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.
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.
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.