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Customer Review

82 of 87 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Garmin Etrex 30, 24 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Garmin eTrex 30 Outdoor Handheld GPS Unit (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I have bought Garmin units for years, both in car and handheld units like this.
The new Etrex is a very nice unit. The display is better than the old Etrex, battery life is better and overall its smaller. The menu system is different and takes a few extra clicks to get to the screen you want, but overall it is a worthy upgrade from my Vista CX.
The only thing I don't like is that the joystick is now the other side of the screen, making left handed / left thumbed operation difficult. You either cover the screen when using the joystick or learn to use it in your right hand.

Now, all Garmins in-car units have superb mapping, far better than the competition. So, why are the base maps supplied in handheld units such utter rubbish? Unless you are happy walking looking at a blank screen, you are going have to dig deep in your pockets and buy some sort of mapping to install.

You have a choice. Birds Eye maps look a great idea, but the area you get for £20 or so is tiny. 600SqKm sounds big, but it isn't. And, be very careful when you do order Birds Eye maps because if you don't download and buy exactly what you want first time, your stuck with it. I know! They are also quite poor to look at on screen. Not nice and sharp, but a bit blurry. I kept expecting the image to snap into focus, but it doesn't.
Then you have Garmins TOPO maps, which are good, but expensive and the Discoverer range is again good, but expensive.

But, there is another option. OpenStreetMap. Its free, routable, and is similar to Garmins TOPO maps. Search for them and download one to a micro sd card. I have the whole of GB on a 2gb card.

So, now there is no excuse not to get a nice shiny garmin handheld and when you do, you won't be stuck with inferior built in maps or expensive add ons.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Oct 2013, 10:33:49 BST
Last edited by the author on 13 Feb 2014, 21:31:05 GMT
Turner Page says:
" ...base maps supplied in handheld units such utter rubbish?"

It's a common moan on Amazon, but Garmin don't know what mapping users need: hiking, topo, nautical, street mapping or aeronautical, nor do they know which country they want maps for. Hence the base map.

The in-car Garmin units come with City Navigator street level mapping. That's available for the Etrex series on an SD card at reasonable prices and you can swap it between units. It contains much more data; hotels, gas stations, restaurants etc and is updated annually. (City Navigator Europe 2014 is available and works with the Etrex series)

Free routable contour maps for the UK are available from Talkytoaster as you point out, (do leave a donation) and for the rest of the world from garmin.openstreetmap.nl. They are good enough for driving through Bulgaria, as this Etrex user has just done.

One point which most of the reviewers miss is that the Etrex 20/30 receivers have Usage Profiles, and can also store and display more than one map. So it's possible to set up a profile for say Driving with 3D views and nav-prompts, and set it to use City Navigator, and also have another profile called, say, Hiking, and set that to use Openstreetmap contour mapping. I have a third profile called Europe which switches the Units to Kph, and loads Romania and Bulgaria road maps.

If you use Basecamp, the free Garmin PC software, City Navigator and also Openstreetmap from the Etrex can be displayed on screen and waypoints and routes created then transferred to the Etrex.

It's also possible to scan and create personal maps for these units, so the range of free mapping available for the Etrex20/30 is very large indeed. The basemap is only there as a backdrop for waypoints.

I agree that these units are much better than the previous Vista series.

Posted on 7 Dec 2013, 18:29:08 GMT
simon says:
hey, I have the etrex legend hcx, im not happy with paying 200 quid for the map I need as it appears its the only map that is compatible with my gps, even though I bought it a few month ago.
I have looked at the osmosis thing on wiki maps but it will not install on my computer, the whole .bat and putting cmd:/k just doesn't do anything. any ideas?

i only bought this for easier routing when going cross country, makes life so much easier in the military, ha.

anyway id be greatful of any advise you could offer in this, cheers

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Feb 2014, 21:29:10 GMT
Turner Page says:

If you go to garmin dot streetmap dot nl, you can download smaller 'tiles' or complete country maps for free. Links for these are emailed to you when the map is generated.

Then drag the gmappsup.img file into the Garmin folder on your Etrex from your computer.

The Legend HCX supports all the current mapping for the Etrex.


Posted on 3 Jul 2014, 23:08:16 BST
Garmin's TOPO map is no longer very expensive - on Amazon you can now get the whole of GB and Ireland pre-loaded on the eTrex 20 or eTrex 30 for an extra £12. The TOPO maps are basically the same as OpenStreetMap (which are free), but have basic contour information added - worth it if you are a walker.

The Discoverer (Ordnance Survey) maps are really what all serious walkers need, but these are indeed quite expensive - about £60 for the Lake District for example (1:25K scale) or £200 for the whole country (1:50K scale).
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