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After switching to a moving map GPS (Garmin Montana 650) I'll never go back to my older units.


I do a lot of research before heading out to a new area. Putting together as much information as I can before hitting the road.


I used to print all this out, put together a binder and then have to flip trough the various pages to bring it all together mentally out in the field.


Using software like Expert GPS I can overlay geologic maps, master title plats, Township Range and Section grids, Downloaded active claim maps (from counties that provide them online) or scanned claim maps, historic topos etc. as well as satellite imagery (great for finding dirt roads that don't appear on topo maps)


Using google earth, I layout potential access roads, camp sites and points of interest and upload all this to the GPS.


Now when I'm out in the field I can switch to the various overlays and drive around on a geologic map or walk straight to where an active claim corner should be.


The 650 has a built in camera that I use to capture sample locations or things of interest that may help direct me where to go on a follow up trip to the same general area.


Pictures and tracks are then uploaded to google earth, and I have a nice package of visual data to review when deciding if I want to return and sample different locations.


The 650 comes with a rechargeable battery pack, this usually last for a full day of exploring, with the screen on most of the time.

When that dies I switch to 3 AA batteries and they last for multiple days of sampling/prospecting, since the unit is off when I'm digging.


I figure the cost of batteries is pretty insignificant compared to the overall cost of a 4 day trip with hundreds of miles of driving there and back.


The 650 is on the higher side of handheld GPS's, price wise, but what I've gained in productivity when going to new locations, I haven't regretted the purchase.

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