Advice on purchasing a handheld GPS unit

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04-11-2016 01:13 PM
New Contributor III

Hello to all:

I would like to get some advice on which handheld GPS unit to purchase. My next project will involve the updating of bike trails for two local government agencies. What brand do you recommend? What factors do you recommend that I consider when purchasing a GPS unit?

Thanks,

Mel

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MVP Honored Contributor

There are lots of extras out there for specific requirements, but most basically you're looking at a trade-off between price and accuracy. So, if you don't have any other requirements, get the cheapest unit that meets your accuracy requirement.

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New Contributor III

Thanks Darren. I would like to stay under $500.

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MVP Notable Contributor

Hi Mel,

There are a lot of factors to consider, like Darren mentions. Accuracy, price, ruggedness, usability, applications, and the list goes on.

What sort of accuracy requirements do you have?

What is your budget?

What applications are you hoping to use (on the device and/or on the desktop side)? Do you have access to a server of sorts (like ArcGIS for Server)?

Who will be using this (experienced GIS people, regular field crews, or anybody and everybody)?

What kind of ruggedness do you need (will an iPad do or do you need one that is water-proof, heat-proof, dust-proof, fall-proof, Class I Div II, etc)?

How many units will you need?

Those are some questions to consider.

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New Contributor III

Adrian:

Thanks for the things to consider. I will be the only one using the unit. I

would like to stay under $500ish. I just finished a GIS certificate and

have had some experience using handheld units. I am going to look into the

accuracy and other issues.

Mel.

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

Purely from a practical perspective, anything Garmin, they are indestructable in a teaching environment and for field work.  They (like others) tailor make versions to use and/or modes of movement https://buy.garmin.com/en-CA/CA/cIntoSports-cCycling-p1.html these show some of the bike versions.

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New Contributor III

Thanks Dan. Very helpful website.

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New Contributor III

You refer to bike trails. Are these trails in the woods or are they more of a bike path generally in the open? If it's in the woods, GPS coverage can be problematic in the woods in another month or so as the canopy fills in. The higher end units have technology for dealing with shadow, but they are pretty pricey for the kind of collection you are talking about doing.

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New Contributor III

Eric:

I believe that the trails are fairly open. I will look into this though.

Thanks,

Mel

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

regardless what type of unit you get,... download DNRGPS DNRGPS Application: Minnesota DNR  free... widely used and tested and supports data formats used by just about everything

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