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Andy
02-17-2009, 09:04 AM
What is your current primary land navigation technology? What do you rely on most when navigating in the wilderness?

I decided to post this poll because my wife offered to get me a GPS for my birthday, but I'm not so sure I want one. Since I work with modern technology, I go into the woods partially to avoid it.

Currently my primary navigation technology is aboriginal, with a few compasses as a backup.

Edit: I should add that I always carry a map, referring to it as needed.

rik_uk3
02-17-2009, 09:13 AM
When I was getting out to remote spots it would be a map and compass everytime

reverendCPA
02-17-2009, 10:11 AM
I always use a map and compass, but I carry a GPS just in case. I also use my GPS to mark tree stand locations, and blind locations.

On the properties I hunt I mark signs like rubs and tracks to put on a map later to track movements.

GPS is extremely useful, but I use a map and compass because I dont want this skill to get rusty.

Ripmyfly
02-17-2009, 10:47 AM
I will have to admit that I depend to much on my GPS. However, I rarely use it for navigation on a random hike.With all the unique mountain tops around here one almost always has a point of reference to go on. The main reason for the GPS is to locate treestand locations in the dark and to see the lay of the land around me.

sbkittrell
02-17-2009, 11:06 AM
I usually carry a compass. There are some deep woods on the East side of the river, but on my side if you can find North, you can eventually get to a road, or more likely, a farm. When I'm on the river I always have the boat compass/charts. I have an old model GPS, that just gives you Lat/Lon but it has no integral chart. If I were going to some REAL wilderness locations like they have out west or up north in Canada or Alaska, I'd absolutely carry compass, maps, and a GPS.

GreyOne
02-17-2009, 06:13 PM
GPS -batteries fail, the military may drop signal, etc.
Fun, not reliable in emergency.

Bushpuukko
02-18-2009, 01:25 PM
I integrate them all. Why not? Sure batteries fail... and bubbles develop in compasses! Carry a spare/spares. Learning to use ALL the tools at your disposal is to YOUR advantage. I wish I knew how to use a sextant better.

Giguere
02-18-2009, 10:52 PM
I -do- Carry a Compass, a Silva Guide. I have never however used it. I'm fairly good with my surroundings and haven't got lost yet and its been working pretty well for the past ten years or so. Its there as a saftey item, incase I have to fall down upon it in a time of need.

IA Woodsman
02-20-2009, 12:01 PM
Just to keep the everybody up to date, Uncle Sam can shut down access to the GPS grid. Not only can they, but they did shut it down after 9/11. Just a heads up.

Bushpuukko
02-23-2009, 02:12 PM
Since we're playing "WHAT IF", say you get detoured to an area you're totally unfamiliar with and have no maps of said area? Aboriginal skills will only get you so far and a compass without a map is much the same. Thats where my GPS comes in to fill a niche. But most important is situational awareness and knowing whats around you. Take care of the basic necessities and then begin to map the area around you either in your mind or on paper.
That being said, I purposely chose a GPS that took AA batteries as I have a solar panel/charger that can mount on my pack that charges AA batteries. If you guys want I can post a pic or two.

smokechoker19
04-18-2009, 09:44 PM
Well all the above is good, But GPS in deep woods is almost useless with a thick canopy or if a heavy cloud cover and its raining hard (wont work in my area). I Always have a map and compass handy they dont get turned off or dont work. GPS I got one too and use it but sometimes dont work.

GreyOne
04-18-2009, 09:59 PM
Map, Compass, GPS, basic nav skills -all = Belt and suspenders.

(As an aside, GPS may be defunct in a real SHTF situation- either turned off or the satellites destroyed...)

IdahoBackwoods
04-19-2009, 12:39 AM
Maps and compass.

Tomahawk
04-19-2009, 04:31 AM
I have an Old Silva Ranger Compass. GPS are fun toys for a day trip but require batteries which equals weight, which equals unecessary. And for me personally it symbolizes a link to civilization and modernization which i dont like.

tomhawk

Cap'n Caveman
01-16-2010, 03:47 PM
old topic but here goes i carry a gps not because I am somehow lazy but for the same reason I carry my cellphone and zippo hey its silly not to take it if you can its another tool to do the job.Hell I bet it ranks high up there with things a precolumbian native american ,aborigine ,or pacific islander would think you retarded not to have if you could

BOD
01-16-2010, 07:14 PM
Button compass and local knowledge

Pinebaron
01-16-2010, 07:59 PM
I mostly use a Suunto wrist compass and a map while in the woods. I also have a couple of baseplate compasses that I sometimes use. I have been known to carry a GPS to mark the car's location, then turn it off.

Grits
01-16-2010, 08:01 PM
Option ought to be compass and map. Compass only tells me direction. Map tells me the lay of the land.

Malamute
01-16-2010, 09:01 PM
Mostly just paying attention to the land, and having looked at maps before going in somewhere. It's pretty hard to get lost in the mountains around here unless you're walking around in the dark. There's so many landmarks that you'd probably have to work at it to actually get lost.

moose
01-16-2010, 09:04 PM
I just use a compass, i dont currently have a GPS but would like one for a back up.

pocomoonskyeyes
01-16-2010, 10:46 PM
When The First GPS was a Top Secret item, I saw one. It took the whole back of a jeep,and was good for only one thing. It told you EXACTLY where you were/are. The only improvement I can tell that has been made in 20 years is that they are smaller and LESS accurate (that told you the EXACT INCH of ground you were on). That might be a good thing IF you are lost. It was NEVER designed for navigation. It was used to determine the exact location for Artillery and such as this, so that their fire could be more accurate due to knowing their location exactly. Even the guys that had this Top Secret piece of equipment would not rely on it for navigation. In the 20 years that have passed the Map is still your best friend,followed by a Compass,followed by natural orientation methods, and then the GPS. If you are caching something or want to know the location of your camp, deerstand, fishing spot, etc., then it is good for that. I have heard too many people say that a GPS is next to useless for actual Navigation while moving. One guy said that his actually gave the wrong bearing/azimuth.
Now having said all that, let me say that I have never owned one. Considering the stories and price tag on them, I probably never will. I can buy a lot of compasses and Maps for the price of the Cheapest GPS. I looked in Wally world last night the cheapest was over $100 and the most expensive was almost $500. Their compasses were about $5-10, maps of the Lake areas were $9.95. Using that as a guide I could get a compass and 9 maps and have more money than if I bought the el cheapo GPS.
This is just my opinion,but I do have 10 years of orientation skills taught to me courtesy of Uncle Sam, plus what I used before and since that 10 years. So I am not a novice with Map and compass. I have had to use them in as close to total darkness as you can and still navigate. Use a light for as short a time as possible to get your bearings/reading from the map, the rest is compass work/pace count. I guess what I am saying is this: if you want to use a GPS - fine, just make sure you have a map and compass too.

Pawoodsman
01-16-2010, 10:47 PM
I use all I have a sunto navigator compass and a GPS I need to get more maps so I can practice skill more at home I have them for up north in the vast forest I hunt.

DirtySouth
01-18-2010, 08:14 PM
When The First GPS was a Top Secret item, I saw one. It took the whole back of a jeep,and was good for only one thing. It told you EXACTLY where you were/are. The only improvement I can tell that has been made in 20 years is that they are smaller and LESS accurate (that told you the EXACT INCH of ground you were on).




The GPS you are referring to, it was more than likely a Military/Survey grade system. When GPS was first made available to the private sector, it required car batteries to run it, and it had to be used at certain times, usually at night. Even today, Survey grade GPS is more accurate during certain times of the day because of the position of the satellites. Survey grade GPS today can get you within 1/2" in the wide open, but you're not going to walmart and buying one. The Survey grade GPS units today can cost $30k, depending on whether or not you want the ability to tie into the Russian Satellite system, GLONASS.

Civilian grade GPS are generally accurate up to 20'-30', plenty accurate enough to navigate with. They use the same satellites as the military, but different frequencies, which is why they aren't as accurate.

I personally take a compass and GPS with me, but more often than not, a map and my ability to read the land has always done me right. If you know where you've been, you'll know where you are. :D

EdD270
01-18-2010, 09:06 PM
I routinely use a map and compass to navigate, and also use a GPS receiver to mark points of interest for later addition to maps. I like the GPS accuracy, but also recognize the limitations and falibility of technology. The compass and map always work.
Surprised you didn't list "map" with "compass" as the two are an inseperable pair for navigation.

72shane
01-18-2010, 09:23 PM
Blind luck! Seriously, I rarely use anything. I usually dont care where im going and knowing my general direction is good enough. When i pig hunt in the swamps or palmetto flats i take a compass cause i get turned around from hunting and not paying attention. Even then, just knowing the general direction so i can hit the river is the best i can hope for. Ive done ALOT of bushwhacking useing maps and compass and even attended a class on navigation in AZ but it just isnt practical for me and my nomadic ways. I constantly find myself suprised by where i am! :)

smokechoker19
01-18-2010, 10:27 PM
I use compass and map mostly, GPS occasionally. One thing I haven't seen posted is this:
When you start from known place look for a landmark closet to starting point, if that is where you want to come back to eventually. While on the trail make a list of landmarks either mentally or on paper, when you make your return when you fine one of your landmarks you follow the session of landmarks back to start. In other words keep a eye on your surroundings and get to know the area your trecking thru, don't just look forward and not paying attention to the area. If you do these things you won't get lost, ever.

Smoke

Malamute
01-19-2010, 10:13 AM
I have a GPS, and have fooled around with it some, though I never carry it when out in the hills. As I mentioned before, theres just too many landmarks to really get lost in my area if you pay the slightest attention, and have any clue as to the lay of the land. However, the one real use I would find for a GPS, and what I do fooling around with it, is take a postion on home, and on certain places I go, then I always have a reference point as to where I may want to go or be. Just knowing those few things, and being able to get a directional fix, is enough to navigate here.


A compass tells you what directions are, but not where you are or how to get where you want to be. You still need to have an idea where you are in relation to things around you. The map does that if you know where you started from, and keep some reference as to where you've gone. I think the biggest problem many people have is they simply don't pay attention to where they are or have gone, then can't figure out where to go, even with a compass. It seems like more of the general obliviousness to their surroundings of many in the world today. A GPS can be a good tool for staying found, but you still have to understand what you want it to do, and how to use it. You can't just turn it on after getting lost and have it tell you where to go. Unfortunately, many don't seem to understand that. I think all that seems like too much effort to many also.

3fires
01-19-2010, 10:27 AM
I generally use topo maps, my sense of direction and for back up a compass. I keep my sense of direction in my head, otherwise I get turned around.

Compasses aren't foolproof, around here there's lots of metal in the ground or something as they tend to wig out on a pretty regular basis.

GPS is good for marking specific locations and getting an idea of the terrain if you have no map, but that's it.

Even the newer, on the fly, compasses they have aren't very reliable. You have to recalibrate them, hold them perfectly level, or in the case of mine perfectly unlevel. LOL.

In deep woods and such when you need them most the signal weakens or drops.

if you're gonna be out on a lake or in an open field they work great, but then you gotta have batteries for back up. The newer fancy models really suck the juice.

wildjim
01-19-2010, 10:33 AM
We should have the option of multiple answers as I choose compass but I also have GPS.

DirtySouth
01-19-2010, 02:00 PM
I think the biggest problem many people have is they simply don't pay attention to where they are or have gone, then can't figure out where to go, even with a compass.



Exactly. A lot of people who have been lost, would've never been lost if they would've paid attention to start with. I'm not saying it is hard to get lost, but I feel that if you use a little common sense, you greatly reduce the odds.

3fires
01-19-2010, 02:09 PM
Yep, and common sense means not relying on technology to save your ass.

72shane
01-19-2010, 02:14 PM
I agree...waiting till your lost to look at your compass wont help.

DirtySouth
01-19-2010, 02:17 PM
GPS is good for marking specific locations and getting an idea of the terrain if you have no map, but that's it.

Even the newer, on the fly, compasses they have aren't very reliable. You have to recalibrate them, hold them perfectly level, or in the case of mine perfectly unlevel. LOL.

In deep woods and such when you need them most the signal weakens or drops.

if you're gonna be out on a lake or in an open field they work great, but then you gotta have batteries for back up. The newer fancy models really suck the juice.


I'm in no way trying to start a debate here, and am not trying to single you out, but I have seen posts like these made and IMHO, I just don't agree. Now I am in no way saying that GPS is without fault, but units today are a lot more accurate than people give them credit for. I use a Garmin 60csx in the woods, and have never been let down by it. I've used it for Geo-caching, flagging clearing limits for a road, and finding property corners on big pieces of properties. All of this has been done in the North Georgia Mountains, under thick canopy, and sometimes in the rain as well. Now granted, under the worst conditions, it was only accurate to within 20-30 feet, but that in my opinion is plenty accurate enough to navigate by. One set of AA batteries will last 18 hours or so with continuous use, 30 hours in battery saver mode.

I don't calibrate the compass on mine, but have used the altimeter while hiking, and it is good to calibrate it if you have a BM. I find that strapping it to your pack away from your body, it can be fairly accurate and can help you locate your position easier on a Topo map, when you know what your elevation is.

With all that being said, having a map is critical, regardless of whether or not you use a GPS or compass. If I could only pick one item out of a list of map, GPS, or compass, it would be a map (assuming of course it is of the area you are in). I feel that with a little common sense, you can navigate using a map and the landmarks around you well enough to get you to a river or road.

When it boils down to it, use what you are comfortable with. Don't let anyone, myself included, tell you what will work for you. Tools are useless if you don't know how to properly use them.

DirtySouth
01-19-2010, 02:20 PM
Yep, and common sense means not relying on technology to save your ass.



I agree, which is why I voted for aboriginal. ;)

I've broken my left ankle twice, so when I am in the woods and step on a log, or in a hole, I go ahead and fall to the ground to prevent rolling it. I know it sounds stupid but I have actually gotten good at it :D. What this means though, is if I have something in my hand, it can easily be broken if it slams into a rock. Because of this, I almost always have both a compass and GPS with me, but I don't rely on either one. I choose to rely on my skills, however small they may be, in order to give me the best shot at getting out of the woods, just in case I do smash my compass or GPS.

3fires
01-19-2010, 02:36 PM
Dirty south, I didn't even realize it was a poll, but I voted abo as well.

I have the 60Csx like you and that's the one I'm reffering to in my previous post. It's way better than my original Etrex, but it still lacks in the compass and heading dept., you have to hold it at just the right angle for a correct heading and the balance/level indicator is incorrect. I have to hold mine up and to the right for a correct reading and unless I have a compass to check it with I have no idea what the correct angle is unless I'm using abo methods. The correct angle changes depending on which part of the state I'm in, and it is calibrated correctly.

My on the spot accuracy in heavy cover is generally within 100' or so. If there's light cover it's much better, maybe 30'-50'. I've used mine for geocaching too, as well as locating Grifola frondosa or hen of the woods trees among other things. It helps, but it rarely puts me spot on to the target. It still loses signal, but not nearly as much as the Etrex did.

On a lake though, or in a field they both will get you within 10' and they work well for marking underwater habitat for fishing and such.

What makes the 60Csx good is the topos, even though they are not 100% accurate they can help you find your way thru a swamp without getting too wet. They can help you locate a specific elevation, ridge, ravine, creek, lake or valley too. You can't really do that with abo methods unless you know the area. You can to an extent by reading the lay of the land, but nowhere as good as the topo will allow you to.

DirtySouth
01-19-2010, 03:11 PM
Dirty south, I didn't even realize it was a poll, but I voted abo as well.

I have the 60Csx like you and that's the one I'm reffering to in my previous post. It's way better than my original Etrex, but it still lacks in the compass and heading dept., you have to hold it at just the right angle for a correct heading and the balance/level indicator is incorrect. I have to hold mine up and to the right for a correct reading and unless I have a compass to check it with I have no idea what the correct angle is unless I'm using abo methods. The correct angle changes depending on which part of the state I'm in, and it is calibrated correctly.

My on the spot accuracy in heavy cover is generally within 100' or so. If there's light cover it's much better, maybe 30'-50'. I've used mine for geocaching too, as well as locating Grifola frondosa or hen of the woods trees among other things. It helps, but it rarely puts me spot on to the target. It still loses signal, but not nearly as much as the Etrex did.


What makes the 60Csx good is the topos, even though they are not 100% accurate they can help you find your way thru a swamp without getting too wet. They can help you locate a specific elevation, ridge, ravine, creek, lake or valley too. You can't really do that with abo methods unless you know the area. You can to an extent by reading the lay of the land, but nowhere as good as the topo will allow you to.



I had a Etrex Vista and it would loose signal deep in country, even the 60c I had prior to the csx would at times, but so far csx has been pretty good. The compass does suck on it, it is almost useless unless you're running, you certainly have to be moving to use it. Generally it gets me within 30' on a cache and then I start thinking, now where would I put it if it was me? So far, that approach has worked. Do you have WAAS enabled on yours?

From reading everyone's responses, it seems that most people seem to agree that you need to "know" the area you are in. I use a lot of aerial maps when we are scouting big pieces of properties, and they can come in handy. It takes a little getting used to, but once you look at them enough, you can see the differences in the lay of the land. A lot of the aerial photos are taken when the leaves are off, which makes it easier to see the creeks and ridges on the map.

mongo1958
01-19-2010, 03:59 PM
Map compass. Silva ranger and a marbles compass/match safe backup.

mainewoods
01-19-2010, 09:26 PM
I'am going to Say a " Silva Guide" compass. I've been useing one for 36 yrs. My Dad showed me how! Great Man.

Boonie
01-20-2010, 08:09 AM
I'm seldom alone in any piece of wild terrain that covers more than 500 acres. I carry a compass but generally rely on finding my way by following a stright line until I find a familar landmark or fence line. I also backtrack myself out of really thick stuff, it's pretty easy to follow my size 13 Vibram tracks. :)

I honestly try to get lost for more thatn an hour or two but I figure I need several thousand acres to do it in.

Avair
01-20-2010, 09:21 AM
I use a GPS most of the time, I like the way point markers ect..... less math and time spent. I always have a map and compass with me and the knowledge on how to use them. But a GPS with its direction arrow and full color topo maps ect.....as much as we are going primitive, they are sweet, and I end up back at my car.

3fires
01-20-2010, 10:18 AM
... The compass does suck on it, it is almost useless unless you're running, you certainly have to be moving to use it.... Do you have WAAS enabled on yours? ....

I don't recall. It's been a while since I set it up, the 60Csx, but the compass does work when standing still. There are two selections for compass, don't recall the names, but one you must be moving like the Etrex and the other you can be standing still. The compass on the Etrex is absolutely useless and that thing got me lost so many times I almost made a skipping stone out of it.:mad:

The compass on the 60Csx is fairly accurate, but you must hold it at a certain angle and "that is the hard part" as the balance indicator is innacurate. It must be held perfectly level to work properly, but mine is off and must be held at weird angles. So, in order for the compass to work it must be held at weird angles. I find myslef twisting my neck and contorting my body in order to get a good reading.


If I'm in a totally new woods that was planned out I'll use abo skills for basic nav, compass for detailed nav. and topos or the topo feature on the 60Csx for negotiating terrain and marking spots of interest.

If I'm out unplanned I'll use a compass and or abo skills and keep track in my head of where i've been and where I'm going. Sometimes I'll take a notepad and count paces and such to create "rough" mini maps of my own.

wolfy
01-20-2010, 06:05 PM
I like to use a Silva with the clear base for working on a topographic map and setting coarses, measuring angles to use for bearings in the field, etc. For taking sightings in the field I like to use my old military Cammenga lensatic compass or the brand new Suunto KB-14 that my wife gave me for Christmas. Using either one of these two compasses for sighting azimuths can be amazingly accurate when applying notes from my topos or from field notes. I have even used my sighting compasses for laying out irrigation lanes in tall corn with accuracy of just 3-4 feet in a mile run.

A book that I recently purchased from Amazon is one of the best that I've ever seen for using a compass and map in various ways that I'd never thought of. Playing around with maps and compasses has been a hobby of mine for years.....I collect them both, but this book opened my eyes in a couple of different areas. It's written by David Seidman and is titled THE ESSENTIAL WILDERNESS NAVIGATOR and I reccommend it highly. I think it's much better than the old one that is called HOW TO BECOME AN EXPERT WITH MAP AND COMPASS....or something pretty close to that. The old one deals more with the game of orienteering and the one that I just bought is more for wilderness wandering. I think more of you guys would like the one I just bought, also.....just my two cents!

DirtySouth
01-20-2010, 07:15 PM
Wolfy, thanks for the recommendation on the book. I was thinking about heading to the bookstore this weekend, I may see if they have one in stock.

Happy Joe
01-24-2010, 11:18 AM
Primary navigation technology;
I favor paying attention and knowing the major features of the area... with a map and compass as backup.
Recently, for rougher country; I tend to look up an area and download a satellite picture of the terrain before a trip. Locating and labeling the major features tends to reinforce my mental picture.

Enjoy!

IdahoBackwoods
01-24-2010, 11:49 AM
... for rougher country; I tend to look up an area and download a satellite picture of the terrain before a trip. Locating and labeling the major features tends to reinforce my mental picture...

Google Earth is also useful for that, if you have a lat/long or there is a named "place of interest" near where you are going.

kmystry
01-31-2010, 10:50 AM
In the car, it's aTomTom One. In the bush it's an original yellow Garmin Etrex with compass back up. I love that old Etrex...just keeps ticking.

rattlesnake_wrangler
01-31-2010, 01:39 PM
GPS but i all ways have my Compass as back up

LongRider
02-02-2010, 05:04 AM
Beyond the obvious electronics fail my concern is that a GPS may allow "them" to track you. "They" are far enough up my rear I have no wish to have them track me to my sanctuary. Maybe I am paranoid but that does not mean that they are not out to get me.

Mattnu
02-02-2010, 06:30 AM
Topo Maps for terrain assocation and a compass.

kgd
02-02-2010, 07:25 AM
I prefer using map and compass but I carry a GPS as a back-up. The GPS only comes out to mark my base camp or when I'm a bit iffy on a fork in the trail or when I see something interesting. After I mark my spot, it gets switched off and back in the pack. The process can be a bit of a pain when signals are weak. However, that is my cue to stop, take a drink of water, look around, organize the weight on my pack etc. I used to go through hikes like I was trail-racing. I don't do that anymore ;)

For the most part I rarely need the compass for navigating back home, but it is a nice security blanket to know it can be used in a pinch, even if it is just to confirm what you though was the right direction. Keeping it shut down for most of the time conserves batteries. I always make a point to have compatible batteries in my GPS and flashlight, the only two electronic gizmos I carry and bring at least 1 spare set. This way I can prioritize between which gizmo gets the spare batteries or sacrifice one gizmo for the other if I need to.

P.S. my e-trex has an electronic compass which can be set to work when it is stopped. The e-compass is tolerable for general direction and can be used along side of my sunnto compass to establish my bearing (I prefer reading from the compass with the declination error and don't fiddle with the declination adjustment much). Using the e-compass on the GPS has the unfortunate side effect that it drains your batteries much faster.

Malamute
02-02-2010, 08:40 AM
Beyond the obvious electronics fail my concern is that a GPS may allow "them" to track you. "They" are far enough up my rear I have no wish to have them track me to my sanctuary. Maybe I am paranoid but that does not mean that they are not out to get me.


I don't believe GPS's function that way. There is no way to identify or track anyone that has a GPS on unless it's specifically a locator type, like a cell phone or a personal locator beacon. Both of those devices are not basic GPS units, but use GPS technology to relay information. Cell phone GPS locators operate differently than navigational GPS's. They relay the GPS location thru the cell, not thru the GPS system. There is no communication capablty in the GPS system that I'm aware of.

This is one of the misconceptions about people using (or not using) GPS units, they think that if they turn them on, somebody will know where they are and come rescue them. It doesnt work that way. If talking to potential rescuers, they have to be able to relay the coordinates to the rescuers, not just turn it on and say "come get me now, I turned on my GPS". People that have had those expectaions have discovered that they too can freeze to death from their lack of understanding how basic things function.

DirtySouth
02-02-2010, 08:46 PM
I don't believe GPS's function that way. There is no way to identify or track anyone that has a GPS on unless it's specifically a locator type, like a cell phone or a personal locator beacon. Both of those devices are not basic GPS units, but use GPS technology to relay information. Cell phone GPS locators operate differently than navigational GPS's. They relay the GPS location thru the cell, not thru the GPS system. There is no communication capablty in the GPS system that I'm aware of.

This is one of the misconceptions about people using (or not using) GPS units, they think that if they turn them on, somebody will know where they are and come rescue them. It doesnt work that way. If talking to potential rescuers, they have to be able to relay the coordinates to the rescuers, not just turn it on and say "come get me now, I turned on my GPS". People that have had those expectaions have discovered that they too can freeze to death from their lack of understanding how basic things function.



This is my understanding also. You have something like Spot that will relay the information back but a typical GPS unit won't

edispilf27
02-03-2010, 03:59 PM
Had GPS for awhile, but it seemed to "gimmicky" to actually prove any true value.

Someone mentioned that they wished they knew how to use a sextant better... take an online course (50-90$) if you already have a sextant. they are cheap and you'll pick up a world of techniques from a good teacher... and remember you're going to have to get a bubble to use it on land (for proper horizon zeroing). They really are a bit too large to carry for anything less than an expidition and a dedicated navigator though ;)

For now, the best of both worlds, as far as compass and sextant is a surveyors compass. They military camenga's are great, but the brunton, denver geodetic, or sokkisha models have declinometers, bubble levels, siting, and, with a magnefying glass, accuracy to within 1/2 deg.

Picked up a brand new first run Denver Geodetic compass that was sitting in the company owners son's desk for 30 years. mint condition and it goes with me everywhere!

on the water i can put position within 25 miles, on land 250 yds. no kidding. also works great for measuring height and distance to objects etc.

camengas can be had for as little as 30$ at some surplus stores

remember to adjust for magnetic declination in your area before setting out ;)

Panzer
04-07-2010, 03:18 PM
GPS can not be tracked by local law enforcement (but cell phones can) if enabled. Even though GPS are based off the military satellite system, I am not sure they could track you without knowing what your GPS units signature is.

LongRider
04-07-2010, 05:41 PM
I am not sure they could track you without knowing what your GPS units signature is.
You mean the info that they can get from your credit card receipt or when you register your product for warranty? Our private info is far more public than most of us would like to acknowledge. I do use a GPS. It was not bought by me. It was paid for in cash. It is not under warranty if it breaks it will go into a land fill. Lots if not most of what I own is like that

Wook
04-07-2010, 05:43 PM
My primary technique wasn't listed. I usually know where I am going! ;)

Even if I have not been to my destination before, I usually sight memorise a map beforehand and will only consult it if I lose my bearings. The only time I have ever needed a compass was because either fog had descended and I wanted to avoid getting lost, or because I wanted to compute an exact grid reference.

Never actually gotten lost.

edispilf27
04-07-2010, 08:51 PM
a-gps (assisted gps) is the norm for most cell phones. Your position can only be tracked only if you are in the range of one cell phone tower and have at least 2 gps/glonass satellites where you are getting a gps signal... triangulation.

from there.. military/law enforcement can; one: find out which cell tower you are connecting to.. two: use artificial satellite orbit predictions to find out which gps satellites are available over your location.. three: triangulate an approximate position based on time of call (for law enforcement/rescue that is)...

Then there's the mil way (for bad guys on a long SH****list)... where it's probable they'll merge a small beacon bytestring to a gps satellite transmission signal which can further be tracked through the cell phone located nearest the cell tower. More or less a form of steganography for geolocation systems. Combined with carrier ID, Cell ID, ESN, a live "last call" location, and a missed lunch break, it's possible to put a red dot within several feet of any cell location.

want to disappear? leave the 0's and 1's at the homestead... sometimes getting lost is better than being found

Rubicon_Dave
04-08-2010, 12:29 AM
a good topo and a compass.

GPS is useless for my needs, the screen is too small and knowing coordinates is of no benefit to me. I much prefer the ability to roll out a good topo map and see the big picture. Scrolling on a small 2.5" screen just isn't the same thing.

Now then, I live and hike in the Sierra Nevada's so reading the topo and comparing it to the mountains around me is easy. Put me on the flat lands with no real land marks or elevation changes and I might change my opinion of a GPS. :D

EdD270
04-08-2010, 12:53 AM
My Garmin GPS72 is very accurate, down to a couple of meters, has WAAS capability, but I seldom use it as it's plenty accurate without it, and is very easy to use. I like to use it for geochaching, etc, and to mark points I want to return to without fail, until I can put them on a map. However, I've had time when it has blanked out in thick pine forest canopy, in steep narrow canyons, and during rain or snow storms.
A compass will tell you anything a GPS will, if you know how to use it. But to plan a route from where you are to where you want to be you need a map to tell you what's in between. That's called orienteering. Also, to figure out where you are if you don't know already, you still need a map, and to find a place to go you'll need a map.
Learning to use a map and compass together is a critical bushcraft skill.
And oh, yes, BTW. No no one can track you just because you're using a basic GPS unit. It is a receiver only, does not transmit so nothing can find it. If you're using a cel phone, or two-way radio or some such communication device that transmits as well as receives, then, yes, there is the possibility that interested people with the technology could track, or at least locate you.

Hammer
04-08-2010, 10:27 AM
I usually rely on dead reckoning and am usually on target. When I have to navigate to a specific point that I have never been to before I use a map and compass and if available I'll use my analog altimeter too. My preferred compass is a Silva ranger and I've had it for 20+ years and it is still working perfectly.

Using an altimeter for land navigation will greatly decrease the time you spend trying to identify your location on a map especially if you are in hilly/mountainous terrain. It can also be used for weather prediction. Of course, if you get an analog one it will never let you down with power needs. They are a little pricey $100.00 but in my opinion it is worth it.

I also have several GPS's and I use them in the woods on day treks and to mark locations that I want to return to at a later date. On longer trips 3+ days I usually leave the GPS at home and use solely my map, compass and altimeter. When I do take out my GPS I will always have a compass with me. The navigation I use with my GPS goes as such.

1. Input destination in GPS
2. Have GPS lock on to satellites and give me a compass bearing and distance to the destination.
3. Set compass to correct bearing and turn off GPS
4. Walk (with pace count) until I need feel a need for a course correction and then repeat from #2.

I can use this method for a long time before I need to change batteries. But why waste taking a chance on losing power at possible critical moment? Call me old school, but if it takes a battery (other than my watch) I usually leave it home on longer trips.

My philosophy on the GPS is the same as using a calculator: Know how to figure the problem out yourself before relying on a computer to figure it out for you.