Friday, December 5, 2008

Is Santa going to bring you a GPS?

Garmin Oregon 400t

We have used GPS receivers since Garmin came out with their GPS III+ and have not taken a long auto or motorcycle trip without one in years. The advances in GPS receiver technology has been astounding, making paper road maps almost obsolete.

Wildland firefighters rely on them for requesting helicopter or air tanker support, for emergency extrication, recording the location of new fires or spot fires on existing fires, measuring the acreage of fires, as well as navigating to a fire.

Garmin has been one of the leaders in GPS receivers, if not THE default supplier of GPS units. The user interface on their newer units has become very intuitive and easy to use.

One particular new Garmin receiver that would be of interest to wildland firefighters and anyone else who spends a lot of time out of doors is the Oregon 400t. It has an amazing suite of features, including:
  • Topo maps for the entire United States.
  • 3-d map view.
  • Shaded base map for the entire world.
  • The maps include national, state and local parks and forests.
  • Swaps waypoints and routes wirelessly with other Garmin units.
  • Electronic compass that works even when you are stationary.
  • Area calculation.
  • Waterproof.

Google product search has a list of sellers of the Oregon 400t, with prices ranging from $439 to $700. Suggested retail price is $600. Walmart sells it for $485.


ffemt said...

Also a good GPS for geocaching since it holds the information about the cache. Although I think I'll stick with my 60csx. It does everything I need. Although if I was looking this would be on my Christmas list.

ForestRanger said...

If it might be used by a field observer (FOBS), you may want to check into its compatibility with the DNR Garmin program that GISSs use for transferring GPS data for fire maps. Some of the newer Garmins, like the Colorado, aren't compatible.

ffemt said...

As of version 5.4.1 (9/22/08) of DNR Garmin the Colorado, Oregon and Nuvi units are compatible.

Bill Gabbert said...

Wow, great comments! Thanks for the info ffemt and ForestRanger.

ForestRanger said...

@ ffemt: That's great news! Sounds like its time for me to upgrade!

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