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Intent of First Class GPS Navigation Requirement?

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6 minutes ago, Terasec said:

does say "or other navigation system"

No, that's a different sentence.  The first sentence requires demonstration of how to use a handheld GPS unit, GPS app, or other navigation system.  The second sentence requires using a GPS to find your location, a destination, and a route, and then following the route.

A GPS is not a navigation system.  Many integrated navigation systems include GPS units, and many GPS units now include navigation systems, but they are _not_ the same thing.  Words mean things.  Just like if the first sentence said "use a GPS system, compass and map, or navigation system to do X", and the second sentence said "Use a compass to do Y", they'd really mean specifically compass, and not GPS or navigation system for the requirement in the 2nd sentence, in this case they said GPS.  A GPS tells you where it is physically located.  Period.

16 minutes ago, Terasec said:

doesn't say anything about creating your own route, just following the route,

"Use a GPS to find your current location, a destination of your choice, and the route you will take to get there. Follow that route to arrive at your destination."

Ummm... "Find your location, a destination, and the route you will take..." sure sounds like finding a route to me.  Through all of history, "finding a route" has meant sitting down with a map, and planning out the path on that map that will take you from point A to point B.  I see no reason to assume that the meaning of the language has suddenly changed.

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10 minutes ago, TMSM said:

As SM I feel that the BSA is an outdoor program and a handheld should be used in the back country or while camping for 4b. Our solution was to have a meeting with the scouts and discuss what they felt should be taught and learned in this requirement. The consensus was to learn waypoints, lat/long, working the interface on a hand held so that GPS skills would be ready for high adventure.

That seems like a responsible way to arrive at the right conclusion.  Hopefully if they ever start to diverge from that, you can nudge them back in the right direction with some well-placed questions!

GPS units tell you where you are.  Compasses tell you what direction you are facing.  Both require maps, and being able to use the information regarding where you are, or what direction you are facing, to find and follow routes.

It seems disingenuous to ask a computer built into navigation system, to use the maps built into a navigation system to find and follow a route, and to then call that "the scout" finding and following the route.  If asking a device to complete a requirement for you constitutes completing the requirement, then handing in a Better Homes and Gardens illustrated cookbook, satisfies the 2c "Show which pans, utensils, and other gear will be needed to cook and serve these meals" requirement.

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45 minutes ago, TMSM said:

This has been a problem with our troop for the last few years. Our older scouts did not have this requirement and have no idea how to teach this. Typically they (first class and above) sign off on requirements and we had a few sign off on the use of a car GPS using a street address. As SM I feel that the BSA is an outdoor program and a handheld should be used in the back country or while camping for 4b. Our solution was to have a meeting with the scouts and discuss what they felt should be taught and learned in this requirement. The consensus was to learn waypoints, lat/long, working the interface on a hand held so that GPS skills would be ready for high adventure. We also talked abput maps vs GPS which was very interesting.

 

We were in the same boat - older scouts not having the experience to teach the younger pre-First Class scouts. Our PLC decided to try GPS orienteering, essentially combining a skill they knew (map and compass-based navigation) with GPS coordinates to identify the control points. Hopefully, they will build upon this activity during extended  backpacking trips and start to fully utilize GPS (way points, tracks, analyzing rate of progress over varied terrain to help refine future treks, etc) while retaining map reading skills.

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2 minutes ago, Rock Doc said:

We were in the same boat - older scouts not having the experience to teach the younger pre-First Class scouts. Our PLC decided to try GPS orienteering, essentially combining a skill they knew (map and compass-based navigation) with GPS coordinates to identify the control points. Hopefully, they will build upon this activity during extended  backpacking trips and start to fully utilize GPS (way points, tracks, analyzing rate of progress over varied terrain to help refine future treks, etc) while retaining map reading skills.

This is exactly how I would have done it.

We have a large wooded city park near us that is ideal for orienteering, so we move the troop meeting to the park for this kind of stuff . The scouts welcome a refreshing change from the CO location, especially in the Spring. 

Barry

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Well explained, willray.

The navigation system in a car uses GPS, but it is not the same as a handheld unit that can give you a specific set of coordinates describing your position on the planet. 

Unfortunately, the whole topic of navigation is not well understood by most scouters. Even basic map and compass skills bewilder many leaders, never mind asking them to explain how to read a topographic map. 

I would like to see a good navigation class offered at my local University of Scouting. Lord knows I'm bored senseless by all the bureaucratic nonsense about the politically correct policy du jour and learning more about the irrelevant tangent award du jour. Basic OUTDOOR skills are painfully lacking in our council's University of Scouting.  Navigation is just one of many useful basic scouting skills that scouters could use some brushing up on...

I often find that my local REI has better, more useful "scouting" classes than the council training committee offers. 

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

I would like to see a good navigation class offered at my local University of Scouting. Lord knows I'm bored senseless by all the bureaucratic nonsense about the politically correct policy du jour and learning more about the irrelevant tangent award du jour. Basic OUTDOOR skills are painfully lacking in our council's University of Scouting.  Navigation is just one of many useful basic scouting skills that scouters could use some brushing up on... 

The best way to make this happen is to volunteer to teach it. I teach 3 classes each year on scouting skills and they are always packed. I am not sure why because these are things you should know as a scouter.

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30 minutes ago, TMSM said:

The best way to make this happen is to volunteer to teach it. I teach 3 classes each year on scouting skills and they are always packed. I am not sure why because these are things you should know as a scouter.

You're probably right. I should stop complaining and stick up my hand to help make the change.

And by the way, all these "things you should know as a scouter" are precisely the things that so few new adult leaders actually DO know and that so many adults who've got a few years experience could stand a refresher on.

Guess it's time to get over to REI and sign up for some of their basic scouting skills classes before I go make a fool of myself trying to teach my fellow adult scouters...

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2 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

The navigation system in a car uses GPS, but it is not the same as a handheld unit that can give you a specific set of coordinates describing your position on the planet. 

Some models do, but it's not always well designed. 

2 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

I would like to see a good navigation class offered at my local University of Scouting. Lord knows I'm bored senseless by all the bureaucratic nonsense about the politically correct policy du jour and learning more about the irrelevant tangent award du jour. Basic OUTDOOR skills are painfully lacking in our council's University of Scouting.  Navigation is just one of many useful basic scouting skills that scouters could use some brushing up on...

I tried teaching one of these classes and learned more than I taught.

Lesson 1: Everybody needs to have the same model GPS unit or smartphone app, otherwise you're stuck teaching general theory (this is how trilateration works, WAAS ground stations improve your fix but cellphones don't support them, cold fix vs. hot fix, you can add waypoints but how to do it depends on your device,  blah, blah, blah, eyes roll back into the head...).

Lesson 2: Don't assume everyone remembers what latitude and longitude are. Or skip it entirely and go straight to UTM (which is way more useful).

Or maybe I'm just a poor instructor.

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29 minutes ago, Saltface said:

Lesson 1: Everybody needs to have the same model GPS unit or smartphone app, otherwise you're stuck teaching general theory (this is how trilateration works, WAAS ground stations improve your fix but cellphones don't support them, cold fix vs. hot fix, you can add waypoints but how to do it depends on your device,  blah, blah, blah, eyes roll back into the head...).

You are not a poor instructor. The FAA found in their research that Aviation GPS manufacturers needed to develop some commonality in their user interfaces so pilots didn't have to relearn a system every time they jumped into a different airplanes. Most pilots rent airplanes, so flying a different airplane each flight is not unusual. 

Barry

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

And by the way, all these "things you should know as a scouter" are precisely the things that so few new adult leaders actually DO know and that so many adults who've got a few years experience could stand a refresher on.

Quite true.  I am hoping to bring some skill instruction to gathering time on Roundtable nights.  I was working with Cubmasters and Webelos Den Leaders last week, and while talking about how a Den Chief can be a big asset asked how many of them could tie a bowline or taught line hitch - 3 hands out of 15.  That shows later when these scouts cross over and we have to start from scratch with some of them.

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With each iteration of GPS tech, I've made a fool of myself. Then I went in the trunk, set up my burner, cooked up some espresso, unfolded a map, committed my route to memory, and when necessary corrected any wrong turns by celestial navigation.

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21 hours ago, MikeS72 said:

Quite true.  I am hoping to bring some skill instruction to gathering time on Roundtable nights.  ...

Sounds like a good idea!  I hope you'll post in the future to let us know how that works out.

I imagine that you could implement something similar at a unit level. Maybe 30 minutes before pack/troop meeting, offer a skill demo to interested adults.

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On 3/26/2019 at 8:29 AM, willray said:

No, that's a different sentence.  The first sentence requires demonstration of how to use a handheld GPS unit, GPS app, or other navigation system.  The second sentence requires using a GPS to find your location, a destination, and a route, and then following the route.

A GPS is not a navigation system.  Many integrated navigation systems include GPS units, and many GPS units now include navigation systems, but they are _not_ the same thing.  Words mean things.  Just like if the first sentence said "use a GPS system, compass and map, or navigation system to do X", and the second sentence said "Use a compass to do Y", they'd really mean specifically compass, and not GPS or navigation system for the requirement in the 2nd sentence, in this case they said GPS.  A GPS tells you where it is physically located.  Period.

Ummm... "Find your location, a destination, and the route you will take..." sure sounds like finding a route to me.  Through all of history, "finding a route" has meant sitting down with a map, and planning out the path on that map that will take you from point A to point B.  I see no reason to assume that the meaning of the language has suddenly changed.

I've used GPS devices since the late 90s. They have varied in complexity, in map detail, in cost, and in ease of use. But every last one of them allowed you to enter in Waypoints and follow a route. It isn't just a YOU ARE HERE sign.

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7 hours ago, LVAllen said:

I've used GPS devices since the late 90s. They have varied in complexity, in map detail, in cost, and in ease of use. But every last one of them allowed you to enter in Waypoints and follow a route. It isn't just a YOU ARE HERE sign.

The fact that all GPS units you have used include navigation features, really doesn't change what a GPS is, or, alter the fact that there actually are GPS units that provide nothing other than the unit's current coordinates.  YOU ARE HERE is all that GPS provides.  The rest is add-on features of whatever device you're using.

That being said, I would argue that if the scout is finding, and following the route, using the GPS (that is, figuring out the route, entering the waypoints, and then following the route based on GPS direction-to-next-waypoint functionality), the would be meeting the expectations of the requirement.  If the scout asked the navigation system to find the route and create the waypoints, and then simply "went along for the ride", following the instructions from the navigation system, I would not consider that meeting the requirement.

At some point one's got to ask oneself what the point of the requirement is.  I'll argue that it's probably about asking the scout to do something or learn something that will help them be a more functional member of society, with life-skills that are probably a bit above what they would be required to achieve if they weren't scouts.  Tapping their ear-bud and saying "Hey Siri, take me to Chick Fil-A", and then following the voice directions, wouldn't appear to qualify.  Other analogs of the same process that equally do not involve the scout finding and following the route, would seem similarly inadequate.

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