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Thread: A Good GPS for GIS

  1. #1
    Christopher Crabtree
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Answers Provided


    Default A Good GPS for GIS

    Hello all! This is my first post on these forums and I'm sure it will not be my last,

    I work for an E-911 center and have just started taking GIS classes at my local community college.
    At our school we use an older Garmin Etrex (yellow in color) which doesn’t seem to be all that accurate,
    I have been using my cell phone (droid) and using a GPS application on it to record points as well and it seems like all my points on my phone are more accurate than the points coming from my GPS, and it seems a lot easier to load
    my points into arc using my phone than using my GPS since there is an extension in the toolbox that takes maybe 2 minutes to convert the points to a shape file.

    My first question is, I’m still wanting to get a GPS to use when the cell phone doesn’t pick up good, I have looked around at a lot of different models and can’t really determine which to be good for me. I want decent accuracy; I would like the GPS point to be within 20 to 30 yards of where I am, so I don’t really know if that’s good or bad? Lol but, what would be an all-around good GPS for GIS and just outdoor activities?

    My second question, are there any GPS units, besides the ones that cost $500+, that will allow me to load arc files onto it? Such as shape files and base maps for the purpose of looking at the base map and comparing my location on the GPS to where I am at in real life?

    The reason I mention I work in E-911 is, one of the reasons for asking the questions is, I’m currently trying to help our 911 center and our outdated map by going out and collecting points of good locations for landing zones, this purpose is to help rescue responders determine the closest landing zones in emergency situations, for hikers and horse riders in our county who have accidents.

    Thanks in advance for all your help!

  2. #2
    Paul Doherty
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Answers Provided


    Default Re: A Good GPS for GIS

    Dear CrabTreeCJ -

    Wildland Firefighters continue to use a variety of Garmin models, including the Garmin 60Csx.

    Here are a couple of quick pointers.

    - Any GPS or smartphone that creates .gpx files can be added to your ArcGIS project using this add-in ArcGIS - GPX file importer for ArcMap
    - For viewing, .gpx files are also supported by ArcGIS Online in web maps and look for more .gpx support in future ArcGIS for Desktop releases.
    - Here is a link to a group that discusses GPS use in the field for Search and Rescue and they may have more insight on specific GPS models (see this blog for more information http://bit.ly/s25ePy) on the SARGIS group) and their accuracy.

    I hope this helps!

    - Paul
    Paul Doherty | Public Safety Technology Specialist
    pdoherty@esri.com | USNG 11SMT8196368376

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