Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, March 6 2009.

A few years ago I wrote a long article about using GPS receivers when hillwalking and my eventual purchase of a Garmin GPSMAP 60C (see the article here). I mentioned in the article that the ‘holy grail’ for a hillwalker like myself, or indeed any person in the UK who spends time outdoors, was a GPS receiver that was rugged and waterproof, had all the technical specifications required, and had a graphical display showing OS maps.

My Garmin receiver has been an incredibly useful piece of kit, and I’m such a convert to GPS that I can’t imagine how I did without one before, and I wouldn’t dream of venturing into the hills without one now (with a suitable supply of backup batteries, and a map and compass as well of course).

Now there is a GPS receiver that fits the bill of a ‘holy grail’ – it’s the Satmap Active 10. I first saw one of these in use in the hills in September last year and instantly felt that ‘gadget envy’ when you see something that is clearly superior to what you currently own. Despite a few teething problems with the software it seems to have become a very desirable piece of equipment.

However, I have no plans to buy one. My GPSMAP 60C is performing perfectly well – I’ve used it all over the world, at high altitudes, in rain, snow, heat and sub-zero temperatures and whether stuffed into a rucksack or in a dusty and rocky mountain environment, it’s never failed me. It’s even been very useful as an in-car navigation system whilst driving.

The price of the Satmap Active 10 is an eye-watering £250 on Amazon (it was £300 not so long ago). The real sting in the tail is that the OS mapping data has to be bought seperately. A sample price is £99 for northern Great Britain at 1:50000 scale on an SD memory card. This high price is due to the restrictive and strict licencing policies of the OS, something I’ve touched on before in the previous blog posting ‘The Ordnance Survey: evil or angelic?‘. So maybe I’ll wait for the price to come down (or I win Who Wants to be a Millionaire).

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