Playing with my handheld GPS unit

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 at 08:12pm

After I posted my thoughts on getting a handheld GPS unit last week I realised two things:

  1. I do not need the electronic compas or barometric altimeter. So I could step down from the eTrex Vista Cx to the eTrex Legend Cx.
  2. I do not really need the basemap in the unit to be for Australia. Most of the units I was looking at on eBay were US models that had Australian maps loaded.

So on Sunday I was the winning bidder for an eTrex Legend Cx with Australian maps for two thirds of the cheapest price I could find locally.

It arrived today and for the past couple of hours I have been playing around with it. What do I now know?

  • The Australian maps take up 96MB of the 128MB microSD card (included instead of the supplied 64MB card) so it might be necessary to get a bigger card, especially if I do by detailed maps. Currently a 2GB card is under AU$40.
  • Logging the track to the card means they are available to any computer without special software by putting the unit into mass storage mode.
  • The Trip & Waypoint Manager software that came with the unit lets me upload a route to the unit. The track log can also be downloaded using this software.
  • Routes exported from Bikely as GPX need modification (stripping out elevation tags) before the software will accept them. I just used gvim but a simple perl script should also do the trick and could automate other cleanup tasks.
  • With only 500 possible waypoints, any route that I plan out using Bikely will need to be drawn fairly coarsely. But that is ok for a plan.

Tomorrow is the monthy Melbourne Perl Mongers meeting so I won’t be riding to work. But I will take the unit with me to record my journey anyway. I also bought a bicycle mount, from a different seller on eBay, that should arrive in a few days, ready for my first ride with a GPS on the weekend.

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