GPS: What do you use, and why?

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graham

 
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by graham » Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:12 pm

MoapaPk wrote:… Generally, a GPS should be situated where it won't be blocked by a microwave absorber…
Hey MoapaPk or other GPS experts, I got a Garmin 405 wristwatch for Xmas and just started playing with it. Will wearing it on my wrist with my winterized chunkified body affect its accuracy :?: I don’t want to hike with my hand over my head :)

What sort of things would act as a microwave absorber :?: Body, pack, snow shovel.... :?:

Sorry about dealing with the OP; now back to the regularly scheduled SP rant :lol:

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MoapaPk

 
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by MoapaPk » Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:31 pm

graham wrote:
MoapaPk wrote:… Generally, a GPS should be situated where it won't be blocked by a microwave absorber…
Hey MoapaPk or other GPS experts, I got a Garmin 405 wristwatch for Xmas and just started playing with it. Will wearing it on my wrist with my winterized chunkified body affect its accuracy :?: I don’t want to hike with my hand over my head :)

What sort of things would act as a microwave absorber :?: Body, pack, snow shovel.... :?:

Sorry about dealing with the OP; now back to the regularly scheduled SP rant :lol:


The wrist is a decent place, especially if you are running, X-C skiing, using trekking poles or biking; your hand is almost always away from your body, and the receiver will almost always be facing out or up.

Clothing is not usually a problem, unless it is 1) metallized or 2) really wet.

One problem with a wrist GPS; the backup compass has to be really teeny, about the size of a peanut. :^)

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graham

 
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by graham » Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:23 pm

MoapaPk wrote:….. has to be really teeny, about the size of a peanut.
Hey hey, watch it there MoapaPk. This thread can’t handle anymore disparaging remarks :lol:

Seriously, thanks for the 411. I look forward to using the Garmin 405 mainly for checking the stats on mtn bike rides.

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MoapaPk

 
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by MoapaPk » Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:25 pm

graham wrote:
MoapaPk wrote:….. has to be really teeny, about the size of a peanut.
Hey hey, watch it there MoapaPk. This thread can’t handle anymore disparaging remarks :lol:

Seriously, thanks for the 411. I look forward to using the Garmin 405 mainly for checking the stats on mtn bike rides.


...and the maps are on microfiche (rimshot).

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neghafi

 
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by neghafi » Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:11 am

I found "SmartComGPS" very intersting on my cellphone (Nokia N78) because It can use calibrated raster maps. So I can use it for almost every where. I can use Google earth satellite images for scanned topography maps. with smartcomgps you don't need to gps maps anymore for outdoor.

Image - Image

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norco17

 
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by norco17 » Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:39 am

kakakiw wrote:One of the biggest things that should be said is the best navigation skill anyone can have is to pay attention. Look at where you are going and where you've been. Use whatever you want to help get from here to there (map&compass, GPS, breadcrumbs,etc), but pay attention.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

:wink:
+1

I do not own a gps and the few times that I have dealt with them have been bad. I have gotten into arguments with people about which way to go we inevitably follow there gps and end up miles off route and have to backtrack. There is no situation that I can see where a map and compass is not more accurate and more dependable than a stupid ass piece of electronic crap. That being said if you want to trust your life to one instead of learning how to use a map and compass then that is your decision. Enjoy the extra battery weight and good luck. And as kakakiw said, "the best navigation skill anyone can have is to pay attention."

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MtnHermit

 
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by MtnHermit » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:24 pm

norco17 wrote:"the best navigation skill anyone can have is to pay attention."
No argument.

There is no situation that I can see where a map and compass is not more accurate and more dependable than a stupid ass piece of electronic crap.
A compass will not tell you where you're at on the map. The only thing it can do is point to magnetic north, nothing more. From that info you must triangulate from known points to find your position on the map. At best a slow and tedious process. At worst (night, fog, heavy timber, etc.) impossible.

By comparison, the modern mapping GPS constantly centers the map on your current position. Therefore knowing your position on the map is instantaneous. Now what you do next still requires judgment.

Image

For me personally, its the maps that make a GPS so compelling. That "stupid ass piece of electronic crap" in the photo has the equivalent of every USGS Quad for CO, UT, AZ & NM inside its lame brain at all times, try that with paper!!! To me that's freedom, freedom to know I'll always have the map I need wherever I'm at. The trade off is I have to pay attention to the batteries.

Indeed the electronics can fail, the batteries certainly will deplete, whereas the magnetic pointer is almost bullet proof. Either is a choice. Cheers.

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MtnHermit

 
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by MtnHermit » Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:47 pm

neghafi wrote:I found "SmartComGPS" very intersting on my cellphone (Nokia N78) because It can use calibrated raster maps. So I can use it for almost every where. I can use Google earth satellite images for scanned topography maps. with smartcomgps you don't need to gps maps anymore for outdoor.

Image - Image
Very impressive, you must be the author of SmartComGPS.

However GPS vector maps have advantages over raster maps.
- Much smaller files sizes
- Identifiable objects
- Faster image draws
- Routable roads

In the end, a system that will support both raster and vector maps is the best. Let the user decide based on the immediate need.

Thanks for the post.

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MoapaPk

 
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by MoapaPk » Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:48 pm

norco17 wrote:I do not own a gps and the few times that I have dealt with them have been bad. I have gotten into arguments with people about which way to go we inevitably follow there gps and end up miles off route and have to backtrack.


Most safety-related items require skill, judgement and experience for use. Without a doubt, there are people who should not carry a GPS.

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norco17

 
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by norco17 » Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:57 pm

MtnHermit wrote:A compass will not tell you where you're at on the map. The only thing it can do is point to magnetic north, nothing more. From that info you must triangulate from known points to find your position on the map. At best a slow and tedious process. At worst (night, fog, heavy timber, etc.) impossible.

By comparison, the modern mapping GPS constantly centers the map on your current position. Therefore knowing your position on the map is instantaneous. Now what you do next still requires judgment.


You are right...until they tell you that you are 5 miles away from where you really are. It has happened to me so don't say it doesn't. I have seen in several situations that the electronic piece of crap fails. Luckly when it pointed me in the wrong direction I was on my dirtbike and not on foot. What would have been a one day detour on foot was only a half hour detour on a bike. A map and compass with the knowledge, skill, and common sense to use them is much more reliable.

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MoapaPk

 
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by MoapaPk » Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:14 am

Man, I know what you mean. My GPS told me to invest all my money in Merrill-Lynch banking. Then it went and ate all my ice cream, then threw up on the rug. That rug held the room together.

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MtnHermit

 
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by MtnHermit » Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:38 am

norco17 wrote:
MtnHermit wrote:A compass will not tell you where you're at on the map. The only thing it can do is point to magnetic north, nothing more. From that info you must triangulate from known points to find your position on the map. At best a slow and tedious process. At worst (night, fog, heavy timber, etc.) impossible.

By comparison, the modern mapping GPS constantly centers the map on your current position. Therefore knowing your position on the map is instantaneous. Now what you do next still requires judgment.


You are right...until they tell you that you are 5 miles away from where you really are. It has happened to me so don't say it doesn't. I have seen in several situations that the electronic piece of crap fails. Luckly when it pointed me in the wrong direction I was on my dirtbike and not on foot. What would have been a one day detour on foot was only a half hour detour on a bike. A map and compass with the knowledge, skill, and common sense to use them is much more reliable.
Spoken with the absolute certainty of a twenty-something, your way or no way.

In my two years of using a GPS, I've never experienced the five-mile offset you cite. Even if I did, I'd quickly recognize such an error and bring to bare that all important human judgment.

Since we know you ride a dirt bike, do you also carry a cell phone? How about an iPod? Where do you draw "electronic crap" line?

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norco17

 
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by norco17 » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:22 am

MtnHermit wrote:
norco17 wrote:
MtnHermit wrote:A compass will not tell you where you're at on the map. The only thing it can do is point to magnetic north, nothing more. From that info you must triangulate from known points to find your position on the map. At best a slow and tedious process. At worst (night, fog, heavy timber, etc.) impossible.

By comparison, the modern mapping GPS constantly centers the map on your current position. Therefore knowing your position on the map is instantaneous. Now what you do next still requires judgment.


You are right...until they tell you that you are 5 miles away from where you really are. It has happened to me so don't say it doesn't. I have seen in several situations that the electronic piece of crap fails. Luckly when it pointed me in the wrong direction I was on my dirtbike and not on foot. What would have been a one day detour on foot was only a half hour detour on a bike. A map and compass with the knowledge, skill, and common sense to use them is much more reliable.
Spoken with the absolute certainty of a twenty-something, your way or no way.

In my two years of using a GPS, I've never experienced the five-mile offset you cite. Even if I did, I'd quickly recognize such an error and bring to bare that all important human judgment.

Since we know you ride a dirt bike, do you also carry a cell phone? How about an iPod? Where do you draw "electronic crap" line?


Don't own a cellphone, but I do have a hand me down offbrand mp3 player that doesn't always work.

I am not saying that GPS's aren't handy and at times slightly quicker than a map. What I am saying is that I do not trust them and that the "human judgement" you talk about is the most important thing. Also I am saying and I am sure you will agree with the fact that there are some people out there that will trust there life to a piece of electronics without ever second guessing its accuracy.

norco17 wrote:I have gotten into arguments with people about which way to go we inevitably follow there gps and end up miles off route and have to backtrack.


All I am trying to say is that they are not always dependable and as you said you need to use that "all important human judgement."

cheers

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MoapaPk

 
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by MoapaPk » Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:36 pm

Here are the three most common "this thing sucks!" errors I see with novitiates and GPS:

1) People turn it on and instantly expect an accurate reading, not realizing that it has to calculate the expected positions of the satellites, find them, and get a lock;

2) People shield the GPS units with their bodies, preventing them from getting signals (they are receiving microwaves from space, eh?);

(the two above would be greatly ameliorated if people put the estimated positional error on the map page, or occasionally looked at the satellite page)

3) On Garmins, people hit the cursor button by mistake, which freezes the map at the current position; they then glance down 5 miles later and panic, not bothering to notice the cursor text.

Freak alignments of satellites do cause sudden inaccuracies of 100 to 300'; usually these get resolved within minutes, maybe helped by turning the unit off and on to force a new satellite constellation. If you are watching the estimated error or satellite page, these inaccuracies are easily noted.

As I said, some people just shouldn't carry GPS units (some people shouldn't use screwdrivers). These devices are more complicated to use than ipods or cell phones.

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neghafi

 
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by neghafi » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:09 pm

MtnHermit wrote:Very impressive, you must be the author of SmartComGPS.

However GPS vector maps have advantages over raster maps.
- Much smaller files sizes
- Identifiable objects
- Faster image draws
- Routable roads

In the end, a system that will support both raster and vector maps is the best. Let the user decide based on the immediate need.

Thanks for the post.

No I'm not the author.
The most disadvantage of cellphone embeded GPS is power consumption. I can use mine (nokia N78) is about 3-4 hours to discharge. I usually have extera charged battery with myself but I'm looking for a Solar-Charger charge my battery in a 2 or 3 day hikking ...

About failling of such electronic tools I should remind that in extreme weather conditions (such fog with danger of lightening which force you to descend with poor/no visiblity) you can not count on only yourself. The history proove that human senses has it's own weaknesses (remember bermoda's mistery?)
So that we need extera tools. I myself carry both a compass/map and my GPS and use them if required.

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