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#296125 - 05/17/20 12:23 AM Why Humans Totally Freak Out When They Get Lost
Doug_Ritter Offline

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Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 2038
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#296126 - 05/17/20 12:48 AM Re: Why Humans Totally Freak Out When They Get Lost [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2624
Loc: Big Sky Country
A great read! I will consider the book even though it's a bit steep. Probably almost everyone that frequent ETS has experienced being lost. I certainly have! Fortunately I've never been lost for a long time, just very briefly, but I can attest that it's extraordinarily unsettling. Even being lost in a city can elicit the same feelings to a degree which shows how irrational it is; after all, in a city you will almost certainly be able to get assistance instantly even if you don't know the language.

I was once camping in the Black Hills of SD and got lost coming back from the outhouse one night. I felt a mild surge of panic but it was fleeting; partly because it didn't take me long to figure out the way and partly because I knew there was no possibility of getting truly hopelessly lost where I was.

Good find!
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#296130 - 05/17/20 04:36 AM Re: Why Humans Totally Freak Out When They Get Lost [Re: Doug_Ritter]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2856
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Yes, an excellent read, and I confess it makes me cautious about my own abilities. The bush teaches humility with great efficiency. And dehyration happens so fast, and messes with your reasoning.

I have been massively turned around, but always had a mental map of where I probably was and a compass I had tested before the trip. Even then I had to talk myself through it, speaking out loud -- "I know the compass is right, I personally tested it."

I guess the other part is feeling like the bush is sort of a home, certainly with hazards but also with resources I know how to use. So if I can find a water source, drag out some firewood, hug a tree named Bob, I can hopefully realign my head. But it takes a lot of experience to follow that script in a freaky situation.

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#296140 - 05/17/20 02:07 PM Re: Why Humans Totally Freak Out When They Get Lost [Re: Doug_Ritter]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7260
Loc: southern Cal
"I've never been lost, but I have been mighty confused for a few days" - Daniel Boone. Like Boone, I have been mighty confused. Looking back, I think dehydration was an issue.
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#296141 - 05/17/20 03:22 PM Re: Why Humans Totally Freak Out When They Get Lost [Re: Doug_Ritter]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2107
Loc: NE Wisconsin
Great article. I've found the account of Gerry's story fascinating and horrifying since I heard of it.

I personally got lost along with a friend while wandering around Taipei, Taiwan at night (after dinner) while still jet-lagged. The signs and streets all started to look the same, though my fogged mind didn't help. Luckily my friend figured out the way back to our hotel.

Every since then I've carried the name/address of my hotel, some kind of paper map, a small compass and a Garmin GPSMAP 60csx (with electronic compass so it works standing still) when exploring unfamiliar places. Of course I'd use the map most, sometimes with the compass, and if getting confused I'll pull out the GPS. I was the guy using the map & compass at Disney World and Seaworld. Hey, it works.

Most places the GPS has been able to get a fairly quick fix, but last summer in the narrow streets of Regensburg, Germany it would not lock onto satellites and kept loosing the fix.

I do worry that I have too much confidence in the GPS being able to lock onto satellites.

QUESTION: Does anyone know how well a modern GPS does getting a lock along the Appalachian Trail? Would a mapping GPS with a topo map of the local area have likely been able to help Gerry?

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#296145 - 05/17/20 06:51 PM Re: Why Humans Totally Freak Out When They Get Lost [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2624
Loc: Big Sky Country
I don't know for sure but I've read that newer units that can use GPS, Glonass and Galileo can get a good fix under a heavy canopy or even indoors.
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#296146 - 05/17/20 08:35 PM Re: Why Humans Totally Freak Out When They Get Lost [Re: Phaedrus]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3348
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
I don't know for sure but I've read that newer units that can use GPS, Glonass and Galileo can get a good fix under a heavy canopy or even indoors.


That’s less a function of being able to work with multiple GNSS systems and more a function, I believe, of better antennas and receivers.

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#296147 - 05/17/20 10:12 PM Re: Why Humans Totally Freak Out When They Get Lost [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2624
Loc: Big Sky Country
Probably better antennas and receivers but I think having a larger array of satellites in more constellations increases the odds that a couple of them will have a good line-of-sight angle.
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#296150 - 05/18/20 12:29 AM Re: Why Humans Totally Freak Out When They Get Lost [Re: Doug_Ritter]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2107
Loc: NE Wisconsin
My older Garmin GPSMAP 60csx can get a lock in the center of the lower level the lower level of my house with only one window. To my knowledge the big improvement came with the SiRF chipset.

Still, it couldn't get the lock on a narrow German street with two story buildings on either side.

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#296151 - 05/18/20 04:20 AM Re: Why Humans Totally Freak Out When They Get Lost [Re: chaosmagnet]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1174
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
I don't know for sure but I've read that newer units that can use GPS, Glonass and Galileo can get a good fix under a heavy canopy or even indoors.
That’s less a function of being able to work with multiple GNSS systems and more a function, I believe, of better antennas and receivers.

Yes, my understanding is that the biggest improvement in newer GPS units is a more sensitive antenna.

Originally Posted By: KenK
My older Garmin GPSMAP 60csx can get a lock in the center of the lower level the lower level of my house with only one window. To my knowledge the big improvement came with the SiRF chipset.

Again, that is mostly due to a more sensitive antenna.

Originally Posted By: KenK
Still, it couldn't get the lock on a narrow German street with two story buildings on either side.
Originally Posted By: KenK
Most places the GPS has been able to get a fairly quick fix, but last summer in the narrow streets of Regensburg, Germany it would not lock onto satellites and kept loosing the fix.
This is usually due to "multipath error". The direct GPS signal is blocked, but the a signal is bouncing off one of the buildings. This means that the path is longer, hence the time is longer, and the calculated distance from the satellite is longer (and erroneous). I've run into the same problem in urban areas with narrow streets, when the GPS will suddenly tell me I'm one block over from my actual location. I've also had it happen in narrow canyons. Sometimes the unit will ping back and forth between two locations.

Originally Posted By: KenK
QUESTION: Does anyone know how well a modern GPS does getting a lock along the Appalachian Trail? Would a mapping GPS with a topo map of the local area have likely been able to help Gerry?
Should work fine if there is a clear view of the sky. My understanding is that people us GPS all the time on the Appalachian Trail.

Sometimes GPS will have a problem in heavy tree cover, but newer units (with better antennas) will usually do OK. Unless it is really dense forest. If you can look up and see any significant amount of sky at all, you should be able to get a fix in most cases. And you can usually move a short distance to some spot with a slightly better view of the sky and get a fix. Sometimes moving only a few yards will make all the difference. The same thing is true in narrow streets in urban areas.

Remember that the satellites are always moving. So even if a given satellite is totally blocked, or you are getting a multipath error, eventually the unit will get a clear view of 4 satellites and be able to get a decent fix. It sometimes takes awhile though.


Edited by AKSAR (05/18/20 04:22 AM)
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