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2017 Outback 2.5 Premium w/ power moonroof, dimming mirrors and power hatch. All weather package
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My 11 year old Garmin eTrex hand-held that I use for biking and hiking is WAAS enabled. I don't typically use it because it uses up the battery faster and I don't need the narrower standard of deviation that WAAS might give.


I can't tell if my less than year old Garmin DriveSmart 61 is WAAS enabled or not. It's not in the specs one way or another. But it doesn't look like most car GPS units have WAAS. I found this interesting article on WAAS and Car units. Why Not WAAS? GPS Review


I recall older automotive Garmins had a setting for "Snap to road" as in it will show you on the closest road even if GPS is calculating that you are off a bit. In most cases this makes sense to assume especially given that the map may not be exactly right either. I don't even see the setting on my newer units.


For someone who may be taking the OB onto dirt trails it's questionable that even if the trail is on the map that the map would be any more accurate than the GPS error. On off-Road, unless you are trying to drive on the edge of a cliff without looking out the window (which would qualify someone for the Darwin Award) WAAS doesn't make any significant difference.
 

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'15 Outback 2.5i Premium
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I have a new Outback Limited with the 3.6-liter engine, Eyesight, etc.
I love it, but I'd like to display the car's elevation, which I was able to do on my prior car, a 2015 Legacy Limited.
Any ideas? Thanks!
I, too, find this data entertaining and would miss it if it were not available. I always have it as one of the data fields shown in the Garmin I use.

I can't help answer your question since I don't have that device, but hope you can find it!

Speaking as a mountain climber - GPS is pretty good for latitude and longitude, but is weaker on elevation accuracy. I think that's why many units don't support an elevation readout.

Even though I carry a handheld GPS unit climbing, I also carry a wristwatch barometric altimeter because of this.

More here: Altitude Accuracy
I hadn't realized that this basic information was unavailable in many GPS units.

Part of the "problem" that is being discussed here is perception. With ground location, an error of 60 feet horizontally amounts to 0.1 second of latitude or longitude (at the equator; about 1.2 seconds of longitude 35° from the equator and 1.4 seconds of longitude at 45°) and is going to go completely unnoticed unless you happen to be standing on a benchmark or some location with precisely known latitude and longitude. Even if you notice it, that error in the last decimal tends to be dismissed.

A 4-lane highway it wider than that. Some GPS units automatically snap your location to the nearest road, which hides even this small error (and covers over small errors in the map itself).

With altitude, however we're often comparing the display with a marker that gives the altitude down to the nearest foot (assuming it's even correct). If the sign says "Jackelope Pass Elev. 5678 Ft." and you read at your altitude display which says Elev. 5738 Ft., you may say "wow... that's way off!" That's still "only" 60 feet.

A barometric altimeter is better for measuring changes in altitude (as long as weather conditions are reasonably constant) because it drifts slowly; GPS has jitter in altitude, so trying to determine if you've gained 10 meters in altitude in the past five minutes based on your GPS alone is probably futile.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5 Premium w/ power moonroof, dimming mirrors and power hatch. All weather package
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I too was hoping someone had found a way to show elevation on the Navi. My 2018 Premium OB is the first vehicle that has a built in GPS. The Navi is (mostly) what I expected but for a vehicle targeted to "outdoor" folks, I would think the elevation readout would be a given. It has to be part of the GPS chip.

We are hikers/backpackers and kayakers. Having the elevation on the screen would be wonderful as we wander around in the backcountry. For years I have had my handheld GPS mounted to the dash so I could see the elevation. I need to find a way to mount the handheld again. While the Navi is fine for paved roads, what I probably really need is some version of a portable GPS with a large screen an topo maps. Anyone have any suggestions?



For back-country on a hand-held, I'd assume that the hand-held GPS would have a topo map loaded and not a street map. My Garmin eTrex is loaded with a topo map. In almost all cases the elevation lines on the map are good enough for me to estimate what my altitude is. It can be interesting to look to see if the GPS has my elevation correctly on or between elevation lines on the map. But I'd rely on the map more than the GPS if I REALLY wanted to have a good idea of my elevation, which is probably almost never. Most often all I do is look at the GPS elevation data when I reach the summit and see how close the GPS thinks that I am to to sign on the top that tells me how high I am.



When I'm bike riding I sometimes know that a long steep hill is ahead. I sometimes wonder both how fast I'm going (There is a data cell for speed) and how much the elevation changes from top of the hill to the bottom. In that case it's the total change that matters and not the actual elevation. But i know that I have to take it still with a gain of salt.
 

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Part of the "problem" that is being discussed here is perception. With ground location, an error of 60 feet horizontally amounts to 0.1 second of latitude or longitude (at the equator; about 1.2 seconds of longitude 35° from the equator and 1.4 seconds of longitude at 45°) and is going to go completely unnoticed unless you happen to be standing on a benchmark or some location with precisely known latitude and longitude. Even if you notice it, that error in the last decimal tends to be dismissed.

It can be amusing to note that if you are at the beach at sea level and the GPS tells you that you are 50 feed under water. We have a family homestead in Maine that's on a field with a view of the ocean. It's about 40 feet above sea level. There are times when my GPS tells me that the house is under water.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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So, while it may not be ideal, we've now established that both the 2015 and 2017 navs will give a continuous readout of elevation by tapping the road name at the bottom of the screen, but no specific response from you as to whether or not you've tried this on your nav. Are you saying this method doesn't work on the 2018 unit?
Yeah can someone with a 2018 confirm this?
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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If the sign says "Jackelope Pass Elev. 5678 Ft." and you read at your altitude display which says Elev. 5738 Ft., you may say "wow... that's way off!"
Then there is the issue of the geodetic reference datum on which that elevation value is based. (To vastly oversimplify, you can just think of a geodetic datum as a mathematical model of the Earth's shape.) GPS uses the WGS 84 datum (World Geodetic System 1984), which was adopted worldwide in 1987 and amended slightly in 1994. If the benchmark on "Jackalope Pass" was set prior to 1987, that survey was probably based on the NAD 27 datum (North American Datum 1927), and there are likely to be significant differences in elevation values due to that fact alone.
 

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Mine does not display altitude when I click the street bar at the bottom. Lat/Long and a Save button is all that's there. 2018 Touring.
 

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'15 Outback 2.5i Premium
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Then there is the issue of the geodetic reference datum on which that elevation value is based. (You can just think of a geodetic datum as a mathematical model of the Earth's shape.) GPS uses the WGS 84 datum (World Geodetic System 1984), which was adopted worldwide in 1987 and amended slightly in 1994. If the benchmark on "Jackalope Pass" was set prior to 1987, that survey was probably based on the NAD 27 datum (North American Datum 1927), and there are likely to be significant differences in elevation values due to that fact alone.
I didn't even want to get into datums, just illustrate how a 60-foot error in elevation seems like a lot while a 60-foot error in horizontal position doesn't. "It says we're 40 feet below sea level here by the beach", while a 60-foot horizontal error would barely be noticed as long as you can see your intended location. "Bingo! There it is, right across the street... cool!"

The "Jackalope Pass" posted elevation is probably relative to mean sea level, which is yet another geodetic datum (but not perfectly ellipsoidal; in mid-continent areas, away from a seacoast, MSL is modeled mathematically). MSL can often vary by a couple dozen meters from the WGS or NAD 27 ellipsoids. Some GPS displays may correct for this and report MSL elevation, others, not.

Even with all this, I find the elevation display useful. As long as "it's within 100 feet or so" is good enough (it's probably better than that with good satellite distribution), it should be fine.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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I didn't even want to get into datums ...
I just figured while we're all picking nits, why not? "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing."

Even with all this, I find the elevation display useful.
So do I. Personal anecdote: Several years ago, as I was blasting across the Continental Divide at 70 mph (on I-40, near Thoreau NM), I was surprised to observe that the "altitude" displayed by my WAAS-enabled Garmin GPS was within 10 feet of the "official" elevation posted by the USGS. Can't get much better than that.
 

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Confirmed - NO elevation shown on 2018 Premium Navi

When pressing the "location" button (to the right of the Navi menu button) the dialog box pops up with the road name, city, state and Latitude - Longitude.

There is no elevation (altitude) given.

Solution... mount the handheld GPS back on the dash!
 
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When pressing the "location" button (to the right of the Navi menu button) the dialog box pops up with the road name, city, state and Latitude - Longitude.

There is no elevation (altitude) given.

Solution... mount the handheld GPS back on the dash!
I won't 'like' that last post because that's a bummer... but that's one solution.

I still like purpose-built standalone GPS receivers, and recently tidied up the wiring for mine as shown here.
 

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Even the least expensive portable GPS has elevation information available. It may not be perfectly accurate, but who cares. Its nice to have an "approximation" of your elevation when you're travelling
The 2018 Outback GPS should have this feature. Actually, its pretty stupid that it is not built in. Can a software update by Tomtom allow this?
Thanks
 

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Not sure why they did away with it, but doubtful you'll get it added with an update. FYI, there are free phone apps that will give you elevation based on GPS coordinates (and they're a lot more accurate).
 
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