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Where Am I? Gps Units & Software/apps...

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What GPS Devices, Software or Apps Do You Use/Like?

 

Our crew is trying to map out as many of our treks as we can. We have a shared Google Earth "view" (saved as an ever-growing KML file) which we add to as we go. It was started as a project by the Historian to map our unit's history of adventures. They wanted to one day be able to look back and see all the places they've been.

 

So a few questions our group is grappling with:

  • What device(s) do you use (e.g., GPS unit, phone, old-school compass and map, etc)?
  • What software do you like? Why?
    • We use Google Earth because of the ability to add free USGS 1:24k maps, mark waypoints and treks and to output to various formats.
  • What apps do you like and why?
    • We use ViewRanger. It is cross platform, saves in to the cloud, can output to various formats, can share locations (buddy icons), import free USGS maps and other cool features.

Any other things you'd add to the list? What do you like best?

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Topo Maps!

 

You get the feel for the terrain, creeks and old logging roads that you just can't see using Google Earth.

 

When the Chinese use their 'super weapon' to shut down all our satellites, where you gonna be?

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Topo Maps!

 

You get the feel for the terrain, creeks and old logging roads that you just can't see using Google Earth.

 

When the Chinese use their 'super weapon' to shut down all our satellites, where you gonna be?

 

You can use offline maps on GPS units and turn off the GPS nav capability. ;) It's like having many, many topo maps in the palm of your hand.

 

Where you gonna be when you run out of map? ;) 

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Depends. On the trail, I despise gps. OTOH topos are kind of unwieldy. I study the topos and then work from memory mostly. Dead reckoning, use of distant landmarks, a compass if needed...and memory. Someday I may forget. They'll find me with my boots on. :happy:

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Depends. On the trail, I despise gps. OTOH topos are kind of unwieldy. I study the topos and then work from memory mostly. Dead reckoning, use of distant landmarks, a compass if needed...and memory. Someday I may forget. They'll find me with my boots on. :happy:

That works on a 50/100 mile Philmont trek?

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http://survivalcache.com/death-by-gps-survival-electronics-backup/

 

Map and Compass, reading the stars and using the sun 

 

I'm the only scouter I know of that still carries a pocket signal mirror in my first aid kit.  It's been there for 50+ years and I haven't replaced the batteries once.

 

Sure GPS and electronic stuff is fun, but the real stuff needs to be there as backup?  I just go with the real stuff to begin with.  There's nothing fun about being lost and out of batteries.

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...

I'm the only scouter I know of that still carries a pocket signal mirror in my first aid kit.  It's been there for 50+ years and I haven't replaced the batteries once.

...

I carry my signal mirrors in my sewing kit. :ph34r:

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I have not used it for extended distances, but CalTopo.com as great tools to customize USGS maps and save them as .pdf's.

 

I'm mostly compass because GPS has been foiled by valleys and dense foliage.

But I learned compass can be foiled by gas wells. And I've made enough mistakes that I like the GPS on plateaus and open plains.

 

GPS maps? Well, my boys will never let the SM hear the end of it thanks to the laurel thickets his lead us through!

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Sure GPS and electronic stuff is fun, but the real stuff needs to be there as backup? I just go with the real stuff to begin with. There's nothing fun about being lost and out of batteries.

Absolutely @@Stosh. Those skills are imperative and must be learned and used...and not just as a back up.

 

But the OP was about mapping where the unit has been for posterity as much as using gps on the trail. ;)

 

I get the sense that most regulars here don't use them thar modern tools. ;)

 

BTW, I still use my BSA issue dopp kit with metal mirror too.

Edited by Bad Wolf

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It's good to know we have old goats that still rely on the tried and true, but how many of our boys do?  That's the legacy that needs to be passed on, not the digital battery operated options.

 

As far as historical records are concerned, a topo with a highlighter does just as well.  Triangulation and a topo will do just as well as any GPS and will extend well beyond the battery life of any GPS or Smartphone.

 

My only real complaint about the GPS systems is the fact that most people gloss over the map and compass necessities to get to the glitzy fun of the GPS.  Sorry, but even to this day I do not rely solely on my life-jacket, I learned to swim first.

 

"Hey Joey, look at this neat GPS I got for my birthday.  You just push this button and it remembers where you are like here in the parking lot.  Then you can go out in the woods and run around all over the place and then you just push this button and it tells you how to get back to the parking lot.  Hey, wait a minute, I think the battery just went dead."

 

I have no problem with the boys playing with a GPS MB after they have mastered Map and Compass.

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But the OP was about mapping where the unit has been for posterity as much as using gps on the trail. ;)

 

I get the sense that most regulars here don't use them thar modern tools. ;)

 

A wall of topo maps with pins and highlighted trails is a beautiful thing.  Agree that tops are cumbersome in the field.  And why do many of our trips seem cover the edges of 2 or 3 sections?

 

With a topo, you can usually figure out where you are by terrain.

 

There are occasions when old farts know that GPS is better than a map, like in the swamp.  For our October paddling trip into the Okefenokee I used Google Maps on my phone to verify our positions.  Some of the lesser trails aren't marked all that well, and you can search a long while before finding a canal if you get out in the pines.  I did pre-fetch the maps and save them on my phone.  No cell service, but plenty of open sky.  

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A wall of topo maps with pins and highlighted trails is a beautiful thing.  Agree that tops are cumbersome in the field.  And why do many of our trips seem cover the edges of 2 or 3 sections?

 

 

Assuming one has a wall on which to put said topos. ;)

 

I hear ya with the problem of trekking across quadrants. We did a trail hike in Texas no too long ago (bit of a drive but what the heck) and I kid you not, we cross 4 quadrants!! We did the topo equivalent of the "four corners" during our trek. Thankfully we had both physical and digital maps.

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My main GPS is a Garmin Etrex 20 and my iPhone is a backup. The good ole map and compass are along with and get used to double check the GPS readings and to keep those skills sharp.

 

I have two mapping programs Expert GPS and MotionX-GPS. The main reason I selected them is simple. They both have topographic maps for Alaska in 1:25K.

 

I have been using Expert GPS for a number of years now. The basic version is free but I have the home version. With home version you can create waypoints and routes then upload them into a GPS. After the camp download and save tracks and new waypoints as gpx files for future reference. I have several years’ worth of hike information saved. The routes, tracks and waypoints can also be viewed and saved on Google Earth. Custom maps can also be printed.

 

I am still playing with MotionX-GPS but so far I like the ability to switch between topo maps and satellite images as well as sending and receiving tracking and waypoint information from the field so long as there is a good signal. Topo maps can be downloaded and saved in advance of going out. I will give it a good work out on the Chilkoot trail here in a couple of weeks.

 

Thats enough for now.

 

AK-Eagle

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I have a Garmin GPS 60. I enjoy being able to download the tracks to view on Google or Mapsource. Depending on conditions I get 2 or 3 days on fresh batteries.

 

I used caltopo for the first time this summer. I likes being able to customize across boindaries. Not sure why I got contour lines in meters for a hike in MI though.

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I have a TI-90, so I don't need to know how to add, subtract, multiply or divide.  My little hand-held calculator does all the thinking for me.  When that isn't around I have an app that does the same thing.  It tells me what I need to do to tip the waiter and how much gas mileage I get.  All this and I don't need to know how it works, it just does.  The GPS in my car replaces all those stupid maps in the glove compartment, too.  The dictionary on the shelf is now gone as is the set of encyclopedia.  Newspaper doesn't come to the  door and all my magazine subscriptions have now been replaced by my smartphone apps.  I can even now watch TV on it and play my favorite computer games, too.

 

But if I ever forget to recharge it, or the battery goes dead.... life as I know it, ceases to exist.  If I ever had to go back to relying on my brain, or some old fashioned way of doing it on paper with a pencil, I wouldn't know where to start.

 

Oh, by the way, Walmart is having a sale on batteries this week, better load up, your life may depend on it.

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