Maryland Woodland Connect

Provided by the University of Maryland Extension

Many landowners have an interest in using a handhled GPS units to locate corners, streams, unique features, hunting stands, fishing spots, buildings, etc. The units available today are quite good and getting better, My experience is with Garmin units and waypoints or tracks taken in the field can easily be pulled into Google Earth. Below is a comparison chart of all the Garmin GPS models. It is a great resource.http://gpstracklog.com/compare/garmin-handheld-gps-comparison-chart

Some of the Etrex units are quite good, have the SIRF chip, but are smaller and limited ability if you want to do on screen mapping. They are good for carrying around and the price of the best Etrex unit, Etrex 30 model is $250, much less than better mapping units. The Etrex 30 is the only one with an electronic compass, an option I recommend. http://gpstracklog.com/2011/10/garmin-etrex-30-review.html

I purchased a Garmin eTrex Venture last year and it has a small screen. These smaller etrex units may be good for basic users depending on your needs and much cheaper (quarter the price ~$120) than the better units described below. It is not listed in the comparison chart and I am not sure why. It is a an affordable GPS handheld unit http://reviews.cnet.com/gps/garmin-etrex-venture-hc/4505-3490_7-324...

Garmin has a touchscreen line that is quite expensive, but I would rather have buttons (Montana, Oregon line). You may want to look at the reviews but I would rather push buttons than touch screens while in the woods.

I have done handheld GPS training for years using the GPSMAP76csx. In general, the GPSMAP units have a big display but may be overkill for many landowners who will not use those features. It is a good unit but no longer available. The replacement is the GPSMAP78s. It has an electronic compass which is a feature I would recommend you get in whatever unit you purchase. This is a floating unit and really made for marine use. The landlubber unit is the Garmin GPSMAP 62stc or 62sc. When I purchased my handheld GPS units years ago the older unit of this type, the GPSMAP60 did not have the better SIRF chip but if I did it over again I would have purchased this unit most likely. I also note that it has a built in camera, kind of a nice feature for a field forester. It is shaped to be held by a hand rather than the 78 line that is more appropriate for a guy in a boat who can put his beer down to work on his GPS.
http://gpstracklog.com/2012/07/garmin-gpsmap-62stc-review.html. I will probably buy one of these units and check it out myself. Cost is quite stiff, around $400.

University of Maryland Extension has offered GPS training in the fall for many years. The beginner gps training manual used for the day training is available at: http://www.naturalresources.umd.edu/EducationalGPS.html

It was designed for the GPSMAP76 units.

Overall, the handheld GPS units continue to improve and now access the GLONASS satellite constellation which should improve accuracy.  The Etrex model line provides a lot of value for the money. If you move up to the GPSMAP units you will pay more but get a lot of features and large display. 

I would be interested to get some feedback on handheld gps use from others.

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