Working With Garmin Screens

Garmin units display a succession of screens that can be used to gain information about your gps position and many other facts related to gps operation and navigation. Generally you reach the various major screens in a rotation by hitting the page key to progress forward though the screens or using the quit key to move backwards through them. Other screens can be reached using the other function keys on the unit or via the menu system. The various models have slight, or major, differences in what is actually displayed on each screen and even different releases may vary the display somewhat. The figure below provides a sample of screen contents taken from the Garmin GPS12XL version 4.00. It will be used as a guide for describing the various Screens. Note that while this chapter describes the screens themselves other chapters go into much more detail on how to use the screens to do various tasks. Be aware that while this manual refers to screens Garmin calls them pages.

Used with permission
James Associates

The Opening Screens

The first screen that you see when powering up your gps is displayed while the unit completes its power on diagnostics. On most units it will display the version number for the software and hardware of your unit. (On some units this information can only be obtained using undocumented commands, holding down the enter key while pressing the power on button. Please see my chapter on using undocumented commands for more details.) This screen is depicted as the top screen on left in the figure above.

Garmin has a unique view of versioning as depicted on this screen for most units. (A few units have this information on another screen that is reached from the main menu or only available from special turn on sequences documented in the chapter on undocumented features) The first released version is called 2.00 as all Version 1 numbers are used for prototypes. The number after the decimal point is incremented when changes are made to the firmware in the unit. The integer portion of the version number is changed when major changes to the hardware are made. This means you cannot generally upgrade the firmware to a release where the integer portion of the version number is different from what you have. When the hardware is changed the firmware is usually changed to support the new hardware which causes a major shift. The firmware version will be reset to .00 to signify this "new product". Occasionally the firmware version jumps by changing the first decimal digit thereby jumping over several incremental releases. This may signify a large change to the firmware and may include a change to the hardware as well. You may or may not be able to upgrade the firmware to this level. On early versions of Garmin handheld units the firmware was stored in read only memory and could not be upgraded without returning the unit to Garmin, however all recent units are now field upgradeable using software provided by Garmin for this purpose. In order to perform this upgrade you will need access to a Windows based machine and an interface cable available from a variety of sources. Details for this are in the interface chapter.

Once the power on diagnostics have completed you will leave the opening (welcome) screen. If you have a G-III family or other mapping receiver you will then go to the disclaimer screen which is lawyer talk for don't trust the maps. At the bottom of this screen may be the version number for the base maps themselves. They are stored in a rom and are not updateable. You can ok this screen or wait until it times out. The next screen you will see is the status screen (G-III screen illustrated) or directly to the map screen on the emap. The newest etrex mapping units present yet a third screen warning you to be careful.

The Status Screen

The status screen is the first screen in the main rotation. You can return to this screen at any time using the page or quit keys to bring it up in the rotation sequence. There are several pieces of information on this page about the status and quality of the fix that your gps currently has. This G-12 screen is shown at the left. Most units will look similar to the G-12 figure however G-III family and G-II family units in landscape mode will show the status circle beside the status bars instead of above.

The emap also has a status screen. It is not in the rotation since this unit doesn't use a rotation of screens. The status/position screen on the emap can be reached by going to the main menu (press the menu button twice) and selecting gps info. The screen displays most of the information shown below and also displays information that is shown on the position page on other units. The emap has the largest display of any of the handheld units which permits it to combine screens. The 76 series has a screen as big at the emap and permits it to offer status data and a choice of user customizable information on this screen.

The basic etrex and etrex summit has a status screen but the data on the main status screen only displays symbolic data that will indicate when you get a fix but little else. If you press the enter key a menu will appear giving access to an advanced screen. Selecting the advanced screen will display information similar to other Garmin units as described below.

Screen Contents

The upper left corner contains a message about the status of your fix. You may see messages like:

Some of these status messages may also appear as popup messages while you are using the unit. In particular poor coverage is displayed when coverage is lost.

The upper right corner (left side on emap) has an entry for EPE (Horizontal Estimated Position Error). This is a report in Feet or Meters for the probable error as calculated by the unit itself. This is an indication of accuracy and is actually called accuracy on the emap. The number is the same. Garmin does not make its calculation algorithm public but it is probably based on satellite geometry and other factors such as the URE (user range error) transmitted from the satellite itself indicating its contribution to errors. Many users have estimated that this number represents a 1 Sigma accuracy number or perhaps even a lower 50% number. If you double the number you can be fairly assured that it bounds the real error the vast majority of the time. If you have a differential fix then this error number is likely to decrease even more. On units that are capable of calculating an overdetermined solution (all of the 12 channel parallel receivers), this fact will also be factored in. Don't trust this number as an accurate representation of you current error, it is only an estimate. Older multiplex units and some of the latest firmware releases may be using a more conservative calculation. The way this number is calculated has been changed over the years so if you don't have the latest version of the software you unit may have a different number.

Along the left edge, on many units, is a battery gauge. This graphic represents the battery condition based on alkaline batteries except the gauge on the III family is configurable. While the gauge looks linear the actual performance of a battery voltage is not on 6 volt units the 3/4 setting is approximately 5 volts on alkaline batteries which means that ni-cads will not quite reach that mark will fully charged. The gauge will disappear on most units when hooked to external power. A few will show full power under this condition. This gauge in on the main menu screen on other units such as the etrex and emap. On external power these units change the symbol to a power cord. The gauge on 3 volt units is even less accurate that the one on the 6 Volt units since it is quite a bit smaller and more difficult to estimate. A battery will recover itself temporarily if the unit is off for a while so the battery voltage is not a good indicator of battery condition when the unit is first turned on.

The main portion of the screen shows the current almanac from the unit database in a graphical form (on the etrex advanced screen). Each satellite is shown with its number in its approximate position in the sky with the center representing directly overhead and the first circle showing approximately 45 degrees to the horizon. The horizon itself is shown as the second circle. While acquiring a position fix the satellites are shown with North at the top of the display. On some units North will always be at the top even after a fix is obtained while other units will show North as represented by the display choice made on the map page (covered later) or available on the status page menu. The G-III family, emap, newest etrex models and the 76 series permits individual control over this feature from the local menu. The N shown on the display indicates the direction of North. As satellites are received the number in the display will reverse from its starting display. On most units the display shows the number in reverse video and this switches to normal when the unit starts receiving data from the satellite.

The basic etrex shows a simplified drawing with only symbolic satellites shown on the normal screen. (An advanced screen showing entries similar to those above is available from the local menu.) There are only 4 shown which represents the minimum number required to compute a 3D solution. Little visual radio waves are shown when the unit receives a signal from a satellite and 3 such radio waves from different satellites are needed for a 2D solution while 4 are needed for 3D. The unit can track up to 12 satellites simultaneously but there is no indication as to how many beyond 4 it is actually using. There is only one satellite bar shown at the bottom which will go to full width when a 3D fix is obtained.

The bottom of the page shows a bar chart that indicates the signal strength for each satellite as soon as the unit can receive data from it. The numbers along the bottom of the screen are the satellite numbers as indicated by the internal almanac. On multiplex units there is room for 8 satellites while the newer units have room for 12 indicating the total number of satellites that unit can track. On many units the bars on the chart will initially be hollow and will fill in solid as acquisition proceeds. If your unit starts out hollow then the following interpretation can be applied.

For older multiplex receivers there will be a D shown just under the bars for any satellite using differential correction. This is also true for etrex and 76 family units whether the correction is from a dgps beacon receiver or the built-in WAAS capability on some of the newer etrex units.

Just above the bars and to the left there may be a small icon representing the lamp. (the lamp indicator is on the main menu for the etrex and emap) If the internal lamp is turned on then this icon will be present or if present all of the time it will change shade. Note that this indication will continue even if the lamp itself times out. Pressing any key will turn the lamp back on so you will need to press the key a second time to perform the actual function.

On the G-III family there is also a number that will show up on the right side of the screen. This number is the DOP (Horizontal Dilution of Precision). DOP is a unitless number that indicates the quality of the current fix based solely on satellite geometry. For 4 satellites a DOP of 1.0 would be a perfect geometry while anything below 2.0 would be an excellent geometry. For units performing an overdetermined solution it is possible to see entries below 1.0. It may be possible to see this value on some other units as well using secretcommands.

The etrex Legend, Venture, and Vista has a status (Satellite) screen that varies in several important ways from some of the screens discussed so far. First of all it mimics the emap in not having a position screen but the small size does not permit nearly as much data so this etrex model depends on other screens to fill in the gap. Only the location is added to this screen from the old position screens. It presents a status box at the top and can optionally be shown on other screens as well.

The outer circle can serve as a crude compass by either setting the choices to track up on the local menu or by noticing the small circle on the outer ring present on later units that shows the direction of movement.

These new etrexes, the 76 family, and the GPS-V can also support WAAS. If WAAS is enabled then the upper two satellite positions are reserved for WAAS satellites leaving 10 satellites for normal navigation. The standard set of satellites will always have a number between one and 32 so any number above that can be used to identify the WAAS satellites. In the illustration these are 35 and 47. Note that these are also shown on the screen in their expected positions on the sky map. The number 35 is shown ESE and 47 is shown WSW from the location displayed. Note that until the satellites have been identified the first time they will we shown in the north position but once located and identified they will be shown in their true positions. They will provide differential correction data and may be used as satellites in the position solution as well. If they are present the differential corrections will be indicated with small "D"s on the satellite bars.

The 76 and Map76 have much in common with the emap and new etrex display. They can support WAAS but because they have the larger screen size like the emap they can also support more data and include three user customizable fields. They, too, do not have a position page.

Function Keys for the Status Screen

The arrow keys can be used to set the screen contrast. Hit enter to accept the change or quit to cancel. Note that the emap has a separate key that can be depressed and held down for a second to bring up a contrast menu at any time. Similarly the 12CX uses the map button to do this on any screen. Therefore for the lamp function to actually change the lamp you must press the button a second time. The etrex uses its up/down key for this.

The local menu can be used to aid in acquisition. Hit Enter on most units or the menu key once on the III family (or emap). The menu will show the following choices:

Note that the basic etrex does not offer an initialization options but figures out the best solution on its own and will attempt to use your local location and if this fails it will do an autolocate. You cannot seed this unit with an altitude to help it with obtaining a fix. The lack of these features may make it difficult to achieve a rapid fix in an airplane or after you have moved several hundred miles but will not generally cause any problems.

Hitting the page or quit key will rotate to the next or previous screen in the sequence. If you haven't done this while awaiting the fix then the unit will automatically switch to the position page as soon as it has a 2D fix. (G-III screen illustrated.) Some of the latest units are missing this page.

The Position Screen

The position screen focuses on telling you information about what is happening at the current time. It provides such data as current speed, current distance, current position, current altitude, etc. For the all units except the mapping units it looks very much like the G-12 screen shown second from the left on the top row. The III family above looks similar except that there are 6 pieces of information in the center area instead of 4. Note that the GPS V calls this screen the trip computer.

Since much of the position data is repeated on the navigation pages the etrex has taken the approach to eliminate this page entirely and display more selectable data on the navigation page (see the navigation chapter for more details) or on the trip computer page. The emap displays position data on the gps info page which combines it with the status screen. This works since the emap has a larger display than other handheld units. The emap shows the current track direction on the outside ring of the satellite display. If the satellite display is set to track up then the whole display rotates to keep the track direction at the top. If the display is set to North up then a small circle appears on the outside ring to display the direction of movement. This small circle moves around the ring to indicate that direction. Both the etrex and emap moves most of the trip data to a separate menu page.

Screen Contents

This screen is dominated by the edge view of a compass. While there is no compass in your gps, the unit can simulate a compass in software whenever you are moving. Using computations based previous position solutions and doppler shift data it can deduce both your speed and direction, i.e. it can compute your velocity. The compass display shows the direction of your movement, called a track, in a graphical form. The next entries on the screen depend on which model you own.

The speed entry on this page displays only the horizontal speed component and some have wondered about the accuracy on slopes. Certainly it can be inaccurate in a hot air balloon or perhaps the steepest ski slopes but generally this design decision results in very little degradation of accuracy. On roads and trails a 10% slope would be considered very steep and even this much slope would cause only a 0.5% difference in the speed. Others have wondered about the accuracy of a gps device in general to record the speed that you are traveling. At road speeds the accuracy better than most car speedometers. It is typically within 1/2 mph of the true speed for steady travel.

Three entries on the position page are tied very closely together. These are trip distance, trip time, and average speed. Resetting any one of these will also reset the others. There is some debate on exactly how this information should be calculated and on the G-III family you can specify which of two methods you would prefer. When most folks think of an average speed they simply expect that you should divide the total elapsed time of the trip into the distance for the trip. This particular averaging technique is simple and correct when you have no control over the stops that may happen during the trip. However, some times you do have control over the stops, especially on a hike. In this case you might prefer the average speed to indicate the speed that you were actually traveling when moving. In this way you can estimate how long it might take to return to your starting point if you didn't take any rest stops. This is the averaging method used by Garmin receivers and the trip timer does not increment whenever you are stopped. In addition there is no calculation of distance made when the unit is turned off or during periods of poor coverage.

The emap, legend, venture, vista, and 76 series keeps this data on a separate page called the trip computer which can be reached from the main menu. It computes both types of averages simultaneously. It also displays max speed on this page along with a second odometer. A local menu item is used to reset the trip meter, odometer, and max speed. The basic etrex displays this data on the navigation (pointer) page which has a local menu to reset it.

Near the bottom of the screen (top on the emap) you will find the actual position indication. This will be displayed in the grid system and datum of your choice. When you don't have a fix or in simulation mode you can select and modify this data except on the mapping receivers. Changing this information is one way to enter waypoints or may be used to help the receiver achieve a rapid lock. To change the grid system or datum you will need to go to the main menu (shown in the figure above at the left side in the middle position) under setup/navigation setup.

Beneath or beside the position data you will find a display of the current time. The time zone being displayed is a user specifiable option but you cannot change the time itself. This is computed as part of the position fix and is then corrected for leap second data and displayed on this page. Internally a gps computes the time to accuracy in the nanosecond range but the update of the display is a low priority task thus you can generally expect the display to be within a second or so of the actual time. Changing the time zone is accomplished from the main menu by selecting Setup/System setup. You will need to offset the timezone setting for daylight savings time. The etrex and emap display the local time on other pages and can automatically switch from standard time to daylight savings time if you wish.

Function keys for the Position Screen

There is only a local menu available for the G-III family receivers. It allows you to average your position (and then save it as a new waypoint), change the fields at one of the 6 customizable locations, or restore the factory defaults.

Other Non mapping Garmin units use the direct object oriented paradigm. Use the arrow keys to highlight the object on the screen and then hit the enter key to select the object you wish to change. Anything that can be highlighted can also be changed. This will vary depending on the state of the unit at the time you press the keys. For example you can select the altitude data only if you currently do not have a 3D fix. This can be used as an indicator for a 2D position. If the ALT entry is being displayed on the screen you can use the up arrow key to select the altitude data rapidly. If the data in the altitude entry highlights then you do not have a 3D fix. If you leave this highlighted then it will automatically become unhighlighted the moment a 3D fix is obtained.

If a data field is highlighted it can be changed by hitting the enter key. Many of the fields can only be reset and the word 'reset?' will appear allowing you to use the quit key to change your mind. Hit enter to perform the reset. On entries that let you change the data itself you can use the left/right arrow keys (left arrow at the beginning to clear the field if desired) to move to the number or letter you wish to change and the up/down arrows to change it. Continue until all of the desired changes are made and then hit enter to complete the change. Note that on multiplex units the value in the trip meter can be changed but on newer units it can only be reset to zero. On the G-III family the values can be reset by using the main menu (the status screen local menu for altitude).

If you highlight the text above the data then you can choose which data is to be displayed by hitting the enter key. You can use the arrow keys to scroll through the choices available. The current data for that choice will also be displayed so you can use this feature to review the contents of the entries without actually selecting one for permanent display. Hit the quit key when you are finished or the enter key to select that entry for permanent display.

The Map Screen

Pressing the page key while on the position screen with take you to the map screen (G-III version shown above). On units without maps this might better be called the plot screen. It contains a graphical representation of your current position with respect to nearby waypoints and perhaps your tracklog. A sample for the G-12 is shown in the figure above as the third screen from the left on the top row. Mapping receivers will also show an underlying map on this screen although this feature can be turned off on all except the emap and etrex models. Some receivers with a city database may also display cities on the map. For purposes of this discussion cities, if present, will be treated like a displayed waypoint. Please see the chapter on databases for information on maps and the city database. The map screen is both a visual orientation screen and a screen for navigation use.

Screen Contents

What you see when this page appears depends a great deal on which model you have. Everyone will see a symbol in the center or just below center of the display that represents your current position. In addition you may see up to four pieces of text data either at the corners of the graphic or in a row at one edge. Depending on the current zoom setting and what waypoints you have stored you may see some of those as well.

On the mapping receivers you will likely see a map in the background. You can turn off the 4 text entries and make the map fill the whole display. The four text entries on the III family are customizable just as the entries were on the position page. The GPS-V has 4 customizable entries similar to the III family but the display automatically changes when navigation is in progress (see the autoroute chapter for details). Since the III family and V have rotatable displays a different set of 4 entries can be programmed into the rotated display. The 4 entries on the emap are not customizable but will change automatically when navigation is in progress. The four entries on the emap include a small compass display to indicate the track, a speed, a trip distance, and a current time display. The symbol in the center on these units will turn as you do so that it always indicates your present course. On the III Pilot it looks like a small airplane while the others display an arrow head. The etrex mapping receivers behave similarly but only contain two customizable data displays along with the map.

On older non-mapping receivers you will see up to 4 numbers in the corners of the display. These are the main four significant pieces of data and are available on this and both navigation screens. These always include your track (direction over the ground) in the lower left corner and speed in the lower right. If you are actually navigating to a waypoint then the upper left corner will indicate the bearing to that waypoint and the upper right corner will indicate the distance to that waypoint. Speed and track will be reset to null values if you lose a fix.

Some units will display a banner across the top of the screen. Units that do this include the new etrex units and units that do not have dedicated zoom keys. The menu choices includes a zoom selection, a pan selection, and perhaps an option or config selection. The etrex click stick units include the ability to show the current fix status on the map page.

There is usually some sort of scale indication on the screen. Mapping receivers have a map like legend for scale and perhaps other legend data showing that you have overzoomed (the scale of the display is too high for the level of accuracy of the map, not the gps) or whether you are using loadable maps. Non-mapping receivers will show the scale by indicating the full screen height in the zoom setting or will display rings with a legend on the rings indicating the distance in the units of your choice at that point. I find that the display is indicating .4 miles and I really want to know how many feet that is. For english measure a rough rule of thumb is that, since there is about 5000 feet in a mile, then a ring distance in thousands of feet is equal to the zoom scale. So for the above case the zoom of 2 miles shows a ring at 2000 feet. I leave it to you metric folks to work out a similar calculation.

Function keys for the Map Screen

On units with a banner at the top something will always be highlighted. If you hit the keypad or click stick keys the item highlighted will change. Hitting enter will select the highlighted object. Selecting the zoom function will permit using the up/down arrows to change the zoom factor for the display. Hit enter to accept the change or quit to cancel. Selecting pan will permit the arrows keys to be used to pan the screen. On these units you should notice the zoom button is highlighted during the pan. Hitting enter will permit zooming in and out while panning.

Receivers with zoom keys can use these keys at any time to change the map's screen scale. The arrow keys on these machines are used to perform panning operations. Use the rocker keypad to move the cursor and as you hit the edge of the screen it will automatically pan the data beneath the cursor. An arrow indicates the current panned location and object information will appear if the arrow is positioned over a map object. Folsom lake is shown on the emap figure above as identified with the arrow. The classic etrex and summit uses its up/down keys for zooming and has no pan function.

Etrex/mapping receiver tip - While the classic etrex does not have any panning keys you can usually pan easily to any point of interest. Just select a waypoint and then use the show map command to jump to the area around that waypoint. The up/down keys can be used to zoom around in the panned area. This trick will also work with mapping receivers which may be easier and quicker than trying to pan to the location.

Some units will actually pan in 8 directions by pressing the rocker keypad on a diagonal. If you happen to pan over an object you can select that object with the enter key just as in normal mode. While panning the bearing and distance numbers will report distance from your current position to the wherever the cursor is pointing. Some units will also report the lat/lon position. Press the quit (esc on the emap, page on the etrex) key to leave panning mode and return the screen to the current position. Use the pan function to review the tracklog the active route or look for cities. It is not particularly useful as a tool to look for waypoints since only the 9 closest to your current position will be shown, limited to a distance of 100 miles (82 on the emap). The emap and etrex, legend, venture, and vista shows the 15 closest waypoints and when panned it will show the 15 closest to the panned location rather than the current location.

On the III+, 12map, emap, vista, legend, and map76 you can also highlight a freeway exit while panning. Pressing enter will bring up an exit information screen that tells about services available at the exit. Other features related to services are covered in the chapter on databases.

Some receivers have a special local menu shown in the upper right of the screen. If they have a banner menu and the word cfg or opt is listed in the banner then you can select this to bring up the menu. On units with zoom keys and no banner use the standard local menu key (menu or enter with nothing selected) to bring up the menu. If your unit doesn't have a local menu then the these settings are on the main menu screen.

G-III family local menu settings include:

The emap has similar features to the III family. The interface has been simplified somewhat. The accuracy circle is always on but otherwise works as described above, you cannot turn off the base map, and it has less options in the display of data. It has the following items on the local menu:

The etrex mapping receivers have features very similar to those shown above:

On non-mapping units the local menu will permit changing the map or tracklog settings. Tracklog settings are covered in the chapter specifically devoted to tracklogs. The map settings entry selects map preferences. You can select from the following items:

You can also set waypoints using the map display. If you are panned to a spot on the screen where nothing is selected and hit 'Mark' you can set a waypoint directly at that point in the display. This is useful for visually averaging several tracklogs or setting your own route based on a tracklog or underlying map display. You can also navigate directly to a location on the display on units with a goto key. Pressing the 'GOTO' key will build a waypoint named 'MAP'. If you hit 'ENTER' at this point your gps will automatically start navigating to the MAP waypoint. Rename this waypoint if you wish to keep it since it will be overwritten by the next use of the map waypoint feature. If a waypoint is already highlighted then pressing 'goto' will select this point as a target for navigation and pressing enter will select the waypoint for viewing or modification.

Data Customization

In addition to the screen display customization that can be set using the map setup menu there is often data display customization as well. If you are able to highlight the title of a data field then it can be selected and changed to display the data you wish. For example the III family can use any of the four fields to display a number of kinds of data including current information, information about the unit itself, and navigation data. These include Altitude, Average Speed, Bearing, Course, Distance, Distance to Destination, ETA, ETD, Fuel, ETE, Max Speed, Odometer, Off course, Speed, Sunrise at present position, Sunset at present position, Track, Trip Odometer, Trip Timer, Time to Go, direction pointer, and more. For the mapping etrex units you can select two of: Bearing, Course, Off Course, To Course, Current Destination, Current Distance, Current ETA, Current ETE, Elevation, Final Destination, Final Distance, Final ETA, Final ETE, Heading, Pointer, Speed, Sunrise, Sunset, Time of Day, Trip Odometer, Turn, VMG, and Vertical Speed. The 76 and Map76 are also fully customizable and can also determine the number of entries you wish to display on the screen, 3, 6 or 9.

More information on using the map screen in navigation and a definition of the terms used above will be found in the navigation chapter.

Other Screens

The next screens in the rotation are the navigation screens which are shown above in the figure as the two right hand entries in the top row. These are called the compass screen and the highway screen. They may be reached by successively hitting the page key or you may have only one of them in the rotation. If you have only one in the rotation then the local menu for that screen can be used to select the other one. You can customize which screen appears in the display rotation. An explanation of these screens and how to use them is in the navigation chapter. The etrex has only one navigation screen (called a pointer screen) while the newer etrex units have this screen as well with two customizable entries similar to the choices on the map screen and they have the ability to display navigation data on the trip computer screen. The emap does not have a dedicated navigation screen at all, but modifies the entries on the map screen for navigation use.

Other screens that you may find in your screen rotation include the route screen, a trip computer screen, and perhaps the main menu. The route screen is described in the route chapter. The main menu is described as needed in other places in this manual. The main menu has many submenus that are shown in the figure above. The main menu and its submenus are traversed like any other screen. You use the arrow keys to highlight the item you wish to view or change and then hit the enter key to select it. Screens also appear when you press the mark key or the goto key. These are covered elsewhere in waypoints and routes. Units having a Find key will bring up screens associated with waypoints and database objects. Pressing and holding the find key will switch to the route screen if a route is active or the waypoint screen showing the destination if a goto is active.

The GPS-V has some screens that are unique to autorouting and autoroute navigation. These are covered in the Autoroute chapter

Trip Computer

The trip computer screen is a feature of the newer Garmin receivers. The G-V trip computer screen is the same as the position screen on other units. The etrex Legend, Vista, and Venture have a trip computer screen that is customizable and can substitute for an additional navigation screen that presents only text data. It even has a choice of large numbers with only 4 selectable screens or 8 selectable fields of differing sizes. Among the choices available for display on this screen is the ability to show position data in two different grid systems simultaneously. One choice is always Lat/Lon while the other choice is the same as whatever the current grid choice is. The choices for display include: bearing, Course, current Destination, Current Distance, Current ETA, Current ETE, Elevation (altitude), Final Destination, Final Distance, Final ETA, Final ETE, Heading, Location (lat/lon), Location (selected), Maximum Speed, Moving Avg. Speed, Odometer, Off Course, Overall Avg. Speed, Pointer, Speed, Sunrise, Sunset, Time of Day, To Course, Trip Odometer, Trip Time - Moving, Trip Time - Stopped, Trip Time - Total, Turn, Velocity Made Good, Vertical Speed (Vista only). For defintions of the navigation terms included in the above list check the navigation chapter.

Other units with a trip computer, such as the emap and 76 family, do not have a customizable display but provide an odometer, a trip meter, maximum speed, and other trip related data. Trip average speed is calculated by providing two solutions, one that considers stop time and one that only considers moving time. Trip time itself is also shown both ways. Showing data in this fashion is very useful if you intend to use the trip computer to help you decide how long it will take you to get back to your starting point. If you have no control over the stop times, such as ones caused by stop lights, then the time including stop time is the one to use but if you have control over stop times such as when you are on a hike and only stop when you want to rest or study something then the moving time shows you how long it would take to get back if you didn't want to stop.

Altitude Profiling

The etrex summit and vista also has an altitude profiling screen. This is described in the Miscellaneous chapter covering product unique features since only this one family has this feature.

Return to TOC

revision
99/12/23 Original release
99/12/27 Added discussion of accuracy circle and map scale.
99/12/28 reworked to include the III+ vs. III differences on map page.
00/1/12 3 figures added from G7TO downloads.
00/6/24 added etrex and emap data.
00/7/5 added emap pictures
00/10/9 added etrex advance status screen.
00/11/30 added discussion of autozoom.
01/3/24 added some fixes for new etrex and amplifications on emap
01/4/19 updated for new etrex units.
01/7/16 updated some data for the latest software release of emap/vista
02/6/14 added trip computer screen description.