A Good GPS for GIS

Discussion created by crabtreecj on Feb 18, 2012
Latest reply on Feb 19, 2012 by PDoherty-esristaff
Hello all! This is my first post on these forums and I'm sure it will not be my last,

I work for an E-911 center and have just started taking GIS classes at my local community college.
At our school we use an older Garmin Etrex (yellow in color) which doesn???t seem to be all that accurate,
I have been using my cell phone (droid) and using a GPS application on it to record points as well and it seems like all my points on my phone are more accurate than the points coming from my GPS, and it seems a lot easier to load
my points into arc using my phone than using my GPS since there is an extension in the toolbox that takes maybe 2 minutes to convert the points to a shape file.

My first question is, I???m still wanting to get a GPS to use when the cell phone doesn???t pick up good, I have looked around at a lot of different models and can???t really determine which to be good for me. I want decent accuracy; I would like the GPS point to be within 20 to 30 yards of where I am, so I don???t really know if that???s good or bad? Lol but, what would be an all-around good GPS for GIS and just outdoor activities?

My second question, are there any GPS units, besides the ones that cost $500+, that will allow me to load arc files onto it? Such as shape files and base maps for the purpose of looking at the base map and comparing my location on the GPS to where I am at in real life?

The reason I mention I work in E-911 is, one of the reasons for asking the questions is, I???m currently trying to help our 911 center and our outdated map by going out and collecting points of good locations for landing zones, this purpose is to help rescue responders determine the closest landing zones in emergency situations, for hikers and horse riders in our county who have accidents.

Thanks in advance for all your help!