Garmin Montana

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draneezs
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Garmin Montana

Post by draneezs » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:56 pm

Hi,
I was looking to buy a GPS. The usual confusion is whether I need a stand alone hand held GPS like the Garmin Montana or the mobile software like viewranger or Oruxmaps on andriod or MotionX for Apple are good enough because the price difference is significant. For navigation on road I usually use google maps. But off road that obviously doesn't work.

What I would be interested in knowing are the following:
1) Advantages of Garmin Montana or similar devices over Android apps and vice versa.
2) What exactly do the Marshals see on the screen on Montana or other GPS apps (screenshots would help). A short tutorial would help so that people like me who are learning would be able to read the GPS and learn how to plan the route or follow a particular track.
3) Is there a database of tracks for Montana also like in some apps or do you build your own tracks?
4) Does the Marshal see the exact distance from the exit points or do they follow a approximate route in a particular direction?
5) Do the marshals plan the route and waypoints before the trip or do they see the maps live and follow in the direction of tentative exit points?

Sorry for the questions but I have not been able to come to conclusion whether to buy or not to buy Montana or learn to use the apps...

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Garmin Montana

Post by Pierre2016 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:15 pm

Good question. I didn't bought the expensive garmin and I am using the free Oruxmaps app.
It is working very well for me so far.
Easy to donwload any google satellite maps for free. Can be used without network connection.
I can built my tracks at home on google earth.
I can use it on phone or a tablet which will give me a much wider screen and a back up solution.
I have never used the garmin so I cannot compare but I am also interested in garmin users comments.

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Alex

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Re: Garmin Montana

Post by Alex » Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:25 pm

Im sure most of the offroaders have their own system how to find a way in/out.
Good GPS its a perfect option, it helps me a lot to keep nice spots/dunes and exits/gates.
We always plan and build a track for challenging areas as Liwa, Al Quao, Starfish etc. In reality u can not follow the track exactly as terrain and dunes approach might change it to kilometres, its just to help u, understand main direction and keep emergency exits/roads.
BUT
to be honest my objective is not to use any gps or use it only to prove that i'm in the right direction! Continuously driving with our club u will learn how to navigate with no GPS and u will learn area by dune shape, elevation, time/date/position of the sun, compass on your dashboard (Owners of Fj will understand last advantage)

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Re: Garmin Montana

Post by draneezs » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:12 am

Thank you so much for your replies. I will try the Oruxmaps (paid version) for sometime then. Will consider montana if it doesn't suit me.

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Re: Garmin Montana

Post by Pierre2016 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:54 am

@draneezs for Oruxmaps, the version V6 is better than the new one V7 (some bugs on V7). I am using V6.5.10 and have no issue so far.
For downloading satellite maps, you may need to replace the onlinemapsources.xml file.
Send me an email and I will send you back the replacing file.

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Re: Garmin Montana

Post by Alex » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:53 am

Guys, also ViewRanger is a good one. Oryx a bit complex app when ViewRanger is easy to build tracks, upload, especially following track if u wanna stay as close as its possible to track, but NOT recording (as its difficult to share recorded track and its doesnt have enough options how to record). I used this app together with Garmin when i participate to mounting off-road competitions back home. Brilliant navigation on Iphone, u can use multiple offline maps etc

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Re: Garmin Montana

Post by Tex » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:29 pm

I personally have the Montana a like it, but it has some bugs as it uses the Android software and I run a Mac for my personal laptop. The Basecamp software crashes on occasion, and connecting to the Garmin isn't always reliable. It is also not the most user-friendly interface. I've had mine for almost 4 years, so they may have upgraded the software/screen since then.

I pay $30 US/yr for the Garmin service that let's me download as many satellite images as I want to store on the unit. I have downloaded all of Liwa and most of the places I have driven with DO. The satellite images can be essential in the desert if you're in a tight spot. We used it on a night drive to discover our way out of a bunch of camel camps with fencing in the dunes.

Creating tracks and uploading to the Garmin is relatively easy using Google Maps. There is also a website that has free world-wide user-sourced road maps for the Garmin and they are more accurate than the Garmin maps usually.

As I said above, the Garmin has a few quirks and it isn't the most user-friendly system. There are a ton of features that I don't even use (camera, etc.), but the unit is reliable. Pierre and I went on a trip together and his Orux stopped working for some reason, probably due to a software update issue (?) he mentioned, but the same thing could happen to the Garmin. It's great to have a backup!

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Re: Garmin Montana

Post by draneezs » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:29 am

Thanks for the feedback and advise guys. Reading Tex's review of his Garmin I am tempted to go for the Montana 680. But since I read Alex's advice I have started trying the Viewranger and I seem to find it easy so far. I have not yet tested it in the desert or tight places so can't comment on the GPS lock to satellites as I believe mobile phones would have a weaker GPS locking to the satellites than the Montana (this is what I believe and I may be totally wrong) but since I need to use it in the open sky desert and since it rarely cloudy here I think staying locked to the satellites should not be a problem. I tried Orux but so far can't get a hang of it..Maybe I am doing something wrong. I even tried Ardhi but it is hopelessly unreliable and fails on most of the occasions. I am going to simultaneously try MotionX on my iPad as I heard very good reviews for the same. In the meantime I would appreciate feedbacks from other members as well as I have seen lot of people use different apps on mobiles. The more people contribute the more everyone would benefit. I did search the old DO forums for the same but I guess a lot has changed since then and apps have become more smarter whereas Montana hasn't changed a lot. One extremely important thing I have noticed is that the magnetic mobile phone holders for the AC vents causes disturbances in the reliability of the GPS. Something I noticed even on Google maps as the phone keeps missing the north very often and needs calibration very often.

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