Another GPS Question

paddlesores

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Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
212
Location
Maple Ridge, BC
I've had a Garmin 76CSX for well over 10 years and it has worked flawlessly. I remember that I had to buy charted areas of the coast from Garmin, load them onto my desktop and then work through Mapsource software to set waypoints and routes. I would then select what charts I needed and transfer all the info to the Garmin unit itself. Once I got it figured out back then it has worked fine for my needs. I'm now looking to pick up the 78S, and not being a techy guy I am a little confused as to what else I need. Do I purchase their G2 or G3 card and just leave it in the 78? With the chart card in the handheld unit can I view it on my desktop for planning purposes? What desktop software do I use to plan the trip? Does route and waypoint info then just transfer from the desktop to the Garmin unit like it did with the 76?
Like I said, I'm not a real tech guy so don't be afraid to talk to me like I'm six years old (keeping in mind most six year-olds know more about tech than I do). I don't mind spending a couple extra bucks to help keep things simple for myself. Any and all help appreciated.
Thanks,
Doug
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
2,757
Location
Victoria, BC
I use a GPSMap 78 and sometimes a 64 for navigation.
I have the Bluechart micro-SD card with the charts for N America- that card goes into the GPS unit. The card is copy-protected, so you can't just duplicate it to use in another GPS unit. However, you can make a copy and use that copy plugged in to your computer for trip planning. This is simpler for me than plugging in the GPS to the computer every time, but that will also work.
The 'newer' Garmin GPS units (78 and 64 are years old, get yours before they are discontinued in favour of touch-screen models!) don't need MapSource as I recall. You can do most of what you need using HomePort which is a free Garmin download. HomePort is the marine version of BaseCamp.

I use EasyGPS software (free) for transferring waypoints and info between the computer and the GPS. It's convenient for me to use downloading tracks from the GPS after day paddles, and trips.
The GPS Visualizer website online is very handy for producing a map with your track overlaid - the track can be colorized to show you boat speed, with tick marks for distance, etc. Excellent for showing folks where I've gone and how slowly I was paddling! :)
GPS Track Editor software is handy if you forget to turn off the GPS before you drive away from the take-out!
Joining BC Marine Trails and downloading the .gpx files for campsites, etc is very useful. Exchanging info with paddling friends via .gpx is also excellent. A few years ago I did a trip in Alaska and got .gpx info from paddlers in AK and also Sweden when I was planning. Technology can be useful! :)
You can contact me via WCP 'Conversation' or email for more info on charts, etc. if you'd like.
 

paddlesores

Paddler
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
212
Location
Maple Ridge, BC
Thanks John,
That's exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Is it the G2 card you have?
I think I'll head out today and pick one up.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Dec 7, 2011
Messages
2,757
Location
Victoria, BC
The Garmin card I have is HXUS039R-US All & Canadian West Cpast g2 HD v2016
Covers all the west coast, includes AK, Hawaii, etc...

I'd avoid the DVD version of the Bluecharts - you can move the SD card into different GPS units (like your spare/backup), the DVD is 'locked' to a particular GPS
I also have (downloaded) Robs TOPO vi 1.38 topo maps for Vancouver Island
 

paddlesores

Paddler
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
212
Location
Maple Ridge, BC
I will stick with the card instead of the DVD. Just got back from trying to buy one at a couple different stores. Neither store had the hardware and more disappointing was their lack of info on the unit. No one really able to answer any questions or help me out. Always like to purchase from brick and mortar if possible but will likely order online this time. Once I get it I'm sure to have more questions for you John. Thanks for the help.
Doug
 

a_c

Paddler
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Messages
58
Location
Victoria, BC
Can someone confirm that the new g3 BlueChart format is backwards compatible with the older Garmin 64/66/78 series?

I assume g3 is just the next iteration of g2, and if the unit has an SD slot than it's all good, but I haven't come across any official literature that confirms this. The only unit that is specifically mentioned as being g3 compatible is the 86 series.

I'm pretty much sold on the idea of a unit that runs on AA batteries, so that rules out the 86s, but I also want to be able to plug in the latest charts/software. Note that this will mostly just be a 'safety backup' system and not being used for primary navigation, so if I can get away without spending $500+ on a unit, plus software, it would be great (but being a dedicated kayak gear junkie, I'm willing to do what it takes ;)) . The price on the 78s is pretty reasonable, but the 'buttons on top' layout just doesn't work for me (disclaimer: haven't tried it yet, just personal preference).
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Dec 7, 2011
Messages
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Location
Victoria, BC
Can someone confirm that the new g3 BlueChart format is backwards compatible with the older Garmin 64/66/78 series?
I can't help from personal experience, sorry.
My guess - and it is only a guess - is that the G3 card will work in the 64/78 but those units won't display all the information that's included in the G3 format.

That's what this table seems to imply:
https://www.gpscentral.ca/pdf/G3_cartography_unit_compatibility.pdf

Also, see this to make things even more complicated - G2 vs G3 vs G3 Vision

https://www.gpscentral.ca/accessories/bluechartcardcompatibility.htm

A phone chat with Garmin tech support or a knowledgeable retailer (i.e. not the hipster at MEC) might be worthwhile.
Let us know what you find out, please!

Also, there are vendors on ebay (I've bought from a guy in Europe) who sell the G2 cards.
 

chodups

Paddler
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
1,094
A phone chat with Garmin tech support or a knowledgeable retailer (i.e. not the hipster at MEC) might be worthwhile.
Let us know what you find out, please!
The Garmin phone support have always been very helpful to me. I wouldn't hesitate to call them and ask.
 

cougarmeat

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Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
755
Location
Bend OR USA
a_c, as a side thought, If you have a “smart phone” there are apps you can use and free charts/maps that can be downloaded so you don’t need a wifi or cell connection to use them. You phone’s display screen is probably larger than a Garmin device. I don’t have a smart phone; I use an iPad mini in a waterproof case. The apps I mostly use are Gaia, AyeTides, and iNavX. The cost is probably less than the Garmin chip. As was mentioned, chip “compatibility” might mean it can be used in a device but that doesn’t mean you’ll get all the features you paid for. I have an old Gamin 76MapCS with a chip that was supposed to show Canadian waters. It’s pretty useless for that as large island masses are missing and those that are displayed look like they were drawn by a third grader with a crayon. Now-a-days, I use the Garmin for backup and to display speed/direction/est-time-arrival, etc. But not charting. The iPad is in a waterproof case (with floatation collar or tethered to the boat). I seldom use it “real time” while paddling. It’s more for mid-trip planning before I leave shore. I do a lot of Home work before the trip but we know that once on the water, underway, … things happen.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
2,757
Location
Victoria, BC
a_c, as a side thought, If you have a “smart phone” there are apps you can use and free charts/maps that can be downloaded so you don’t need a wifi or cell connection to use them...........The apps I mostly use are Gaia, AyeTides, and iNavX.
Can you download Canadian Marine Charts from Gaia? Or get free marine charts that are usable with Gaia?

The cost is probably less than the Garmin chip. As was mentioned, chip “compatibility” might mean it can be used in a device but that doesn’t mean you’ll get all the features you paid for. I have an old Gamin 76MapCS with a chip that was supposed to show Canadian waters. It’s pretty useless for that as large island masses are missing and those that are displayed look like they were drawn by a third grader with a crayon.
Which BlueChart chip are you using?
Can you post screenshots of those problem areas from your GPSMap76? I'd be curious to see how they compare with the display of the same area from the 64/78 which I have.
Also, when you put your Bluechart chip into your computer and fire up HomePort, are the island masses still missing from the display?
 

cougarmeat

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Sep 17, 2012
Messages
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Bend OR USA
I know the NOAA charts of the San Juans are free but Not sure about Canadian waters. I have the first tier (not Premium) subscription to Gaia so if I have Canadian maps there - therefore, they aren't exactly “free”. The subscription runs for 5 years so I forget I’ve actually paid for something. The Premium subscription was not so useful to me because the features are mostly real-time weather reports - radar and such - and you need cell service for that. My iPad is the less expensive model without cellular features. Because only the Cellular iPads have built-in GPS, I have to use and external GPS (BadElf) that connects via bluetooth. Works fine.

the NOAA San Juan charts for iNavX are also free and I believe I got a year’s free subscription to download other charts when I bought that app. During that year I downloaded what they had for West Coast Canada.

Gaia is more “mapping” but I can put campsite waypoints in it and zoom in on shorelines with either topo type maps or satellite (google earth) type views - both downloadable. The Premium option allows for layering different maps but I really only need to see one map.

The BlueChip that’s supposed to cover Canada has no ID on the chip and it’s the tiny kind. I only have readers for the larger style. The Setup/Map in the menu of the 76MapCSx doesn’t identify it. There was a posted discussion about the charting issues with Astoria Dave some time back - after my trip to the Broughtons. The photos are dated 2015 so - ya know - six year ago. But I think the issue came up sometime aftet that trip; not when I just got back.

I recall the effect was somewhat dramatic. I had put the campsite waypoints in the GPS and didn’t check their image on the map. We took a water taxi out there and when I looked at the GPS Map display, it just showed these waypoints in the middle of the water - didn’t show the islands. I thought I had made a mistake but we told the boat driver, “Go there, eh.” and lo-n-behold, there was shoreline and land mass.

Only the very largest land masses were rendered as just tan blobs. Fortunately we had paper charts and daylight. Because with the GPS showing straight line paths - and leaving out large mounds of earth and rock (i.e. Islands) it didn’t show what we’d have to go around.

Also :mad: what Paul learned was, if you push your drybag with camp gear to mid length in the bow of the boat (Mariner) and it comes to rest under your deck compass … somewhere Gary Larson is starting another “Trouble Brew’n” cartoon panel. Instruments are good. But you can’t turn off your brain if the compass says North is towards the setting sun.

I do know that particular chip has been discontinued. And the rendering (vector vs bitmap techie stuff) changed on the 78. I might have had a window for an inexpensive upgrade and missed it. Again - all this was six years ago. A lot of water under the hull since then.

But the bottom line is I don’t need an official “Chart”. I am not concerned with water depth. I am not concerned with plotting a course from Ventura CA, to Hawaii. I’m mostly skirting shore lines with an occasional crossing. The maps and waypoints have been good enough. I also carry laminated paperwork. If I do my homework before the trip, I seldom need to reference the electronics. They are mostly back up. Though the 76MapCXs has lousy chart rendering, I do use it for a bearing display and speedometer, with estimated arrival time to waypoint (campsite) and time of sunset.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Messages
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Victoria, BC
The BlueChip that’s supposed to cover Canada has no ID on the chip and it’s the tiny kind. I only have readers for the larger style.
You need a 'Micro SD to SD Card Adapter' - the micro SD card slides into the larger size adapter. Most of the SD cards that I see for sale have a micro SD card and an adapter in the same package. Or you can just buy the adapter for a few dollars if you don't have any use for another SD card.
SD adapter.JPG


It's quite useful to be able to put the BlueChart chip (or a copy you can make for yourself) into the computer to use with HomePort.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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