Stuck with a dinosaur.

Posted by morsa_paes on 7 March 2013 in English (English)

Just when I thought I had finally got my hands on a GPS and could spend the weekend tracking my way around, I realized my uncle's device — a Garmin StreetPilot® c550 — is rather dated (in GPS time, I suppose 2006 was half a millenium ago). I guess I'll have to stick with Walking Papers/Field Papers for now and hope for some more GPS charity later on.

Comment from Sanderd17 on 8 March 2013 at 01:10

If you buy something yourself, I would go for a smartphone. Certainly Android is well supported here.

You can do more mapping stuff with a smartphone than with a navigation device. And they're becoming really cheap (to €100).

A car navigation device isn't any good for mapping, and hiking devices are a lot more expensive. Sure, they have a better build quality, but you don't need that when you're just mapping on the road.The GPS signal of expensive devices is also better than the signal of cheap devices, but aerial pictures can help you solve that problem.

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Comment from morsa_paes on 8 March 2013 at 01:54

A smartphone would indeed be the solution to the tracking problem, but I just can't afford one right now. And it's fairly easier to borrow a GPS off of someone than a phone ! I figured I could set up an Android emulator on my Macbook and use a GPS tracking app. but, according to the opinions out there, the performance of such systems is rather poor. At least for now. Anyway, a classmate of mine has one of those hiking devices and I will probably end up borrowing that from her.

Thank you for the insight, though!

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Comment from aseerel4c26 on 8 March 2013 at 17:41

StreetPilot® c550 product link, if someone else like to have a look: It can save up to 500 waypoints - but I could not find out if one can create them on the device or only via Garmin MapSource or Garmin POI loader. Of course you could write down the coordinates (which you may see in some "info" menu) on a paper notebook - but that is very inconvenient. In any case it would be necessary to disable any "stick to road" feature, which tries to correct bad GPS reception by projecting your current position to the nearest point on a road. All in all, as Sanderd17 said: car navigation devices are not really useful for mapping.

You could run GPS tracking programs right on your macbook (or maybe even directly record in JOSM (with some plugin?!)) - there is no need for an emulator. However, I doubt that your macbook has a GPS receiver built in and positioning via WLAN reception is of poor position accuracy (at least if the positioning is done as it is common in consumer applications).

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Comment from morsa_paes on 8 March 2013 at 20:01

I also did quite a bit of research on the StreetPilot® c550 as I really wanted it to do the job, even if it required some sweat and tears to find the solution, but soon realized it wouldn't work at all. As for Macbook, I trully believed it had some kind of GPS receiver incorporated because of the location services. Turns out it relies on Wi-Fi and SSID. That's a 'Doh!' for me, I guess.

Everyone must think I'm rather silly for insisting on tracking so much, but the truth is my college evaluation depends on my work around here and I've been willing to try those features ever since I saw my teacher loading a track and synchronizing some pictures with it! It's too bad I'm having so many problems getting my hands on the necessary equipment.

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Comment from aseerel4c26 on 9 March 2013 at 20:46

Hmm, okay, sorry for you.

One more idea: You could also buy a [gps data logger](// tracker - those are available below 100€, some feature button(s) to create waypoints (to make a note of a specific location). However due to the fact that these devices have no display you cannot see the track and you cannot type waypoint descriptions. Useful if you just want to trace some paths (e.g. in a forest), but devices with more functions and a display are much more helpful. However, be careful - very old GPS devices have no easy way (USB) to connect with a computer (a serial connection if at all).

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Comment from morsa_paes on 9 March 2013 at 23:18

I appreciate really appreciate your suggestions!

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Comment from dcp on 11 March 2013 at 08:00

I have a Samsung Galaxy S GT 19000 bought two years ago with the notion of using it also as a tracker. It requires inputs from three sources to work as a GPS device: Signals from the phone provider, the GPS-Satellites, and local WLAN transmitters/Receivers. The consequence is that it reasonably works in areas of high population and along the motorway. It does not work in a reasonable manner in any other type of area; e.g. forests, hills, or any countryside where the above three signal sources are partially unavailable.

Note: I was comparing my Samsung with my friend's iPhone 3 at the time. It was worse than the Samsung.

My Samsung does become useful for OSM purposes when I use OSMAnd+ but that is another story.

For OSM tracking I have a Garmin GPSmap 60CSx from 2008 and it is very accurate in most cases. It probably still is one of the better models for OSM data collection. Unfortunately the ideal GPS device for OSM has yet to be developed. One with an integrated camera and a voice recorder. (There is one Garmin device with an integrated camera available).

You may be able to buy a second-hand GPS device on eBay.

You can always use walking-papers. I do!

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