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GPS receivers for Skiing - Any good? Any views? Any Info?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A hot thread at the minute is the one about how fast do people ski...People are relying on GPS receivers like the Garmin Etrex (and the Navamn A300 - the only one I've heard of that is "ski optimised" which I think just means that you can exclude lifts in the total distance travelled - and is waterproof to 1 metre for 30 mins which might be handy if you broke through ice and lay with your arm immersed while awaiting recue and were still worrried if you £100 GPS worked...)

My question is - are the cheap ones that just do speed and distance any good? And is there a full-on GPS receiver with piste maps etc and if not why not? I'd heard that you can rent them ("Summit"?) but that they were ridiculously expensive to buy (£1500!!). Can a techie explain why they can't just load up a regular GPS with piste maps (and maybe just charge a fortune for the map software)

Also - at the risk of derailing my own tread - do they interfere with avalanche transceivers (I've seen the phones do or don't thread).

Thanks in anticipation snowHead
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I bought a garmin vista CX after a friend GPSed us off a glacier in a whiteout a couple of years back. Its fine except the antenna is poor, and fails in gullies and in trees. The new "h" model is supposed to be better. It can be loaded with base maps incl topo maps but they are costly. As far as i know there are no piste maps around but it would be a simple matter to produce traces of all the pistes in an area simply by skiing them. I think i will do it for chamonix but i dont really know what use it would be, the previous technology (poles) seem to work ok. I do use it a lot for cycling.
If I were to replace it I would most likely go for the 60 model.
I have no idea if it interferes with a transceiver i will check it out, but as it only acts as a receiver it should be no worse than a phone.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I use my Etrex summit when skiing and it interfaces fine with my maps - can be a bit of a pain when its windy or wet as the maps get all soggy and blow around Wink , but it seems to work OK. I haven't launched my self into Coire An'Sneachda by mistake yet. I haven't tried it in Europe yet. Would need to be careful with the map datum used though.
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kewhoward, sorry, despite my education in GPS, I can't help out regarding the quality/functions available on commercial GPS receivers.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hi

I brought a keymaze 300 from decathlon last year, It the size of the Garmin forerunner products. I have had no problems with it, It also has the more accurate Sirf III receiver in it.
Its about 69 quid and you can download the tracks to Google earth and see where you have skied etc. I normally just stick it in the top of my pack for the day.( Unless having fun trying to beat the max speed with mates !)

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/EN/keymaze-300-20957205/

I also own a Garmin GPS76 CSX for sailing but that is why to bit for skiing and I would say it as accurate.

m
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Hi,
I'v got a Gamin e-trex which I have used while skiing to find" geocaches". There are thousands of them hidden all over the world. Last week I found three hidden on the Pistes in Zell am See. For further info on geocaching, look at www.geocaching.com
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I've got Memory Map on a Windows Mobile PDA / phone. Got the imagery for the whole ski area from Google Earth (for Sauze d'Oulx, where i'm off to next week, you can see all of the runs on the satellite imagery as it seems to have been taken in the winter) and calibrated it with Memory Map. Use a bluetooth GPS unit, stuck in the top of my backpack.

Used it last year too, and the end of the day have a map of the resort with tracks of everywhere i've been and a speed and elevation profile. Can see the maps on the phone, or upload it for a bit more detail and more manipulation on my laptop when I get home.

David
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I think its a great idea. I am currently looking into buying a GPS , have been leaning towards the Garmins 76 or 60 CSx, but they just released a new Colorado version, which has a bigger screen and can now do a 3-D map (only th US so far), although the battery life is shorter.
Anyway, back to OP, I think it would be great for ski areas to release download-able trail maps for GPS units and I will see if I can contact someone at Whistler Blackcomb about it.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
wbsr, I've just ordered the Garmin Colorado - after doing more web based research. It's scheduled launch in the UK is Feb but I think I've got one early through a marine suppliers. It looks like the best bet for reception in trees / valleys but the more detailed mapping software seems limited - hopefully it will catch up. Can't work out if generic Topo maps can be uploaded (French Alps are available) or if it has to be Garmin specific maps - I'll post on a GPS site I think. If anyone knows I'd be grateful. It's actually a present (for a sailor ( Shocked ) and we're skiing in different places next week - I'm not skiing with the recipient until Easter but I'll report back if anyone's interested.

snowHead
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I have a Garmin GPSMAP60CSx. Has the more accurate SiRFStar III chipset. Works really well in gulleys and under tree cover. It has map capability which is excellent for use hiking/walking, particularly when in a new area. Golden rule is still to take a paper map with you as batteries & electronics can fail.

I'm skiing in Obertauern 16th Feb for a week and will be taking it with me, so will try and remember to post back how that goes. Not convinced it would be an enormous leap forward as a piste map. A tad quicker to look at perhaps and with a built-in compass you can tell which way you're pointing - useful at piste intersections I guess. However, it will measure speed, distance and altitude - all useful for the statto in us all.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Thanks Supersonic, I've just relectantly handed the Colorado over as a present to a grateful recipient. I managed to find a topographic map (free) of the Davos area where they are going so I'll hear back next week how they got on .....
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
well i have the maps for whistler, esp the summer hiking and winter backcountry on my cell phone.

Its accurate enough that the Canadain nationals DH was set by it..................... (we used it to find all the gates markings that the idiot groomers had covered up, using the tape measure and triangulate system in the stone age).

We might even now by a dGPS unit and use it to do the same for the world cup.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
anyone got the new Satmap unit?? any good?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Was just looking at the Colorado earlier, after a fellow geocacher mentioned it. Looks like a neat bit of kit, but I do wonder how long the wheel will last when used in anger.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Have now been back a week and have got round to downloading & editing the tracks and waypoints from our Obertauern trip.
The unit itself (a GPSMAP60CSx) was great for logging our progress round the resort and for speed trials! We spent a fun half hour or so on a particular run taking it in turns to try and beat the top speed the unit recorded. Great fun.

The batteries I used were UniRoss 2700mAh NiMHs. They were fine re. the cold and lasted all day with some to spare. I typically stored the GPS in my jacket pocket (outside pocket) or the lid pocket of my daysack - both worked out fine. The only trouble I had was a) remembering to turn it off temporarily while we ate lunch and b) remembering to turn it on again afterwards!

Sadly Thomsonfly don't allow use of GPS on their flights so we couldn't nerd away on the plane, but hey.

Last thing is, would it be worth posting the waypoints file here somewhere (I stored the locations of all the lifts and some of the mountain hütte)? If so, does anyone know how I do that?

S
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
scuby wrote:
I've got Memory Map on a Windows Mobile PDA / phone. Got the imagery for the whole ski area from Google Earth (for Sauze d'Oulx, where i'm off to next week, you can see all of the runs on the satellite imagery as it seems to have been taken in the winter) and calibrated it with Memory Map. Use a bluetooth GPS unit, stuck in the top of my backpack.

Used it last year too, and the end of the day have a map of the resort with tracks of everywhere i've been and a speed and elevation profile. Can see the maps on the phone, or upload it for a bit more detail and more manipulation on my laptop when I get home.

David



I wish i could do what you are doing Sad Cool It does sound very good !

I have a Nokia 6680 with tom tom mobile 5,bluetooth gps,English and French maps but it's the symbian operating system and not windows.I dont think it is possible to use mine as a proper gps unit with way points etc.Perfect for back country in an emergency situation though to give position to the emergency services as long as you can get a signal to make a phone call.

Regards Mark


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sun 2-03-08 17:58; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I got a Suunto X9i which has lots of features bundled into a watch. You can track your day's skiing (and it works out how many runs you have done etc) and then plot it all into Google Earth. It also does top speed etc.

When it works well (with good sat reception) it is a work of genius. However, it can take some time to pick up the sats, and it does lose the signal quite easily and then comes up with some random results (it had me going 200 km/h the other day). But then it all fits into a watch so you've got to accept it has a few limitations!

This gets quite a lot of slating online, but if you take a bit of time to work out how to use it probably, I personally think its a great tool/toy...
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
2 queries re GPS's & Skiing (& ski touring):

1. Are GPS trackers worth the weight, effort & cost of setting them up?? i.e. will they(with the right maps loaded) give an accurate altitude, & xy co-ordinate for reference points, for assistance tracking ,and/or emergency call in, and way points etc

2. I have two devices with GPS receivers

-a Nokia E-71 PDA with GPS(~2008)
-a Tom Tom One (car) sat nav GPS (~2007)

Can either or both of these be set up with good cost effective Mountain GPS Maps, with pistes, etc marked, for say European resorts and if so where is best place to source these?

thanks for all advice
horgand
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horgand wrote:
2 queries re GPS's & Skiing (& ski touring):

1. Are GPS trackers worth the weight, effort & cost of setting them up?? i.e. will they(with the right maps loaded) give an accurate altitude, & xy co-ordinate for reference points, for assistance tracking ,and/or emergency call in, and way points etc



GPS trackers record where you have been. They don't tell you where you are: for that you need a full GPS receiver.

We had a bunch of GPS trackers for our club last week out in the Dolomites. They were great fun for recording each group's progress through the week, but there is no way I would rely on them as a safety device: http://www.midlandski.org.uk/gtrek

The ones we had were matchbox sized, so negligable weight and no setting up: just turn on and go.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I was looking into GPS for a related application but at least for me the accuracy wasn't good enough, but I guess this will come in time - unless you have an F1 team. If GPS enabled phones (and SatNav) are anything to go by, battery life must be an issue over a whole day ?
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I was chatting to a guy that had a Garmin forerunner 101 on his wrist, he said he has had it for a few years and only uses it to record his spead. They are about £100 new on ebay or £50 second hand. I am thinking of getting one for my next trip, although, it will probably confirm that I am not travelling as fast as I think !!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Just got my Nokia E-71 going as a GPS. The basic pre loaded apps on it give a real time GPS position reading, altituide reading, trip distance (to a waymark, gps co-ord or A to B) & basic navigator with distance and 'as the crow flies' direction indicator. Even in its basic form it seems to me to be useful for basic route tracking, altitude checking & calling in GPS positions (for emergencies, etc). I'm sold.

Now I just need to load it up with the software apps that Mangup mentions in a parallel thread to this & I'll be away for spades.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I have a gtrek device and I think for the cost it's worth the money, it's accuracy is quite good not that it's that all that important on a ski slope. There are a few links to videos on youTube on there website http://www.gtrek.co.uk/Version_5.html that show the sort of data that can be created.

Bring on the snow !!
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I purchased a Satsports Multisport unit last year in whistler, worked well for me. I can use it at quite a number of local BC ski resorts as well as many others worldwide. At the time they had the software, Satski, developed for Android and Windows phones but I have an iPhone so I bought the GPS unit. I think they are now ready with iPhone and Blackberry for the mobile users. Pretty cool device with all sorts of features specific to skiers. Whistler opens tomorrow, stoked!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Welcome to snowHeads Powder, snowHead

Re. the Gtrek device that nutwood pointed out - if anyone is thinking about it, super/mega-snowHeads should check le Chaudron for a deal on this that just came in.

Of course the cheapest way to get a GPS tracker would be to win our autumn draw where there's £300 worth of HD head cam with GPS tracker built in up for grabs Wink
I can't wait to try one of these out myself and see how well it tracks etc.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Last post her was from 2010 so things must have moved on.. What would be the best advice now?

Friend of mine is offering me a brand new Garmin Edge 1000 cycle satnav, apparently it can load up maps of skis areas, but I haven't checked their quality or coverage. I don't want piste maps, I want maps for touring, as good as the French IGN or Swiss Skitourenkarte or similar. Also want long battery life. Not sure that the Garmin is ideal.

Other options:
Use maps and swap my Suunto Core for the GPS version. All I really need is GPS coordinates readout to get map fixes.
Find a good app for my Samsung Galaxy which will give GPS coords - but without relying on having phone reception, using only the GPS Location setting.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
dickyb wrote:
Last post here was from 2010 so things must have moved on.. What would be the best advice now?

Friend of mine is offering me a brand new Garmin Edge 1000 cycle satnav, apparently it can load up maps of skis areas, but I haven't checked their quality or coverage. I don't want piste maps, I want maps for touring, as good as the French IGN or Swiss Skitourenkarte or similar. Also want long battery life. Not sure that the Garmin is ideal.

Other options:
Use maps and swap my Suunto Core for the GPS version. All I really need is GPS coordinates readout to get map fixes.
Find a good app for my Samsung Galaxy which will give GPS coords - but without relying on having phone reception, using only the GPS Location setting.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
If you're touring with a GPS then you'll want exceptional battery life - unless you're planning on sticking to swanky huts! This will mean eschewing the convenience of built-in maps. These need a colour display and, for outdoor viewing, a really bright (and power hungry) backlight. Better to stick with a paper map and a GPS that just gives you coordinates. Also look for a GPS without a built-in battery. I managed to make a charger for my Garmin Foretrex 201 that ran off AAs but it's much easier if you can just pop them in the receiver. I now have a Foretrex 401.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I've ditched the Garmin (and forr the bike) and use my iPhone now. I use the French ign maps which are excellent and have ski routes marked which are approximately in the right place. I have a battery case which adds to the weight but quadruples the life. IGN maps are downloaded as you use them but you can cache areas to use offline.
I've now got Fatmap which I haven't used yet but it is limited to certain resorts and looks best for the included Freeride lines rather than touring.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
jbob: IGN maps are downloaded as you use them but you can cache areas to use offline.

What app(s) do you use for that?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
If you've got a Galaxy (Android devices only) take a look at http://www.alpinequest.net/ which is an excellent mapping app

Also posted earlier here on http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2776560&highlight=alpinequest#2776560
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@dickyb, I use the actual ign app, it's a subscription model. I think it's about £8 a year, not cheap but very good. Btw, for cycling I tend to use map out, it's the whole world and again you just download what you need, but for a one off cheap price. I still carry a map and compass but very rarely use them.

Search. iphigénie
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
jbob: Battery case sounds essential with a phone but it must add some weight?. Geoffers: Alpine Quest looks good, but back to battery issues.?
Bit of a new direction - I have been looking at the Garmin Edge 520. Long battery life, lightweight. It's designed for bikes but should record vertical and horizontal movement, distance, time, which is all I need for skiing. Plus it has good GPS, compass, incline measure and you can preload maps. Any thoughts on that idea?
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Depends what u want to do. I've used various runners watches (garmin 305, ego etc) to track speed, and various ski apps (skitracks)on the phone - android, to plot and track... Watches will last up to a day on battery, if u need longer, there are older garmin devices (look for forettrex) that run on normal batteries..
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