Garmin GPSMAP 62SC

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Software version I have installed is 4.90, current as of 2015-Aug-22.

Why this one

I tried a couple touch screen models, the Oregon 300 and 450. For a GPS I prefer having buttons. Reliability and visibility are high priorities for me and the 62SC screen and buttons are better.

Ironically the "Oregon" touch screen does not work when it gets wet. When I lived in Oregon, hiking was my #1 outdoor activity and I often hiked in the rain. My GPS controls and screen have to work all the time, even in rain.

I also prefer the more compact fits-in-my-hand feel of the smaller receivers.

I chose a Garmin over another DeLorme this time because I like making maps and there are lots of mapping options for the Garmin. I was also tired of the teensy fonts on my DeLorme PN-40; I think they have fixed that.

The DeLorme mapping software does not work very well for me. To wit, it does not run in a virtual machine, and I hate having to boot my Mac into Windows just to look at a map.

I have used the 62SC for over a year now and it is my favorite. I love the built in camera, it is very handy on hikes.

On yer bike

I used to use my eTrex on bikes because it was smaller than the 62SC. In a fit of house cleaning I sold the eTrex so now I use the 62 as my bicycle GPS. I have ANT+ cadence sensors on my Specialized and Slipstream bikes. I carry a Tempe temperature sensor. I wear a Garmin heart rate monitor strap. The strap came with a dedicated heart rate monitor wrist watch but works fine with the 62.

When I am wearing the heart rate monitor I find myself watching that number more than cadence.

When I go for a longer ride, I record a track and then upload it to my account at http://ridewithgps.com/ and I can see all the metrics both as numbers and graphically:

  • Cadence
  • Heart rate, including how long I spent in each heart rate zone.
  • Speed
  • Elevation
  • Distance
  • Slope
  • Average watts output

and a lot more. Try it, you'll like it.

Updating firmware

Normally done via Garmin Webupdater or Garmin Express.

I patched firmware using Alex Whiter's program so that I can use JNX files. To patch the firmware download a current copy of the Garmin firmware to a Windows machine, and run the patcher and select the file.

To install JNX patched firmware,

  1. rename the patched GCD file to gupdate.gcd
  2. copy the patched file to the /Garmin folder in the internal flash drive,
  3. eject the Garmin drive(s)
  4. unplug and start the Garmin.

If you did everything right, the Garmin will validate the GCD file then install it. When you view the About screen it should say "Patched Version" at the top.

Automating data transfers

If I ever write a program it should handle photos, track logs, geocaches, and waypoints. In the meantime I will continue using a cobbled together set of processes to accomplish things.

Photo management

I am using ImageCapture on my Mac. I have it set to copy photos to owncloud/Photos/ and then remove them from the 62. That's pretty much all I need for photos.

GPX management

Currently I use Garmin BaseCamp on the Mac to import the GPX log. GPX track management in BaseCamp is acceptable once you get the hang of it. Whenever I hook up the 62, BaseCamp asks me if I want to "create an adventure" and the answer is always "NO". Then I have to manually import the track log file so that I can work with it. I find this slightly annoying. But not too bad.

What an automatic program should do:

  1. Transfer GPX current log from 62 to computer.
  2. Clear log on GPS.
  3. Break the track into appropriate pieces, based on timestamps and jumps.
  4. Transfer the tracks into a geodatabase.

Geocache management

The idea here is to help alleviate the limit of 1000 waypoints by managing the geocache GPX files.

  1. Get current location.
  2. Check geocaching.com for downloadable pocket queries. Get them.
  3. Remove old Geocache files from the 62.
  4. Load the appropriate current cache file

Design

Dashboard with summaries:

  1. # of pictures on 62
  2. summary of track / waypoint info
  3. geocache info summary

Click on one of the three buttons to bring up the section

Photos Scrollable window containing thumbnails, click on image to select it, hover to see details. "Select All" button Upload selected button Delete all from camera button

Tracks Upload and delete

Geocaches

Can I see a list of recently found geocaches and use that with geocaching.com somehow?

Serial port access

I read an article "Public Service APRS with the Garmin Montana" that made me very curious about what I could do to link the 62SC with my new Kenwood D710. The article (and VE6AB's website) did not give any details.

So far I have found this promising posting: http://mikew.org/?p=282 "The GPSMap 62s can be paired with an appropriate amateur radio for full APRS functionality."

Information on the Garmin interface is here: http://www.gpsinformation.org/dale/interface.htm

It should be possible to send a waypoint in NMEA format and have it immediately appear on the 62's screen. Sending a waypoint with the same name causes the position to be updated.

Settings

System: GPS: WAAS/EGNOS
System: Battery NiMh
Map: 2 data fields
Tracks: Auto archive daily
Tracks: Record position every 15 seconds
Camera: set resolution to 5MP
Camera: set to put photos on Data card
Page sequence: Map, Trip computer, Main menu, Geocaches, Track manager, Camera

Maps

7/2016

I bought the City Navigator with Lifetime option but it is not worth it. Use OpenStreetMap instead. Setting up City Nav required a customer support call to get it functioning, and then I lost everything and shed more tears getting it back.

When I was going for a bike ride I accidentally did a factory reset (it's the next item down from "clear all track data") and all my maps disappeared; the files were still there but I was no longer able to see them.

I had to jump through hoops to get maps again! I tried every combination I could think of to use Garmin Express and Garmin Map Install, putting files onto the SD card (GARMIN_DATA). I was trying to install there because Map Install said the maps would not fit internally. Then I tried selecting small sections from each map and got it down small enough to fit everything into the internal space. The maps went in and next the 62 is hung up at the "loading maps" page. I could not even power it off. Pulling the batteries... trying again... nothing... Got it to load by pulling the SD card out.

I ended up pulling the 32GB SD card (which is wasted if I can't store maps on it) and putting in a 1GB card instead. (What else can I do with a 1GB card these days?)

The velomap and openmtbmap site has OSM based maps with contours. The contours look like they are 1:250K so relatively useless. Use a free version of OpenStreetMap. This one is good: http://www.gmaptool.eu/en/content/usa-osm-topo-routable

For hiking consider using the Garmin 1:24K topo, it is pretty good. Go to http://www.GPSFileDepot.com and get the trail data to go with it. The topo 24k trails are outdated. The Pacific Northwest trails from GPSFileDepot is very good. For California, not so good. But OpenStreetMap is reasonably good.

Maps I keep installed on the 62 (internal not SD):

  • City Navigator 2017 (lifetime)
  • OpenStreetMap, the OSM Topo USA version, as an alternative to City Nav
  • OpenMTBMap (will get rid of this, the OSM Topo USA is better)
  • catopo11
  • ortopo11

Orthophotos

Garmin;s "Birds Eye" service is too much work; you have to select photos online and transfer them and the utility is dubious, especially on the small screen of the 62.

I am currently trying to get the orthos I converted to KMZ format to load on the 62SC. For the conversion process see Garmin Monterra page.

I copied the files to /Volumes/GARMIN/Garmin/CustomMaps. (Note the Garmin "Custom Maps" feature is so limited as to be nearly useless.) They are supposed to work on the SD card too.

History

2015-Aug-25 - patched to unlock JNX files.

Got this one August 10 2012

Took a picture of Julie to try out the camera. Since my house now has a metal roof, the GPS can't see satellites so the photo is not geocoded. If you love GPS, don't get a metal roof!

I installed the Garmin City Navigator NT 2013.1 map and portions of the Garmin Topo 24K West map.

I installed the free Northwest Trails map.

I loaded a GPX file containing Corvallis area geocaches. I took it outside so it could get lock and had it list nearby geocaches.