Delorme Earthmate PN-20 GPS
I purchased the Earthmate PN-20 recently and it is the best gps unit I have ever used. Mind you I haven’t used that many, but still. The main things I like about the PN-20 is its high accuracy and the ability to upload satellite, aerial, topo, and whatever maps I might come across, as long as they are properly formatted, onto it for use in the field. There are 2 different handheld gps units Delorme offers, the PN-20 and the PN-40, I opted for the cheaper of the two and found a great deal on the PN-20 at tigergps.com for around $160, whereas if I had bought it directly from Delorme it would have cost me $200. Still it was kinda pricey but I sold my old gps so I needed a new one preferably with better features than the old and the PN-20 fits the bill.
So far I haven’t Logged that many miles with it, barely 8 miles in fact, but the ease of use has surprised me. It comes with topo 7 software you load on your computer and it allows you to download maps from the Delorme server for a price, fortunately it comes with $140 in free map downloads so hopefully I wont have to pay for downloads for quite some time. I loaded some Satellite and Aerial Maps of Blanchard Mountain near my house and went out there the next day and hiked around the mountain to test the accuracy of the gps and the maps it contains. It tracked my miles as 2.41 but in the parking lot before we left I noticed it had .38 miles already on it. I couldn’t figure out how to clear it soon enough as the people I was with were eager to hit the trail, so I just subtracted that from the final mileage. Also this thing drains batteries like no other, It takes 2 AA batteries, I had put some Energizer Max batteries in it that it came with and they died up at the bat caves. I have yet to try my NiMH 2500 mAh Energizer rechargeable’s in it but hopefully they last a lot longer than the 3 hours I estimate it was on from the time I got it to when it died. I am amazed at the amount of imagery and different map types it can use. I can even upload pictures to it and it will auto-sync the pics up to my tracks and provide me with a good way to figure out exactly where I took that picture of a squirrel or bear.
These are the different map types it can use:
- » USGS 1:24,000 quad maps
- » NOAA nautical charts
- » High-resolution color aerial imagery – U.S. States
- » High-resolution color aerial imagery – Select U.S. Cities
- » Black-and-white aerial imagery
- » 10-meter color satellite imagery
From what I was reading you can upload your own scanned maps and have them work but I have yet to get that to work.
This thing also keeps track alot of other data that my old gps unit didn’t, such as how long I have been moving or stopped, usefull to see where I have to take breaks later on. it keeps track of your current speed, speed max, and speed average along with the usual coords and trip odometer. Elevation of course is a standard feature of most gps units but as this one is loaded with topo maps its a hell of alot more acurate than most road gps’. Another fun feature is the Sun/Moon rise and set, also the tide chart will come in handy when I hike around at the beach. It has alot more data info fields but I cant list them all as this paragraph would be way to large.
I cant rave enough about this, the only drawback I can see is the short battery life which my rechargeables will hopefully remedy.