has anyone used their Garmin, i.e. Garmin 60CSX to grab field data instead of a Trimble or something similar? I'm considering buying a Trimble for Field Data collecting but am wondering if you are able to use a 60CSX Garming for the short-term.

  • Do you need better than 10m accuracy? Try rephrasing your question from 'has anyone used' to include your use case and data accuracy requirements.
    – Sean
    Jul 11, 2011 at 13:09
  • The closest proximity in accuracy yes. I have never done field data collect and I am trying to learn how to do it. I was curious if anyone has used the standard Garmin stated above before going out and purchasing a Trimble GPS for $3-4000. thanks Sean.
    – Zoran
    Jul 11, 2011 at 16:02
  • It would be interesting to have a broader question on peoples experience with consumer grade GPS for survey work. Jul 12, 2011 at 17:16
  • see also my activity gis.stackexchange.com/questions/9987/…
    – BWill
    Feb 8, 2012 at 2:35

3 Answers 3


You might be interested to see how the lowest level Garmin Etrex stacks up to a commercial grade GPS. In the attached image, the results (N =75) represents student data collection of easting and northings over a fixed position over a two day period using the Garmin Etrex. The circles represent the one (4.54 meters) and two (9.08 meters) Standard Distance values about the know center. Cautioning that results can vary by location, time and user...but interesting none-the-less.enter image description here

  • basicaly, it does the necassary functions then a high-cost gps such as a Trimble? I have a Garmin 60CSX and the dang thing is not being recognized for a connection. I've tried differant usb cables/cords for it. I've looked it up online but unable to find solutions. There is no port detection.
    – Zoran
    Jul 12, 2011 at 18:20
  • 1
    Hey Dan, I just see a bunch of points and two circles. Can you specify which points were taken by which GPS, or if either of those circles correlates to a GPS?
    – jvangeld
    Jul 12, 2011 at 21:09
  • I sure could ... but not now, the circles are standard distance circles (google it), there were about 30 gps units used by two labs on two days (with some duplication to give N = 75 students). I didn't do matched pairs t-tests to see if there were differences between the days or between students ... that was the purpose of lab question :)
    – user681
    Jul 12, 2011 at 21:35

Consumer level Garmin GPS's are heavily used by many people to capture data in the field. They are rugged, easy to use (and train people to use), and accurate enough for many uses. If you don't need the features of field software, or the accuracy of survey grade GPS I would highly recommend.


I find the biggest constraint is integrating fieldwork with existing data, particularly GIS data on a garmin. You might have a look at the Trimble Juno 3b/3d. They sell for about $800.

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