Check with Bass Pro for last years Lowrance units. They were on clearance, Lowwrance updated the software and screens on the '03 units and drastically dropped prices on the '02 units.
Are you looking for a combo depth/gps or just gps? If it is just gps there are alot of good handhleds on the market right now too. I have the Lowrance iFinder and love it. It is not waterproof, but you can buy a bag for it and wear it around your neck.
Map Create is the software for your computer. You create maps on your computer then write them to an MMC card and place that in your unit. Or you buy a Navionics MMC card and use that in the unit. Navionics maps have depth contours on them, Map Crate maps do not.
I currently use the Lowrance LMS-160 dual graph/GPS. It's a little out dated but I still love it. They've since gone up to the LMS-240 and LMS-320 (more verticle pixels, better picture definition). I bet you can get the 240 for cheap since they'll be clearing the shelves for the 320. However, some will argue to wait and get the higher pixel count. Depends on what your need is.
Fished last year with a Lowrance X-15 and in my book it's the best out there. Any of the new MMC chip units should all keep up now as far as software updates, the lowrance website has the latest updates for the units. You just download it to your computer, run the pc program from your desktop which copies the new software to the chip in your MMC drive that comes with the unit, then all you do is pop the chip in the unit and turn it on, updates automatically. As for the 2400, a buddy of mine ran one last year and didn't sell it with his pro staff boat, he liked it that much. Same deal, updates on the web to the latest software. Hope this answers that question. The mapcreate is more if you want to transfer waypoints and download road maps to your unit (but not Canada - YET).
I'm in the market for a GPS myself. Still undecided. I was at Cabelas 2 weeks ago, and they had the Lowrance GlobalMap 3000 on clearance for 499.00. It's currently listed as 699.00 at BPS, who said they would price-match.
I just picked up a Garmin E Trex Legend for about $240 at Best Buy in Utica. They sell a marine mount at Bass Pro for $30. I'm pretty happy with the GPS as it can be used other places besides my boat. I've found it to be accurate to within 7 feet when you have open sky. It also includes basic mapping as well as some navigational buoy's on St. Clair.
stevie1. Let me add to the folks who are happy with Lowrance. Like Alex I run a LMS160. Real happy with it, when I upgrade I will buy another Lowrance product. Their customer support is awsome. Had one minor problem (my fault) and they sent the part out the same day I called them. Free, even after I told them what I had done and I was willing to pay for it. Great service.
I do agree with their service. I have one of their sonar units for the bow and had a problem with it . Even though it was out of warranty and not being made any longer they sent me a new unit for $50. It was a $300.00 unit off the shelves.
I have purchased a system from Lowrance, now I just have to fiqure out how to use it!!!
I have a Garmin GPSMap 76S. I also bought the Blue Chart for the Great Lakes for Lake Huron, St Clair, and Erie along with the major tributaries. I really like the unit. I also like the way Garmin treats me. I thought I had a problem with it last December so I called them and they suggested I send it in. It turned out that it was me and not the unit so they sent it back with all updated software at no cost.
I also called Garmin about a tape that explained the operation of my model. The person I talked to said that there wasn't one for it yet but the tape for GPSMap 76 covered everything on mine except the sensor stuff and offered to send me one for no charge. Hope this helps.
I just purchased a new Lowrance Global map 2400 at BPS for $299.99. I was set on buying the new Lowrance 3200 ($399) or Eagle Intellimap ($349), but BPS did not have either unit in stock. The 2400 was priced at $499, but after some haggling BPS let it go for $299. It is less pixels than the 3200, but because it is a chartplotter only (not a fishfinder) I felt like it was still a great deal. They did have 1 unit left for anyone that is interested.