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Old Forums - Dec. 2003 and Earlier: Old Forums - Dec. 2003 and Earlier: General Discussion: USMC in Iraq

      Old Forum User
Original Message
(Posted Mar 28, 2003 6:15 PM)
thread closed

My USMC son in law has written asking for a handheld GPS. He's currently somewhere in Iraq. I want to send him one ASAP that has the best map/maps avail for Iraq. I have almost no knowledge in this area and would like any advice avail. Is there a company I could call and say, this is what I need, send it....Thanks in advance...Vern Olson

Replies 1 - 4 of 4

      Old Forum User
If we had Iraqi maps, I hope that they would be so
(msg #n/a: Posted Mar 31, 2003 10:16 AM)

Unfortunately, we do not offer any maps (land or marine) for Iraq.

Best wishes to your son and all members of the USMC.


-Ed Lecuyer

Manager, Quality Assurance and Technical Support


      Old Forum User
Consider a Garmin eTrex Legend and WorldMap
(msg #n/a: Posted Apr 1, 2003 6:50 PM)

You mention that your USMC son wants a handheld. This probably means he wants something SMALL and LIGHT. He might not actually need to have maps (was that your idea?), but if he needs them, he probably needs the map downloaded to the GPS. Garmin makes more handheld GPSs than anyone, by far (I think), and their own proprietary program (MapSource comes with their map CDs) is the only one that can download maps to them. There are people who have figured out how to trick Garmin's software into downloading non-garmin maps, but that technology has a long way to go.

Conclusion: consider getting a Garmin eTrex GPS and the Garmin WorldMap MapSource CD. That CD isn't very detailed, but it's the best Iraq map that can be downloaded onto the GPS. If he has access to a computer in base camp, get him an eTrex Legend, which has enough memory to store quite a large area (maybe all of Iraq, but I doubt it). If he can't get to a computer once in a while, then get the eTrex Vista, which has much more memory, but costs another hundred dollars, and download the Iraq data from the CD, yourself (or with your local guru). The plain eTrex (with no extra name) and some of the other named eTrexs, can't download maps, so make sure you get one that can.

You should be able to find these items in a local sporting goods or marine store, but if you can't, then go online to a vendor you trust, such as Amazon.com, and have them overnight it to you.

Possibly a nicer long-term solution might be to get a color PDA, a GPS that attaches to it, and some mapping program and maps for PDAs, but that would be much more expensive and much more difficult to put together and learn.

A final thought is that your son might have access to Government programs that can download to some specific GPS, in which case you might want to ask him what he wants.

Good luck


      Old Forum User
Another GPS Maker
(msg #n/a: Posted Apr 3, 2003 4:02 PM)

Above, I mentioned only Garmin GPSs, but to be fair, here are the comparabloe Magellan models (the only other make that I would be considering):

Compare the eTrex Legend to Magellan's SporTrak Map.

Compare the eTrex Vista to Magellan's SporTrak Pro.

Compare Garmin's MapSource World Map CD to Magellan's MapSend WorldWide CD.

The Magellan GPSs are a little less expensive than the Garmins I'm comparing them with, have somewhat more memory, are a little heavier, but have larger displays, but their displays have less than half the screen resolution (pixel count) of the Garmins. For more info, you can compare them on REI.com, or on their own web sites (garmin.com & magellangps.com).

Magellan also has models that can take external memory cards to greatly increase the size of map area that can be stored, as well as a model with a color display. Color can greatly increase visibility, though this unit has the same low screen resolution as Magellan's greyscale models.

External programs, such as MapTech, can read the position from all of these units, and can download waypoints and routes to the Garmins, but I'm not sure about the Magellans. MapTech's Chart Navigator program doesn't list the two Magellan models I mention, but do list the more expensive Meridian models I referred to without detailing. However the fact that they only list NMEA communication modes for those models makes me doubt whether they can download waypoints and routes to them. Maybe the MapTech person who reviews this can say.

Afraid I can't compare the world map CDs, but I expect they're similar. You can see the level of detail for Garmin MapSource World Map on Garmins web site (to look at Iraq, just click in the upper right of the map that comes up, then be sure to zoom in on some area to see how much more detail appears).

Anyway, all units mentioned can display in the military grid reference system (MGRS), as well as the more common position systems such as latitude/longitude. They also all have WAAS, which can significantly improve accuracy once he gets home (the only two WAAS satellites are positioned to be visible from the coast of the USA, one for the East Coast and the other for the West.


      Old Forum User
SporTrak Does work with MapTech Software
(msg #n/a: Posted Apr 3, 2003 4:36 PM)

Looking at Terain Navigator on this web site, I see that MapTech's GPS list shows the SporTrack Pro has been reported to work with their software, when Megallan Tracker is selected on their menu, and the more expensive Meridian models are on the menu. Since data can be downloaded and uploaded to the SporTrack Pro, it's an excellent bet that it works the same with the SporTrack Map (and even the plain SporTrack).


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