HIGH QUALITY MAPS FOR YOUR GPS UNIT
~ Captain Paul's response to: ~ Littlewing ~
First, concerning your question.
Google maps are available from the Google server. To access these map images, you need to be connected some way to the internet. This could be by either an internet or cell data phone connection. These Google maps are “raw” U.S. Geological Survey images. They have NOT been corrected to a map datum. They are NOT ortho-images, as a normal USGS topographical or NOAA Marine chart would be. That means that the actual position may not be as shown on the Google images on your call phone as they actually are. In addition, as you move your smart phone simply requests an addition aerial view from the Google map server. In fact you have access to almost all of the surfaces of the earth which are stored in the Google Server. Many outdoor locations do not have internet or cell phone service. Without the connection you will not get any mapping image.
The topographical map you indicated is as you said in 1:100000 scale. If that does not meet your needs, check out the Garmin TOPO U.S. 24K Southeast DVD. These maps are in 1;24000 scale, the same as a standard topo “quad” map. The South east disk covers most of the south east states from Louisiana to Georga and Florida.
The program is listed on the Garmin web site at $149.00. The site allows the user to actually see the map and zoom in of a specific area. This is what you should to see if it meets your needs before you plunk down a yard and a half of your money.
In addition, I believe that the unit can also accept Garmin’s Bird Eye mapping by subscription as a download. The BirdsEye™ Satellite Imagery (subscription required), that lets you download satellite images to your device and integrate them with your maps.
These images, both the Topographical and BirdsEye are loaded onto a data card, which is placed in the GPS unit. That means that is it possible to travel off of the area of coverage in your installed maps. The SD (micro) can only hold so much data as map images. You will NOT be able to install all of the south eastern U.S. in your GPS unit at one time. Yes, with several data cards you can download from the DVD or Computer down load of BirdsEye different areas of coverage.
Normally, you would not “run” off of the topographical maps, but a power boat with a 50 mile range could easily run off of the maps stored on the SD card. A hiker or hunter usually would not have a problem with this situation, because they would not walk out of the area of coverage. The advent of travel by means of power, can easily cause your to out travel the existing maps in your unit.
I suggest that you contact the Garmin Support section at 1-800-800 1020 and be sure that the 1:24000 topo and the BirdsEye programs will run in the GASMAP 60csx unit.
And as you noted the smart phone is not weather and impact protected and it MUST be connected to the Google server to get any map images. The GPS unit, however is made to withstand jostling and hostile weather. Use the GPS unit when out and about.