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Customize the Maps on Your Astro 320 on the Fly

Worldwide DEM basemap - Not TOPO, but better than the 220

The biggest difference between the Astro 220 and 320 is the maps. The Astro base map has changed drastically.

The Astro 320 features the Worldwide DEM basemap. It has more shading, more roads, and more waterways. Now, don't take that to mean that it's a topo map, because it's not. It's just more detailed than the base map we've had before. It's a little easier on the eyes, too, as far as when you're looking at it. I just like the color combination a little bit better.

Customize the DOG MAP to your liking...

Plus, the Garmin Astro 320 gives you the ability to customize the dog map to fit your specific needs for better dog tracking.

Probably my biggest complaint with the Astro 220 is how you view your dogs on the map. Garmin designed the original product with the use of two dog screens. You have the Compass View which tells you the direction and distance the dog is from you, and you have the Map Screen which allows you to see where the dog is and his tracks. On the map screen you can see where he has been and how he is covering the ground.

From the Map Screen it is difficult to tell how far away your dogs are from you, and you have to watch for an update or two to have an idea exactly what direction they are moving in.

The other problem with the Map Screen is that the dog trail history is on the screen as well as the trail of your own track. The screen can quickly turn into what I like to call a really messy finger painting.

Add multiple dogs to the mix and the next thing you know, you've got four trails crossing over each other over and over. It doesn't take long for the screen to get so crowded, that you can't tell what's going on. The advantages of the dog history can become a liability in these situations.

I have been known to clear out a hunt and start over in the middle of running dogs just so I can start with a fresh screen.

Garmin has addressed all these issues in several different ways. My favorite part is that you can change the Map settings on the fly from the handheld with a quick push of a button.

The Dog Trails now have three settings to choose from:
  • complete history,
  • partial history,
  • or no history at all.
When you start running in the Map Screen, the Astro 320 will show the complete dog trail history.

At the point you want to go to partial history, simply press the MAP button once. The dog's trail now only shows the last 5 minutes of history. Press the MAP button once again and the dog's entire history will disappear. Press the MAP button once more and the complete history returns.

This gives us the best of all possible situations. The advantage of this new feature is that you have ALL the history all the time if you want it, but you can control the amount that you see at any time. You can also completely blank the screen if it's in the way.

I could not be happier with this particular new idea.

It's much better than anything I have suggested or I have heard from other users. It's even better than Garmin told me it was going to be. A big advantage of this new feature is that more users can store the entire day's tracks in their unit without having to clear them out at the end of every round. Since you can get them off the screen at any point, you will be able to keep up with the entire day better and have a much better understanding of how your dogs are hunting.

The other cool thing about the partial history is that you control the length of time of the partial history.

You can select between 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours. I expect the 5 or 10 minute option is going to fit most folks really well, but we will have to see on that one. It's easy to change in the field so you can experiment with it and find the right set up that fits your needs.