GPS equipment for trails.

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Caher, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. Caher

    Caher New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi all,
    My imagination has been caught by a trail I saw in a magazine during the week and I was wondering the advantage of having GPS equipment to help navigate around.
    Does anyone use one? Are they programmable? Or do they deflect concentration from the trail?
    Regards
     
    Tags:


  2. Tony Hogarty

    Tony Hogarty Guest

    On Fri, 18 Feb 2005 23:46:32 +1100, Caher wrote:

    >
    > Hi all,
    > My imagination has been caught by a trail I saw in a magazine during
    > the week and I was wondering the advantage of having GPS equipment to help
    > navigate around.
    > Does anyone use one? Are they programmable? Or do they deflect
    > concentration from the trail?
    > Regards


    Yep use one all the time when I'm going cross country. I have an ancient
    Garmin GPS 12 with handlebar mount (essential add on in my opinion) and
    find it very useful indeed. Combined with decent mapping software it
    makes life on obscure trails through unknown areas much easier.

    --
    Regards

    Tony Hogarty
    (Take out the garbage to reply)
     
  3. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Caher wrote:

    > Does anyone use one?


    Occasionally.

    > Are they programmable?


    Yes, if you have suitable software and a data link cable it's easy, if
    you do it by hand it's a PITA. However, you don't need to program them
    to tell you where you are, only if you want to put in a set of waypoints
    to guide you along a preset route. In practice you only need to know
    which strategic junction you might be at and a map to work out where
    next, and you want the map along anyway as there's far more information
    on it and it enables contingency planning on the fly.

    > Or do they deflect concentration from the trail?


    That would be up to you!
    The main advantage of a GPS is you don't have to keep looking at it for
    it to know where you are, while traditional fine navigation does require
    keeping in touch with the map quite a bit. Losing this requirement
    means you /can/ concentrate on the immediate trail more than the
    strategic navigation, though some people seem to be transfixed by the
    "GOTO" arrow to a next waypoint...

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
    Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
    net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  4. Caher

    Caher New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've heard that the batteries also have a very short life - can this be resolved?
     
  5. "Caher" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > I've heard that the batteries also have a very short life - can this be
    > resolved?
    >
    >
    > --
    > Caher


    The latest models, such as the Garmin 60C and 76C get 30 - 40 hr from a pair
    of alkaline AA batteries, even longer with lithium batteries. That's plenty
    long enough.
     
  6. Paul Rose

    Paul Rose Guest

    "Caher" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > I've heard that the batteries also have a very short life - can this be
    > resolved?
    >


    I too have a Garmin GPS12 and a set of rechargeable batteries lasts all
    day...easily. I haven't got round to inputting routes to follow but just
    take it along to record my route, then upload it to the pc on my return (to
    see where I went astray!). I also use it to confirm exactly where I am by
    reading the grid ref., then transferring this to my map. Its comforting to
    see it confirm (or not!) where I think I am! I would like to use it more and
    possibly mount it on the bars etc. I might get round to it eventually!

    Regards, Paul (R)
    My Lake District walking site:
    www.lakelandwalker.co.uk
     
  7. druidh

    druidh Guest

    Caher wrote:
    > Hi all,
    > My imagination has been caught by a trail I saw in a magazine during
    > the week and I was wondering the advantage of having GPS equipment to
    > help navigate around.
    > Does anyone use one? Are they programmable? Or do they deflect
    > concentration from the trail?
    > Regards
    >
    >


    Hi

    I use a Garmin Geko 301 and the Anquet route planning software. The Geko
    range is about as small and light as you get (although Garmin do a
    Foretex range too). A good set of AAA rechargeables will easily see you
    through the day. Handlebar mount is very useful and as you only really
    need to refer to the GPS when approachiung junctions, route changes,
    it's not too much of a distraction.

    It also makes for a very useful speedo and can calculate ETA, distance
    travveled, distance left etc which can be very useful, especially if
    some way from civilization.

    Only problem I've experienced was sudden complete power loss on
    occasion. This was solved by fitting a thin piece of foam into the
    battery compartment to take up any slack thereabouts.

    You'll get a good deal from www.globalpositioningsystems.co.uk, where
    you'll also find a handy forum for the multiple questions you're bound
    to have.

    One word of advice - don't expect it to replace a map and compass if
    you're heading off on longer trails. If you can't already, learn how to
    use these first and use the GPS as a luxury item!

    druidh
     
  8. Chris Nowak

    Chris Nowak Guest

    "druidh" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Caher wrote:
    >> Hi all,
    >> My imagination has been caught by a trail I saw in a magazine during
    >> the week and I was wondering the advantage of having GPS equipment to
    >> help navigate around. Does anyone use one? Are they programmable? Or do
    >> they deflect
    >> concentration from the trail?
    >> Regards
    >>
    >>

    >
    > Hi
    >
    > I use a Garmin Geko 301 and the Anquet route planning software. The Geko
    > range is about as small and light as you get (although Garmin do a Foretex
    > range too). A good set of AAA rechargeables will easily see you through
    > the day. Handlebar mount is very useful and as you only really need to
    > refer to the GPS when approachiung junctions, route changes, it's not too
    > much of a distraction.
    >
    > It also makes for a very useful speedo and can calculate ETA, distance
    > travveled, distance left etc which can be very useful, especially if some
    > way from civilization.
    >
    > Only problem I've experienced was sudden complete power loss on occasion.
    > This was solved by fitting a thin piece of foam into the battery
    > compartment to take up any slack thereabouts.
    >
    > You'll get a good deal from www.globalpositioningsystems.co.uk, where
    > you'll also find a handy forum for the multiple questions you're bound to
    > have.
    >
    > One word of advice - don't expect it to replace a map and compass if
    > you're heading off on longer trails. If you can't already, learn how to
    > use these first and use the GPS as a luxury item!
    >
    > druidh


    I've used a Compaq Ipaq 3850 on a handle bar mount to get across Holland
    with TomTom voice navigation software. Did a good job but battery life meant
    switching on at points where necessary. I would think same kit with OS
    mapping software eg Fugawi instead of Tomtom would be ideal for you on short
    duration trips. You can get external battery packs to extend ontime.
    Chris
     
  9. Caher <[email protected]> writes:

    >I've heard that the batteries also have a very short life - can this be
    >resolved?


    I can't think of a model where a set of rechargeables won't last you
    all day. It's unlikely to get much better, because to start with they
    need a lot of computational power to do the basic job, and consumers
    being what they are, they want as many extra bells and whistles as can
    be squeezed out of the package and the batteries.

    --
    Chris Malcolm [email protected] +44 (0)131 651 3445 DoD #205
    IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]
     
  10. Rammie

    Rammie Guest

    I use a Garmin etrex with routes loaded from Memory map 2004.
    However, a few instances of batteries coming loose (mostly avoided by
    a piece of card wedged in the battery compartment) have demonstrated
    the sense in making sure you take a map with you too.

    I also tend to find that it does not work well in forests as it tends
    to lose contact with the satellites and so will not tell you where you
    are (does anyone have a solution this?). However, in the open it is
    excellent. Its best use is to actually find where you are on a map as
    it also give grid references. Calculating your max speed, so you can
    show off in the pub afterwards, is also well worth the purchase price
    (even better when skiing).

    Beware when using it for night rides. It is only as accurate as your
    mouse pointer on the pc! Blindly following the left and right
    direction from the device can put you off cliffs, or worse still, you
    could miss the pub altogether.
     
  11. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Rammie wrote:
    >
    > I also tend to find that it does not work well in forests as it tends
    > to lose contact with the satellites and so will not tell you where you
    > are (does anyone have a solution this?).


    The standard problem with the small GPS units. You makes your choice -
    bigger unit, bigger antenna, better sensitivity or small unit, small
    antenna, poorer sensitivity. You could always add an external antenna
    to get a better signal but that defeats the object of having a compact
    unit in the first place.

    Just waiting for Rt66 Symbian UIQ version to come out and then I'll run
    a bluetooth GPS in the backpack and map it on the mobile.

    Tony
     
  12. Caher

    Caher New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi again,
    Well I think my true use for them was is evidence on Saturday when I attempted a trail I read in one of the bike magazines. I did bring a map and compass and do have a vague knowledge of how to use them (a degree in geography helped!). But I found that I needed to keep referencing when I was presented with multiple choices of singletracks. Constantly getting the map out on such a cold day was also a real pain.
    I just think that something that helped guide me around interactively would have been a real bonus.
    I’m going to look into getting one.
    Thanks for your suggestions.
     
  13. [email protected] (Rammie) writes:

    >I use a Garmin etrex with routes loaded from Memory map 2004.
    >However, a few instances of batteries coming loose (mostly avoided by
    >a piece of card wedged in the battery compartment) have demonstrated
    >the sense in making sure you take a map with you too.


    >I also tend to find that it does not work well in forests as it tends
    >to lose contact with the satellites and so will not tell you where you
    >are (does anyone have a solution this?).


    First, make sure it's not in battery save mode, which hardly affects
    wide open tracking, but kills tracking under trees.

    Next, note that the problem is that it takes a much longer time of
    uninterrupted signal to acquire a new satellite than to keep track of
    one that's already been locked. So under trees the GPS can keep track
    of the satellites it already has, as they flit behind passing boughs,
    but can't see a new one for long enough to lock it. So gradually those
    it has set below the horizon, and it never picks up any new ones.

    The solution is easy. You simply have either to stop every so often
    and let the unit acquire some new sats, choosing a spot with the
    widest sky view. How often is "every so often"? Depends on how many
    sats you amange to get in the clear spots. You can find out by
    experiment or keeping an eye on the sat view page in your typical
    woods.

    Even in a very narrow steep sided and heavily wooded glen, about as
    bad as you can get, I managed to get an almost perfect track on my
    eTrex Summit simply by stopping as needed to let it keep up.

    When trying to get a position lock in a very bad place, you can help
    it a lot by watching the sat view page carefully and positioning it
    just right so that you get most satellites. When boughs obscure the
    sky moving a foot can make all the diffeence. And don't forget not to
    obscure any with your head and body!

    Note too that eTrexes have a 30 second period of grace in which they
    allow position lock to be lost, then assuming you're moving in the
    last direction and speed, and finally joining up the track if position
    lock comes back within the 30 seconds. You can exploit this to mark a
    waypoint in a place where you can't get position lock, by moving to it
    at a constant velocity from somewhere within 30 seconds with position
    lock. That way you can, for example, mark a bend or junction in a
    track where you can't get lock and the tracklog will eaither be broken
    or cut off the corner.

    There are very few places where intelligent use of a GPS -- any GPS --
    can't find out where you are. There are plenty of places where they
    can't track you, but unless you're nailed to the spot they can still
    be used to locate you, given a few to several minutes exploration
    time.
    --
    Chris Malcolm [email protected] +44 (0)131 651 3445 DoD #205
    IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]
     
  14. Caher <[email protected]> writes:

    > Well I think my true use for them was is evidence on Saturday when I
    >attempted a trail I read in one of the bike magazines. I did bring a
    >map and compass and do have a vague knowledge of how to use them (a
    >degree in geography helped!). But I found that I needed to keep
    >referencing when I was presented with multiple choices of singletracks.
    >Constantly getting the map out on such a cold day was also a real pain.


    This can still be a problem with a GPSR. I recently got lost in a
    housing estate while following a carefully planned route. It was one
    of those estates which have been carefully planned to discourage
    through traffic by making it a twisty little maze with few entrances,
    in this case only two. But I didn't plan every twist and turn in the
    estate, and as it turned out I couldn't have, because how to get into
    the exit I needed didn't exist in detailed enough form even on my
    quite detailed paper map because exaggerating the width of the roads
    on the map (as they do) obscured the necessary detail.

    In the end I backtracked out of the estate and went round it, which
    caused a lot of hilarity. "He was late because he tried to get here
    using a GPS!"

    Later leisurely examination of the map by a fire made it clear that it
    would have been impossible to plan enough detail in advance, it was
    one of those cases where you need to look at the map while standing on
    the spot.

    I'm just pointing out that you still need now and then to get the map
    out and scratch your head; the GPSR can greatly reduce the need for
    it, but not eliminate it. It's an extremely good map accessory, not a
    map replacement, and given the map detail that pedestrians and
    cyclists (as opposed to car drivers) need, it'll be a long time before
    even the largest and most expensive mapping GPSRs can replace the
    paper map.

    --
    Chris Malcolm [email protected] +44 (0)131 651 3445 DoD #205
    IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]
     
  15. Paul Rose

    Paul Rose Guest

    "Tony Hogarty" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]
    > On Fri, 18 Feb 2005 23:46:32 +1100, Caher wrote:
    > snip <
    > Yep use one all the time when I'm going cross country. I have an ancient
    > Garmin GPS 12 with handlebar mount (essential add on in my opinion) and
    > find it very useful indeed. Combined with decent mapping software it
    > makes life on obscure trails through unknown areas much easier.


    Tony, where did you get the handlebar mount for your GPS 12 (any url link?)
    and how much was it, if you don't mind me asking? I have the same model and
    would like to make more use of it on the bike. Also, doesn't it get a real
    battering when mounted on the bars, especially on a long, bumpy downhill?

    --
    Regards, Paul (R)
    My Lake District walking site:
    www.lakelandwalker.co.uk
     
  16. Tony Hogarty

    Tony Hogarty Guest

    On Tue, 22 Feb 2005 12:28:02 +0000, Paul Rose wrote:

    > "Tony Hogarty" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:p[email protected]
    >> On Fri, 18 Feb 2005 23:46:32 +1100, Caher wrote: snip <
    >> Yep use one all the time when I'm going cross country. I have an
    >> ancient Garmin GPS 12 with handlebar mount (essential add on in my
    >> opinion) and find it very useful indeed. Combined with decent mapping
    >> software it makes life on obscure trails through unknown areas much
    >> easier.

    >
    > Tony, where did you get the handlebar mount for your GPS 12 (any url
    > link?) and how much was it, if you don't mind me asking? I have the same
    > model and would like to make more use of it on the bike. Also, doesn't it
    > get a real battering when mounted on the bars, especially on a long, bumpy
    > downhill?


    http://www.outdoorgear.co.uk/eshop.asp?wce=58113001&wci=product

    It does get a real battering - especially when you hit the tree, but we
    won't go there - but it sits on a rubber shock absorber ring so it
    survives. I've had no problems so far after approx two years of use.
    Costs about £13 from memory and is available at many different places so
    it might be worth shopping around.

    --
    Regards

    Tony Hogarty
    (Take out the garbage to reply)
     
  17. Paul Rose

    Paul Rose Guest


    > > Tony, where did you get the handlebar mount for your GPS 12 (any url
    > > link?) and how much was it, if you don't mind me asking? I have the same
    > > model and would like to make more use of it on the bike. Also, doesn't

    it
    > > get a real battering when mounted on the bars, especially on a long,

    bumpy
    > > downhill?

    >
    > http://www.outdoorgear.co.uk/eshop.asp?wce=58113001&wci=product
    >
    > It does get a real battering - especially when you hit the tree, but we
    > won't go there - but it sits on a rubber shock absorber ring so it
    > survives. I've had no problems so far after approx two years of use.
    > Costs about £13 from memory and is available at many different places so
    > it might be worth shopping around.
    >

    Hi Tony, Thanks for the link and info. Managed to find it a pound cheaper on
    the net ;o) It says it 'snaps' into the holder. Do you stick something to
    the back of the GPS?

    --
    Regards, Paul (R)
    My Lake District walking site:
    www.lakelandwalker.co.uk
     
  18. Tony Hogarty

    Tony Hogarty Guest

    On Tue, 22 Feb 2005 13:21:26 +0000, Paul Rose wrote:

    > Hi Tony, Thanks for the link and info. Managed to find it a pound cheaper
    > on the net ;o) It says it 'snaps' into the holder. Do you stick something
    > to the back of the GPS?


    Yep if you look on the back of the unit there is a rubber strip? That
    comes out and the clip goes in there.

    --
    Regards

    Tony Hogarty
    (Take out the garbage to reply)
     
  19. Paul Rose

    Paul Rose Guest

    "Tony Hogarty" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]
    > On Tue, 22 Feb 2005 13:21:26 +0000, Paul Rose wrote:
    >
    > > Hi Tony, Thanks for the link and info. Managed to find it a pound

    cheaper
    > > on the net ;o) It says it 'snaps' into the holder. Do you stick

    something
    > > to the back of the GPS?

    >
    > Yep if you look on the back of the unit there is a rubber strip? That
    > comes out and the clip goes in there.
    >


    I was looking at that rubber strip thingy! I did have a tug at it but
    thought better of it! Having had another look at it, it comes off quite
    easily. Great, thanks for the info.

    --
    Regards, Paul (R)
    My Lake District walking site:
    www.lakelandwalker.co.uk
     
Loading...
Loading...