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Satmap Active 10 review | Geocaching and GPS signal

Published on: Tuesday, November 24th 2009                   Written by: Wim de Lange - Photography by: Mark Peters

Geocaching

Geocaching

Geocaching via SatSync

The topographical map on board of the Satmap is a good tool for geo-caching. The map shows sufficient terrain details so that you will not unexpectedly come across large hindrances. We cannot directly load the device from Geocache.nl with a cache. We need to download the data to a pc first, and then upload it to the Active 10 via SatSync. Unfortunately, the device is only able to display simple text. More enhanced POI, GPX or MAP files freeze the Satmap and it's not until you delete the file that the Satmap starts working again. The use of the hand setting on the compass page comes in very handy. We can view in one glance the direction in which we should keep going, and how much distance there is left to go.

Placing Waypoints

Placing Waypoints

Input GPS coordinates

Extremely handy on this device, is entering the GPS coordinates. It requires accessing the Route menu, which seems a bit of a strange place, as you'd expect it in the POI menu. Inside the Route menu, you have to select: "Go to - Coordinates". This makes a screen appear, at which figures can be easily inserted by the joystick. It's even easier if we move the cursor across the map in Planning mode, using the joystick. The coordinates are displayed and move along in a window, and by using the zoom function, we can place a waypoint to almost one meter precisely. In combination with the text editor of the POI menu, we can then simply add a name tag to that point.

 

Satmap Active 10 GPS device

Satmap Active 10 GPS device

Lack of useful points; in other words: no POI

We are familiar with the ease of POI, the useful markers on all kinds of GPS devices currently on the market. The ease of quickly searching the closest bar during a strenuous walk, or in case of an emergency, have information at hand about the emergency services in the area. None of this is included in the Satmap. It has to be added by the user. Naturally, GPX files can be collected from the internet, but what applies to the downloading caches applies here too. If there is just one odd sign or advertisement in the file, the device freezes completely. I do not fully understand why the maps do not contain POI. If you offer the information only as a text file, it will not take up much storage space.

Handheld device with strong GPS signal

Handheld device with strong GPS signal

Sensitivity of GPS signal

If the Satmap managed to surprise me on one thing, it would be the sensitivity for the GPS signal. The average startup time is a tad longer than I am used to from similar devices, however, once the signal is fixed, it has a very high accuracy. And it is steadier. During a city walk through the old town of Aachen, the average deviation was 5-6 meters, even if I went through relatively narrow streets. During a bus ride, I was seated about 1.5 meters from the large front window. To my surprise, I found an accuracy of 13-14 meters. If the device has enough time to get a good fix, then it will come up with excellent values.

 

Satmap GPS software

T o enable communication between the Satmap and a PC, a program called SatSYNC is used. This can be downloaded free of charge and is easy to install. You have to turn on the device prior to connecting it, in order to establish contact with the software. If you do it this way, you will not encounter too many problems. It's quite easy to manage files. There is even direct contact with the internet. Something I do miss here, which I was could not find on the Active 10 itself either, is information about the built-in memory. All I could find is the RAM memory of 128MB, but I could not find out if it is possible to store more cards on the device.

Satmap Active 10 review

 

Satmap navigation with USB connection

Satmap navigation with USB connection

Satmap GPS memory

Satmap GPS memory

 
 
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