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DeLorme Earthmate GPS PN-20


If is a GPS is only as good as its maps, the PN-20 by DeLorme is one of the best GPS devices out there. With the ability to display vector based topo maps, scanned USGS 1:24,000 scale topo maps, satellite imagery, 1 meter aerial photography, and NOAA marine charts– other devices on the market today simply are little match for the mapping versatility of the PN-20.

While map redraws can be a little sluggish at times, most people will use the PN-20 for relatively slow moving sports like hiking, skiing, kayaking, and geocaching. The PN-20 shines in all of those activities. If you are map obsessed, the PN-20 will likely become your latest obsession.

443 Responses

  1. Menu -> Routes (or use the Page button to get to the Routes page) -> New -> Add Point -> Use Map. Then add as many points as you would like to approximate the river bends. Calculate the route and then the distance to destination will cover the route you generated.

    Tim - May 29th, 2008
  2. Tim…I see “custom cut maps” advertised for “where you want to go”….I am planning to hike the Continental Divide Trail from Canada (Montana) to Mexico (New Mexico)…needing to cut a 2,800 mile by 8/10 mile wide corridor…someone has already plotted 148 maps for printing in .gif format…question: is this corridor feasible with Topo 7 and the included regional disks (I know it is with Garmin) or will I have to buy the state USGS topo maps (at $100 per), or download the corridor a piece at a time from netlink (at unknown expense)…one problem is I own two non-intel/non windows capable Macs so will have to slave myself to someone else’s PC to do anything, and have yet to deposit my one Topo 7 license anywhere …but I can accept that as there is nothing working well with older Macs anyway..thanks
    Ron from Maine

    Ron - May 29th, 2008
  3. Ron – It depends which maps you want. If you want the DeLorme vector TOPO maps, which are smaller in size– cut them directly from TOPO USA in just the corridor you need and add them to the device. (Probably on a larger SD card.) You might want to cut separate states to have a number of smaller map files rather than one big one.

    If on the other hand you want the actual scanned USGS topo maps then you will need to shell out some cash for the extra maps, plus you will likely have to juggle a bunch of memory cards due to the amount of space the scanned (versus raster) maps take up.

    Tim - May 29th, 2008
  4. Hello Tim

    A couple of stupid questions: According to what I have read, the PN20 can save ten tracks with 10,000 waypoints per track. Does this mean the unit can store 100,000 waypoints total in memory? Is this being being stored on the SD card or internal memory?


    Russ - May 31st, 2008
  5. Russ, DeLorme said this:

    Think of it as 10 tracks with 10,000 points for a total of 100,000 points!

    The tracks are stored in an internal memory. (I think it is in a reserved space so that no matter how many maps you cram into the internal memory it can still hold the same amount of tracklogs, but I could be wrong about that.)

    Tim - May 31st, 2008
  6. When I make a route from a line in Topo 7, the map labels and numbers sequentially every “via.” Each change in angle of the line seems to be a via. There are a lot of vias. How do I suppress all those labels and numbers from printing on the map? I wish to show beginning and end and perhaps only a few intermediate points. Thank you.

    Lewis Clark - June 2nd, 2008
  7. Lewis, I think I’m following what you are saying, but I’m not 100% sure. With something like that you will likely get a faster and more detailed response over here. Those guys are really sharp when it comes to Topo USA tweaks.

    Tim - June 2nd, 2008
  8. I just purchased a PN 20 and thought it was OK while setting it up. But then I was really turned off at the price of aerial imagery. It’s a great feature and that, in addition to the 1/24,000 scale, is why I chose this unit. However, this feature is cost prohibitive. I am returning my unit as a result and opting to wait for other brands to catch up on the technology or Delorme to offer the aerial imagery at a reasonble cost. I ride dirt bikes in a 10 town area between two New England states, not that big of an area. It would have cost me an additional $500 to get that imagery. They give you a free $100, so actually would have cost $400, but that is way too much. It’s more than what the unit cost! Was disappointed because I spoke to Delorme a number of times to explain exactly what my needs were and I was assured what I was purchaseing would suffice. At least you can reach someone at Delorme unlike Magellan and Garmin. Is there anyone coming out with a handheld that has these features at a reasonble price?

    Todd - June 6th, 2008
  9. Todd, did you know that the downloadable aerial imagery costs 10 times as much as if you order it on DVD? If I recall correctly the aerial imagery costs $0.10/km2 when downloaded, but only $0.01/km2 when purchased on DVD. The DVD method does have a $50 minimum order, but you get a much bigger bang for the buck that way if you can plan ahead.

    Tim - June 6th, 2008
  10. Todd/Tim –

    Actually an even more economical approach is to acquire Delorme’s XMap Pro product (~$200.00). Using XMap Pro you can convert imagery from a .sid or GeoTIFF format for use with the PN-20. Dozens of internet sites exist where you can access and download such imagery (or topo maps), such as the USDA’s http://datagateway.nrcs.usda.gov/ . Thus for $200.00 you can have unlimited access to a imagery throughout the US and even the world.

    Tony - June 6th, 2008
  11. Great information in this thread!
    I went from wanting to buy a Magellan Triton 500, to the Garmin 60csx but I think the PN20 is the handheld gps for me thanks to the info presented here.
    The price is a little high for my needs though I think I finally have it in my head that I need to get 2 gps units; 1 for just driving and 1 for activities outside the car.
    Thanks for all the good info!

    Fzzt - June 7th, 2008
  12. Hi! A couple quick questions. I hope I haven’t missed the answers in the posts, but I haven’t had time to read through them all. In the TopoUSA program that is included, are all of the maps 24K? Or do you have to purchase those? Also, I am a field tech, and I work in heavy tree cover at times. I’ve heard this unit doesn’t get as good of reception as the VistaHCx, which I am also considering. Any input? Thanks!

    Andrea - June 11th, 2008
  13. Andrea – The Topo USA maps are based on 1:100k digital data, the USGS topo maps (raster/scanned) that you can purchase for the PN-20 are 1:24k.

    My PN-20 doesn’t get a signal quite as fast as my DeLorme handhelds, but once it locks in it seems just as accurate and holds it in similar conditions.

    Tim - June 12th, 2008
  14. Thanks for the response! I am definitly taking a look at it. Has anyone used one of the cheap 100 dollar Garmins? The only gps I have used was one of those on a recent job. It held out in tree cover, I didn’t mind that it didn’t have a compass, and it was a little slow on zooming in. How does it compare to the Delorme in these aspects? If it’s better, I wouldn’t know the difference as compared to top of the line Garmin’s.

    Andrea - June 12th, 2008
  15. In respose to 308-310 I tried to order the DVD. And, of course i discovered that the $100 certificate can’t be used for DVDs just the downloads. What a crock of crap. If you buy a PN 20 because you want it to perform all of the things that make it allegedly better than the other manufacturers, plan on spending a lot of money on additional software. Of course they just tried to sell me the x-map software as the suggested here. They should have recomended that in the forst place. And again it’s more money and at this point I have to expect that after I purchase that I will needing to buy something else. I’m officially done with my PN 20. Delorme can expect mine sometime next week. I wish they were up front when I describerd my exact needs when researching the purchase.

    Todd - June 12th, 2008
  16. I am looking for an exceptional topographic mapping GPS. I don’t care about anything other than those items that you would find on USGS map such contour lines, streams, trails, etc. This is for an ATV that spends all it’s time on trails and in the woods. I already have an exceptional compass and other GPS for road use.

    I have MANY Garmin and Magellans and they aren’t worth a crap for this type work. The spend all their efforts on cameras, compass, etc and not on good mapping. Is the PN-20 the answer to this requirement?

    Frank - June 14th, 2008
  17. Frank, I’m not certain what your requirements are. You said you wanted contour lines, streams, trails, etc– but the Garmin and Magellan devices didn’t meet your needs. Those devices have those features, so we will need more info.

    Tim - June 15th, 2008
  18. Sorry I wasn’ more explict. I have a Garmin ETrek Vista handheld and a Garmin Quest built in to my ATV (boy, the ATV manufacturers should hang their head in shame on that one). The Ertek has all the bells and whistles but no detailed terrain features. The Quest is simply a regular road mapping device with NO ability to load topo maps.

    I want a good water resistant hand held device that will display at least 1:25000 detailed (hopefully even greater detail). It should be able to show all the terrain features you would find on a 1:25000 terrain map. I would prefer a “bread crumb” feature and the ability to update the maps as needed. The ability to down aerial view is nice but not critical.

    I don’t care about all the bells and whistles the Etrek has built in. I certainly don’t care about the camera or the phone features that Magellan has built in. Basically, I used the GPS in very remote areas where detailed mapping is critical. I am not to concerned about the price but obviously don’t want to buy more than I need. I have looked at the 76 series Garmin online but they don’t appear to have the detail the Earthmate PN has on it. I have not looked at either in real life.

    Frank - June 15th, 2008
  19. Frank – the PN20 includes the ability to download and install scanned copies of USGS topo maps in 1:24k scale. You get a certificate for $100 worth of the imagery (400 sq km) with the device.

    Tim - June 16th, 2008
  20. Frank, you can also purchase direct from DeLorme their 3-D TopoQuad DVDs for $49.95 per state if you’re a PN-20 owner. Regular price is $99.95. This would give you all the USGS 7.5 minute quads for your state, or in a few cases, partial state. Texas, for instance, is divided into three regions, but most states are on one DVD. You can then cut 1:24000 topos of any area you want and upload them to the PN-20.

    Ken - June 17th, 2008
  21. Regarding the 10,000 points per track and up to 10 tracks: comparable units only offer 500 points per track, up to 20 tracks. In other people’s experience, just how valuable is it that the PN-20 offers a much higher number of points. Does it really make the PN-20 worth purchasing or is it overkill? Any personal experiences?

    J.R. - June 21st, 2008
  22. J.R. – Personal preference. I happened to take my PN-20 out kayking with me last night. I paddled for a couple of hours, and about 7 miles or so, and recorded a tracklog for it. Over that time and distance I recorded about 5,000 points. Sure, I could have recorded the tracklog at a lower setting, collected 1,500 points, and have about the same “shape” to the track and similar data quality– so for me that part of it doesn’t make a ton of difference.

    However another aspect is how often do you want to save/download the data? I record so many tracklogs that I don’t download the data but once every week or so, and therefore I find having that extra capacity is handy.

    You can setup logging by distance (say one point every 20 feet) or by time (say one point every 5 seconds) to reduce the number of points used per track. That is pretty common for other devices too if you find you are bumping against the limits.

    Tim - June 21st, 2008
  23. Tim,

    I appreciate all the info and your dedication. Several data related questions that will help me decide on a purchase of the PN-20:

    1. Is there a way to do an image overlay on Topo 7 and see it on the PN-20 (like you can with Google Earth). I have scanned trail maps that would be very helpful to have superimposed on topos or aerial imagery.

    2. Is there a way to import pics or screen captures from Google Earth onto the PN-20 (and have lat/long aligned). I have found GE’s imagery to be much more current than that offered for sale by Delorme.

    3. I have used Delorme’s Topo 6 (with my BlueLogger) and have downloaded some aerial imagery. Will these previous downloads work with v. 7 and hence with the PN-20?

    4. When I made the purchase of the imagery mentioned in #3, the B&W aerial imagery came automatically with USGS Topo Quads and Sat 10 Imagery. It seems that Delorme now sells them as separate purchases. Is that correct?

    5. Where can I see a good comparison of the various data types (Aerial, Color Aerial, Satellite, etc.) so I can know what data type I want, and how do I find out which data are available (e.g., color DOQQ) for the area I am interested in.

    Thanks in advance.

    Kurt - June 24th, 2008
  24. 1) You can trace trails into Topo 7 and then send them to the GPS. As far as scanning an image, you would need XMap for something like that.

    2) Again, XMap will do that.

    3) Yes, they should work fine.

    4) Yes.

    5) You can find more sample maps here on the second half of the page. You can click on a map to see more samples of that type. I think DOQQ covers all of the USA contiguous.

    Tim - June 24th, 2008
  25. Just announced, the new DeLorme PN-40 to be released in the fall!

    Tim - June 25th, 2008
  26. Of course they did – they knew I was buying that PN-20 last night. Still, this is fantastic news, all my reservations are now completely gone. Oh well – it goes back, I wait, and fall back on the old e-trex until then. Many thanks Tim for all the invaluable info you’ve put out here.

    Bill - June 25th, 2008
  27. Re: #324 #5 (and 323 #5), I could use some clarification:

    My Topo 6.0 program offers the following download types: Aerial Data Pack (imagery); Color DOQQ (Aerial Imagery); Sat 10 (Satellite Imagery); USGS 1:24K Quads (Scanned Maps); USGS DOQQ (Aerial Imagery); USGS Hi-Res 133 Cities…. I don’t see samples of all of these on any of Delorme’s pages. (I couldn’t find the ones you refer to at the bottom of the page of the linked page referenced in your post.) I’m really not interested in the hi-res cities, but may be interested in any or all of the others, but would like to see the differences side-by-side, esp the B&W vs. Color Aerial Imagery.

    Also, is it fair to assume that the color aerials will be newer?

    And finally, is there a “personal” version of XMap, e.g., non-professional or above, with associated pricing?


    Kurt - June 25th, 2008
  28. Kurt, click on the ‘Included Maps’ tab on the page I linked to.

    Tim - June 26th, 2008
  29. I am wanting to buy a GPS for kayaking. The PN-20 is very interesting but I am wondering just how visible the color display is in the sun. I plan to mount the GPS to the kayak at the front of the cockpit. Would a mono-chrome display be better in the sun or are the color displays just as easy to see?

    Roger - June 29th, 2008
  30. Roger, it is one of the better visibility screens out there. There are some maps, such as the b&w aerial imagery, that are harder to see in some angles of bright sunlight (as will happen with any GPS) but overall it works well. I kayak with mine in the same place and rarely have a problem.

    Tim - June 29th, 2008
  31. Hi Tim, on #281 you said that XMap was recently offered to PN20 owners for $99. Is that still in effect? How would I go about getting that? (I am about to purchase my PN20).

    Ken - July 4th, 2008
  32. I think it is, Ken, but I don’t know for sure. I think you had to call DeLorme to get the deal, so you can call them directly and ask.

    Tim - July 4th, 2008
  33. This GPS can store 1000 waypoints. Do I have to scroll through the entire list to find a waypoint or is there a short cut. I traded in my Garmin etrex Vista for this GPS. With the Vista, I would see a keyboard that would allow me to start typing the name of a waypoint and the GPS would skip to the nearest spelling. Does the Earthmate have anything like this?

    Danny - July 13th, 2008
  34. I just got a responce from Delorme. There are no shortcuts when looking for waypoints. You have to scroll through up to 500 waypoints in order to find the one you are interested in. I hope the buttons were built to last or they will be the failing factor for this product.

    Danny - July 17th, 2008
  35. If your waypoints are added with different symbols, you can filter the list by symbol.

    Tim - July 17th, 2008
  36. Tim – Thanks for the info. Can you refer me to the instructions showing how to do this?

    Danny - July 18th, 2008
  37. Danny, hit the find button (the magnifying glass). The top should say ‘Show: Waypoints’. Arrow down to the ‘Symbol’ field which probably defaults to ‘All’. Click Enter, and now you can filter the list by which symbol you want to see in the list.

    Tim - July 18th, 2008
  38. Thanks Tim. Your instructions worked. I had to change a few defaults first, but I got it now. All I have to do is change the symbols of my waypoints and group them accordingly.

    Danny - July 18th, 2008
  39. Great, glad it worked out for you.

    Tim - July 18th, 2008
  40. I’m in the market to purchase a handheld (this will be my first), and I’ve been doing a lot of research. I’m stuck between the PN-20 and the 60CSx. Any ideas how the mapsets are for Hawaii(Oahu)?? Topo, aerial, satellite? Which unit would be idea for the islands??Primary use would be for hiking. Thanks!

    v/r, Raleigh

    Raleigh - July 20th, 2008
  41. My job requires creating maps in ESRI’s Arcview and the use of shapefiles. How can I transfer waypoints obtained with the Earthmate PN-20 to Arcmap as a shapefile or data layer? Since ERSI doesn’t support USB port communication I have to download to DeLorme but have not been able to find a way to export the mapping data to the GIS software the rest of the world uses professionally. Also the Earthmate puts some of my waypoints as if I was standing in the middle of the river. Is that map inaccuracy or the GPS? Thanks. I found some really helpful dialog here.

    Niki - July 24th, 2008
  42. Being in the middle of a river is more likely to be a map inaccuracy. What formats can ERSI import from? You can export waypoints into things like GPX format which is fairly standard. Or you could use a program like GPSBabel which might convert to the format you need. Otherwise I don’t know much about the ERSI software.

    Tim - July 24th, 2008
  43. I cannot decide on a GPS for what I do. I hunt a lot in the Midwest and several other states such as North Dakota and Iowa. Most of what I do is on public lands BUT I also hunt on privately owned lands.

    I had decided on the Garmin 60 CSX but then discovered how you have to buy this and that when the box makes you think the street mapping comes with it – it doesn’t. I like the idea of being able to overlay maps and images over one-another and have looked at others like the Triton series but am not sold on them either.

    It would be great to have one that can latch onto and hold a signal, have an electronic compass, HAS GOOD MAPS (almost like what you would get in a basic Tom-Tom) and the like so a lay person such as myself can use it AND understand it!

    Sounds like a tall order and still keep it under $400 or $500 (preferably around $350…) and wonder what you all think?

    I see the new Delorme is coming and I do not need one right now but this Fall would be great! I have a new Garmin 60 CSX in the box I am about to return and would love to read the responses, thoughts, even criticisms (not the last one but will understand!).

    Bob - August 5th, 2008
  44. I think you will like some of what the new PN-40 has to offer. We’ll be posting new details on the PN-40 tomorrow morning, and I will be getting some hands-on time with it later this week.

    Tim - August 5th, 2008
  45. Thank you!

    I should have also added I am an outdoor writer and have been for 24 years. I am always open to new ideas and discussion!

    Bob - August 5th, 2008
  46. With my PN-20 purchased in April 2008 using a set of brand new Energizer alkalines, if I leave the gps powered down it will completely drain the batteries within 2-3 days! This does not seem reasonable, and it’s a pain to remove the batteries at the end of each time using the gps. Have you seen this issue? I downloaded the newest firmware in about May.

    Dean - August 13th, 2008
  47. Make sure you have the correct battery type selected in Device Setup -> System -> Battery Type. Also, there have been a few more firmware updates since May, so I’d grab those too. But no, I haven’t seen that issue myself.

    Tim - August 13th, 2008
  48. HOORAY for DeLorme!! The firm ware update 1.5 has this fix: “Distance traveled while the PN-20 is turned off is no longer added to the device and trip odometers when the PN-20 is turned back on.” I am happy again! Back on post 284 I brought this up as a very annoying function the PN20 exhibited compared to my Etrex Venture. Thank you DeLorme!

    Russ - August 14th, 2008
  49. When I saw the release notes I knew someone had asked me about that– but I thought it was in the forums and couldn’t find it.

    Tim - August 14th, 2008
  50. Now that DeLorme has fixed the odometer situation, do you think they will address the battery life complaints? From what I have read it’s the clock that is apparently responsible for running the batteries down. I can’t understand why the clock in the unit is not shut off with rest of the electronics. When I pull the batteries after every ride the clock certainly is not running and when the batteries are reinserted the unit works just fine. Since the unit receives the time from the satellites anyway, why keep the clock running? Why not just shut everything off?

    Another thing I wonder about is this PN20 clock must draw tons of current compared to say, my watch which runs for about a year on a little button battery. The watch also has a mini radio receiver in it which is also powered by the tiny battery.


    Russ - August 15th, 2008
  51. I have downloaded waypoints from DeLorme Topo USA 7.0 about a dozen times without a problem. Now, when I connect the GPS to the computer, I get a ‘device not recognized’. I have tried different devices (i.e. a camera) in the port and had no problem, so I do not think it is the port. I have tried other ports with the GPS and have the same problem, so I think there is a cable or GPS problem. I have only had the GPS for two months. What can I check to determine the problem and then how can I fix it?

    Danny - August 16th, 2008
  52. I have had the same problem a couple of times. The connection points on the back of the PN-20 and the connector to them may not be clean. Use a pencil eraser on both sets of contacts and I believe that may solve the problem.

    Steve - August 16th, 2008
  53. I tried to clean the contacts. They looked almost new, but when I cleaned them they worked. Thanks.

    Danny - August 16th, 2008
  54. Hi! I almost bouth this when I was at their store in Maine last week – but I want to talk to someone who has used their products for sailing/boating. Any comments on the marine usability, depth data, navaids, etc.?

    Ted Anderson - August 25th, 2008
  55. Ted, I don’t use it for sailing or boating, but I have used it for sea kayaking. You can download the official NOAA harbor charts, harbor inset charts, etc directly to the PN-20. The charts cost $10 each. Or, if you need a ton of different charts you can upgrade to XMap Pro for $100, then I think you can download the charts from NOAA for free, import them to XMap, and transfer them to the PN-20.

    Tim - August 25th, 2008
  56. Dear Tim:
    I recently bought a rather large piece of land, which has hills and plains and different types of soil which can be used for different productive activities. I can summarize my needs as follows:
    a) I need a “map” of the whole land; b) Within that map, I need to locate the areas with different types of soil; c) Within that map I need to make a “contour map”, drawing “contour lines” which allow me to know the absolute and relative altitude of the different parts of the land, including different hills of varied altitude.
    Given those needs, is the DeLorme Earthmate GPS PN-20 a good device for me? Please note that I live outside and far from the U.S., so the information regarding the US territory is of little use for me. I appreciate your advise, since you clearly have a deep knowledge of the PN-20. Thanks a lot in advance.

    Jaime - September 11th, 2008
  57. A and B will work… C on the other hand could be a bit tricky. The accuracy of GPS is 10 meters or better, 95% of the time in the horizontal axis… but it isn’t quite that good with elevation. So the margin of error might be outside of your tolerance. The upcoming PN-40 would work better for that part since it augments the GPS altimeter with a barometric altimeter, however it still might not be accurate enough for your altitude requirements. (And that would apply to any other brand/model GPS as well.)

    Tim - September 11th, 2008
  58. Hi Jaime,

    For the contours (C) you might want to consider renting a laser level/tripod/survey rod and running that with the GPS. I don’t know where you are, but they can be rented relatively inexpensively from any tool rental place in the US – you just need the construction grade laser level. You’d use the level/survey rod to obtain relative elevation and the GPS to record the location of that elevation. You could use this data to develop a contour map. It obviously wouldn’t be professional survey grade, but may be sufficient for your needs.

    Kathy - September 12th, 2008
  59. I will be canoeing the Topock Marsh, AZ in Nov.
    1. Can I lay a track into the marsh and backtrack out?

    2. What speed is required to obtain a heading? (I will be canoeing at a slow pace – to view the wildlife.)

    3. Does the TOPO map for Topock Marsh (34’46.543″ / -114’30.865″) include relative depths?


    Donald - September 27th, 2008
  60. 1) Yes.

    2) It will remember your last heading if your current speed is too low, but I think about 2mph will do the trick.

    3) Topo maps do not include water depths.

    Tim - September 27th, 2008
  61. Do you know of any compatible maps that would show depths, e.g. Navionics?

    Donald - September 27th, 2008
  62. I am an environmental scientist and need a GPS unit that will allow me to enter coordinates for previous sampling locations (i.e., waypoints) with a PC and then will help me to navigate to those locations. These locations will definitely be off-road. Will the DeLorme PN-20 work for this application?

    Crystal - October 2nd, 2008
  63. Crystal, yes.

    Tim - October 2nd, 2008
  64. HI
    I got the pn-20 and loaded Topo USA 6 and no where in there does it see it to down load maps to it. I can download to a palm or pocket pc. there is no option to choose DeLorme. I must have have done something wrong, any ideas???

    Greg - October 2nd, 2008
  65. When I entered my first waypoint, it defaulted to a pushpin and ‘wpt 001’. I selected the symbol and changed it to a house and then I selected the name an renamed it ‘Mother in Laws House’. Now when I enter a waypoint using the pushpin button, I get a house symbol and ‘Mother in Laws House 002’. How can I change this default?

    Danny - October 2nd, 2008
  66. Greg – Go to the ‘Options’ button on the top menu bar, select the ‘Handheld’ tab, and make sure the ‘DeLorme Earthmate’ button is selected and not the Palm OS/Pocket PC. How long ago did you purchase it? It should have come with Topo 7.

    Danny, you can’t change that as far as I know.

    Tim - October 3rd, 2008
  67. I have been there and it only lists the “palm os/Pocket pc” there is no place to click to even select the Delorme. I got it used and the person asked if I wanted them to load up some stuff and I said no, that I need to learn to do it myself. And I have not been able to do that yet. I did load a map on the sd card and was told that when the pn-20 started and found the sats that it would load the map, that has not happened either.
    Is there a pn-20 book for dummies???

    Greg - October 3rd, 2008
  68. If the copy of Topo 6 you have didn’t come with the PN-20, then it isn’t compatible with the PN-20. There is a special version of Topo designed specifically for the PN-20– sounds like you might not have that.

    Tim - October 3rd, 2008
  69. HI
    It did come with the box for the PN-20 and is listed on the side of the box. A couple of the tutorials that I found show the PN-20 on the start up page where this software does not show it

    still if I put it on the sd card shouldn’t the pn-20 see it??

    Greg - October 3rd, 2008
  70. Looks like that I may have gotten the wrong software like you said. Is there anyway to tell the difference on the disks themselfs or on the case.
    I am really looking forward to get my PN-20 going and this is kinda dissappointing.
    Thanks for help and all the information you have provide in the comments. I found them very useful in deciding to buy.

    Greg - October 5th, 2008
  71. Greg, I’d contact DeLorme tech support: http://www.delorme.com/support/policy.asp

    Tim - October 5th, 2008
  72. I’m sure this has been asked, but can you load raster images downloaded from other sources other than Topo 7.0? i.e, areial photos on-line.

    Gary - October 7th, 2008
  73. Gary, yes with the $99 Xmap upgrade for PN-20/40 purchasers. See comments 281, 310, 226, and 331.

    Tim - October 7th, 2008
  74. Tim, I just returned the Triton. It has satellite lock equal to an original E-Trex, plus the Vantagepoint software is a joke. This thing is a childs toy at best. Anyway, you say this PN-20 has excellent lock ability that is as good as the 60CSX. I am reading hundreds of reviews that are saying the exact opposite. In fact, I have not read one single review that said this unit works under heavy cover. They all say it loses lock under even the lightest cover. Can you please elaborate some more on your experience with the units ability to lock under heavy cover. I go miles into thick, wet, NW coniferous forests and can navigate out of some horrendous wilderness areas, but,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I still need a reliable backup plan. If my Triton was my last resort, I would be dead by now. I don’t need another childs toy built for geocaching or hiking or finding a duck blind. I need a hard core unit that can be relied upon to get me out when my maps and compass and constellations have failed me. Please tell me the truth about this unit. I cannot handle another lying sales ad.

    Bob - October 23rd, 2008
  75. Bob, I don’t believe I said the satellite reception of the PN-20 is just as good as the 60CSx. See comments #93, 102, 104, and 156 for statements I’ve made comparing the two. If you are considering the PN-20 and reception is most important to you, then you should look at the DeLorme PN-40 instead which has a 32 channel receiver that is more sensitive than the PN-20. Or just get the 60CSx if that matches the standard you are looking for.

    Tim - October 23rd, 2008
  76. My computer recently broke and I lost all my data and files. When I download the software again will I be able to use the free $100.00 Aerial Downloads again from Topo USA 7.0 ?

    Bob - November 1st, 2008
  77. Bob, no– it won’t download them again. You may try contacting DeLorme support by phone but I don’t know what they do in those situations. The worst case scenario is that you can purchase their new $29 map subscription and download an unlimited amount of maps for that annual cost. But I’d try support first.

    Tim - November 1st, 2008
  78. No questions but getting ready to buy to PN-20’s. I will be back to review and for advice.
    Please keep doing what you are doing! This is awesome!

    Randy - November 2nd, 2008
  79. Csn you download a .gpx file into Delorme’s Topo USA 7.0 ? If so, how ?

    Bob - November 5th, 2008
  80. Yes, you can drag and drop them on the map or use the import button from the draw tab.

    Tim - November 5th, 2008
  81. Tim,
    wWhen I tried to open the file up it says I don’t have a program to open it up with. When I used the import button it will only reconized the .tpx files.

    Bob - November 5th, 2008
  82. I don’t know Bob, both of the methods I described have always worked for me.

    Tim - November 5th, 2008
  83. Is anyone having battery issues with the PN-20?
    I have two brand new Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries in the PN-20. In less than 30 minutes of use the battery gauge is already turning yellow. With normal batteries I get less than 25 minutes of use. This, of course, is ridiculous.

    Branch Whitney - November 13th, 2008
  84. I haven’t had any battery issues like that. I assume that the backlight isn’t forced on. Are you using WAAS? Do you have the correct battery profile selected? Which firmware version are you using?

    Tim - November 13th, 2008
  85. Backlight set for 15 seconds. No WAAS. I don’t have the unit with me at this time, but I believe the profile was set correctly. I d/l new firmware about two months ago. Don’t remember the version.
    Thanks for you quick response.

    Branch Whitney - November 13th, 2008
  86. Branch,
    I have the same problem. Firmware up-dated (1.5.94324) about 2 months ago. Backlight set at 15 and using the same batteries, menu set right for the lithium. I have WAAS enabled. Now I have noticed that it drops fast but will remain on yellow for about 3 – 4 hours with constant use.

    Greg - November 14th, 2008
  87. Just a note to everyone hear who might be interested, yesterday I posted my review of the DeLorme PN-40… very nice!

    Tim - November 18th, 2008
  88. DeLorme is now offering a $50 rebate on the PN-20. See this PDF for details.

    Tim - November 21st, 2008
  89. Hi, first time user and almost a first time buyer. This site has been very usefull. BIG question, is there any chance of Delorme remembering their northern neighbours, i have almost made the mistake of buying Triton 500(very bad reviews everywhere) or the e trex vista with topo, i would like a unit for the backwoods and also for the dash for occasional street tracking etc.The Delorme has to be the unit for me but is there any point in me buying it. Thanks for any ifo you can suply. Les.

    les - November 30th, 2008
  90. Tim,
    I recently purchased a Delorme PN-20 to use for simple waypoint collection and plottimg of these waypoints in XMap 5.0. On my first use in the field I took approx 70 waypoints. When I returned to the office and downloaded the points about 2/3 of them were wrong. By wrong I mean stacked in one location on to of each other, off the property completely, etc. I called Delorme and found out that if you pan the map that it will plot a point in the location you have panned to instead of your triangulated position unless you clear the device by hitting “quit”.

    I made another attempt in the field using the device as well as a Garmin back-up. I took waypoints with both devices at each location I needed….. Never even thinking to try and pan the map from fear of getting bogus points. The same scenario, however most of the points took with only one spot having errors (wayponits stacked on top of each other) The Garmin worked beautifully all day and plotted my point exactly. most of the waypoints were in the same locations, but they were several feet apart, sometimes up to forty feet difference!! Do I have a faulty device, or am I just a moron? Seems like it should be pretty straight forward and idiot proof to just shoot some waypoints. Thanks for any advice you can give.

    Brad - December 3rd, 2008
  91. Brad, it is true if you pan the map before setting a waypoint they will be offset as you describe. I haven’t seen any issues with incorrectly placed waypoints aside from that issue. It sounds like you might not be doing something correct, but I’m not certain what.

    Tim - December 3rd, 2008
  92. What type of files can you import or drag and drop onto the Topo USA 7.0. ?

    Bob - December 20th, 2008
  93. Hey if I get this guy I would be usein it down at the lake. Does it get good signal down at lakes???

    Chris - December 30th, 2008
  94. Who doesn’t like presents, especially one that you’re researched and given yourself? I really tried to like the Delorme Earthmate PN-20. I hiked with it through the woods and through Central Park in New York City. I liked that it was packaged with Topo 7 (which has some great maps), a 1 GB SD disk and a real, printed manual. But after a couple of weeks, it’s truly a disappointment. I prefer my Garmin that is 4 years old.

    Topo 7 is powerful software. It does a lot. The 3D features are fun. And the maps you can download are great (but they can get expensive). But Topo7 doesn’t do anything easily. The software installed easily on my Windows XP desktop (although it wanted in install some unusual add on from an unknown company). However, it crashed twice when I tried to install in on my Vista laptop.

    Simple thinks like creating routes and tracks are unnecessarily difficult and extremely confusing. I’m a computer programmer, and after a few days over the holidays of trying to create walks around my home and local parks, I made little progress. Even “enabling” it to connect to your PN-20 is no easy task. After a week, I was still unable to transfer the nifty maps purchased online to the unit. The index of the 96 page user manual has no entry for “importing”, “exporting”, or “connecting”.

    I read reviews online and several mentioned it was slow in acquiring a fix from the satellites. How slow could it be? Very. I can understand the first time, but EVERY time? It seems especially slow when you’re moving. I walked from my midtown hotel in NYC to Central Park. It never got a fix. (Okay, there are a lot of tall buildings, but my car GPS gets a fix). When I finally got to Central Park, I walked for OVER A MILE, and still no fix. When I finally stopped, it finally obtained a fix, but never a WAAS signal.

    Perhaps the most frustrating part of the PN 20 is its inaccuracy. It has a nice feature of letting you know how accurate the device is. NEVER did it get more accurate than +/- 100 feet, even with the clearest view of the sky. I was able to transfer my tracks from the GPS back to Topo 7, and it showed me way off the roads and trails. I wasn’t.

    The final straw was Delorme’s refusal to honor their $50 rebate. After sending in receipts, UPC codes and the form, I get the following response from Delorme:
    “Thank you for your recent purchase, we received your rebate in the mail this week. DeLorme set up a mail in rebate and a mutually exclusive instant rebate this past holiday season. The mail in rebate was used exclusively by retailers who carry our GPS’ in a brick and mortar retail location while the instant rebate was offered by on line retailers like Walmart.com.

    DeLorme posted the mail in rebate on our website with authorized retailers listed

    I apologize for any inconvenience.

    Amanda S | DeLorme Sales & Service

    I understand that the newer Delorme PN 40 is much better, but it’s more than twice as expensive as the PN 20. I’m going back to using my 4 year old Garmin with QuakeMap. It’s easier, faster and much more accurate.

    Lance - January 7th, 2009
  95. Just a heads up that you can now install the geocaching plugin (Windows and Mac) so you can transfer geocaches from geocaching.com directly to your PN-20 GPS. The firmware update for additional geocaching features is still to come, but the plugin is a good start. http://www.delorme.com/geocaching/plugin/

    Tim - February 12th, 2009
  96. I’ve had my PN-20 for almost 2 years, giving it occasional light use. I love the features, but have had a continual decline in performance that finally got so bad I decided to call after returning from a trip. The problem is extremely long satellite acquisition times (so long that I get a warning from the device) and a very poor battery life (under 2 hours). Service support in the first few months I had the PN-20 was great so I expected some useful help.

    Unfortunately, once past the 1 year warranty period, there is no desire to help at all. They suspect the motherboard is going bad!

    My options (aside from using it until it quits — not a very desireable option) are to send it back for an estimate that is almost guaranteed to be “too expensive to repair” or to buy another unit!!!

    Obviously, I told them that I had lost all confidence in the product and could not own another DeLorme. Too bad, as they have great features, but who can buy a unit that has such a short life expectancy and you can’t depend on 100%. I suggest everyone avoid DeLorme Earthmate!!!!!!!!!

    Bob Eichelberger - February 27th, 2009
    • What battery type are you using? How old is the battery? Did they have you perform an NVM reset? Which firmware version are you using? Satellite reception issues don’t sound like a motherboard issue to me.

      Tim - February 27th, 2009
      • I prefer the rechargeables that came with the unit. When I suspected they may be going bad, I switched to new Duracell Alkalines with the same result.
        They only question they had was the version (1.4…) and no other suggestions. They indicated that a newer version would not correct this problem. In fact, I spoke with a supervisor because I was unhappy and he was nearly positive it was the motherboard going bad.
        I’m desperate. Do you have another suggestion?

        Bob - February 27th, 2009
        • I’d suggest all of the following:

          1) Make sure your battery type is setup within the device, and matches the battery type you are using in the device. Also note that rechargeable batteries don’t last forever, so you might want to try a new battery of the type you like.

          2) Version 1.4 is a little bit older now. Try the update here : http://delorme.com/support/supporttemplate.aspx?id=416

          3) Perform an NVM reset : http://forum.delorme.com/viewtopic.php?p=65241#65241 Note that when you perform that type of reset, you will actually make it so that the device will take dramatically longer to find the satellites the next time you boot– seemingly the opposite of what you are trying to do. But this should help subsequent startups. When rebooting after the NVM reset, leave the device turned on, pointed up (flat as if it was on a table) with an unobstructed sky view. Prepare to wait about 30 minutes before getting a signal. Once you get a satellite fix, wait another 30 minutes before doing anything. Then shut off, turn back on, and check the time it takes to get a signal.

          DeLorme should know their devices better than I do, so perhaps they have properly diagnosed a motherboard error. But I’d try the steps I’ve outlined above. I’ve talked with literally hundreds of PN owners and haven’t heard of a motherboard issue like they are saying. It is possible that is true and if that is the case is bad luck, but it doesn’t seem to be a common issue.

          Tim - February 28th, 2009
          • Thanks for all the suggestions. I tried the update and have now lost all functions. The unit froze at 57% and would not complete. I had to shut everything down and of course, nothing works at all now. The screen is white and I get 3 warning tones everytime I insert the batteries, but nothing else. It sure does look like a hardware malfunction to me, motherboard or otherwise. I have tried e-mail to Tech Support, but my guess is returning it is my only option. It’s probably a major failure, but just in case they find something minor and repairable, it’s the last hope for this one….before I’m left with an expensive paperweight!
            Thanks again for trying to help. You did more than Tech Support did!

            Bob - March 1st, 2009
        • Internal moisture can cause slow failure. I have two dead hand-helds and one acting up since 2004. This has nothing to do with the water proof claim.

          In my case, driving from warm high-humidity sea level to 4100′ elevation in about forty minutes, with the associated drop in temperature/humidity/pressure, causes condensation on the inner face of the lens if it is not at or near the exterior temperature when taken out of the car.

          If this might affect you, I have some helpful suggestions…just holler.

          Herb - February 28th, 2009
          • Thanks also for your suggestions. I appreciate the condensation idea, but as you can see from my previous post, it looks like something major.
            I do routinely go from warm and moist indoors to cold and dry outdoors as most people, so it’s worth caution.
            I’ll post again if I learn something that may help others.

            Bob - March 1st, 2009
          • You are welcome, Bob.

            FWIW, I took the 2nd one apart and the thinly protected (unproteced perhaps?)internal circuitry had green build up that looked like corrosion, and some swelling from the build up. First indication was very short battery life. Then more frequent random problems until failure.

            Herb - March 1st, 2009
          • UPDATE: E-mail Tech Support suggested that my USB cable may be bad and sent me a replacement. With it, the update was a breeze and my unit now functions again! In fact, the satellite acquisition was fairly rapid, even after having used it over 100 miles away the last time. At any rate, it is now functional and for that I am grateful. Whether I have adequate battery life or not is the remaining question, but so far, things have improved markedly and I am regaining my confidence in using it in the field.
            I will report in another post on battery life if things are any different.
            Thanks to all who tried to help!

            Bob - March 6th, 2009
  97. When I tried the PN20, I found it hard to use, so I gave up. Has anyone tried the new PN40?

    Justin - March 1st, 2009
    • My old Garnin gave up the ghost last year during a trip to New England. Specifically, it died in Portland, Maine. Since Delorem was just up the road, I headed up there and bought the PN20. I liked the maps, but hated the speed. I mean I really hated the speed. I also liked the support (I have about 6-8 posts in the July-Oct time frame). My car was broken into two months ago and they PN20 was taken, so I bought the PN40. All of the disadvantages of the PN20 were fixed (in my opinion) with the PN40. In nearly 20 years of GPS use, I have used close to ten different GPSr and I am pretty happy with the PN40.

      Danny - March 1st, 2009
  98. I bought a PN-20 some time ago. After moving to a location, the PN-20 would drift around – as much as 1500 feet around the stopping point. Delorme said this was GPS drift and was NORMAL. I sent the unit to them and it was returned in the same condition. How can a location be within plus or minus 1500 feet and be useful for anything? Delorme had no interest in anything beyond getting their pay.

    I later purchased a Garmin that has worked as expected. I have to agree, the PN-20 is a useless and expensive paper weight.


    James H. Wilson - March 8th, 2009
  99. I couldn’t agree more… the PN 20 is VERY inaccurate. I’m back t my old garmin. And the time it takes to get a signal is unreal. My TOM TOM gets one immediately… but the Delorme doesn’t. Even in Central Park in New York! With errors and delays, I’m not sure why anyone would buy this, unless they want to take advantage of their return policy!

    Lance - March 8th, 2009
  100. Well I disagree, I find mine is very accurate, down to 3 feet. I never had it off more than 20 feet. I would like to get the 40 someday, but I am very happy with the PN 20.

    Greg - March 9th, 2009
    • Greg, (# 400), I suspect you’re right. I too would be tempted to the PN-40. I have had two previous Delorme GPS receivers (and an earlier Rand-MdNally). All of them worked well. Each newer model was better. I think the PN-20 may well be a good unit but I got a defective one. The problem is that Delorme chose to ignore the problem and leave me “out in the cold”. They would not make good on it.

      I read about uses of GPS (such as farmers determining where to place fertilizer and people locating their kids with GPS units. Also finding stolen cars with it. They’ve got to be better than the PN-20 Delorme furnished to me.

      With that, I am off Delorme for good.

      Jim Wilson

      James H. Wilson - March 17th, 2009

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