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#54138 - 08/22/10 04:55 PM Newbie GPS question
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
OK, so my wife just bought a sleek TomTom vehicle navigation system. Model XL 340.S to be precise. It's not a high end unit, if the price is any indication. I'm a confirmed non-user of such gadgets, so I am taking virtually no interest in this thing.

BUT...

I imagine there may come a time when I could use GPS to help retrace my path through the woods and/or record the location of interesting cliffs or other features far from the road. A quick read through the entire manual that came with this unit, all dozen mini-pages of it, finds not a bit of info on how one would a) program in target coordinates (if I were to learn how to get these from a USGS map), b) enter "waypoints" along the inward trek, or c) navigate back through waypoints on the return. In short, it looks like this unit functions totally on roads and addresses. Am I missing something? Do only handheld Garmin/Magellan type units work off-road?

I imagine there is some help programmed into the machine, but we haven't turned it on yet (battery is still charging) and that would involve me actually TOUGHING the dern thing. eek

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#54147 - 08/22/10 09:07 PM Re: Newbie GPS question [Re: Mike Rawdon]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Mike, the model you, er, your wife bought, sounds like the one I got my wife and only does road navigation. The hand held deals will do the other stuff you refer to. You can also get models that fit on your wrist and do lots of other altimeter, compass, alarm and direction stuff, depending on how much you want to spend on, uh, your wife.
By the way, the GPS has been one of the best things I ever got my wife. It only took a year for her to allow me to show her how it works and I haven't gotten any more calls from her asking me where she was.

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#54148 - 08/22/10 09:38 PM Re: Newbie GPS question [Re: Mike Rawdon]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
A quick google says you should be able to navigate to GPS coordinates... which means it might be able to direct you if you're on the streets, but I can't imagine what it will do if you're out in the woods.
Main Menu - > Navigate to... > Next Screen > Latitude Longitude

Basically, if you put in something off-road, it will show you (most likely) in a big green area. I'd assume there are no topo features, so you'd basically have no way of knowing how to get out.

I don't know if it will display raw GPS coordinates. Maybe there's an option somewhere.

You're probably better off getting a cheap garmin that does basic GPS (w/o mapping).

How about your cell phone, does it have built in GPS? My blackberry has basic GPS readings, which I use when I find something interesting. No easy way to log it, so I'd write them down and then log them into google maps when I got home. For a while I then started taking pictures of the screen with another camera, then found a screenshot program that worked much better. Still, it was manual logging, but for my purposes worked well enough.



Edited by quanto_the_mad (08/22/10 09:41 PM)
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#54149 - 08/22/10 10:10 PM Re: Newbie GPS question [Re: chip]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5967
Loc: 212 land
I haven't gotten any more calls from her asking me where she was.

Huh?
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#54153 - 08/23/10 01:51 AM Re: Newbie GPS question [Re: oenophore]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Originally Posted By: oenophore
I haven't gotten any more calls from her asking me where she was.

Huh?


Exactly. Two calls a few months apart while I was working to ask me if I could help her figure out where she was and help to get her to a destination. GPS solved that one nicely.

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#54165 - 08/23/10 03:10 PM Re: Newbie GPS question [Re: chip]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Chip, I used to get similar calls from a certain SO of mine. Across the country, even! "Honey, I'm at the intersection with the bank. You know, the bank! How do I get to ** from here?"

Mike, along the lines of a cell ... (don't stop reading!) ... phone with GPS, there are apps like MapMyRide that will track and log where you go. At least, I know they work for bike rides - I hit the "record route" button, throw it in my pocket, and go. And ooh look: http://www.mapmyhike.com/

I got a Droid a month ago, and even tho I have ISD (Innate Sense of Direction), I've found the GPS really useful for spontaneous diversions. Google Maps will act just like a GPS navigator in the car, too (ie, spell out directions), which is handy.

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#54166 - 08/23/10 03:33 PM Re: Newbie GPS question [Re: Julie]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5967
Loc: 212 land
Nevertheless it seems odd to me that someone would phone another and ask, "where am I?" not as a riddle but as a sincere request for such information.
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#54168 - 08/23/10 03:56 PM Re: Newbie GPS question [Re: Mike Rawdon]
HR1 Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/20/08
Posts: 34
Loc: New Paltz
Mike, I think what you what to do would be difficult at best with a car type GPS. You can read out your current lat/lon and program in desired coordinates but using that to get from point A to B would be cumbersome at best. (I find it amusing that people assume that we have cell phones with GPS and web access – not sure if you do or not, but as I don't, I cannot really speak to their capabilities.)

Car type gps's are wonderful for what they are designed to do (navigate roads), but IMHO won't be of much help past the parking lot (or pull off as the case may be.) For instance, as you mentioned batteries, my wife's nuvi doesn't really last much more than an hour while on battery power.

I would not say that a GPS is a real necessity for any hike or climb, but if you really want to limit the potential impact of navigation issues being a limiting factor on an outing, a hiking type unit is the way to go.

BTW I'll send you the track to Hillyer Falls from last March.

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#54170 - 08/23/10 05:46 PM Re: Newbie GPS question [Re: HR1]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Sure, not everyone has a phone with GPS. But it's worth checking your phone to see if it does.

Sure, a GPS may not be necessary for navigation. But it does come in handy. Last year I took some GPS readings around the Preserve and plugged them into Google Maps to find the exact location, and then superimposed it on the Ulster Parcel Viewer to check that I was still on Preserve land. Unfortunately without cell signal I didn't have access to gmaps, but GPS reception still worked. I could have done it the old fashion way with a map, compass, and DR, but it's not as precise.

As for phone calls from the SO with a car NAV, I get calls now and then when she's hit traffic and wants to bypass it. The GPS can route around traffic, but only if it knows the traffic is there. If it doesn't and you leave the highway, it tries to route you back on. You can try to put in a waypoint around it, but it's easier, especially if you're driving, to call someone and ask them to route you around it than to futz with the GPS.

With Google Street view, it's also funny that I can say "Ok, on your left you should be passing a white farmhouse with red shutters. Just after that, you'll see a blue split-level ranch with picket fence, make a left there..."
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#54177 - 08/23/10 11:02 PM Re: Newbie GPS question [Re: quanto_the_mad]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
Thanks all. FYI, I am probably the LAST PERSON who'd have a GPS-enabled phone.

But maybe this means I should consider getting one down the road (heh!) sometime.


Edited by Mike Rawdon (08/23/10 11:03 PM)

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