View Full Version : GPS users

May 5, 2001, 12:31 AM
I just bought a Garmin Legend GPS and it will be delivered in the next few days. I plan to use it hunting, hiking, driving, etc.

Anyone else use a GPS? What kind of GPS do you use? What do you use it for? Any cool things I can do with a GPS that I may not have thought about?


May 5, 2001, 09:00 AM
GPS be cool. They raise the art of getting lost to a new level.

Good maps n charts and lots of fun practice. Finding section markers is one way to test your skills.

Finding your way home is always good too.

Sam...follow me, I know a shortcut.

May 5, 2001, 09:06 AM
You didn't go for the Vista??? That one makes me drool. I have a Garmin GPS 12. It does the job but not as cool as the newer ones with maps, compass, altimeter etc.

Art Eatman
May 5, 2001, 09:09 AM
For a hunter, a GPS is a handy tool if you're in country which is new to you, unfenced, and BIG. It works best with a topographic map. I'm thinking of the federal lands in the western states, mostly.

Locally, they're used to find property tracts in an area where there are few marked boundaries. Finding a 5- or 20-acre tract in the middle of a section isn't the simplest thing in the world.

They're great for saving a point for the location of underwater "structure" in the Gulf of Mexico, if you find a good fishing spot.

There's navigation in flying, of course.

If you couple one to a DeLorme program in your laptop, they'll really help you get around in a strange city. That's the deal with these built-in "can't get lost" optional extras in luxury cars.

Still, if you can't read a map, they ain't much help.

:), Art

May 5, 2001, 09:16 AM
Fiancee' got me an eMap for Christmas. It's the lower end model. Not overly impressed with it. It's more of a map with some bells and whistles, and some basic GPS capabilities. It's not too bad for driving, but I don't trust it for land nav.

The Accurate Rifle has an article about some of the equipment being used in 1st Force Recon, I MEF. There's a blurb on Garmins Model 12 that they are appearently using. Still need to be -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--hot with your land nav skills, but the writer seems to approve of it.

If you're getting one of the higher end models, I'ld also suggest you get some top end maps, (USGS), and maybe spend some time on Terraserver.com. Satellite images can really help you get the lay of the land.

Keith Rogan
May 5, 2001, 11:34 AM
There is absolutely nothing that a GPS can do, that you can't do just as well with a topo map and a $3 compass.

May 5, 2001, 12:13 PM
GPS for me is one of the great inventions of the
century. Garmin 55 old model used for flying small
aircraft, pick an airport, punch it in and go.
I do not understand why a boater. pilot, hiker would
be without one. Did I say they were great,and Garmin
is one the best.

May 5, 2001, 12:19 PM
...while I agree with your sentiment that a map and compass can do the job, I disagree with your statement that there is NOTHING the GPS can do that a map and compass can't. A good map and compass should be a good backup to a GPS. Here's a few things the Garmin Legend can do:

Trip Odometer
Moving time
Stopped time
Total Distance Traveled
Max Speed During Trip
Current Speed
Moving Average Speed
Overall average speed
Total trip time
Time of Day
Current Destination
Current Distance to go
Final Destination
Final Distance to go
Final ETA
Final ETE
Bearing to next
Cross Track Error (off course)
Course to Steer (CTS)
Turn (TRN)
Sunrise/Sunset times

Any of the above may be selected for display on the Trip Computer page in the Garmin Legend.

Mark Waypoint - Allows automatic input of current location as waypoint and editing of name, Lat/Long, GoTo, and Show on Map.

FIND - Allows FIND of Waypoints, Addresses, Favorite Places, Cities, Expressway Exits, Points of Interest, and Intersections.

Routes - Allows storage of up to 20 routes with up to 50 waypoints in each route.

Tracks - Unique new feature allows you to SAVE tracks based on: a) Since displayed TIME, Since NOON, Since DATE, or Entire LOG.

Setup - Allows input of Time, Measuring units, Datum, North Reference (true, magnetic, grid, user)

New Accessories in Setup - Sun and Moon predictor, Calculator, and "Best time to hunt and fish"

Satellite Screen is in PAGE sequence and shows signal strength and utilization of up to 12 satellites in view which includes SAT 35/47 WAAS.

Track up or North up operation of map display

Map Display screen has two user selectable fields allowing any of the above variables mentioned in TRIP COMPUTER above to be displayed.

Pan and Zoom can be operated at the same time, and you can place a waypoint at the "panned" (pointed to) location.

GoTo allows quick access by way of the Waypoint menu to select and generate a route to a single waypoint.

Setup Map allows you to select which of the loaded map sections to display. (Useful when overlapping map sections are loaded.)

Compass screen shows your direction of movement and points to next waypoint when you are routing or have an active GoTo.

(In the VISTA model, you do not have to be moving for the compass function to operate.)

Screen illumination timeout has 15, 30, 60, 120, and "always on" timeout settings.

Centralized RESET is available on the trip computer page.

Waypoint REPOSITION allows the user to move an existing waypoint to the current position.

Add to ROUTE allows the user to add a newly marked waypoint to any existing route via the Mark Waypoint page option.

Calendar (built in) allows user to add notes.

On Screen KEYBOARD makes data entry much simpler.

Direction (angle) data fields can be set to either degrees or cardinal letter (NEWS).

Track Log system is complete with Start/Stop, wrap when filled, Auto/Time/Distance record methods.

Built in Search for: Cities/Exits/Addresses/Intersections.
User can build a ROUTE by dropping points on the map (Route page map button).

The Garmin Legend come loaded with a complete basemap of North and South America and has 8 megs of internal memory and a PC cable to download extremely detailed maps of areas from your computer.


May 5, 2001, 02:21 PM
Some folks are just intimidated by change and new technology.

And some of us changed and bought our new technology at REI!

May 5, 2001, 03:32 PM
Keith Rogan,

You are sadly mistaken. Try this exercise with your map (or chart) and any compass, be it three dollars or three hundred.

Get in the ICW at the Galveston Causeway bridge, at night in January, in soup thick fog.

Now, drive your boat to the Galveston Yacht Basin, without running aground, hitting an obstruction, or otherewise spoiling your evening.

You ain't gonna make it.

GPS is a marvelous tool, one that I use every single day. It has completely changed navigation.

Ask Saddam.

May 5, 2001, 05:17 PM
On the subject of backing up your GPS with a topo map, there is a great site at topozone.com where you can print out 1:25,000 scale maps free. They are just as detailed as those sold by USGS, but you have to print out the 8.5" x 11" pages and splice them together.

May 5, 2001, 05:33 PM
GPS is great and I now use it habitually just driving to and from places. The moving maps and point and pick waypoints on the units that now have them are simply fabulous.
There sure is something that a GPS will do that no map and compass can ever do: Give you an instant location whenever you are lost, no matter if it is night or day, fine weather or foul, no matter city or country, and no matter whether the terrain is featured or featurless.
You can get to where you want to get regardless of conditions.
To do things like this, you have to familiarize yourself with how to transfer your UTM location onto a good map and then figure out the UTM's of points you need find. It's nice if you have figured this out before hand, but if not you can do it in the field. Then the GPS becomes a tremendous tool for navigation, whatever your means of transport.
It is not hard to do this, but you do need to sit down with a good navigation book and familiarize yourself with the processs. It takes a little time, but it is amazing what can be done if you do.
Climb an Ozrk ridge to get back to your car and cannot decide which way to go on the road on top: the GPS will save you a lot of sweat.
Get caught in a good storm near dusk out on the Rain Paramo, soaked to the bone when staying out overnight could mean your end by hypothermia: the GPS will save your life.
No map and compass will help you in those situations.

May 5, 2001, 08:06 PM
I guess I should dig out a pair of my old Nomex coveralls before I post this, because I may get flamed :D. I bought a Magellan GPS about 4 or 5 years ago for my boat. It gets so foggy here sometimes that one can miss a lot of good fishing if you will not (or cannot) run in the fog. The canals and bayous are ok to run in on "by guess and by God", but once you hit open water its either get a radar, get a GPS, or stay home. I got the GPS. Best invention since canned beer and errrr well you know what :D. Don't get me wrong I don't advocate running at 40 or 50 MPH in thick fog. I kinda hold it down to just barely on the step, or no faster than I can see another boat or stump, snag etc. I have no problems navagating 3 to 5 miles on open lakes and hit inlets, bayou mouths, canals etc. withing 30 feet or so! Before i got the GPS I ran on time and speed......got me there but not nearly as accurately as GPS.
I loaned my GPS to my one of my son-in-law's one time for a deer hunt in the Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp. The fog moved in AFTER they got to where they wanted to go. Without it it may have taken 2 days for them to find their way back to the boat. Plus they still had to get to the landing after they FOUND the boat. With it it was not a bit of a problem, even though they were dragging a big ole buck out with them. Loran is almost as accurate as GPS, but there are no small hand portable Lorans as small as a handheld GPS, and Loran will be phased out shortly. My Magellan is console mounted on my boat and hooked into the boats electrical system but can also operate on batteries (4 AA)with a 5 hour battery life, and is a bit bulky but still small enough to be hand carried.

May 5, 2001, 10:25 PM
...in the 'B/S/T: Holsters, Gear and Accessories' forum as my favorite local shop has a Garmin 12 for sale at a really nice price.

I have one myself and must admit that it is an absolutely fascinating tool. It just doesn't get much better than determining a particular way point to .001 of a minute. :cool:

Going to give mine the ultimate test in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer; but then former Eagle Scouts are always willing to learn new tricks.

[yep, I agree...this is a long way from topo maps and a field compass]

May 6, 2001, 12:38 PM
Used mine (GPS12) to call in the LifeReach helo for EMS on some bad stuff out in the middle of nowhere. Especially at night, it seriously improves their response time flying point-to-point rather than landmark navigation.

George Hill
May 6, 2001, 01:05 PM
Moving this to the Gear Forum.

Keith Rogan
May 6, 2001, 01:35 PM

I should qualify my sweeping statement by saying that GPS has many obvious advantages for someone in a boat or aircraft. I have a background in the Coast Guard and I'm quite familiar with the advantages of GPS over LORAN, etc, for navigation at sea or in the air.

What I'm talking about is the guy who buys a GPS for trekking around in the woods to hunt or hike. I know a lot of people who own these and I have not met ANYONE who has one, who knows how to use a compass and map. The GPS becomes an electronic excuse to avoid learning basic woodcraft. It's just a gadget - who cares what your exact "total trip time" is, or what your average speed is? If you walk north for 3 hours, it will take about 3 hours to walk back south - unless your battery goes dead because then you're screwed - or you have a compass, but then you didn't need the $300 GPS in the first place, did you?

I actually know personally of 3 excellent examples of people getting in serious trouble (or thinking they were in serious trouble in one case), by relying on handheld GPS systems. Electonic gadgets break - they get wet, the batteries go dead or you push the wrong button and erase everything (and I know people who have done this).
A topo map costs about $5 and a good compass that will last a lifetime costs less than $10. They won't break, there's no batteries to go dead and they will get you to your destination and home again every single time.

Jeff White
May 7, 2001, 07:34 PM
GPS is great technology. I wouldn't be without my Magellan MGRS of the issued Rockwell PLGR. But it just should supplement your more tradional land navigation skills of map reading, use of the compass, terrain association and dead reckoning. As Keith Rogan pointed out, it's a delicate eletronic device and susceptible to breakage, running out of batteries etc.

It's also not that good in the trees. The slective availability of GPS signals was turned off by the Clinton Administration, but at any time there could be a world crisis somewhere that could cause the military to turn it back on, then your GPS could put you in a really bad situation.

My advice is don't go into the wilderness or out on the water without knowing traditional navigation. The is a big problem in the Army. Units are relying soley on this technology, because it's fast and accurate, and they are losing their other navigation skills. The PLGR goes down and they struggle to operate. Like shooting and so many other things, navigation is a perishable skill. Practice it, don't rely solely on technology.

Study the manual that came with your GPS. Then study the map you're using with it. Make sure that you input the proper datum from the map you're using into the GPS on set up. If you don't the coordinates supplied by the GPS may be very far off from where you actually are on the ground.

Have fun and be safe.....