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Post details Post   (Contract pics)
simon3
2007-03-27 15:56:07
Usefulness of GPS
As far as I am concerned I mostly prepare using Trailmaster and outdoors use GPS nowadays. I would always bring a map and compass - sometimes the map is useful for reference and the compass is insurance. Maps can be printed from Trailmaster however visualising land by moving around Trailmaster displays allows you to have a feel for the land. Never found much use for printing their orthophotos however - difficult to interpret in the field.

Get a GPS that can handle maps - see the Resources section for some downloadable GPS maps - works fine on mapping Garmins - I generally use the one with 50m contours. Having even a simple map makes it much easier to change route outdoors. It goes without saying that the GPS should have a PC connection so you can load routes from Trailmaster or other tools (I also use GPSU). Get one with USB or be prepared to wait.

You just have to get used to battery management. You need two spare sets at all times because GPS works best if on continuously when you will generally get accuracy of 3 to 6m in open land. New ones (SiRF3) work fine in forest. Occasionally (like once or twice in a day) you may lose position often when on the side of steep slope particularly if your body is shielding the thing.
If you find you mostly are using the GPS to find your grid reference, you aren't using it correctly. Learn the other 90% of uses including waypoints, routes and maps. For a start you can download all the summits of Ireland as either waypoints or Points of Interest (POI) from this site and this alone is extremely useful.
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