Reviews for Satmap Active 12 GPS with 1:50k full GB mappingAdd a review
- “Useless for techies too.”
One of the reviews below notes how this piece of kit is for techies. It is not for us either!
GPS is something I use professionally in combination with GIS software to ease the creation of sampling grids, etc. In trying to use the SatMap12 I get the following recurrent problems:
• SatSync (the required software) fails to recognise that the GPS is attached to the computer.
• SatSync goes through the motions of 'converting' a file but no file is written. This can be overcome by drag and drop (and finding the setting to convert to *.MAP format as the SatMap 12 does not read standard GPX files).
• The files are written to the GPS (according to SatSync) but cannot be seen on the GPS unit - neither listed in the directory nor on any map. Sometimes this can be rectified by turning the unit on and off, (although the manual says that this should not be necessary for the software version on the unit) but sometimes, the longed-for points still fail to show up. Grrrrhh - and that's how working with the SatMap makes you feel!
Although the SatMap has a great host of possible features, these are all rendered useless by these challenges of working with its own file format, the SatSync software and the unpredictability of the outcomes. I have once managed to get a grid onto the SatMap but it took two hours. A number of hours spent since have failed to get another grid to work, despite going through the process of re-making, re-saving and then re-converting and re-transferring the files across to the SatMap 12 (or not!). It leaves the following dilemma:
• trying again - it might work this time, mightn't it?;
• entering the names & coordinates manually (a matter of hours of tedium , and it is the 21st Century); or
• take 10 mins to transfer it across to a Garmin Etrex instead.
Yes, you might have though Garmin was clunky to use but it is reliable/predicatbkle. SatMap is clunkier, including the need to install their software, and is unreliable too. Having to use SatSync also limits field use, especially away from base, when you may not have access to the software but could use Garmin's more simple drag and drop feature on any computer.
As a result of our experiences, it is hard to see how the SatMap got such good reviews in outdoor magazines. It seems likely they spent a lot on advertising but alternately, investment in developing a reliable system might have had longer-term, word-of-mouth benefits. Experience of using it with staff is that they find it confusing and frustrating to use in the field. So, despite the initial excitement of something new to 'play' with, the SatMap 12 was quickly ditched in favour of ye olde Extrex10.
As well as locating sample points, for example, we also need GPS to navigate in very remote areas of Scotland. As a result I have had to reconsider using the SatMap12 - the price on here is attractive but against that there is the time wasted in trying to get GPX files onto it and the additional frustration of its use in demanding conditions. As a result, I have decided to save an additional £130 per unit, and to just go back to the Garmin Etrex instead. It wasn't so bad really ...
Disappointing to have to write such a negative review - the SatMap 12 sounds and looks good, and I was looking forward to making use of it. Taking more heed of the observations on here than the rave reviews in outdoor magazines might have saved me time and frustration.
- “ACTIVE 12”
I bought the A12 for cycle touring , mainly with predetermined routes, mapped in detail through a well known cycle tour provider.
It was a treat - a luxury item, so I did expect it to be a very polished item of kit, with "all the bugs" rigorously removed before being marketed. I also use GPS of other types frequently.
I like gadgets so it was fun to get to know it. It took a while though, but the A12 Handbook was useful. The Handbook needs a "simple first time user" definitions page, which could be avoided by a savvy user if necessary. E.g. For me, the definition between a "track" and a "trail" was confusing until I re-read the Handbook several times. Writers of Handbooks have a difficult task, but they must take into account that the learning curve on a complex gadget such as the A12 can be ferocious for a "newbie". I commend the use of the videos on YouTube - they are useful.
I'm going to jump straight into the ease of usage.
I've done quite a lot of OS map walking in the Forces and know how to use an OS map, compass, bearings etc. I also know your kit *must* be easy to use and reliable in difficult conditions which can apply at very short notice.
Use of the A12 depends on being able to manage battery life and swopping of cylindrical battery cartridges with the main battery is difficult, to put it mildly!! The only way to get the battery pack actually out of the A12 requires you to pry the pack out using a pointed item such as a nail file, screwdriver or a knife point. This also applies to the screen cover also.
Now - doing this in hilltop conditions, with rain and in deteriorating visibility with cold numb fingers especially when you are probably now relying on the replacement pack to get you off the hill is *very* difficult. As for getting the very fragile male connector on the cylindrical cartridge to bed into the socket connection in the main body of the A12 - well!! In perfect conditions (my lounge), it took me 25 minutes to get the male connector to bed into the socket. Am I clumsy and unaccustomed to gadgets? No - I manage items like this a *lot* and I do have to say that the battery connectors on all my other gadgets are *far* better arranged. Of course, the main battery pack also has a tiny fiddly connector - and to me, that now limits my usage of this otherwise excellent gadget to the time I can get out of a main battery, that was charged and connected off the hill and usage on the bike. In other words, a "get me home device". I will carry the cylindrical battery pack as a last ditch option but religiously hope *never* to have to rely on it.
Use of the A12 on the bike handlebar mount in bright sunshine is difficult. I found myself parking up in the shade of trees, etc. just to be able to see the screen at all. Better in cloudy days and in shade.
I also agree about the ON/OFF button being temperamental.
- “An excellent piece of kit”
This is a great piece of kit and the package of 'extras' that came with it made it good value. It is light, comfortable in the hand and has great battery life. The only criticism I have, is that it is difficult to see the screen clearly in direct sunlight, but I had seen this mentioned in previous reviews and was prepared to deal with it.