GPS: What do you use, and why?

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Day Hiker

 
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by Day Hiker » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:22 pm

MoapaPk wrote: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.


My GPS (Garmin GPS-V, at the time) gave me a really weird false position one time. I was at Ribbon Falls (Grand Canyon) with a very poor view of the sky, and, in between not working at all, the GPS gave a position in the Pacific, about half-way between Baja California and Hawaii. Common sense told me I did not need to panic or tread water.

On a couple of other occasions, possibly with my (newer) Garmin 60CSx, it has shown false readings a big fraction of a mile from where I really was. (Of course these occurrences are always in places with poor or marginal satellite reception and possibly a reflected signal.) These readings seemed locked-in, meaning the position was not bouncing, the displayed position accuracy was a reasonably low value (~50 feet maybe), and the GPS did not fix its error for a substantial amount of time (several minutes).

But, on those occasions, I used that big fluffy thing between my ears to interpret the readings as b.s., and there was no harm done. The problems with GPS error arise when the user is enough unfamiliar with the GPS or enough unaware of his true location that the error isn't caught.

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bdynkin

 
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by bdynkin » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:52 pm

Answering the original poster question: "what GPS and why?"

My GPS: Garmin Geko 201 (no maps but with all basic functions)
Reasons: - very light and small (3oz w. batteries), cheap (~$150).

Software I use: ExpertGPS ($50, works with virtually all GPS brands, retreives USGS maps and can work with any scanned map). It looks like the guy who wrote this sofware is a one-man operation so interaction is very personal. The product is not flashy but a great tool.

I print paper maps (using ExpertGPS) with routes, waypoints, etc. and take a real compass. This way I can navigate just fine if GPS fails. BTW, this little thing gives very accurate elevations when in the open.

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MoapaPk

 
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by MoapaPk » Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:05 pm

Day Hiker wrote:My GPS (Garmin GPS-V, at the time) gave me a really weird false position one time. I was at Ribbon Falls (Grand Canyon) with a very poor view of the sky, and, in between not working at all, the GPS gave a position in the Pacific, about half-way between Baja California and Hawaii. Common sense told me I did not need to panic or tread water.


On the Trail Canyon trail, I get displaced readings about half the time when I pass by Cockscomb Ridge. This weekend, the unit suddenly lost lock in a broad canyon on the West side of Charleston; I turned it on and off 3 times, and still got just 3 satellites. My SPOT, which has a much crappier chipset, DID get a satellite lock. But hey, I was travelling up a gully to a ridge, goal in sight, so it was hard to get lost. Lock came back suddenly in 0.2 miles.

Conspiracy theory: gubmint requires satellite orbits to be tweaked, so the birds spend more time near Afghanistan.

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neghafi

 
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by neghafi » Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:32 pm

I've heard many guys here claim about false locating with GPS.
I just wana ,ake a note to ensure about GPS settings regarding Units and Datum according to the map used. Bad setting results of such errors.

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neghafi

 
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by neghafi » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:56 pm

at last I've bought a Garmin Colorado 300
It's fine but power consumer. the most battery life I've experienced is about 8 hour !

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nhluhr

 
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by nhluhr » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:47 pm

neghafi wrote:at last I've bought a Garmin Colorado 300
It's fine but power consumer. the most battery life I've experienced is about 8 hour !
That should be plenty of time to occasionally power it up, get a location fix, and mark your topo map.

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billisfree

 
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by billisfree » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:38 pm

For 40 years - I was a topo map navigator. Never used compasses, never got lost (at least not for more than a hour), even navigated through a thick, trail-less forest to find my destinations.

Then one day I screwed up on a simple day hike through a foggy forest with the trail under four feet of snow. I lost my own snow tracks on a particularly frozen snow area. Previous hikers had left other snow tracks, so it was difficult to to find which tracks were mine.
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I never found the trail and descended into a canyon from which there was no exit - short of going over the cliffs at the bottom.

Daylight ran out. And I bitched all night over my stupidty. My day hike turned out to be a two-day adventure.

Now, I carry a GPS when possible. The confidence gained in knowing where I am - is just priceless. It allows me to go off-trail, in thick forests and fog - which a wise hiker wouldn't do otherwise.

Getting lost happens a LOT more often than most of us realize. Unless you're lost for several days - there's a 98% chance it will never get in the news.

Sobering?

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Brad Marshall

 
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by Brad Marshall » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:42 am

Well CanadianSteve this is your thread. Did you make a decision yet? Did those who assumed you didn't possess any map and compass skills convince you not to get one or did other posters convince you that there might be some added benefits to using one particular GPS unit or another?

I'm dying to know after reading all these posts.

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CanadianSteve

 
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by CanadianSteve » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:17 pm

Brad Marshall wrote:Well CanadianSteve this is your thread. Did you make a decision yet? Did those who assumed you didn't possess any map and compass skills convince you not to get one or did other posters convince you that there might be some added benefits to using one particular GPS unit or another?

I'm dying to know after reading all these posts.


Made the decision. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, one of my main reasons of getting it was being able to make waypoints for cave entrances, and other things that are hard to find.

I do use a map and compass, but the GPS is nice to have to also, for the reason noted above. I ended up with the Garmin 60csx for a hard to beat price, so it was worth it. I couldn't justify one of the latest versions from Garmin at the time ($$).

Happy with my decision so far...

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neghafi

 
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by neghafi » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:16 pm

for me that live in a country like IRAN with no topomap (even custom map) it's very useful that new generation of garmins can show raster maps as custom maps. so that's why I pay more (more info)

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Bombchaser

 
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Seems like a stupid arguement going on here

by Bombchaser » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:01 am

I use a GPS, and I also usually carry map and compass. I also study maps and photos before heading out. A GPS can be a valuable tool, especially when trying to navigate on trecherous terrain in white-out conditions. I never go on any trip without it. It is also a valuable tool for tracking data; miles, hours, elevation gain, ect. If there is a better tool to use for mountaineering why not use it, what is so wrong with that? I do several winter trips and some of those are in bad weather and low visibility. Pulling out a map and compass in these conditions is rediculous when I can just look at my GPS and see the route I need to follow. I do agree that everyone should be trianied up in land navigation using maps and compass, but a GPS is an awesome tool. I also do most trips solo.
I have a Garmin GPS 60CSx.

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