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Old 04-29-2005, 12:17 PM   #41
Neil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken999

The Adirondacks are not too dense for map and compass use. It might require more work than simply flipping on your GPS, but it can still work.
I agree about the not too dense for map and compass. You need to spend time before the trip plotting your proposed route, writing bearings down and then once on the 'whack you have to discipline yourself to keep checking your bearings, remain attentive to the lay of the land. It helps when you have landmarks to tell you when you have arrived at point x. When you don't you need to be good at estimating distance covered. All this takes time of course and in winter it can be a pain in the butt when you're mentally in peakbagging mode.

I humbly disagree about the simply flipping on a GPS comment. The idea that you turn it on and merely follow the arrow is widely held. Not so. This winter was my first season using one of these animals. Some hikes were so straightforward that it was totally superfluous (but it was a great way to learn) but on others I found navigating with the thing quite challenging. Its tricky knowing when to let the gps dominate your decision making and when to let the terrain's characteristics be be your guide. Gps'ing is a science and an art all on its own.
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:22 PM   #42
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I guess we're not hiking the same Adirondacks.
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:55 PM   #43
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Neil- We share many thoughts on BC navigation it seems. My comment about flipping on the GPS was based solely on my personal use of UTM gridded maps. I frequently turn on the GPS to check my map location by "eyeballing" the GPS coords onto the map. I do not recommend that anyone blindly follow a GPS pointer. My usual recommendations for GPS are:

1. Get some form of software to use with it. (Terrain Nav., Topo, etc...)

2. Spend lots of time around home learning to use it. Navigate to the supermarket via UTM's pulled from the software. Learn how to edit waypoints in the field to navigate to a desired UTM. Street intersections, bridges and other prominent features on the software and in the field make great targets for honing all of your skills...map reading, compass, and GPS...

3. Print maps on the areas you will be heading to, complete with the UTM gridlines.

Can I do without the GPS? yes, it's just easier to use. Would I substitute good map reading skills for savvy GPS skills? ...No way...

As you mentioned it takes more skill and concentration to use a map and compass. In todays society everything tends to be a big rush, some might not want to be bothered to take the time to learn how to be proficient with a map and compass or take the time to use them correctly when afield. This is asking for trouble IMHO.
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Old 04-29-2005, 01:48 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken999
I frequently turn on the GPS to check my map location by "eyeballing" the GPS coords onto the map.
I never thought of that.
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Old 04-29-2005, 02:10 PM   #45
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Neil- My Terrain Navigator puts a 100m border on an 8 1/2" x 11" map that makes it real handy to rough in your position with the edge of your compass.

Here's a link for the above...

http://www.kifaru.net/navigate1.htm
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Old 04-29-2005, 02:22 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken999
Can I do without the GPS? yes, it's just easier to use. Would I substitute good map reading skills for savvy GPS skills? ...No way...
Ken, I agree with 90% of what yourself, Neil, and Chris have posted, but I think we're still kinda lost in the semantics of the discussion. [the 10% is more opinion than fact about whether the adks require it because of the density of the vegetation... I can certainly live with agreeing to disagree there - see last post]

Let me say (in conclusion) that I agree 100% with the above statement. I've already posted something to that effect at some point in my prior posts.

Gary (wildernessphoto) conducts a yearly map/compass seminar. A few months back we were thinking about having a capture flag competition (think there was even a thread about it). The consensus was that GPSr were allowed, as long as they didn't have any maps loaded into them (so essentially they would be acting as a compass only). I'd like to see everyone in this discussion at the event, sounds like there's a lot of experience to pass along!

[Kevin nudges Gary to see if this could happen sooner than later]
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Old 04-29-2005, 02:33 PM   #47
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but!

Can you use your GPS to make a fire in the event of an emergency?

:-P

-percious
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Old 04-29-2005, 04:04 PM   #48
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I bet McGiver could.
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Old 04-29-2005, 04:33 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken999
The Adirondacks are not too dense for map and compass use. It might require more work than simply flipping on your GPS, but it can still work.


Nothing is TOO thick for compass use, but...................... I can think of a few places that's not quite nearly practical to whip out the ole map and compass. There are many areas where the first and second growth is so thick, vegitation can reach into your pack and take s^$t out. Particularly on some southern exposure, higher elevation slopes. If you bushwhack with anything less than chainmail armor, you're toast.............. You can use a compass back in there, but I find the GPS easier (often times you need neither and just need to make sure you don't fall of a cliff) .

By the way, I'm quite adept at dead reckoning, map and compass skills and GPS, and I prefer GPS for expedience. They can all be effective, but I wouldn't go into the mountain without all three.

For marked, trail walking...................... Well, use what toy whiddles away the time effectively..............
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Old 04-30-2005, 10:06 AM   #50
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I was thinking of ordering one of these http://maptools.com/products/PocketCorners.html
for going from GPS to map and vice versa in the field .
Looks pretty good to me. Anything better out there?

Another question.
When using Topo! software I can choose my datum and then ensure the gps and software match when uploading. However, the quads all use NAD27 for their grids, right? If my receiver is set to NAD83 and I plot the coord. on my paper map I'm going to be off. So shouldn't everybody simply stick to NAD27 all the time? I often see WGS84.
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Old 04-30-2005, 01:05 PM   #51
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You only need to use nad27 if you are working directly from a paper map with no software!!

Since I usually load everything I need into my gps, I use the wgs 84. I am never in a position where I actually have to plot anything on the paper map in the field with prcision accuracy so I am not concenred about the datum. As long as my software and gps match I'm fine.\

The pocket corners are great. I have two, one for 1:24.... and 1:25.....
as well as he bigger one with the compass rose and corners for just about every map scale.
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Old 04-30-2005, 01:41 PM   #52
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I was thinking of situations where the terrain dictates that you go off your intended course and you want to see on the paper map just where it is you've gotten too. (I know you can use the "to course", "turn" or "bearing" to your intended WP or even check on the screen to get a pretty good idea of what's what.)

The opposite case was recently while on a lake in Quebec we saw a big hill we hadn't planned on climbing but on the spur of the moment decided to go for it. We knew we wouldn't see it once we got into the bush so we took the UTM coords. from the paper map and entered them into the gps. It turned out we were off by around 100 meters (which didn't matter since by the time we were close to the top we could see it clearly). Either the datums were mismatched or my friend who was reading/counting the little slash marks needs a pair of glasses. (It was here that I discovered the "move here" function in the WP submenu!)
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Old 05-04-2005, 10:58 PM   #53
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Quote:
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GPS entered widespread commercial use in the early 90s, so no offense, Redhawk, but whatever you were using in 'Nam isn't the system that is in place now. I would suspect you either had a LORAN-type system or transit satnav.
If you are familiar with the history of Gps, you are aware that the first systems tested, developed by the John Hopkins,was called "Transit" in the 60's. As well as "Timation" which was also advocated by the US Navy. There was also a system being developed by the Air Force called system 621B.

Since much is still classified, let me just say that my team as well as a couple of others did field testing for all three types in Vietnam. The last two satelites used by Timation were actually the first two GPS satelites. The 621B provided three-dimensional (latitude, longitude, and altitude) navigation with continuous service.

You might say that I was one of the first people to use what is now called GPS.

In the future please don't be so quick to tell someone what they did or didn't use, since there are always things that are not public knowledge. Not everything involved in testing technology is common knowledge. In fact, those of us who tested the three systems had classified systems and most of what we did is still classified.

Another thought,. Is it dredible that gps was developed in the nineties and was used on smart bombs in the Gulf War? Had to be invented and developed long before that my friend!!
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Old 05-06-2005, 11:50 AM   #54
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Here's some info about position plotting with a compass..

http://www.kifaru.net/plot_blust.htm
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:39 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil
When using Topo! software I can choose my datum and then ensure the gps and software match when uploading. However, the quads all use NAD27 for their grids, right? If my receiver is set to NAD83 and I plot the coord. on my paper map I'm going to be off. So shouldn't everybody simply stick to NAD27 all the time? I often see WGS84.
You are partially correct on the datum issue. Most USGS maps you will find are NAD27. The newest maps started changing over to NAD83 (which is essentially WGS84). The newer maps (with the NAD83) usually have corner ticks to show where the NAD27 grid would be, as well as the NAD83 grid. It can get very confusing for a novice. I believe that WGS84 is becoming the standard, however. You should find that the difference between NAD83 and WGS84 are navigationally insignificant (less than a meter).

I use Memory-Map Navigator (the best I have found out there) which works in much the same way, but I can also scan in my own maps or download USGS maps free from the internet. When I load the maps into the program, it sets a datum shift for WGS84, that way I am on the same track with my program and my GPS. I can then send my maps to my Pocket PC and take them along (without the hassle of large amounts of paper).
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Old 05-31-2005, 05:25 PM   #56
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If the software and the gps are set to the same setting, you're fine.

It's only if you are using a UTM grid or latitude/longitude ruler with a USGS Quad that datum will become an issue.

And as Forsetti said, the difference is so insignificant that if you can't find it, you don't belong in the woods.

When I have my GPS (All the time!), all my waypoints, routes, etc have been uploaded from my software. My USGS map is used only to get an overall picture, or as back up to use with my compass if I forgot spare batteries or something happens to my GPS (which hasn't happened to me yet).

15 years ago you were lucky if the GPS put you within 100 meters of a waypoint, now it's just a few feet, or most of the time dead on!
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Old 05-31-2005, 06:36 PM   #57
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I agree about datums and working between software, gps and map being confusing for the beginner.

What I did on my last couple of trips was to set my software for wgs84 and print the UGS84 grid in red on the map I printed and carried. That way, if I wanted to use the UTM grid overlay I could reference my paper map knowing I was using the correct datum. In fact, I used this workaround on Ausable 4 when we chose our exit route while on the summit. Absolute precision wasn't necessary so to simplify things I didn't bother with the grid overlay. I just entered the WP for an intersection of grid lines near where I wanted to get to and eyeballed my position relative to that WP on my gps map screen as we bushwhacked. I guess it worked.
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Old 06-01-2005, 11:10 AM   #58
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Back to the original subject, I am not sure what GPS you are using, but have you looked into an external antenna? Some units have a port for this. I know several people who put the GPS in their pack or pocket and the antenna attached to a hat or top of the pack. This way they can maintain satellite contact without the GPS dangling all over (but you do have a small cord the contend with).

I like to take a PDA along, as well. (Keeps all my maps on a tidy little SD card.) Since battery life is always a concern for the gadgets, I mostly use it for planning and verification (and to update my maps for later). A compass really can do most of the work for you!
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Old 06-01-2005, 12:09 PM   #59
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Depending on the antenna type (excluding external) don't some units work best if held flat and others if held upright?
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Old 06-01-2005, 12:28 PM   #60
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Yes, and that is based on the type and mounting. So, it varies by model and the best thing is to look in the manual for recommendations. Generally, helix should be as vertical as possible and patch should be flat. This means you have to know how the antenna is oriented in your model. The externals I have seen are patch-type and should be as flat as possible.
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