In The Desert
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Not all GPS's are created equal. Some work better than others and some are small hand held units while others are bigger. Some have screens that are black and white, others have color screens with shading to better show elevations. Some have map systems for the entire world or different parts of the world, or just for in the desert southwest. Example: you'll have a hard time finding detailed maps for most of Mexico. The GPS mapping software is very different for each brand. The receivers are different even in same brands. Some have a high sensitivity receiver which is a real plus. Battery life is another variable, so check the options, which can be found at an Amazon Store. See the editor's choices on Page 2.
Garmin, Delorme and Megellan all have decent topo mapping software. Garmin's is very versatile and allows for a lot of options like adding way points, splitting tracks, joining tracks, erasing tracks, and adding routes, plus more. The detail of these mapping systems is getting better, and there are other choices.
In an effort to find the best mapping systems for all your mapping needs we've found a web site with Garmin Topo maps that equal the best USGS topo maps for topography details. Seen here on the right is an example of one of their many maps. You can download them (most are free) and use them in your BaseCamp and MapSource softwares on your computer and in your Garmin GPS units.
Editors Choice, GPS Units
If you'd like to see what's available now, then Amazon is a great place to start. We've included a link here to make your search easier.
GPS Mapping Software
More info HERE
Editors Choice on Page 2
Our choice has always been Garmin. We've tried other units and have often been disappointed with them. Some just quit working, others had software bugs. Some of Garmin's units have also had problems. A lot of their Nuvi units are a good example. None of the Nuvi's have track management features and none of them allow you to upload tracks. The track is always being recorded - you cannot even turn it off although you can clear or hide it. But it will only display the active track being recorded on the device and will ignore any tracks that you send to it. In an effort to keep current we've posted a new recommendation on the "Editors Choice" page.
Other mapping systems.