Canada's Capital Cachers / Cacheurs de la capitale du Canada

Tech Talk => GPSr Units => Garmin => Topic started by: bluelamb03 on June 24, 2013, 08:48:15

Title: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: bluelamb03 on June 24, 2013, 08:48:15
http://garmin.blogs.com/my_weblog/2013/06/introducing-monterra-new-garmin-outdoor-handheld-with-android-os.html#.UchLMNiRZBo (http://garmin.blogs.com/my_weblog/2013/06/introducing-monterra-new-garmin-outdoor-handheld-with-android-os.html#.UchLMNiRZBo)

Has anyone heard anymore on this unit?

Blue -
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: CocaColaCacher on June 24, 2013, 09:03:00
Looks interesting.  Would be nice to have a uniti with WI-FI built in for transferring files off a laptop or smart phone.  I'll have to add this to my Christmas list.........for Christmas 2014 when the bugs have been worked out and it is a little more affordable.
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: GreyingJay on June 24, 2013, 10:31:15
It looks very intriguing.

I like geocaching with my iPhone because of the convenience of always being able to check for nearby caches, directly look up previous logs and photos while in the field, and then log my find -- including taking a photo -- directly from the device. I can also access my pocket queries, look at maps, and all that other good stuff that I can't do directly on my Garmin GPSMAP.

However, there are a few weaknesses to the smartphone-as-GPS approach, not the least of which is that GPS use burns through battery life and the phone is nowhere near as rugged. (And other complaints, like no chirp support, no breadcrumbs...)

This Monterra sounds like it would be the best of both worlds. Load up the Geocaching app onto that thing and you have an all-in-one solution.

At $650, though, I'll be waiting for a Christmas sale, or eventual price drops.

Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: kirok on June 24, 2013, 16:28:06
I was really hoping they'd give up on their failed OpenCaching.com attempt, but alas...

"Monterra is a heavyweight geocaching device, meaning it can hold millions of geocaches. Download caches from OpenCaching.com, or use a downloaded Android app, and users won’t run out of room. All the paperless geocaching features, such as descriptions, hints and logs, will be there for every single cache. Cachers can also view photos, connect to chirp® enabled caches, and filter caches by size, terrain, difficulty and type. "

Read kind-of like:  "get caches directly from OUR site (i.e. built-in), or you can download some app to get stuff from somewhere else".
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: elyob on June 24, 2013, 21:24:23
In the whole world, how many active opencaching.com caches are there?
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: GreyingJay on June 25, 2013, 09:26:09
Well even if I bought a Monterra (and it looks tempting) as a stock Android device I'm probably going to just run the official Geocaching app anyway.
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: BlackRose67 on June 25, 2013, 10:17:27
One thing I have to wonder about....when running the GPS on my Android smartphone, it eats the battery like crazy.
My wife's phone has a newer version of Android on it, but it still eats the batteries.

A pair of decent AA rechargeable cells won't have that much more capacity than the Li-Ion cells found in phones.
I'd be curious to see what the battery life will be on this unit.
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: GreyingJay on June 25, 2013, 11:13:15
Yup. Although, even if it does eat AA's, you can always bring a pack of them and swap out as needed. When I cache with my iPhone, once I drop below 10-20% battery power, I have to stop caching and sit/drive for at least an hour to let it charge back up again. (And, really, it doesn't take much to drop the battery that low -- an afternoon of multis is all it takes.) It's doubly important to keep the iPhone from dying since, well, it's also my phone.

A phone GPS/app is good for short and casual sessions of park-and-grab caches, but not much else. A dedicated GPS is much better for planned outings. This Monterra might be the thing to bridge the gap.
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: GreyingJay on June 25, 2013, 11:22:49
Here's a link with some first impressions, screenshots, and photos.

http://www.pocketnavigation.de/2013/06/garmin-monterra-wurf-bruder/

I don't speak a word of German but the pictures tell quite a story. That thing looks pretty big!
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: royfran on June 25, 2013, 11:59:17
Looking at the screen icons it'll do everything but find the cache for you, but why didn't they include Wherigo?
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: bluelamb03 on June 25, 2013, 12:31:12
Looking at the screen icons it'll do everything but find the cache for you, but why didn't they include Wherigo?


Silly, Wherigo belongs to geocaching.com, not GARMIN!

Blue -
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: BlackRose67 on June 25, 2013, 21:25:41
Looking at the screen icons it'll do everything but find the cache for you, but why didn't they include Wherigo?
None of the new units from Garmin (eTrex 10/20/30, Oregon 600/650, Monterra) support Wherigo.

Given that the apps and software created by Geocaching.com haven't been updated in 5 years, it seems they've abandoned it.
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: BlackRose67 on November 05, 2013, 12:51:36
Some basic hands-on info about the new Monterra.  No review yet.

http://gpstracklog.com/2013/11/garmin-monterra-android-first-looks.html
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: portera on November 05, 2013, 14:13:03
Wow, am I ever going to let someone else beta test that puppy!  :o
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: GreyingJay on November 05, 2013, 16:08:29
Very tempting to try out!

One nice thing about being Android based is that it will likely be tweakable/hackable by the Android developer community. That means that should there be any really annoying bugs that Garmin can't/won't fix, it may be possible for someone else to provide a patch or a workaround (such as a third-party app that replaces the built-in functionality).

My car stereo system is now Android based (Parrot Asteroid Smart) and I can actually run the official Geocaching app -- came in handy during GAG20 when I was planning my route. I had a pocket query of GAG20 caches so I could see the clustering on a map, then select one and get turn-by-turn guidance via Google Navigation. The factory software of the Parrot unit has flaws, but third-party apps and tweaks have since come out to address various shortcomings.

This thing promises to be THE all-in-one Geocaching device. Search, download, find, take pictures, and log from the field. All the benefits of geocaching from your iPhone/Android without the risk of damaging your emergency lifeline or killing your battery life.
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: BlackRose67 on November 05, 2013, 16:50:33
It will be nice to find out who supplied the underlying hardware that the android OS is running on and also what version of Android it is using.
It's at least running ICS, but more likely an implementation of Jelly Bean (4.1 - 4.3) based on the app drawer screen image.

The ability to do a bluetooth transfer of a GSAK GPX or any other type of coordinate file is certainly appealing (wish the Oregon 600 series supported that with non "i" devices), as is the ability to run any of the caching apps right on the "GPS" .
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: BlackRose67 on November 18, 2013, 22:36:56
Just reading some posts over on the GC.com forums.

The Monterra is out and in what seems to be the norm for new Garmin units, already has some issues being reported.
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: GreyingJay on November 19, 2013, 09:31:49
I would love to be an early adopter if I had the cash.

Hope Garmin (or some enterprising third party) takes care of the issues... I really want this to be my next dedicated GPS unit!
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: Geomonster on November 20, 2013, 10:43:40
One nice thing about being Android based is that it will likely be tweakable/hackable by the Android developer community. That means that should there be any really annoying bugs that Garmin can't/won't fix, it may be possible for someone else to provide a patch or a workaround (such as a third-party app that replaces the built-in functionality).

The Monterra is now available to purchase. I've had a Monterra for a few months now, as part of the Beta program, so I have used it a lot, but not for Geocaching yet.   :'(

There's an interesting review from the motorcycling perspective on Globeriders: http://globeriders.com/article_pages/article06_gps/article06_monterra.shtml (http://globeriders.com/article_pages/article06_gps/article06_monterra.shtml)

 
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: GPComd on November 30, 2013, 23:06:28
I bought one.
I lost my 450 while I was out in Edmonton playing with Leopard tanks a few weeks ago.  I could have bought another 450 cheap at Costco, but looked up on GPSCity and GPSCentral to see what was available.  Figured if I was going to buy a new GPS, it might as well be a good one, with whatever the newest tech was going to be.
Finally rcvd it last week, and today was the first day out on the trails with the SOBs.

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) - don't buy one yet.  Wait for the bugs to get sorted out and the 3rd party software to catch up to it.
as in:
- GSAK can't communicate directly with the Monterra.  This is because it is an Android device, so it doesn't show up on your computer as a G & H drive, for example.  So macros such as GarminExport.gsk will not work.  To load the caches, the procedure right now is to make a filter/dbase/whatever of caches, export as a gpx file to somewhere on your comp, then copy onto the Monterra.  No big deal to do the file transfer.  BUT - no attributes, no user notes, no corrected coords symbols show up on the cache page or map.  Lots of chatter on the gsak forums about this, so someone will probably develop something in the future.
- Map zoom.  Right now it only goes to 15m, while my 450 was 5m.  So it gets a bit messy when you're at GZ for more than a minute or it isn't an obvious hide.  If there is a setting to zoom in past that 15m, I haven't found it yet.
- I haven't figured out how to download tracklogs yet.  Tried with basecamp and easygps like I used to, but no luck yet.  I assume basecamp will update soon so it'll work.  I put all my tracklogs onto google earth, lets me know where the trails and parking spots are at for future caches.
- I haven't used the built in digital compass because there's so much on the forums about the compass being unreliable and severely out of calibration. 

Some good things:
- Ability to turn on/off different maps you may have loaded, on the fly.  Right now I have OSM and TopoV4 - so one has better streets and etc for in the city, the other has contour lines etc for out in the woods.  Since Ottawa is pretty flat, not a huge difference from the 450.
- easier to do projections, multi waypoints, etc. 
- you can actually find and read any notes you made in the field on the GPS.
- built in camera and all the other geo apps out there can be installed right on the GPS.  While you can do the same thing with an iphone or android phone, the GPS receivers in most phones is pretty crappy.  At least the one in my Samsung is.  To get +/-15m in an open field with my phone is pretty good.  We've all seen the kind of coords new hiders have posted when they use their iPhones to hide a cache.
- easily converts to vehicle mode with audible driving directions, to dismounted searching on foot when you get to the trailhead or parking spot.
- Must be a better antennae than my 450, because sitting at home on the computer desk, it gets a signal with +/-3m accuracy.  My 450 sitting in the same place on the desk was usually +/- 8-10 m.  Of course, that doesn't help much if the guy hiding the cache used coords with a +/-10m accuracy from his reciever.

Has anyone used the Garmin Birdseye, $30USD/1 year subscription service for satellite imagery?  Worth it?  Money not an issue, what I mean is does it slow your map drawing down, is the Ottawa imagery up to date, etc. 

That's it for now. 

GPC
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: kirok on December 01, 2013, 09:40:19
Thanks for the info!

You can create you're own Birdseye images with Google and load them on your unit.  I did this for a bit when I first got my 62, but found that the images didn't really help that much, and they take up a lot of space on the memory card for little benefit.    Maybe if I were out in the backwoods for a long period I might see an advantage to having preloaded satellite imagery, but for day-to-day use and caching it is too much work and/or expense for nothing.
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: bluelamb03 on December 01, 2013, 09:41:47
Thanks for the review GPComd, useful feedback, we appreciate the early adopters sharing their experience.

Blue -
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: GreyingJay on December 09, 2013, 01:26:27
GPComd,

Would you be in a position to share some photos and video clips from the device?

I am planning ahead to next summer where I will be conducting industrial espionage participating in a week-long canoe trip camp down the Saugeen River in Bruce County. I want to be able to take photos, video clips, and have a GPS unit handy. I have no idea if geocaches are around but if they are, I want to be ready with a query. The fewer devices I can get away with carrying, the better.

I will obviously need to pack light and will need to get creative about charging any electronics. The specs say the Monterra will go for 22 hours on a set of AA's, which sounds ideal -- I can pack a couple of sets of Eneloops and they should last the week. I don't know how I would deal with my Canon Powershot (li-ion) or iPhone -- maybe I could bring a solar USB charger, or just leave them behind if the Monterra is good enough.
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: portera on December 09, 2013, 09:59:36
... I will be conducting industrial espionage participating in a week-long canoe trip camp down the Saugeen River in Bruce County.

Snort! The only industrial espionage you'd be conducting down the Saugeen River in Bruce (and presumably Grey too) County would be the spying on the feeding of beef cattle. There aren't too many caches along the river with the exception of a few east of Hanover (my home town).
Title: Re: New Garmin Monterra - WiFi enabled with Android OS
Post by: GreyingJay on December 09, 2013, 11:52:57
What I meant by that is that I'll be part of that canoe trip as a staff member of a kids' summer camp local to that area, but what I'll really be doing (with their blessing, don't worry) is taking notes on how such a canoe trip camp is run, with the intent of bringing what I learn back to my camp so we can eventually run a canoe trip camp of our own along the Clyde River in Lanark.

Hence why I want to be able to take pictures and video, so I can document my experience and share it with both camps.