provided clip. For many, it may serve fine. For my use where I want to be able to define the start and end point of the journey for adding to the website, it was not that user friendly. I may be that my objections because of lack of understanding but I did not see anything in the manual that would clear up my views of how it works.

The 60CSx is on sale because it is being replaced by the 62 series units. These still lack good maps in the unit.