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Old 10-31-2017, 05:40 PM   #101
geogymn
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I agree that tech has its pros and cons. But as far as it comes to map use and route following I think it is making us all brain dead. Methinks tech mapping should be used only as a backup tool for most. The people who know how to use map and compass will use technology as a tool not a crutch, until laziness become master of our wiser angels.
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Old 10-31-2017, 06:42 PM   #102
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Many here know how I feel about relying solely upon technology vs being proficient with map and compass, which I have taught to outdoor guides and SAR for more than 20 years (and more recently for Homeland Security and NYS Law Enforcement). I actually busted one guide student who sneaked his GPS during a M&C only field navigation exam - he did not get the guide certificate he needed for the job he was applying for. Getting "lost" would not be a failure for any student, instead they get praise and credit for figuring things out.

I have a different kind of personal example. I acquired my first astronomical telescope when I was 12 yrs old. It had setting circles to manually find celestial objects. But they way I really operated it was to learn the stars, their names, and their locations relative to dimmer deep space objects that i sought to view. Later I became a navigator for the Air Force, long before GPS was launched (when the AF actually seriously used navigators in aircraft). In training we had to learn 51 different stars for celestial navigation using a sextant. Guess what, I already knew those and more stars and breezed through that training segment and advanced to become an instructor and flight evaluation navigator.

Fast forward to 2017. Still with my old childhood telescope for occasional use, I purchased a new one as I had planned to do for many years. This new one has a motor drive with a hand held device to automatically turn the telescope to any object of interest that is programmed into it. So in using it I soon realized and was dismayed that no longer do I have to remember the bright guide stars that I used to know. I just press a button and there is no need to know or to experience anything else. I don't like doing it that way. My old learned way seems much better and more satisfying. I feel the same way when i navigate in the wilderness with my old map and compass procedures.
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:50 PM   #103
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My apologies for intruding on your lamenting of brain draining technology,

If one is to prevent Darwin's hypothesis, it would take a 21st century "cow bell" for all those entering the backcountry - particularly those who have not proven themselves proficient or experienced.

What if DEC required visitors to either purchase or rent an emergency locator beacon or get a backcountry license to have a "priority" status for SAR? (and search for the 'others' when & if resources allow)

Just throwing it out there (and hoping it doesn't stick)...

On the topic of it's not just ADK and "can't fix stupid" there's an article of 'news' making the rounds about a pair of 'sailors' (in very loose terms) being "lost" at sea for months on end. If nothing else, it's certainly entertaining but quite pointless. The only consolation Coast Guard got is that they deems the ship "not seaworthy" and left it adrift...
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:20 PM   #104
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:39 PM   #105
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On the topic of it's not just ADK and "can't fix stupid" there's an article of 'news' making the rounds about a pair of 'sailors' (in very loose terms) being "lost" at sea for months on end. If nothing else, it's certainly entertaining but quite pointless. The only consolation Coast Guard got is that they deems the ship "not seaworthy" and left it adrift...
That was the first thing I thought. They couldn't afford a $260 PLB?
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:44 PM   #106
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That was the first thing I thought. They couldn't afford a $260 PLB?
Apparently, there will be more to that story. There was apparently a functionally emergency satellite device(EPIRB) on the boat and they didn't trigger it because they "didn't think there lives were in danger". Either given to understatement or their story has more holes in it than their boat.
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Old 10-31-2017, 11:36 PM   #107
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You can't cite an instance but you guarantee what you say is correct? So not even anecdotal evidence? That's quite a pile of soft sand you've chosen to build upon!

Not just sand but quicksand; there's little to no cell service in the backcountry. Googling requires a data connection. There goes your theory that "inexperienced hikers" are getting instant survival answers from Google (or Siri or any other cloud-based service).

Of course, if they plan ahead, they can download first-aid and survival manuals onto their phone. However, that only makes their phone more useful and not a "huge step backwards".


I don't know who you've been talking to but the people I've spoken to aren't ignorant of their phone's limitations. Constant daily use makes one more, not less, familiar with its strength and weaknesses.


"Given how they are used" is based on how you think they are used and it's off the mark.
  • The majority of people I've met on the trail use their phones to take photos.
  • They may text someone (or call) if and when they get a signal (like on a summit).
  • They may transmit the photo(s) they took.
  • Sometimes they have a photo of a map that they use for reference.
  • Some have backcountry navigation apps that show their position, they record their journey, and display detailed maps.
  • They've used their phones to call for help. In several instances, the phone allowed DEC rangers to either determine the individual's location or provide the caller with instructions for self-rescue.

The misconceptions about how smartphones are used is the "danger". It serves as fodder for alarmists.
Wow, who would have ever guessed that smartphones ARE the answer we've all been looking for? Based upon your glowing recommendation, it's time to get rid of our maps and compasses and vest our lives, and others as well, in a fragile piece of digital equipment.

Awesome solution; thank you for sharing that.

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Old 11-01-2017, 12:45 AM   #108
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Wow, who would have ever guessed that smartphones ARE the answer we've all been looking for? Based upon your glowing recommendation, it's time to get rid of our maps and compasses and vest our lives, and others as well, in a fragile piece of digital equipment.
Who said anything about getting rid of maps and compasses? Not me.

Like all technological advances, there are pros and cons. My commentary was simply a rebuttal to your alleged cons. What I described was based on real world observation of how others use their phones and personal experience.
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:26 AM   #109
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Folks, they are all just tools. A compass, a map, the sun's shadow, a GPS and its satellites, the creek you use for a navigation handrail or a ridge used as navigation backstop. They are all tools for navigation and location. Some are hardware based, some are software. Some (not the least of which is the wetware tool that exists between your ears), with training and intelligence to use them are programmable (when you turn a compass bezel to an azimuth it is being programmed, and it has a semi-permanent memory of where it is set; when you study a map you are programming your brain). All programming and interpretation of what the tools are telling us is suceptible to error with varying degrees of consequence.

Other tools, such as the natural clues to navigation available almost everywhere, require wetware intelligence best used in conjunction with other tools (such as the map) to interpret and to realize their combined value for efficient travel. Some tools are best utilized and required for specific tasks or jobs demanding exacting precision (bombing a specific target, or surveying, or SAR, or canoe racing on the Yukon River, for example) would not be as possible or effective today without tools such as GPS and the operator's knowledge of how to use them, recognizing the accepted limitations of each. Even then, possibility of mechanical, electronic, programming and mis-interpretation error or failure needs to be taken into account relative to task success and safety. Some people find that certain kinds of reliable tools and knowledge to use them are all that is necessary for tasks involving purely educational or recreational purposes.
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Old 11-01-2017, 11:20 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
Wow, who would have ever guessed that smartphones ARE the answer we've all been looking for? Based upon your glowing recommendation, it's time to get rid of our maps and compasses and vest our lives, and others as well, in a fragile piece of digital equipment.

Awesome solution; thank you for sharing that.
I see no need to get testy or twist others' intentions to support a differing POV. Objectively listing something's positive points should not be taken as trumpeting.

I come from a M&C background, have learned many of the intricacies of GPS, combined the two approaches for high-power potency then reverted back (mostly) to M&C for off-trail navigation.

Recently, I tried using the gps on my dormant $20 trakphone with a free mapping app for a few hikes, on and off-trail. I was amazed at the accuracy (saved and compared tracklogs), ease of use, myriad ways of exploiting the device, battery life etc. So, I wouldn't knock the technology, it's a freaking juggernaut and it works really well. I was just on a bushwhack hike of North River and Cheney Cobble with TB and he used his phone to navigate with not one but two overlain maps, each semi transparent. I was recording a gps tracklog for future reference and I used a paper map and compass. We used all three nav-aids but the phone was very impressive in terms of keeping track of our position and progress.

I personally wouldn't knock (well maybe sometimes I would!) users of "new tech" as some people seem to enjoy doing, (one of those love-to-hate things perhaps). HOWEVER, I certainly would caution people from being totally dependent on any single nav-aid, be it a compass (I had one fall into pieces on me in the Sentinel Range), maps (you can lose them, they can get wet and the lines will smear) GPS units (loss of signal, batteries dying, thing goes kaput) or phones(ditto). The map glitches I mentioned of course are user error/carelessness but I've been there more than once but had backups.
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