is the benchmark of quality and performance in the GPS Navigation
market. The company, which started out in 1989, manufactures and
markets navigation equipment aimed at serving the aviation, marine,
automotive, wireless, OEM and general recreation application markets
This review focuses on the new GPSMAP 60Cx,
a unit that uses the superiorly sensitive SiRFStarIII Chipset, which is
incredibly accurate. The new Garmin also introduces an external storage
64MB microSD memory card.
In this first of two parts we will
look at the basics of the Garmin GPSMAP 60Cx. This will be followed up
by a detailed testing report that will be written after my 7-day
wilderness trip this September where the Garmin will be put through the
is so much to one of these units that I hardly know where to start.
First, the 60Cx measures 2.4" wide x 6.1" high x 1.3 deep and weighs in
at 7.5 ounces with batteries installed. The 256-color transflective TFT
(thin film transistor) display (160x240 pixels) measures 1.5 inches
wide by 2.2 inches high. Transflective is a term meaning a cross
between transmissive and reflective. This translates into a display
that can be viewed in bright lighting because it is reflective or in
dim lighting with a backlight. The display and keypad are backlit with
an LED. The unit is powered by two AA alkaline batteries, which keep
the unit running for an advertised 18 hours.
12-channel, Wide-Area Augmentation System (WAAS) capable, receiver by
SiRF Technology and a built-in Quad Helix antenna work together to
continuously track and update the unit's location. Advertised
acquisition times are less than 1 second when warm, less than 38
seconds when cold and less than 45 seconds using AutoLocate. The update
rate is 1 X per second, continuous. The GPS has a position accuracy of
less than 10 meters (33 feet), 95% typical and a velocity accuracy of
.05-meter/ second steady state. The quad helix receiving-antenna comes
with an external antenna connection (MCX).
In terms of
navigation the Garmin GPSMAP 60Cx offers 1000 waypoint/icons with name
and graphic symbol, 50 reversible routes with up to 250 points each,
10,000 point automatic track log, which includes 20 saved tracks with
500 points each that allows the user to retrace their path in both
directions. There is also a trip computer that reads out current speed,
average speed, re-settable max speed, trip timer and trip distance. A
set of alarms can be set for anchor drag, approach and arrival,
off-course, proximity waypoint, shallow water and deep water. There are
built-in celestial tables for best times to hunt and fish and also sun
and moonrise. Map datums are a complicated topic and too involved for
this format, however, I will report that Garmin advertises more than
100 plus user datum. Position formats include Lat/Lon, UTM/UPS,
Maidenhead, MGRS, Loran TDs and others.
There are five main
pages that provide information for basic navigation, the satellite
page, trip computer page, map page, compass page and main menu page. At
the top of each page is a status bar that indicates the type of power
being used (battery or auxiliary), satellite signal status, backlight
icon and USB cable connection icon. When showing the battery-powered
icon it will give a status on the amount of battery power still
remaining. Satellite signal strength will show up in one of three
modes, blank if it is still searching for satellites, a 2D fix if up to
three satellites have been acquired and a 3D fix if four or more
satellites have been locked. To switch between pages simply push the
button marked "page". The satellite page lists the satellites that have
been acquired in two ways. First, at the bottom of the display each
satellite's signal strength is indicated in bar graph form. Second, a
sky view array of the satellites overhead appears in the middle of the
screen. Each satellite is shown on the sky view at their location in
the sky. Acquired satellites appear in a dark blue icon while
un-acquired satellite icons are grayed out. The sky view has two
circles, the outer represents the horizon and the inner represents a
location 45 degrees from the horizon. North, South, East and West are
also marked on the sky view. Another feature of the sky page is a
position bug, which indicates the user's direction of travel.
trip computer page can be customized to provide the navigation/
information the user requires. The choices for data fields are:
" Accuracy of GPS " Bearing " Course " Depth " Distance to Destination " Distance to Next " ETA at Destination " ETA at Next " Elevation " Glide Ratio " Glide Ratio to Destination " Heading " Odometer " Off Course " Pointer " Speed " Speed - Maximum " Speed - Moving Average " Speed - Overall Average " Sunrise " Sunset " Time of Destination " Time to Next " Time of Day " To Course " Trip Odometer " Trip Time - Moving " Trip Time - Stopped " Trip Time - Total " Turn " Velocity Made Good " Vertical Speed " Vertical Speed to Destination " Water Speed " Water Temperature " Waypoint at Destination " Waypoint at Next
reason I list all of these is so that you can see what the trip
computer has to offer. Many of the users I have spoken with never
change it from the factory settings and are missing out on a truly
The map page displays a map of the area around
the user's position. The IN and OUT buttons change the magnification,
field of view, and detail seen on the map page. The number of data
fields shown on the map screen can be chosen from none (map only) to
four with all the same data field choices as on the trip computer page.
There are two operating modes within the map page, position mode and
pan mode. The position mode keeps your location within the display
while you are still or moving. The pan mode is activated when you hit
the rocker button in any direction. A white arrow appears and moves to
wherever you guide it - the screen moving with it. With the white arrow
you can pan around the map and highlight and identify items. The
purchased unit includes a 64 MB microSD memory card that can be used to
load additional MapSource data. This data can be downloaded from
Garmin's MapSource CD-ROMs or additional cards can be purchased from
Garmin preloaded. The card is located in the battery compartment
Included is a built-in Americas autorout basemap with automatic routing
capabilities, including highways, exits and tide data (U.S. Only). The
internal memory chip is preloaded with a marine point database. Also
available with the GPSMAP 60Cx are MapSource data disks and additional
BlueChart data. MapSource disks allow the user to view listings of
nearby restaurants, lodging, shopping centers, attractions and
entertainment. Phone numbers and addresses can be retrieved for each.
With the BlueChart data information can be accessed on marine navaids,
wrecks, obstructions and anchorage locations. The map page can be
oriented like a paper map with North Up or with Track Up, which orients
the map in the direction of travel. A map setup page permits
customization with options such as detail level, orientation as
mentioned above, tracks detail/settings, points detail, text size,
marine colors and many more. While on the map page the user can set
waypoints. A waypoint is basically a marker that pinpoints a particular
location. This marker can be set at the location that the user
currently occupies or at another location pinpointed by the pan mode
white arrow location. Waypoints can be stored, located and navigated
to. Software, Trip and Waypoint Manager, is included with every GPSMAP
The compass page guides the user to a
destination with a graphic compass display and bearing pointer. Either
three or four data fields can be displayed at the top of the screen.
Again, the options for these data fields are the same as those
available in the other pages. Choosing either the Bearing Pointer or
the Course Pointer shows the direction of the user's travel and
direction of the destination. Many options appear in the menu section
of the map page including stop navigation, recalculate, course/bearing
pointer and data fields. The compass page also has a feature that will
tell the user if they are off course, and if so, how to get back on
The main menu page is loaded with options including
Tracks, Routs, Highway, Setup, Proximity, Calendar, Calculator,
Stopwatch, Sun&Moon, Hunt&Fish and even Games. Time and Date
are shown at the bottom of this page.
The Tracks Page keeps a running tab of track memory used and a list
of saved tracks. This page is also used to set up, clear or save a
track log. It is also used to activate the TracBack feature (digital
breadcrumbs) for the current track log.
With the Routes Page a
user can create a route to a destination. This route is created by a
sequence of intermediate waypoints that lead to a final destination.
Routes can be in a straight line, along existing roadways or via user
While navigating a route the Highway Page
Guides the user to a destination using data fields and a gr4aphic
highway. Four selectable data fields can be displayed at the top of the
screen. The highway graphic visually guides from one point to the next.
The Setup Page has individual icons that can be selected to change items such as time, units, tones, routing and many more.
Proximity Waypoints allow an alarm circle to be set up around waypoints. This can help the user avoid restricted areas.
The calendar, calculator, games and stopwatch pages are self-explanatory.
Sun and Moon Page shows the graphic location of the sun and moon
relative to the earth. This page also shows sunrise, sunset, moonrise,
and moonset. The movement of the sun and moon can be animated as well.
and fishing tables utilized by the Hunt and Fish Page predict the best
times for these activities in list form and also gives an overall
prediction for that day (poor, average, good).
Like I said
before - these units have so much detail and features that it is almost
impossible to explain them all in anything other than a small book! The
good news is that it doesn't take much to figure out the features that
are absolutely necessary to make good use of the unit. I have been
using it effectively from the second or third day that I had it, which
was many months ago now, but I still have much to learn. Figure out
what you need to get out of it what you need and then learn the rest at
your own pace.
To this date my testing has been comprised of
hiking trips, mountain biking outings and turkey hunting. During turkey
hunting I used it to mark located birds making it super easy to hone in
on bird after bird once the season finally got underway. It almost felt
like cheating! During mountain bike and hiking trips I ventured where I
had never gone before and explored remote areas with confidence. With
the unit in your hand you always know where you are and where you need
to go to get back to civilization whether it be by a new route or the
exact same tracks you got there on.
The real testing will take
place during my remote, unguided hunting trip in the wilderness of
Idaho this September. Yes - I will be taking the manual! When I return
from that trip Part II of this report will be written and posted right
here on Bowhunting.Net - STAY TUNED…