Garmin GPSmap 62 and 78 series, are the newest handhelds in Garmin's outdoor GPS
line. The 62 lists for $349, the 62s for
$449 and the 62st for $549.. Check discount
prices (HERE). The 62 and 78 units include all
of the recent features added to the Oregon line, including Garmin Custom
Maps and the ability to add aerial imagery, marketed by Garmin as BirdsEye
imagery. One can create sample BirdsEye images on BaseCamp and upload them to the unit as a DEMO map.
These units show shaded relief with compatible Garmin maps, such as the Garmin
24K series and U.S. Topo 2008, the 100K map product.
Also the units come with the Worlwide DEM Basemap which provides terrain shading (not available in the Dakota).
62s(t) and 78s(c) allow for wireless data transfer of waypoints, routes,
tracks and geocaches, between the Garmin Colorado, Oregon, Dakota (and
themselves). The 62 and 78 are not supported
. The wireless data can be transmitted about 10 to 20 feet, depending
on the orientation of the unit. The greatest range was obtained
with the units held horizontally.
The screen grabs shown below, don't look as good as they do on the unit
& 24K map
Waypoint, BirdsEye, 24K map BirdsEye DEMO
Waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches are all handled as .gpx files
similar to the Oregon 550 and 450 series. You can manage them with
the free BaseCamp
program by Garmin, which will actually make changes to the file in
the unit, as you make them in BaseCamp. The
waypoint and POI icons are actually the old style version, as seen in the
24K Map with terrain shading Map with ribbon
menu options Trip Odometer Compass with Cross-track Error
do not appear to have the quality of Google Earth, Microsoft MSR Maps,
or the TerraServer. See a discussion of image quality avaiable
from other programs (HERE).
They are similar is size and shape to the popular GPSmap 60CSx and 76Cx,
the 62 would be more like the Oregon series in a 60 style case.
However, we were pleasantly surprised to see the two units have the
latest and greatest
features of the Oregon & Dakota and also the keys of the longtime
60 and 76 favorites, not present in the other units. The 62 has a
helix antenna (best reception held vertically), and the 78 (apparently)
has a patch antenna, because the best reception is with it held
The 62 and 78 units appear to be more rugged and durable than the recent
outdoor touch screens, with better back light visibility, and operate with the
same software. All
but the 62 and 78 support high speed USB data transfer. There are
USB, Serial, and an external GPS antenna jack (under protective
mounting spine) The 62 has the same mounting spine as
and is compatible with the caribiner, bike mount, auto mount, etc. used
in the Oregons.
The units have no built in camera, but do support geotagged photos
you load in the memory and gives you the ability to navigate to them.
There isn't a dedicated picture viewer, although you can see the photos
on the screen to navigate to, but can't zoom in or pan the photos. The 62s weighs 9.2 ounces (the
78sc slightly less at 8.2oz), and claim up to 20 hours of battery life,
using NiMh or Lithiums. Alkalines lasted about 17 hours,
the low battery message. We estimate 30 hours plus for NiMH
rechargeables. Regardless, battery life is obviously much better
the Oregon 550.
"s" = Sensors (compass and electronic barometer). "t" = Terrain (1:100,00 topo maps), and "c" = Coastal (marine) charts.
DEM = Digital Elevation Model, a digital representation of ground surface elevation. A DEM can be represented as a grid of squares or as a triangular irregular network. DEMs
are commonly built using remote sensing techniques, but they may also be
built from land surveying. DEMs
are used often in geographic information systems,
and are the most common basis for digitally-produced relief maps. GPS maps interpolate the DEM elevation grid data to display elevation contour lines.Summary:We
like what we see in the two units, no crashes or bugs
with the software and for a new Garmin unit, it appears as if it is
functional, with no serious software fixes needed. We will
still keep the Oregon 550 and Dakota, for trip planning and automotive
use, but I expect the 62s(t) will be going with us on any outdoor
adventure and the 78sc on marine trips.
You can see more information on the GPSmap 62 and 78 from Garmin's official
product pages (HERE). and (HERE). There are also some short video clips/infomercials
produced by Garmin, you can find on this link
from YouTube. The manuals for
the 62s and 78sc can be found (HERE) and (HERE).
The 62s package includes the unit, a quick start guide, a caribiner clip
and USB cable.
The actual user manual is found in the memory of the units themselves as
a .pdf file, in a folder labeled "Documents"
The units do not have a touchscreen, but the backlight visibility is
obviously better than the Oregon and Dakota screens, with somewhat
than the Oregons. While the screen size is smaller, the data
is actually a little big bigger than on the Oregon, but less of the map
is shown because of the smaller screen. If there is one
negative with the screen, it is the terrain shading. It appears
very dark in steep terrain,
especially in a forest type area. This can be easily fixed, but
off the terrain shading feature, when it appears too dark. GPSmap 78sc Specifics: The
76 and 78 series units are classified as "Marine" units. They all
Tide Tables. And now with the 78 series, one can select the
"s" and built-in BlueChart g2 Coastal Charts "c". These
units (like the Dakota and Oregon) when connected to a computer become
mass storage units and not a GPS. Therefore position data can't
be outputted through the USB port.
a serial output for NMEA. There are two modes for the NMEA
output, Autopilot Mode ON and Autopilot Mode OFF. With the
Autopilot mode ON the sentences are:
$GPRMC, $GPRMB, $GPBWC, $GPXTE, $GPAPB, $GPRMC, $GPRMB, $GPBWC, $GPXTE, and $GPAPB.
With the Autopilot mode OFF the sentences are:
$GPGGA, $GPGLL, $GPBOD, $GPBWC, $GPVTG, $GPXTE, $PGRME, $PGRMZ, $PGRMM, $HCHDG, $GPRMC, $GPRMB,
is NMEA compatible with. Garmin's Spanner program.) The 78's serial connection allows one to access nRoute, see sample screen capture with a short calculated route in green HERE.
WAAS Accuracy: After averaging a waypoint over a 1st-order survey marker. the error was 2 meters.
After a 3-axis calibration and heading set to True, the unit was
taken to a parking lot with stripes laid out very close to true north
(Google Earth, below indicating a rotation of 1° west). Using
this as a correction and a 45° protractor, the unit indicated: 000° for N, 045° for NE. 089° E, 132° SE, 178° S,
222° SW, 269° W., and 314° for NW. Average error = 1°.
we have taken the Google Earth coordinates of a west-pointing Arrow in
the parking lot and uploaded them to the 78sc unit.
right-hand screen shot was taken while standing over the Arrow
-indicating the combined GE and 78sc error at that point.
GPSmap 87sc Vista C
Barometer Plot: Unlike
the Vista C which records barometric pressure continusously even though
the unit is off, the 78sc only records the pressure when turned on,
thus giving a less valuable plot.
Unit and MapSource Screen Captures of Coastal (Suwanee and Savannah) Areas
GPSmap 78sc (top) ° Garmin BlueChart 4.00 (bottom)
that in the first track, the GPS unit indicates the expected
The 62 series has three models, the 62 with a color screen, the 62s
which adds a barometric altimeter and electronic tri-axial compass, microSD
card slot, wireless transfer of data, and the 62st which adds on preloaded
100K maps of the United States.
The 78 series also has three models, the 78 with a color screen, the 78s
which adds a barometric altimeter and electronic tri-axial compass, microSD
card slot, wireless transfer of data, and the 78sc comes with built-in BlueChart g2 Coastal charts.Displays:
The units below have 2.6 inch diagonally measured screens and 160X240 resolutions.
All have TFT Transflective screens, but the 62 and 78 have a Transflective 65-K color TFT screens.
Photos of units in sunlight, with no backlight on.
Dakota, 78sc, and 76cx
Apparently the Transflective 65-K color TFT screens are not quite as bright in sunlight.
The 62s and 62st both support a microSD slot. An 8GB
card for maps and BirdsEye imagery is useful. Both the 62 and 78 have 1.7GB
of built in memory for maps and imagery files. Under the rubber protector
above the battery case, is where the USB port is along with the MCX external
antenna connector. The 78 also includes a serial connector for NEMA and Garmin Serial output.
Software: As of this
writing, the units are running 2.44 beta, with just a few minor fixes. The beta
version claims to improve the odometer issue, which in the Oregons and
(and 62s) does not measure distance as well, while walking under 3.0
The beta also adds support for multi caches for geocaching and corrects
a loss of tracks when panning the map to the west. Here
is a link to the beta page,
The beta updates have to be done manually; you cannot use Garmin's WebUpdater.
The units don't list a GPS chipset version, so it's unclear which chipset
is being used, but it is a high sensitive receiver. The reception
has been good and the units quickly re-acquire a satellite fix. The units
also feature paperless geocaching and support field notes for geocaching.
Front and back view of the 62s alongside the Oregon 550
The 62 series has a similar
user interface as the 60 CSx, but the buttons have been updated and seem
to be improved. It is easy to move with the ribbon style menu and
the rocker seems to work better to me, than the 60 CSx version.
Choose between the menu Profiles. There are ten profiles in the 62 and six in the 78.
The keyboard to input data. Data entry is slower as compared to the touchscreen of
the Oregon, but the keyboard has been improved from the 60CSx/76Cx.
Various installed maps can be Enabled or Disabled.
Wireless Data Transfer:
- The dashboard feature on the compass, map and trip
elevation page plot is an out-and-back drive, so it should be
symmetrical around the highest point, which it pretty much is. It allows you to select a particular spot on the plot and
then by pressing Enter, see exactly on the map where that location
is. This is a
favorite feature that never made it to the Oregons, but is in the
- The satellite pages looks similar to the 60Csx/76Cx and allows you to have
multicolor display. This page will also allow you to use the AutoLocate
feature, which will reacquire the almanac data and help when you have traveled
more than 600 miles.
- Custom map made from a USGS 1:24,000 DRG map.
- The units have a Worldwide DEM Basemap.
Garmin's wireless transfer is the new ANT+ technology which operates in the 2.4 GHz Industrial band. ANT
defines ultra low power as an average current of micro amps, as low as 5 uA for
ANT devices, and peak current within the specification of a coin cell.
ANT devices can support multiple (up to 8) independent ANT channels. Any channel
on a given node can operate as a slave or master. Relaying a message from one
node to another becomes a breeze. No coordinator or network level master is
required to accomplish complex topologies. There is no requirement for precise timing synchronization to establish an ANT
network, therefore a moderate crystal will suffice.
From The Main Menu
In the 62s/78sc one must select Send. and then in the Dakota (below right) select Receive.
One Waypoint, Route, Track, or Geocache can be sent at a time. The range is about 20 feet.INTERFACE WITH A COMPUTER:The
new Garmin series of Oregon, Dakota, GPSmap 62, and GPSmap 78 require
you to obtain a copy of BaseCamp to be able to completely manage your
waypoints and tracks.Working with Waypoints: 1.
Waypoints can be uploaded to the unit directly from MapSource, however, they
can not be downloaded from the unit to MS.
2. Waypoints can be
imported from .gdb or .gpx files into BaseCamp (Recently Imported) and then
"copied" to the unit's List.
3. In Base Camp, when waypoints are deleted from the
unit's List, they are also deleted from the unit.
4. Waypoints and
tracks in the unit can be edited in the bottom panel.
Working with Tracks:
current tracks inside the unit are displayed by BaseCamp when plugged in.
Any selected track can be edited in the bottom panel, Properties.
Highlighting track segments in the bottom panel changes their color to orange in
the Properties and can be deleted.
4. Also available in the bottom
panel is the profile of the track.
In the unit:
delete all waypoints, go to: Main Menu,Waypoint Manager, Enter,
Menu, Delete All. (Apparently individual waypoints can't be
deleted in the unit; one must use Base Camp). Individual tracks
can be deleted from the Main Menu, Track Manager.
BaseCamp 3-D PanelBaseCamp downloads
all Custom Maps from a unit. Here a Current Track is
displayed on a 24K DRG Custom Map.
What's in the
60CSx and 62s, but not in the Oregon:
The map has no DEM data, but the scene is rendered in 3-D, because TOPO
U.S. 2008 was selected. The Arrow indicates North.
Measure Distance-- the ability
to measure distance to a location on the map.The Clear list on Recent Finds-- does not require a master reset
on the 62 as it does in the Oregon.Proximity alarms-- to set an
alarm when you approach or depart a specific waypoint. Distance is
set by the user
Night View-- This allows for
the dark background, which is not so bright for night use. This can
be manually switched on or automatically at sunrise and sunset. (When
in the night mode, there is no terrain shading however.)
Locate-- On the satellite page, allows you to reset the GPS almanac
data and get a fresh start. Helpful when you haven't had it on for
a long time or traveled a long distance.
Calendar-- The calendar will
log geocache finds, waypoints marked, tracks save. A nice feature
not in the Oregon.
A lot of the sub menu options look the same as they do in the 60CSx.
A profile called "Classic" looks very similar to the 60Csx.
Comment:Now don't get lost out there you-all!
Garmin seems to have made almost ALL their features available in these two series of classic units without having to buy more than one..
-Sam and Jack