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Old 06-05-2008, 08:12 AM   #21
Neil
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One of the most valuable uses of a GPS is finding where to park or meet a hiking partner. Especially in the dark and in a new and remote place.

I also like using it for determining a pre-determined spot when leaving the trail and beginning a bushwhack.

When hiking near private ppty I draw the ppty line in Topo using the route tool and convert it to a gps track which I load into my gps. In the field I can activate the route and see the line on my screen.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:55 PM   #22
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One of the most valuable uses of a GPS is finding where to park or meet a hiking partner. Especially in the dark and in a new and remote place.

I also like using it for determining a pre-determined spot when leaving the trail and beginning a bushwhack.

When hiking near private ppty I draw the ppty line in Topo using the route tool and convert it to a gps track which I load into my gps. In the field I can activate the route and see the line on my screen.
Thats the best part of a GPS, waypoints and plotting a course, or even know where it is to get there. Finding where you are lost when you don't have any reference point however is useless if you cant even interpret, read a map, or know any landmarks near your in reference from what a GPS show shows you.
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:17 PM   #23
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Ummm, pardon me if I cringe a bit.... the compass as always should be primary, gps as backup if you feel you must use it as a reference tool. Just my general way of thinking.
I disagree. I think a gps and map is way more useful than a compass and map.

A compass, by itself, cannot tell you where you are. A gps can.

I haven't had to use my compass since I got a gps.

Extra batteries and the new mini-solar power chargers eliminated the power issue for a gps.

I think the romantic attachment to a compass is like the people in horse and buggies at the turn of the century yelling "get a horse" to the people they were passing in automobiles.
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:13 AM   #24
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The GPS is a juggernaut, a steamroller. Soon, all cars, phones and blackberries will have one. Pets, Alzeimers victims and parolees are next (already started, actually).

While out in the bush, (we Canucks say bush instead of woods) just following the arrow, which points the way (almost unfailingly in my experience) and shows the distance to whatever point you want definitely lacks adventure and tends to dull one's NAV senses.

But, there is no doubt about it, for getting from A to B and a whole lot more, the GPS is the "killer app" of our times.

I often use mine while out on a whack to check when sunset will be and what the moon will be doing. Cleary, that's stuff one can easily check in the local paper or on the net before heading out but I always forget.

The best hunting and fishing times is something I have yet to benefit from. Real time stock quotes would be nice.
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:41 PM   #25
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I disagree. I think a gps and map is way more useful than a compass and map.
I'm not sure why you don't ditch the map too. After all, it is very old technology. I'm sure that the concept of a map predates discovery of any usefulness of lodestones.
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A compass, by itself, cannot tell you where you are. A gps can.
Qualified with "by itself", a gps by itself tells you nothing. It's just a bunch of numbers.
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I think the romantic attachment to a compass is like the people in horse and buggies at the turn of the century yelling "get a horse" to the people they were passing in automobiles.
Funny thing about that kind of a comparison... I have similar thoughts when I encounter a jet ski while I am paddling the old technology of a canoe and paddle, or an ATV when I am hiking by that slow tiring method of using feet, or a snowmobile when I am using those obsolete XC skis that I have. In each case the "modern" way is a faster and easier way to get to a destination. Don't need no stinking horses, do we.

It seems that some will equate "fast" and "easy" with "better". Add points if little careful thought is required for use. Just press a button and go.
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:18 PM   #26
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I'm not sure why you don't ditch the map too. After all, it is very old technology. I'm sure that the concept of a map predates discovery of any usefulness of lodestones.Qualified with "by itself", a gps by itself tells you nothing. It's just a bunch of numbers.Funny thing about that kind of a comparison... I have similar thoughts when I encounter a jet ski while I am paddling the old technology of a canoe and paddle, or an ATV when I am hiking by that slow tiring method of using feet, or a snowmobile when I am using those obsolete XC skis that I have. In each case the "modern" way is a faster and easier way to get to a destination. Don't need no stinking horses, do we.

It seems that some will equate "fast" and "easy" with "better". Add points if little careful thought is required for use. Just press a button and go.
Can your compass play games? No! End of discussion. GPS wins. A gps eliminates the need to haul the 360 with a solar charger just to play madden and GTA4
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:31 PM   #27
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Can your compass play games? No! End of discussion. GPS wins. A gps eliminates the need to haul the 360 with a solar charger just to play madden and GTA4
WTH is a 360 (degrees on a compass?), madden (my wife when I do something wrong)? and GTA4 (some kind of space robot?) And what do they have to do with navigating in the backcountry? Sorry, wasting time playing at fake fantasy is not my idea of fun - not by any stretch at anytime or anywhere.
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:56 PM   #28
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There will be a day when I see someone surfing the web from the summit of a peak (might be me when I get my Asus mini laptop just to be the 1st) via a Verizon broadband card. I hope it's a long time from now but seeing as how I've seen many a hiker recently with an Ipod growing from their heads it's not too long till I see a wilderness web surfer. Probably won't be much after that I hear my first Windows tech support call from a cell phone from a summit.
Aren't those iPhone things supposed to provide full access to the Internet?

Imagine someone on the summit of one of the High Peaks with cell coverage...posting on this forum for directions back to their car.
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:57 PM   #29
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WTH is a 360 (degrees on a compass?), madden (my wife when I do something wrong)? and GTA4 (some kind of space robot?) And what do they have to do with navigating in the backcountry? Sorry, wasting time playing at fake fantasy is not my idea of fun - not by any stretch at anytime or anywhere.
That brought to mind Kramer saying "giddyup."
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Old 06-08-2008, 07:03 PM   #30
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Man... You guys are gettin all wound up over who's favorite method 'wins'!!!
Use what works best for you!
I personally prefer a GPS, with maps loaded. BUT I carry, and know how to use, a map and compass too! When hiking/paddling/biking I can glance at the GPS for the info I need. When I need to make a decision on my route, or double check something, I get out the map and compass.

I think the key thing to remember is that none of these items are any good, if you dont know how to use them.

I have been using a GPS for about 10 years, and I hike frequently with friends who have the same models as I have. Because of my experience with the GPS, however, I frequently have a better understanding of the data I'm looking at, and how to use all the features available. This is the same if map & compass is being used. The more experienced user will be more effective. Apply this to all tools, and I think you will see that it is true.
I dont trust the fact that my GPS will be 100%, all the time. It is a tool, like any other, and should it fail, I have backups which I know how to use.


Something I have learned, from teaching map, compass, and navigation skills to the Scouts..... Not everyone 'grasps' the same skills in the same way. I can look at a map, and very easily equate what I see on it to the world around me, and vice-versa. Some people have a real problem with visualizing the map as their surroundings, or vice-versa. This makes map and compass use more difficult, no matter how much practice is involved, and would make GPS preferable, I believe, as a primary tool.
Personally, I think it best to learn to use a map and compass before using a GPS, and then use what you are comfortable with as your primary tool.
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Old 06-08-2008, 08:49 PM   #31
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I don't seprate the tools into gps versus map and compass. I think a map is needed to use either the gps or a compass, except possibly if you are simply going to follow a track or bushwack to a pre-determined way point.

I do carry a compass although I've only used it to check direction since I've gotten a GPS (my GPS does not have the electronic compass).

I carry a physical map because I don't find the garmin topo maps to be that great once you zoom out a few levels. I prefer a printed topo with a utm grid.

The GPS tells me exactly where I am, and the map tells me how to get to where I want to go from the point where I am. Mostly though I know where I want to go and I just use the gps to record my track and tell me how far I have progressed (that's where the UTM grid lines on the map come in handy.)
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:33 PM   #32
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I carry all three: compass, maps and GPS but use GPS the most. Just quick glance tells me altitude, speed, heading, time traveled, time of the day. All on one screen with the Garmin 60Cx. Most screens on the 60Cx/Cxs can be customized to show data that you need. I still wouldn't leave the house without a map and compass as backup.
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:29 AM   #33
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I hope it's a long time from now but seeing as how I've seen many a hiker recently with an Ipod growing from their heads it's not too long till I see a wilderness web surfer. Probably won't be much after that I hear my first Windows tech support call from a cell phone from a summit.
The idea of hiking or canoeing while listening to pop music does not sound like the wilderness experience to me. Maybe some mild classical? Only when I am tired and there are no more loon vocals to hear. I will bring my GPS and a compass first. I know what it is to be lost, thinking you know the area by heart, only to see a complete cloud cover with no direction from the sun. I actually, literally walked in one complete circle - what they say is true - one foot is dominant over the other - I was SO thankful and lucky. Old logging roads and second growth forest really can look redundant - DOH!!!
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