Garmin GPSmap 60CS

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Garmin GPSmap 60CS

Starting with the features of the 60C, the Garmin GPSmap 60CS adds an electronic compass, and a barometric altimeter. About the only possible way you can get lost with this handheld GPS receiver, is if you let the batteries run down by playing the built-in video games too long. And even that's difficult, because the remaining power level is shown at the top of every screen display.

Installed in the 2.4" W x 6.1" H x 1.3" D, waterproof case of the Garmin GPSmap 60CS, is a general feature basemap. Its details include major roads, cities, rivers, and lakes. Zoom control keys let you change the map scale to see more area or greater detail. And with its 56 MB of internal memory, adding more detailed maps or points of interest data is easy. An PC interface cable is included with the receiver for making the data transfer.

Dedicated keys on the GPSmap 60CS make navigation a matter of choosing options from menus and reading information screens. Pushing the Find key brings up a menu display for finding waypoints, cities, exits, or geocache points. If you've downloaded optional street maps, you can find points of interest, addresses, or intersections. With marine charts, you can get such things as navigation aids, wrecks and obstructions, or ports. The Page/Compass key lets you cycle through the main display pages and/or bring up the Compass Page (displays compass image). The advantage of the electronic compass is that unlike GPS, it can tell what direction you're facing when you're not moving. Using the Menu key, the Main Menu Page is displayed and lets you set preferences for various functions and access route planning features.

Besides the Main Menu and Compass pages, the Garmin GPSmap 60CS has four other main display pages. Your location and path are shown on the Map Page. Signal strength and the position of local GPS satellites is displayed on the Satellite Page. With the Trip Computer Page, you have your choice of showing up to 8 data fields of trip information as selected from list of 37 items. And the Altimeter Page lets you see your altitude and has graphs for elevation over time or distance, or air pressure changes over time. Although GPS can also determine your elevation, the barometric sensor is more accurate and consistent.

Whether you're familiar with GPS navigation or not, using the GPSmap 60CS is simple. You pick a destination and the receiver automatically calculates the route from your present location or from another starting point you select. The route will be drawn on the map and as you move along it, the route line disappears and a dotted line marks your actual path. Even if you're not following a route, the track log records the path you take for possible later reuse. Besides the zoom keys, you can also change the area of map viewed with the pan control. The receiver updates your position every second, so your location on the map is always in real time.

With the adjustable brightness and backlighting, the 256-color LCD screen makes map details and text stand out in sunlight or the dark. The keys of the GPSmap 60CS are backlit too for easy operation at night. With normal usage, the two AA batteries will last about 20 hours, although backlight use will reduce that. By using Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) signals the error in regular GPS position calculations is reduced from under 15 meters to less than 3. The receiver is also Differential GPS (DGPS) ready, which also reduces errors, but requires another receiver to receive the DGPS beacon signals.

Other features of the 7.5 ounce Garmin GPSmap 60CS include memory for 1000 waypoints with name and symbol, 50 reversible routes with up to 250 points, and 20 track logs of 500 points each. It has alarms to warn when dragging an anchor, approaching or arriving at a certain point, and getting off course. With a sonar unit, boaters can also be alerted to shallow or deep water. There are built-in tables which give, for any area and date, the sunrise and set times, moon phases, sun and moon positions, and the best hunting and fishing times. Also built in are a calendar, stopwatch, alarm clock, and calculator.