Satmap - gps personal experiences

Have been playing with one of these for several weeks now and offer the following personal experience of this handy toy

Basically this is a GPS Unit which fits comfortably into the palm of ones hand being a similar size to several PDAs on the market. Operation is via 4 simple toggle buttons which navigate you through the menu system and one joystick which performs a similar function. The unit comes with pre-loaded street level mapping. Additional Ordnance Survey mapping, 1:50,000 / 1:25,000 scales are available on separate SD Cards at additional cost.

I took the unit on 2 different trips. The first to the Lake District, loaded with the National Park Premium mapping, around the Fairfield Horseshoe. My first impression wss the unit was slow to lock on to a satellite signal taking somwehere in the region of 3 / 5 minutes to obtain a position fix. Once locked onto the satellites re-location from a cold start was very quick indeed. The unit did give a precise location fix and the indication on the mapping was accurate, apart from showing me some 10 meters away from the summit of Fairfield when we were actually on the summit.

The second trip was to Pendle and using 1:50,000 mapping. Accurate readings within the limitations of the mapping were obtained at all times.

Both the Garmin Fortrex 101 and the Satmap did give similar position fixes, apart from the Fairfield glitch, at all times.

It is said that the unit is fully waterproof. Two concerns here. The first being the SD Card door which, with use, may cease to provide an adquate watertight seal and the second the renewable screen protector which again may loose its seal with use.

Overall very impressed with the unit although I must say I do prefer the Garmin wrist unit. It is not a navigation instrument but more of a navigation aid and is no substitute for map and compass and associated skills.

Drawbacks. Obviously the price coming in at around £300 depending on where you purchase one from. Mapping varies in price again depending on what level and type of mapping you wish to use. OS Nationl Park Premium SD Cards are in the range of £100 with OS County level 1:50,000 being around £30. Weight is another downside as it does weigh considerably more than some other hand-held units. Screen flicker is also an issue. No vehicle mounts available from manufacturer (but it was not designed for this purpose)

Good Points. Ease of use and nice large, easy to read screen. Lots of accessories including power options and bike mounts. Ability to plan routes from its mapping and to see profiles of the route.

Anyone else used one of these as your experiences would be most interesting. I still prefer my ancient 1:63,360 OS Maps on Cloth.

Full details can be found on the Satmap web site.

Wonder what Garmin will bring out ? Look forward to that. Will be testing the Road Angel Adventurer shortly and will let you know the findings