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#257706 - 03/18/13 11:57 AM Re: Why Humans Get Lost [Re: jshannon]
Montanero Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1303
Loc: North Carolina
The way I teach land navigation is always beginning with map and compass first. Only after mastering this do I begin to teach GPS. If you learn to navigate without the GPS, then you are a much better operator of the GPS. The key with a GPS is to not blindly follow its directions. You must still plan your route, terrain associate and be aware of you surroundings. GPS is an awesome tool, but used poorly can get you into trouble.

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#257713 - 03/18/13 02:20 PM Re: Why Humans Get Lost [Re: jshannon]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
Maybe I am too old to learn, but I have not been able to use the GPS my wife gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago for anything other than keeping track of where I was and how far I walked.

It just seems easier to use a map to me to figure out where I am going and how to get there.
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Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile

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#257714 - 03/18/13 03:09 PM Re: Why Humans Get Lost [Re: ILBob]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6362
Loc: southern Cal
Distance covered is one of the very best bits of GPS data available. It is easy to badly estimate, usually overestimating, the ground covered. If Mr.GPS says you have only walked one mile, don't lose heart because you have not encountered the trail junction at two miles. Inaccurate distance estimation if one of the main reasons people get confused.

I usually strap my GPS to my wrist when bike riding. It gives me great data on distance covered, and speed, etc.
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#257715 - 03/18/13 03:30 PM Re: Why Humans Get Lost [Re: Montanero]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1090
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Montanero
The way I teach land navigation is always beginning with map and compass first. Only after mastering this do I begin to teach GPS. If you learn to navigate without the GPS, then you are a much better operator of the GPS. The key with a GPS is to not blindly follow its directions. You must still plan your route, terrain associate and be aware of you surroundings. GPS is an awesome tool, but used poorly can get you into trouble.

You nailed it. Learn traditional navigation first, and you will get much more out of using a GPS.

I'm mostly out in fairly rugged terrain, and I can usually navigate quite well with just a map, by terrain association. But as hikermor noted up thread, some environments are much tougher to navigate in. Flat land with thick woods can be hard, because there are few if any good landmarks, and the woods make it difficult to see whatever landmarks there might be. In those cases, a compass is invaluable, and a GPS is even better.

Maps, compass, and GPS are all tools. I try to keep my skills sharp with all of them.
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#257718 - 03/18/13 04:30 PM Re: Why Humans Get Lost [Re: jshannon]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1345
Just a tidbit here.
I'm taking my wife as an example - but not picking on her :-)
She tends to be a person who has always had some trouble with navigation. Some people just do - their brains seem a bit less connected to memorizing landmarks and noting directions. However, she really made major progress once these automatic GPS devices, along with route guidance, became available. She has relied on them ever since, and really could not get to a lot of places without them. I suspect my wife is part of a big majority of people who drive, and sometimes hike, relying highly upon GPS. To the people on this forum that may seem like madness .... but that is the modern world that we live in. It is - what it is. If for some reason all the world's GPS signals came to an abrupt end ... there would be a LOT of people stranded out there. A lot of folks don't even carry hard-copy maps anymore.

Pete2


Edited by Pete (03/18/13 04:31 PM)

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#257719 - 03/18/13 04:53 PM Re: Why Humans Get Lost [Re: jshannon]
JBMat Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 745
Loc: NC
Then there are those of us who had to learn land nav with map and compass. Warn't no GPS way back when. Why I tell you, we had to magnitize needles and float them in a puddle on a leave to determine north (actually works). The worst part was when the dinosaurs would step on your leave...

As previously stated, I learned land nav as a Scout. Then once I joined the service, the first NCO school had a fearsome Land Nav course with one heckova mean evil and nasty written test - mixing map degrees and magnetic and if you didn't notice -- ahhhh. And you had to be on a spot to 8 digits. Better have a sharp pencil, as a dull one could cover 50 meters.

GPS is simple, if you can read and understand a map it is a great tool. But once the batteries die, whatcha gonna do then?

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#257721 - 03/18/13 05:17 PM Re: Why Humans Get Lost [Re: jshannon]
Jeanette_Isabelle Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1736
Loc: Ocala, FL
This will sound like a stupid question and Iíll ask it anyway. As long as the sun is visible, why would anyone need a compass? Does anyone know how to navigate by the sun?

Jeanette Isabelle
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"A grain of wheat must fall to the ground before it can do any good. New life springs from fallen grain." -- Fleda Claes Johansson

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#257722 - 03/18/13 05:18 PM Re: Why Humans Get Lost [Re: hikermor]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Distance covered is one of the very best bits of GPS data available. It is easy to badly estimate, usually overestimating, the ground covered. If Mr.GPS says you have only walked one mile, don't lose heart because you have not encountered the trail junction at two miles. Inaccurate distance estimation if one of the main reasons people get confused.

I usually strap my GPS to my wrist when bike riding. It gives me great data on distance covered, and speed, etc.



I have noticed that the trip odometer on my GPS reports less distance covered than Base camp reports when I load it in there. It comes out about the same thing in the car. I suspect the GPS trip odometer does not work real well when walking.
_________________________
Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile

Bob

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#257723 - 03/18/13 06:06 PM Re: Why Humans Get Lost [Re: JBMat]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4771
Loc: SOCAL
Using a GPS or "Map & Compass" for navigation is not an either/or situation. Use both.

I too learned navigation way back -- take a fix and then proceed using dead reckoning until you have another fix then adjust and proceed with dead reckoning.

A set of batteries in a GPS receiver should last much longer than the 10-20 hour battery life. Batteries die because the receiver is left turned on for constant nav. Rather, you should use the GPS to find yourself initially on the map (if you are lost), and then navigate with map and compass. Until something indicates your position on the map is suspect, leave the GPS turned off.

My favorite GPS was a very simple Garmin Geko 301 but the Foretrexģ 301 is very similar and it is worn on your wrist. I have a couple of the mapping models, but the basic units are just fine. For reliable navigation you need to be smarter than your tools.

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#257726 - 03/18/13 07:12 PM Re: Why Humans Get Lost [Re: jshannon]
Montanero Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1303
Loc: North Carolina
Yes, I always prefer to use both if possible. I use a Garmin GPSmap 60csx and the batteries last a long time, but I do not use it for constant navigation.

And to Jeanette, I normally use the sun and other celestial objects to maintain orientation, but they are not as precise as a compass unless you have other instruments, and the compass is much easier than those other devices. For general direction and maintaining a general heading the sun works just fine.

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