Story: Starting with Garmin Gpsmap 64s

Using maps in a mobile phone is nice. But the battery will never last enough. Therefore I bought a gps device.


I had some choices in my mind – I compared several devices during the last weekend. Finally I ended up to Garmin Gpsmap 64s.

I know: It has no touch screen, looks old-fashioned. But I think that a good antenna and tough structure are more important than the usability given by the touch screen.

I found suitable offer from Partioaitta. So, I ordered it on Monday, and it arrived on Wednesday afternoon. That was fast!

When starting to use I already knew that I can install Finnish topography maps for free; very good maps based on the National Land Survey of Finland open map data. So, I had the required file downloaded to my Surface.

Installing was simple: Connecting Garmin to Surface with USB cable, and copying one file into it. And then choosing the right map in the device.

Having some additional map is required. The map that comes with the device is really poor. Garmin also provides topography maps, but their price is quite high.

Starting the device takes some seconds, not too fast. But getting the location is fast. Thanks to the combined GPS and Glonass operation, I guess. And thanks to the good helix antenna, there seems not to be strong drifting of the locations even inside our house.

A short walk also showed that the position was accurate. But maybe I will later compare the accuracy with some other devices.

Settings take a bit more time than I guessed. The reason is that operating with physical buttons is slower than using touch screen. But maybe I will learn it again.

I have already installed Garmin Basecamp to my laptop. So, I tested tranferring routes and locations from it to Gpsmap. Very simple, again connection with USB, and the device will be visible in Basecamp. The routes and points moves easily to both directions.

I have also Garmin Forerunner 225. I tested importing routes from it to Basecamp, and from it to Gpsmap. No problems. And also I tested successfully to directly to copy a gpx file to the memory card in Garmin with usin Basecamp.

Viewing the imported routes and points is easy. At least after a few trials the menu seems to feel logical.

Navigating to a point has been made simple: There is button “Find” to start easily navigation. As well as for “Mark” to save the location while hiking. Again, saving takes some extra work because of the lack of the keyboard; writing the name of the location is slow….

What I will be interested in is how the batteries will last. That I will find out later and report about it.

One important final note: This device will not replace printed map. Rather it is a backup that helps in some cases.