What GPS should I get?

What GPS should I get?

The type of GPS someone should get to run TRAX maps is probably the most common question I receive. Although I don’t sell GPS units, my business requires that I use dozens of them. In general, my products currently work on 3 different GPS types including Garmin, Magellan, and Lowrance. My company does not sell GPS units so there is no benefit in it for me to be biased towards one brand or another.

Garmin leads the industry and has options ranging from automotives, handhelds, 2-way radios, dog-collars and more. Their antennas on the newer style units in the last 3-4 years are outstanding. The microsd/SD memory cards can be swapped between their units and work great. For handhelds, I like the Oregon series if you need a touch screen GPS and the 64S if you need a hard-screen (buttons). The 64S is the most rugged unit and has the best antenna but I like touch screens personally. The Oregon 600 series has just released and is worth some investigation as it has a brighter more sensitive screen than the previous 450 and 550 series. If you like a smaller profile GPS, the Dakota 20 should be a nice fit. If you are on a tight budget, the recommendation would go towards the affordable but still powerful eTrex 20. The Montana series are nice big GPS units, but for some they are too big for field and not big enough for the truck.

On the automotive front, there are so many great options which all bear the brand Nuvi or Drive series. You almost can’t go wrong with any of the Nuvis. I like all the 5″, 6″ and 7″ varieties of the Drive and DriveSmart series. I recommended the Nuvi 1450 for many years but recent changes in the unit have caused some rebooting issues in map areas with high details, so I am no longer recommending this GPS. I just purchased their new 7″ 2757 LM Nuvi. So far, it has impressed me but as with any new GPS, there will be pro’s and con’s and it is too soon to give my stamp of approval.

The only currently sold Garmins that won’t work with TRAX maps are any unit which does not accept a memory card as well as the marine units. All maps are delivered via a pre-loaded microSD/SD card.

Magellan had a very strong presence in the GPS industry late in the 90’s and early in 2000’s. Kirsch’s Outdoor Products created maps for Magellan eXplorist series GPS units for more than 2 years. However, all Magellan map development was discontinued at the end of 2013 to focus our resources on the Garmin product line.

Lowrance makes great marine depth-finders, but their GPS technology has had issues. With the release of the Endura line of handhelds, Lowrance has continually lost market share in the handheld line. In addition, there handhelds require different map formats than the fishfinders, so 2012 was the last year for development of TRAX maps for Lowrance GPS units. This has been done to allow Kirsch’s Outdoor Products to focus on the Garmin product line.

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