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I'm interested in buying one to use when I measure so I know when I'm getting close to mile splits and need to check my counter. Also to store coordinates of nails so I can locate them later.

What's the best model to get for doing this stuff and are their other GPS features that are useful for course measurers?

Finally, what if I buy one of the mapping versions for my car. Would it be possible to use that one for course measuring purposes or are they too bulky?

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Rather than use a GPS to monitor the approach of splits, you would do a lot better to use a Protege revolution counter ($15), which can be an auxiliary to or a replacement for you Jones.
Recently, I purchased a Explorist 400 kit from Costco for $200, which included software called MapSend Topo 3D. This software can be loaded onto your computer to give very accurate elevations and profiles easily, and to export very detailed maps to the GPS
I would agree with Neville and don't find the GPS too useful for laying out the splits. I just use my odometre to know when I am getting close. However, I find the GPS very useful when measuring. Here are some of the things I like using if for:

When I drive the course before measuring (often with the race director) I record a track which I then use to follow as I do the measurement. This ensures that I don't take a wrong turn and I can see which way the road is going to turn, even if my forward vision is blocked by a hill or something. I use a GPS with a map feature that is very helpful when riding as you can anticipate corners using that as well as the track. I use the Topo Canada map series which gives pretty well every road in the country as well as topo features like contours.

When I set the splits I mark a waypoint with the GPS which helps during the second meaurement as I can see it coming up before I see my mark on the road. I have set preliminary spits using the mapping software before I measure, but this is tedious and the advantage slight. As I noted above, I usually use an odometer either a separate electronic one or the one in my GPS as I lay out the splits.

With the package of measurement information I give to the race director I include a GPS record of the spilt locations as well the physical description and photos. Then if he/she has a GPS it is easier to find the split marks.

My GPS, which is a Garmin 60CS, has a built in air pressure altimeter which the unit calibrates using GPS coordinates making it much more accurate than normal GPS elevations and much more accurate than a normal air pressure altimeter. The sofware then makes it really easy to create an elevation profile for the course which, if the course is hilly is appreciated by the race director. I also use it to pick of the start/finish/max/min elevations.

I use my Garmin 60CS in the car when I am travelling in an unknown area. It is not as good as a unit specifically desgned as a car based navagation unit, mostly because of the screen size and audible directions, but it comes pretty close if you have the right maps to go with it as it does autorouting and shows features, such as restaurants etc. It is also easy to take with you on a trip and use in a rental car. I use double sided tape to stick the mounting bracket to the dash of the rental car and am quickly set to go. It was great trying to drive out of Rome last summer.
Thanks Neville. I saw a Protege 9 for $40 on Is there some place that sells it for less?

Paul, I'm definitely interested in the GPS model you have, because I'd like to have something I can use in the car as well when measuring. Is it fairly easy to carry when you're on your bike? Also, was there additional software you had to buy?

Mark Neal
Rochester, Michigan
The Eclectic Runner by Tom Perry

Garmin 205/305 Performance and Preliminary Recommendations

Garmin has claimed the new 205 & 305 models (Edge for cycling and Forerunner for running) will perform much better in the woods and in urban canyons. They also claim that the new chip technology will enable quicker satellite acquisition. Do the new units deliver on that promise?

Based on 5 weeks with an Edge 305... I have the following observations: The new chipset does acquire satellites significantly faster under some conditions. If you start your run or ride daily from the same location, the satellite acquisition is very quick. If the run start location is miles away from the prior location, then acquisition is not much quicker than that with the prior chipset. The new option to display the accuracy estimate shows an interesting behavior. The satellite acquisition screen clears when the accuracy is estimated at about 80 feet. The accuracy continues to improve (with a good view of the sky) until a limit of around 15-20 feet is reached. If you are fanatical about accuracy, perhaps it pays to wait the additional 30-60 seconds until the position accuracy reaches its best value.

Performance of systems with the new chipsets is different and generally better:
1. You can wear the Edge (and presumably the new Forerunner 205 & 305) on your wrist without
losing any accuracy compared wearing it on your arm or head. This is a big change from the 201
and 301 models, which had noticeably degraded performance when worn on the wrist.

2. The Edge does much better in the woods. See for a
preliminary comparison of an arm mounted 305 versus head mounted 201 in the woods. As soon
as my fitness permits, I will get more data from deep woods and hilly terrain. But, even with the minimal testing so far, the new chipset is enough better that the trail runner will want to have the new device.

3. Under optimal conditions (wide open terrain, head mounted for a full view of the sky), the older chipset unexpectedly appears to deliver more consistent tracks in repeated loop and out & back runs. There has been some conjecture in Yahoo GarminF group that using signals from more
satellites (including weaker signals & not just the strong ones handled by the 201 & 301) may
actually result in less accurancy in good conditions. The new chip set may also be more sensitive to reflected signals off building.

4. The barometic altimeter on the Edge 305 (not available on the Forerunner models) works well
and accurately profiles even very modest hills. The optional display for elevation gained gives a nice metric for comparing the difficulty of runs and rides.

5. Garmin claims to have an improved heart rate monitor in the 305 models. I’ve found the chest
strap to be adequately comfortable and the monitor to function as expected so far.

Preliminary Recommendations. If most of your runs are in open terrain and you don't mind wearing the older Forerunner on your arm or head (better), then you don't need the new 205 or 305.

If you want to be able to see the display while running and/or regularly run the trails, then you will be much happier with the new Forerunner 205 or 305.

If you want accurate elevation profiles, then get the Edge 305 with the barometric altimeter. The Edge can be worn on the wrist or arm by carrying it in an iPod holster. I got one from Road Runner Sports that is a good fit. The holster has a clear plastic window that lets me see the display and buttons on the front of the Edge.
Mark, like many things there are always added costs, but it does include the software that you need.

As with an Garmin mapping GPS you need to purchase their proprietary maps and if you use your Garmin in different parts of the world you will want more than one. I use the Topo Canada maps which came on 4 CDs and covers the entire country based mostly on 1:50,000 topo maps with all additional road and other features added. My nephew has the US topo series, but it is an older version and doesn't have the road routing capability that the Topo Canada does. The new US road series has routing, but not the topo feaures. In other words you need to careful and know what you are buying.

When I was looking for the best deal to buy my 60CS I found the best price on, but the shipping to Canada made it more expensive than which ships from Canada through also had the best price for maps.

I also purchased a car mounting bracket and a bike mounting kit, both of which I use and find very effective. The car kit comes with two sticky disks (permantent and temporary), but don't purchase additional ones as double-sided tape works well and is easy to remove.

Kevin, thanks for the information on the 305. I have a Forerunner 201 and was wondering if the new technology really made any difference, especially in the woods. I look forward to hearing more when you have collected more data. I wonder if Garmin will be adding this new technology to their other devices.

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