25 January 2007

I'm Now A GPS Geek

A good friend who is quite into GPS, and happens to work on the Google Earth team finally got me hooked on GPS. I picked up a Garmin GPSmap 60CSx unit at REI after attending their intro class the other day. I then proceeded to figure out how to get it all going on the Mac. Many thanks to Ben Sinclair, as he pretty much covers every angle in his article, "How to use a Garmin GPS with your Mac."

I'm using the combination of an Intel Mac, with Google Earth Plus, and then Parallels for the Garmin MapSource City Navigator software. I haven't gone for any TOPO stuff yet, and Google Earth seems to cover most of what I want trail/bike/ski wise so far (if I get more into backcountry skiing, then I will likely want the TOPO stuff).

Anyway, this is really cool. I can't wait to use it on my mountain bike. The first heavy use will be this weekend when we go to Eugene to scout houses and so on. I will track the entire day on Saturday and then import into Google Earth, etc. Also, because I have the City Navigator stuff on there, I've got intricate detail of city streets, businesses, turn-by-turn directions, and so on. Slick.

Note, the "x" series units from Garmin (I think all of them anyway) have microSD cards. You can store a ton of map data on these things. For example, the City Navigator stuff I put on mine, for which I did most of Oregon, and a good chunk of Northern CA, was about 50MB. The 60CSx comes with a 64MB microSD, but I have a 512MB on the way (I'd have gone bigger, but I heard that with the 1GB cards it creates a noticeable slowdown on the unit while it sifts through all that data, and 512MB seemed like plenty given what you can put in about 50-100MB).