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Garmin Dakota review | Maps & GPS signal

Published on: Sunday, September 12th 2010                   Written by: Wim de Lange - Photography by: Mark Peters

Garmin Dakota 20 maps

Garmin Dakota 20 maps

Garmin Dakota basic world map

The Dakota 20 also includes a basic world map. Due to the short amount of time we had before departure, there was no detailed map available for South Africa, so we had to make do with the World Wide Base map. There was no street information or POI of the area. Still, I was surprised by the standard information present. Not only the highways are indicated, but also many other roads and relatively small towns. They do have to be of regional importance. Of course we can add more map material. There will be few users that cannot find suitable map material. Navigating the car to a beautiful hiking area and then switching to a topographical map is no problem.

Garmin Dakota GPS signal

Garmin Dakota GPS signal

Accuracy and sensitivity

The GPS sensitivity is similar to other devices that I have tested. There was even enough signal in the city. It is a bit strange that this differs from the Base map. This is probably due to the less detailed maps and you can actually expect that of a compact map that encompasses the whole world. The indicator was sometimes half a mile off, while the device gave an accuracy of 22 feet. We can see the track of the Dakota in Google Earth on the display, and then it is correct. The base map is not really the right material to go out and about with, but it does give a reasonable impression of the location of roads and places.

 

Garmin Dakota track in Google Earth

Garmin Dakota review

 

Garmin Dakota GPS receiver

Garmin Dakota GPS receiver

Garmin Dakota 20 HotFix

On the flight back I tried to see if I could get a signal near the airplane window. There were three satellites visible, but that was not enough. Back at home from South Africa I had another good look after turning the device on. The Dakota still “thought” it was in the southern hemisphere. After 1 minute, satellite 22 became active, which was also visible there. After about 3 minutes the whole satellite image jumped. Number 22 shifted from north to south on the screen, the device “knew” where it was again. When we don’t make such huge changes of location, getting enough signal only takes a matter of seconds. That is truly a HotFix.

Garmin Dakota Geocaching

Garmin Dakota Geocaching

Geocaching with the Garmin Dakota 20

We run into people that are busy looking for treasure by GPS in more and more places. I suspect that this group will certainly see the Dakota as a desirable tool. We can go out without carrying any paper. The device can be connected to the computer via USB, and then caches can be loaded onto the memory directly. We then can obtain information about the degree of difficulty, terrain, cache-size, trackables, maker and coordinates. There is also a description present. Rainy weather can no longer be an argument to stay at home, as no paper will get wet. The Garmin Dakota 20 has no Wherigo-application, but with the small supply for the Netherlands, that is not a big problem.

 

Garmin Dakota navigates us to the Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa

Garmin Dakota review

 

Waypoint at Blaauwklippen, Cape Town

Waypoint at Blaauwklippen, Cape Town

On the go to Cape of Good Hope

On the go to Cape of Good Hope

 

Cape of Good Hope - most south-western point of Africa

Garmin Dakota review

 
 
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