[Coral-List] need GPS recommendations

Annie J. Yau ayau at bren.ucsb.edu
Wed Jun 29 12:22:11 EDT 2011

Dear Sarah,
Many of us who work in the Moorea Coral Reef LTER use some version of a
Garmin GPS 72 or 76, retails ~$150-200. I believe the newest ones are GPS 78
now. I am not sure why your Garmin 72H didn't work for you, but I describe
our use system below. We like these units because they are waterproof and
they float. You can view your location or just press and hold "enter" and it
will record your location for you as a waypoint. You can also track paths,
so you can record the exact path you (or a turtle, or whatever you're
following) swam. There is a useful "go to" function that allows you to tell
the GPS your destination (a saved waypoint) then it points to the direction
and displays the distance to that point - excellent for re-finding a site or
exact location. I have found my GPS to be very accurate in relocating my
sites (site markers always visible directly under the waypoint). We have all
been very happy with our GPS units and use them extensively.

We place them in clear waterproof bags as a precaution (you can still push
the buttons and see the screen). When snorkeling, we float the GPS on a
large inflated rubber tire inner tube that has an inverted plastic trash can
lid tied to the inside of the inner tube so the GPS can rest on it. The
trash can lid should be slight bigger than the inside dimensions of the
inner tube so it rests nicely inside the inner tube. You can use rope to tie
the inner tube around your arm or waist or weight belt, and float it behind
you only to pull the inner tube closer when you need to take a waypoint or
use the GPS. This way the GPS is not fully submerged in the water
(prolonging its life) but easily accessible. This system also allows for
your arms to be free for swimming and working.

Happy snorkeling,

Annie J. Yau
Ph.D. Candidate
Bren School of Environmental Science and Management
University of California, Santa Barbara CA 93106-5131

Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2011 08:41:03 -0700
> From: freeds at pdx.edu
> Subject: [Coral-List] need GPS recommendations
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Message-ID: <20110627084103.149111xfh5c4p767 at webmail.pdx.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; DelSp="Yes";
>        format="flowed"
> Dear Coral-Listers,
> Can anyone recommend an easy to use, durable, handheld GPS unit?
> The units are carried in the water while snorkeling. We use a
> combination of waterproof cases and bags to protect them, but there is
> occasional leakage. We use the units to mark our research sites out on
> the water, so we just need to be able to see the coordinates of our
> locations, no maps or fancy features necessary.
> We need something that can handle some water contact and that has a
> TRULY watertight battery compartment- the compartments in our newer
> units corroded despite being 'water tight'. We also need the unit to
> withstand normal wear and tear of frequent battery changes and
> button-pressing, which our newer units did not either. I have a single
> unit that is about 12 years old; it has held up great and has outlived
> the newer ones we tried (Garmin 72H). We would appreciate any
> recommendations on waterproof bags or hard cases as well.
> Sincerely,
> Sarah Freed
> Environmental Science and Management
> Portland State University

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