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#288835 - 04/28/18 02:00 PM GPS/Compass Troubles in a City
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2015
Loc: NE Illinois
The post about electronic maps got me thinking ...

Last January I was in Regensburg, Germany, walking through the old city. My smartphone does not receive data in Europe ($$$), but I can store a map and use the internal GPS. I also brought my Garmin GPSMAP 60csx and used that.

The buildings in old Regensburg aren't super tall, but I had a terrible time getting the phone and trail GPS's to lock onto satellites. At some point we simply did not know which direction was which, and we were struggling matching map street names with names at our location. Luckily the person I was with had a smartphone that would connect to the phone system, and that quickly pointed the right way.

Later I installed an electronic compass app on my Android phone, but I couldn't find a way to calibrate it. I never really felt comfortable that it was accurate.

So, as soon as I got home I purchased a Brunton TruArc 3 global compass to be able to carry with me in the future. It is small and rounded so it is comfortable in the front pocket of my pants. I carried an older version of the compass at the big parks in Florida and they worked great when I got directionally confused.

Like I said, I have several similar older Brunton compasses - used them to teach Scouts - and thought I had to get the newer global version for use in Europe, but later read that the need for global compasses has more to do with going north-south than going east-west, so it turns out that a compass that works in the US would work just fine in Europe. Oh well, I'm happy to support a great American-made product.

Magnetic-dip-and-zone-balancing

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#288837 - 04/28/18 03:19 PM Re: GPS/Compass Troubles in a City [Re: KenK]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6582
Loc: southern Cal
It is stuff like this that makes me remain a hopeless Luddite, relying on traditional paper maps, which have their own quirks (nothing is perfect) but at least aren't relying on battery power....
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#288838 - 04/28/18 03:41 PM Re: Compass Troubles in a City [Re: KenK]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4914
Loc: SOCAL
I thought the Garmin 60CSx had a sensitive GPS receiver until I compared it to my much newer Garmin Oregon 600 - more satellites faster and it also works with GLONASS (the Russian GPS system) too. I thought electronic compasses self-calibrated by turning a 360...

Meantime, I’m switching to a flip phone with no apps Kyocera DuraXV. It removes the temptation to run down the battery on unnecessary trivia. When not in use I turn it off.

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#288839 - 04/28/18 06:02 PM Re: Compass Troubles in a City [Re: KenK]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1404
Loc: North Carolina
So many times people have asked me why I carry a compass in urban environments, and this is why.

When the GPS map 60CSX came out, it was the most sensitive one available commercially. That was back in about 2005 or 2006.

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#288842 - 04/29/18 01:35 PM Re: GPS/Compass Troubles in a City [Re: hikermor]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1384
Originally Posted By: hikermor
It is stuff like this that makes me remain a hopeless Luddite, relying on traditional paper maps, which have their own quirks (nothing is perfect) but at least aren't relying on battery power....


"Let me introduce you to a new bio-optical knowledge recording and dissemination system, responding to the trade name : MAP.
"Map" is an unprecedented technological revolution..."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCp-JSVSNZM

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#288843 - 04/29/18 02:30 PM Re: GPS/Compass Troubles in a City [Re: KenK]
UncleGoo Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/06/06
Posts: 354
Loc: CT
Got a Silva Ranger compass as a high school graduation present. Have had one, or something similar, ever since...and paper maps.

I came up out of the subway in NYC a few years ago, and was approached by a woman, who said that she was supposed to meet someone on the NW corner of the intersection, and asked if I knew which corner was NW. It was about ten a.m. and I explained how the shadows would point NW to show her the corner. She looked at me like I was some kind of genius...
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Utilize,
Realize.

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#288844 - 04/29/18 07:02 PM Re: GPS/Compass Troubles in a City [Re: Bingley]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1020
Loc: Germany
Itīs quite funny. The guy was wrong with a couple of points though. MAP needs updating as the data can get obsolete (usually that means buying a new one). On some samples even the north direction drifts away over time. MAP also is unreadable in certain lighting conditions (commonly known as "dark"). In my experience folding and unfolding puts quite a bit of wear on MAP and scrolling does not go really smooth.
I still like to use the laminated version of it in many situations. Just yesterday I purchased an new set of a variation called roadMAP.
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If it isnīt broken, it doesnīt have enough features yet.

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#288845 - 04/29/18 07:19 PM Re: GPS/Compass Troubles in a City [Re: M_a_x]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4914
Loc: SOCAL
I remember the days when I could drive cross country using an out-of-date Rand McNally Road Atlas. Now I can’t drive to the grocery store without GPS and traffic alert ... on Sunday, with zero traffic.. Okay, not really, but the Garmin Nuvi does try to reroute me to save a couple nanoseconds on that lengthy 10 minute drive.

No wonder why I so often don’t bother to power it up.

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#288848 - 04/30/18 02:39 PM Re: GPS/Compass Troubles in a City [Re: KenK]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1020
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: KenK

Like I said, I have several similar older Brunton compasses - used them to teach Scouts - and thought I had to get the newer global version for use in Europe, but later read that the need for global compasses has more to do with going north-south than going east-west, so it turns out that a compass that works in the US would work just fine in Europe. Oh well, I'm happy to support a great American-made product.


A global neelde provides some ease of use. The compass is considerably less senstive to tilting.
Though I am not American I consider buying the TrueArc 3. For the price it is hard to beat.
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If it isnīt broken, it doesnīt have enough features yet.

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#288849 - 04/30/18 02:42 PM Re: GPS/Compass Troubles in a City [Re: Russ]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1020
Loc: Germany
I have a Garmin nüvi 2598. One of itīs features is an alert when I exceed the speed limit. I find it kind of useful. Usually I do not use the routing feature.
Cross county out-of-date maps are often ok. Prominent features like mountains do not change fast enough to make a difference.
OTOH out-of-date city maps are more likely to not even have the intended destination on it. That can make navigating a little hard.
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If it isnīt broken, it doesnīt have enough features yet.

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