In between a bare-bones plotter, which has only the reference points you create,
and a GPS receiver with an electronic map, is the Garmin eTrex Venture. Even if you
love the wilderness, you'll probably want to return to civilization. And the
Venture can direct you to cities, restaurants, hotels, and points of interest
stored in it's memory.
Built into the Garmin eTrex Venture is a worldwide database of cities with a
population of 200,000 or more. In addition, it has 1 MB of internal memory for
storing data from the optional MapSource Points of Interest CD. The CD has
points for interest for land or water use and includes such things as ATMs, movie theaters,
and hospitals, listing their names and addresses. On the water it can show you
buoys, lights, and obstructions, among other marine points of interest. The data is transferred from a
PC to the Venture using the interface cable provided.
Contained within its waterproof, translucent green case, is a 12-channel GPS
receiver. The eTrex Venture is Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) capable to
provide accuracy to within three meters. It's also ready to accept correction
information from a Differential GPS (DGPS) beacon receiver. With DGPS, position
errors are within one to five meters.
Five display screens are used for the main functions of the Garmin eTrex Venture.
For keeping an eye on the GPS satellites being tracked, there's the Satellite Page.
This screen view has an image of the satellites' location and their relative
signal strength. Your location coordinates, elevation, and an estimate of position
calculation accuracy is shown numerically.
Navigation information is found on the Map, Navigation, and Trip Computer Pages.
The Map Page shows your location, the area points of interest, the route to your
destination, and the map scale. As you move towards your destination, the route
line is replaced by your actual path and saved by the track log. With its zoom and
pan controls, you can change the map scale and area viewed, to get the perspective
you want. The eTrex Venture gives you three ways to reach your destination. For
a straight line path to the destination, the Goto method is used. The Track method
uses a previous path from the track log, going in either direction. And the route
method is for trips which combine several intermediate destinations.
For finding the direction to your destination, the Garmin eTrex Venture has
the Navigation Page. It shows the name of your destination, the distance and estimated
time to arrival, and a compass image with your heading and the destination's bearing.
At the bottom of the screen are two data fields which display navigation items
of your choice, such as elevation and total distance traveled. The Map Page also has two
optional data fields for information you choose. And the Trip Computer Page displays
only the data you select, with space for up to eight items.
The fifth main page of the eTrex Venture is the Main Menu Page. From this display
you can access the functions for marking and creating new waypoints, finding cities
in the database or installed points of interest, create routes, set options, and
use the accessories (a calendar, an area calculator, and sun, moon, hunting, and
fishing data). Also displayed on the page is the time, date, and approximate remaining
Including its two AA batteries, the Garmin eTrex Venture weighs only 5.3 ounces
and measures 2.0" W x 4.4" H x 1.2" D. The grayscale LCD screen has adjustable
contrast to handle changing light conditions. And it's also backlit for use in
darkness. The batteries will last up to 20 hours of use and to avoid unnecessary
battery drain, there's a backlight shutoff timer. The timer turns off the backlight
after a period you select from 15 seconds to 2 minutes.