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Sportfish1850

GPS Software & Maps

Question

Sportfish1850

Hey guys:

I'm new to the world of GPS and am about to make my first purchase of a unit primarily for use in the boat, but also for occasional use in the car. I'm willing to drop as much as $500 on the unit but ofcourse if I can get away with spending less that more I can invest in my new rod/reel and tackle for this season.

I've been reading most of the posts on GPS units and most of the discussions seem to focus on the hardware aspects.

I'd like to base my decision on purchasing the GPS a little more on knowing what are the best source of lake maps the GPS units can utilize. Afterall, its not going to do me much good if I have a real nice unit but it displays inaccurate lake data.

It seems the battle is between 1) The Fishing Hotspots CD, 2) The Navionics plug and play cards, and 3) Lake Master CD/cards. I've also seen that some of the products support a map making software you can use yourself ...I think its called MapSource.

How do you guys rank these products in terms of accuracy, variety of lakes included in the data, and ease of use.

What brand of GPS uses the data source you recommend? Are there any GPS units that can make use of more than one source of input data ??

Thanks for helping me make this decision. Its a confusing world of GPS technology out there for a newbie in the GPS market. Every salesman at the show seemed to like a different unit and different data source.

Now I'm seeking input from the guys that use these things in the real world and not from somebody who makes more commision by selling one product over another.

Thanks for any information you provide that will ease my confusion and anxiety about making a bad decision on this piece of equipment.

Kevin

[Note from Rick: For more info go to:
http://Minnesota-lake-maps.com ]

[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 03-19-2004).]

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yellowsubmarine

I just got a Garmin GPS Map 76 a couple weeks back. I'm very happy with the unit. I've been doing some of the same research on software. I was told at the time I bought it the only software that would work in it was the mapsource, who also makes the fishing hot spots maps. After reading into more on Garmins website, you'll find the Lakemaster software is also now available for the vast majority of the Garmin units.

Take a close look at the lakes listed in the software for all the units you are considering. I don't remember the name of the stuff that works with the Lowrance units, but it had quite a few more lakes that the hot spots version. It was however missing some that I thought should be there, like Lake of the Woods, etc...

Hope this helps a little.

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WaveWacker

I've been using the Lakemaster software for a couple of years now and have found the maps to be extremely accurate with my GPS/sonar unit in the boat. This is especially true with their Reel Bottom and Pro Map series maps.

I run a Lowrance LXC15-MT in the boat (probably not that compatable with use in a car due to size). I believe that Lakemaster has a list of various manufactures and units on the web that are very compatible with their software.

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Sportfish1850

Thanks for the reply wavewacker and yellowsubmarine !!

I am considering the Garmin gpsmap76s myself. That would mean my primary fishing data sources are Fishing hotspots and Lakemaster.

I've read that the fishing hotspots allows you to load the lake into your GPS unit while the lakemaster software only allows you to load the waypoints for a lake into the unit....is this true ? If so I'm confused as to how the waypoints alone are sufficient. Remember I am a GPS rookie so please excuse what may seem like a simple question to those of you that have lots of GPS experience. But does lakemaster overlay its waypoints on the existing BaseMap map of the lake or does it make a completely seperate route for those waypoints without background geography (like a chart plotter) and you just navigate to the waypoints ?

I think I would prefer to see some of the geographic features of the lake in the background in addition to recommended waypoints.

It would help if someone could explain how both stand alone waypoints of a lake vs a map of a lake function.

Thanks guys for the help....the fog is lifting for me.

------------------
Releasing a large fish today is a down payment on tomorrow's shore lunch.

[This message has been edited by Sportfish1850 (edited 03-18-2004).]

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ScoutII

Lakemaster is a good program. I use it on a lap top with GPS anntena. Seems to be accurate with the lakes I use.

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yellowsubmarine

I think you are correct, lakemaster cannot load the whole map, just the waypoints. the biggest difference in accuracy is the contours. The lakemaster maps have 1 ft countours, the fishing hot spots are either 3 or 5. Your waypoints could be located more precise with the lakemaster, but you'd also have to preload the waypoints for your navigation routes.

I agree, having the hotspots with full map detail in the unit would be much nicer for navigating around the islands on a big lake such as vermillion.

If I remember correctly from you original post you were willing to spend some coin. Maybe buy them both? Some people do to have the benefits that each offer.

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trollingforeyes

I have the Garmin 176C with the Fishing Hot Spots. The data used with this software is taken off the DNR maps that is quite old and not accurate to todays standards . Check the Garmin website and you will see that they are coming out with the Lakemaster series. They have a few lakes in MN right now, but Lake Master told me at the Sportshow that they will be doing alot this year and in 2005 northern Minn. The Garmin 176C (C for color) has memory that is stored on a chip. With this unit you do have to purchase a memory chip in addition to the unit. The larger the memory, the more $$.

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Rick

If you have a Garmin GPS unit, you most likely can load the highly accurate LakeMaster ProMaps onto you unit using the LakeMaster ProMaps Garmin Data card or the LakeMaster ProMaps Mapsource Garmin CD Rom

If you use a Navionics MMC chip it also has the LakeMaster ProMaps right on your GPS unit.

You can get more info on all the above at
http://Minnesota-lake-maps.com

You can also get the highly popular ProMap Series CD ROM as always there.

http://Minnesota-lake-maps.com

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Sportfish1850

Thanks guys for all your info and suggestions. These web pages and the message forums are an awesome resource. I have my GPS choice pretty much made now and I will definitely buy the lakemaster mapping software from this site as soon as Uncle Sam gets my tax refund deposited.

------------------
Releasing a large fish today is a down payment on tomorrow's shore lunch.

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WaveWacker

I think that you made a good choice going with Lakemaster. I've had experience with both software and can say that (in my experience) the Lakemaster is a lot more accurate (especially when you get into the reelbottom and Pro Map series).

I do only have the waypoints listed on my GPS unit. Here is how I use it...I sit at home and mark out all the spots that I want for a lake. I transfer those points into my GPS/sonar unit.

I then print out a map for the lake or parts of the lake and have those laminated. On larger lakes you may end up with a larger base map broken down into different numbers areas. Sub-maps can then be made that are "zoomed in" more and give detail for the specific areas/spots.

I will then review the map, check to see which waypoint on a certain spot I want to go to and lock it into the gps and go. This works out well for me and after a while of fishing the same body of water you memorize which number is for which spots.

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Rick

Just another note,
There is no longer any LakeMaster reelbottom.

It is now either LakeMaster or LakeMaster ProMaps. LakeMaster ProMaps have replaced reelbottom.

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