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#105097 - 10/19/08 11:25 AM compass vs GPS
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Hi
I am a GPS user. Its a complicated device, difficult to relate your GPS location to a map, can run low on batteries BUT - it knows where you are, and it can find discrete points on the surface of the Earth and no map or visibility is required to find your truck using one.

Compasses only point to magnetic north? To use a compass for more than casual use - like north is thata way, you must know and understand magnetic deviation. You must be able to orient your map to true north. Your map must be accurate and show the trail you are on - what you are not on a trail, or its Winter and the trails are covered by snow. If you can get some bearings on known high spots, you might be able to triangulate your position if you have a pencil and straight edge, or a GPS - Map converter tool. If its raining your map can get wet, if its foggy you can't see anything to get a bearing. All you will in fact know if you are lost with a compass is - north is thataway.

However my GPS can and has located my truck under pretty bad conditions of fog, rain, snow and darkness. I often ski Xcountry at night by GPS.

But if yer gonna be a heavy GPS user, you will need a computerised topo maps and Google Earth to set way points and to relate to where you are. When worst comes to worst I put the maps back in the pack and follow the GPS.

Also if an approach was made through very tricky mountainous country, a GPS can help you follow EXACTLY the same path getting home.
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#105098 - 10/19/08 12:02 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
The nerd in me knows my Etrex is better. My biggest problem with relying on it is actually one of confidence, not in the device, and this may sound really stupid - but in myself! I learned from a young age how to deal with air photos, compass and topo, and although I think I'm a lot less "traditional" than you Jim, I just find myself really old and set in my ways in this regard. When I look at it rationally, I think it is kinda stupid, and I should just practice enough with my GPS unit so that I am confident myself in my use of it it to deal with it. Everything you are saying there is dead on, especially knowing the declination (having been on a number of trips to find newbs who believed their "compass was broken".) and GPS, properly used, just does not have this problem, as long as you have a battery for it and nobody has shot the sattelites out of the sky. On the other hand I'm pretty sure my map
and compass skills are ingrained in me pretty deep, and fumbling through the menus on
the etrex makes me see red even when not cold hurt and distoriented - and I know there's
a solution for that (practice!)

Perhaps part of it with me too is I do so much dratted technology day to day that I hate being beholden to a computer when out in the sticks where I go to get away from it <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> So for me, I don't use it, and yes, that's irrational and stupid.

Is there a moral to this post? well, maybe not - other than whatever you use be sure you
can do it cold, wet, disoriented and in your sleep.

I suppose while I'm practicing that for self improvement I could get over my irrational fear of spiders too.. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#105099 - 10/19/08 12:33 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: phat]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
phat
I can't count the number of times that I have arrived at a trail head, marked a way point, then thrown the gps into the pack turned off and not even turned it on again unless I lose the truck getting back. I would not want a head up display built into my glasses. I like to go on major walks and try to find my way back to camp going cross country carrying the gps turned off, BUT often I end up a tenth of a mile upstream from my camp and decide to turn on the GPS only to find that I had almost located camp on my own. I think that for someone like yourself living in pretty open country with few trails, a gps would be ideal. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

On my trip with Longhair we still got lost because I turned the gps off after leaving the trail head. Had I placed it antenna up in the top of my pack turned on, it would have recorded the trail back to the truck - duh. But I didn't want to use it unless it was an emergency, and it became one. It was nice to know where the truck was, it would have been nice to know where the TRAIL was too. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#105100 - 10/19/08 01:01 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I think whatever "aids" we use to navigate, we need to utilize these to improve our innate sense of direction. My partner and I play a little game - he uses the GPS and I only use a map and my wits (no compass) and see who gets back to camp the fastest! I usually win. The down side of using a GPS is that you can easily let your less technical navigation skills get rusty. What I found is that since my partner is directionally challenged, using the GPS has improved his success in navigating, thus he pays more attention to where he is.

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#105101 - 10/19/08 01:02 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Jim,

Yup, I have used a GPS even to set orienteering courses.

However, I like maps. I have an atlas on the end table next to the couch and enjoy browsing. I have done field work for orienteering maps. I have a box full of quads all folded and in alphabetical order. I have display maps on the walls.

I have used a GPS to locate the trailhead, then left the GPS in the vehicle while hiking.

A GPS is good to have in your tool box, but I would have some other navigation tools. Map reading is my primary navigation technique. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

The GPS is the clear winner in the compas v. GPS. However map reading will beat the GPS most of the time.

My wife will tell you that I spend a good part of my life lost or disoriented. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

.


Edited by food (10/19/08 01:06 PM)
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#105102 - 10/19/08 04:35 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
chuck Offline
member

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 83
As a member of a wilderness search and rescue team I consider myself very experienced with a GPS and map & compass, as everthing we do is bushwacking. My preference, along with almost all I know who do this, is map & compass. However, GPS is great as a backup to check me when terrain is tough to read. A GPS is a wonderful thing and used correctly can be a tool as well. However, nothing gives me the confidence as a topos map with compass.

The problem with GPS's is that they are electronics that run on batteries so the potential problems become obvious. The newest with best electronics can still have difficulty under a heavy canapy (east coast).

GPS does have a place in my SAR gear, and they are fun to play with while in the outdoors, setting waypoints, breadcrumbs, etc. On flat featureless terrain, a GPS becomes very helpful, but still you need to be aware of it's limitations.

I would be very wary, actually would never, rely exclusively on a GPS but I also would never give up my Garmin 60CSx.

Chuck

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#105103 - 10/19/08 08:32 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
Heber Offline
member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 245
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
I'm glad someone brought this up. I don't own GPS but I've been thinking about a simple one like an eTrex H. When the leaves are on the trees here in the midwest it's easy to get lost because you can't see any landmarks. I like to use the map and compass but on occasions when I do get lost I just need someone to tell me exactly where I am. Then I'd go back to the map.

Haven't decided to take the plunge yet but I'm considering it.

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#105104 - 10/20/08 06:47 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Compass vs. GPS....Jim, they both have their place. I prefer map and compass for the simplicity. When hiking, I rarely have to navigate to within feet of a target.
Plus, I've cached water off trail, marked the waypoint, and the GPS had me 300 feet (a football field sized error) off target when I got back around to re-supply, with WAAS. A map and compass triangulation had me dead on. I use both when in doubt. On trail, and with a good view, one compass bearing to a feature is all you need to find your place on a mapped trail.
I don't like GPS's in cars, even though I have one, it's just too much of a distraction.
I LOVE my GPS in the kayak or powerboat....it measures speed, plus, it helps me find all those nice creeks and waterfalls that sometimes aren't obvious on a map.
Plus, I don't have to stop paddling to see where I am. This all comes in real handy when out on a craggy lake with lots of coves, or crossing big water in wind and waves.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#105105 - 10/20/08 07:16 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: wandering_daisy]
Hector Offline
member

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 325
Loc: LA/ARK/TX corner
> The down side of using a GPS is that you can easily let your less technical
> navigation skills get rusty.

I agree with that. I turn mine on only at rest stops, take a reading, set a waypoint, and turn it back off. If something bad happens, I can use it to backtrack. Otherwise, I just follow the map.

I also find that it I try to leave it on it distracts me from the very important business of enjoying a nice walk in the woods.

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#105106 - 10/20/08 07:31 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Hector]
scottmphoto Offline
member

Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 31
Loc: Russellville, Arkansas, USA
Being an old Boy Scout from WAY back, I'll never give up my map and compass but I have recently discovered geocaching. It's a lot of fun.
There are pro's and con's for both map & compass and GPS. It's all about using the right tool for the job.
I now always carry both but rely solely on neither.
_________________________
Scott W. McClure
Photographer -
Scoutmaster Troop 202
Eagle Scout - BSA /
Vigil Honor - Order of the Arrow


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#105107 - 10/20/08 09:35 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Heber]
chuck Offline
member

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 83
Heber,

"When the leaves are on the trees here in the midwest it's easy to get lost because you can't see any landmarks. " - When leaves are on trees a GPS can and if thick enough will have trouble getting a signal, or a accurate one. The higher end units such as the Garmin 60CSx have better reception under foliage than the eTrex's.

In my non-professional personal experience your desire to get a GPS based on use under foilage may be problematic. I would test it before heading into woods, and then only use as backup.

My unasked for two cents.

Chuck

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#105108 - 10/20/08 11:36 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Jim you would have found the truck without the GPS if only you knew how to use a map. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Just kidding.

I think they both have their place. I don't own a GPS. Instead I follow my map and am always looking at it to verify position. Here in the mountains it is very easy to navigate and triangulate. I hardly ever use the ol' compass because the topo is so descriptive that I always know where I am. But, I haven't trounced around in the snow yet (this will be my first winter to start up snowshoeing). Maybe I will change my tune. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

I did use a GPS in Iraq. There it is all flat with no features other than roads (if the map is correct). As a truck driver, we drove all over the place. In the beginning, we were given a drop off or pick up coordinate. No directions, and sometimes no map. We would use a GPS and just follow it around until we got to our destination. Lets just say we turned around a lot. Later they gave us MTS systems that had a computer with maps and a GPS in one. It was great, but for some reason our officers still managed to get us lost (despite us noncoms knowing how to get there and not being listened to <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> ). Oh well, it is good for a Captain to realize he is a moron in front of a bunch of noncoms. It builds character. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> In Iraq, I would take a GPS over a map any day, although both would be the best.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#105109 - 10/20/08 11:50 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: finallyME]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
The most dangerous weapon in the army is a shavetail with a .45 and map. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

Unfortunately friendly fire. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

That conforms with a long military tradition. The battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought on Breed's Hill.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#105110 - 10/20/08 12:01 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: ringtail]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
At West Point, they teach a 3 credit hour class entitled.."How to get you and your troops lost and caught in an ambush". There have been a few who failed it, but most pass with flying colors. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#105111 - 10/20/08 01:42 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: finallyME]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

I don't think they teach that course exclusively at West Point. Judging from personal experience seeing the results (deer hunting on a huge army training base up here) That course is taught with widespread uptake at RMC and Sandhurst as well as a while variety of commonweath officer mills as well <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#105112 - 10/20/08 03:34 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: finallyME]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Remember, a captain used to be a 2nd lieutenant and, as the old saying goes, there's nothing more dangerous than an ensign with an idea or a second lieutenant with a map. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#105113 - 10/20/08 03:36 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: ringtail]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Of course, most of the classic Navy stories (PT109, John Paul Jones, Commodore Perry, etc.) begin, "After they sank my ship..." <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

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#105114 - 10/20/08 04:27 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Glenn]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I have to confess that I'm something of a luddite. I have considerable map and compass and other navigation skills (frequently turning to observe the back trail, particularly at trail intersections, is one). I have never even considered taking a GPS. It's just another gadget that eats batteries and that I would have to spend considerable time learning to use. With my computer, camera and cell phone, I have enough of those already. Life is too short!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#105115 - 10/20/08 04:34 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: chuck]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
I don't own a GPS but considered buying one. I use topo maps for the areas I visit and a general direction compass is mostly all that's needed. My Son does own the etrex and it would loose signal under fairly dense foliage. We would stop often to let it regain the signal.
_________________________
Enjoy your next trip...

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#105116 - 10/20/08 06:04 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Glenn]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Except those were all infantry officers. When you're an artillery officer, who knows that a six-gun sheaf of fire will plaster 8 football fields with shrapnel, you stay pretty motivated to know where you are.

Most infantry captains simply turned to me and asked "Art'y, where the hell are we?" We didn't have to concentrate on moving 40 Marines (2d Lieutenant) or 160 (Captain), so I could keep very close tabs on where we actually were, using topographic features from the map, an occasional compass bearing and so forth.

Nowadays I much prefer a map for navigation. If the terrain in flat and heavily forested (NC coastal areas for instance) a compass is nice. If I'm with my wife, a GPS is occasionally nice to play with (since I don't carry one on solo trips). They all have a place.

I'm surprised no one hasw mentioned using the sun for a quick orientation. It's my best quick reference versus a compass.

My concern with GPS is mostly for those who don't have a decent foundation in basic orienteering who rely totally on GPS. I really do feel that those who wander into the backcountry ought to have at least very basic map skills.
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http://www.trailjournals.com/BearpawAT99/

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#105117 - 10/20/08 07:25 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
They go together, like peas and carrots.

I usually bring both.

I would never go out without a paper map regardless of which one I use.

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#105118 - 10/20/08 07:35 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Bearpaw]
Tango61 Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
Quote:
I'm surprised no one hasw mentioned using the sun for a quick orientation. It's my best quick reference versus a compass.


The sun sets in the east, right?

Seriously, I had someone say this to me once. I just shook my head in disbelief.

I have two family members, that are directionally challenged. Thus, it is always "go here and turn right", Get "there" and turn left. Of course, I have to know which direction they are going.

Oh the joys. HeHeHe

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#105119 - 10/23/08 09:08 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Trailrunner]
azcanyon Offline
member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 264
t-runner wrote
Quote:
They go together, like peas and carrots.

I usually bring both.

I would never go out without a paper map regardless of which one I use.

Hear hear. I never really got the one vs. the other comparison, (like a cage-match, maybe? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> ) since they are two different technologies, and there are different tools for different jobs.

I do think gps is most useful when you have waypoints programmed in advance--preferably on a computer. A gps that talks to a cd-rom or other map program is a very nifty device. I use an inexpensive garmin geko 201 (I think) that's worked fine for years.

But a compass can become a lifeline. If I'm planning to really navigate with the map, I might bring a simple baseplate compass. But I also picked up a little compass/thermometer zipper-pull-type thing ( this one, actually ) , and it works like a charm for simple but reliable navigation if you keep track of things.

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#105120 - 10/23/08 02:41 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Tango61]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I actually saw the sun set in the east, 7 years ago. I got off the train in Grindelwald, Switzerland and started to navigate my way up the hill to the youth hostel. I looked at the rather sketchy map from the hostel website, looked at my little zipper-pull compass and then looked at the sun and thought "what the...." There must have been some kind of power surge in the electric train that reversed the polarity of my little zipper-pull compass. The rest of my Europe trip was an interesting exercise in navigating with a reversed compass (south is north and west is east and northwest is ???). I almost got lost while hiking in France's Cevennes.

Moral: believe the sun before you believe your compass.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#105121 - 10/23/08 02:47 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: OregonMouse]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
There must have been some kind of power surge in the electric train that reversed the polarity of my little zipper-pull compass.


I've had that happen too. Those little Silva watch band compasses will reverse...had two do it. You can fix them by taking a strong bar magnet, a burglar alarm window switch magnet worked, and putting it on north. After a day or so, it should be fixed. Never really trusted them after that, though.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#105122 - 10/24/08 06:59 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: azcanyon]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
ALL
if you are using a 3/8" diameter compass just to keep track of north, you are are not "navigating by compass". I do the same thing by looking at the sky. If you cannot take actual bearings, or follow a precise angle, then the compass is just an aid, not a navigation tool. I wasn't aware that they could simply reverse, but that certainly throws a wrench into the whole myth of "dependability" of compass navigation. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#105123 - 10/25/08 02:35 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
compasses get messed up if you are on or near any rock that has significant iron content. I have had them mess up in areas of metamorphic rock too. Rocks that have been re-heated often become magnetic. If I think a compass is wrong I take a good look at the rock around me. Avoid setting a compass on a rock to take a reading. There are also magnetic flares from the sun that can cause problems. There actually is a government agency (cannot remember which) out of Colorado that puts out magnetic forecasts. I used to run magnatometer lines and would have to check the forecast each day. There were some days that I just could not get reliable data.

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#105124 - 10/25/08 03:56 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
rootball Offline
member

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 112
Compass always. I never use it, but the mirror is nice to check for boogers. GPS when I bushwhack. Just would not feel comfortable without it. I've been lost, taken wrong turns, got scared. One time in the winter I got real scared - I woke up with unexpected snow and could not find the trail to save my life. Did not have gloves. Visibility was poor. I was alone as usual. I did not have the GPS, but it wasn't gonna show me where the trail was - nor was the compass that I did have. I guess if I was headed to Alaskan backcountry I would bone up on some skills, but for now I will just curl up the fetal position until some hapless hiker stumbles over me. Besides, I always know where I am in relation to the nearest airport and can always find my direction by listening to the constant fly over noise - that should get me close to a local road where the noise of stinkin' Harleys seems to travel on forever. I guess if I was daft, and did not pay attention I could wander around in a circle between the infinite maze of roads and never see one, but if that happens I guess I deserve to be lost. Its like Horace Kephart said 'You are not lost unless you have to be at a certain place at a certain time'.

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#105125 - 10/25/08 04:55 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
azcanyon Offline
member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 264
Quote:
ALL
if you are using a 3/8" diameter compass just to keep track of north, you are are not "navigating by compass". I do the same thing by looking at the sky. If you cannot take actual bearings, or follow a precise angle, then the compass is just an aid, not a navigation tool. I wasn't aware that they could simply reverse, but that certainly throws a wrench into the whole myth of "dependability" of compass navigation. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

I'm well-aware of the limitations of the little zipper-pull compass. But hold on a second: you're suggesting no compass is necessary with your "look at the sky" method? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

I'm assuming you mean daylight orientation, since waiting nine hours for Polaris to appear wouldn't be the wisest self-rescue strategy. Given the variables of time, latitude, seasonal variation of the sun's apparent path through the sky, weather, terrain, and so on, I'll go out on a limb and say that "looking at the sky" is not the most reliable orientation method. Indeed, it would be quite foolhardy to rely on this method as your exclusive or primary means of finding your way in a place you don't know well.

But, to revisit my main question: Why frame the issue as compass VS. gps, since they do two different (and useful) jobs? Maybe that's just a way to get the discussion going, which is fine. I guess part of the reason I linked to the little keychain compass is to ask, implicity, why anyone would choose to leave a compass at home, when it weighs only a few grams, costs only a few bucks, and (potential for magnetic switcheroos notwithstanding), is an extraordinarily reliable tool for orientation?

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#105126 - 10/25/08 07:36 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: azcanyon]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
azcanyon

In fact my fleece jacket zipper pull AND the one on the top pocket of my pack are identical REI compass/thermometer pulls. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> I carry 2 of those, but I don't consider them "Compasses for navigation". My GPS also has a true north compass.

I brought this up as a A vs B because of the sentiment about the ten essentials and compasses, along with the oft mentioned idea that compass and map navigation is essential for beginners. Many people disdain relying on electronics and having to carry batteries, but the ease with which GPS can find a precise spot is a very valuable tool for self rescue.

We oriented our map with the GPS compass but still couldn't figure out where we were, or where the truck was. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> but the GPS knew.
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#105127 - 10/26/08 06:24 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
azcanyon Offline
member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 264
Ah. As far as the ten essentials goes, I've always felt that the "essentials" should be areas of competence or coverage, rather than discrete objects. So instead of saying everyone should always carry a map, compass, and/or gps, there should just be a self-check to make sure you're covered under the general area of "Navigation." Usually that would include a map, compass, and knowledge of how to use them. But if, for example, you were taking a walk starting in your backyard in an area you know well, then you could simply bring your mental map and call yourself covered.

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#105128 - 10/29/08 11:30 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: phat]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
fumbling through the menus on
the etrex makes me see red even when not cold hurt and distoriented


Me too. I have an eMap and it's much easier to use. phat, I don't think it's as much you as it is the user interface design employed in the eTrex. It's clunky. Everyone I know that has an eTrex has trouble finding the feature they want to access with it.

I have Garmin's topomaps loaded into the eMap. I usually take the GPS, a compass, and a part of the Quad map for the area I'm hiking. Used all together, I think you actually will improve your map and compass skills.

It's kind of like using a spell checker. After misspelling the same word time and again, you learn how to spell it correctly.

Bill
_________________________
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"You want to go where?"



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#105129 - 10/29/08 01:55 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: billstephenson]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Quote:

After misspelling the same word time and again, you learn how to spell it correctly.

Bill


Well, I am living proof that this is not true. I consistently mix sweat and sweet. Plus there are many words that I always have to use spell checker, and I never get right, no matter how many times. Good thing Firefox has a built in spell check. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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#105130 - 10/29/08 04:45 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: finallyME]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
Quote:

After misspelling the same word time and again, you learn how to spell it correctly.

Bill


Well, I am living proof that this is not true. I consistently mix sweat and sweet. Plus there are many words that I always have to use spell checker, and I never get right, no matter how many times. Good thing Firefox has a built in spell check. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


Yeah, I have words like that too, always get them wrong, and entire days when I can't spell anythign. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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"You want to go where?"



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#105131 - 10/29/08 05:45 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: azcanyon]
Folkalist Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 374
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
AZ, I like your take on the ten essentials. That makes a lot of sense and leaves endless latitude for individual variation when it comes to the physical manisfestation of the ten essentials.
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#105132 - 11/08/08 03:17 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Folkalist]
RobA Offline
member

Registered: 05/21/02
Posts: 92
In my 07 pct hike, I met a few folks with reliable GPS. Until then I had a Garman etex- Vista and never used it. Here in virginia i could get a signal very rarely when in the woods.


These new units seem to do much better getting a solid signal in the woods, and they also seem to link up much faster. (for the keep them off, and turn on when needed use).


I had used GPS for boating reliably, but never felt much use for one hiking around here.

When I traveled out west for the first time I certainly can see how they can be used easier. A lot less overhead tree growth. And more remote areas.



I'm glad I have basic navigation skills. Mostly learned from my flying lessons and sailing from Florida to Venezuela solo.

On the sailing trip I always had the gps on. Over a year it only blinked out a few times. But once in a very crital area going through a reef with the sun not in the ideal position. Having already viewed my charts, and keeping on course with the compass I followed my line safely through the hazards. I would also write down my lat/long every 30 mins or so incase the gps went out I could deviate or aproximate my position.



Why not learn to use a map and compass? It's easy and will stay with you forever.


I don't feel like the compass is dated like a sextant is.




For the folks who rely on the GPS, what happens when you drop that puppy in the water or campfire or you leave it on a rock 10 miles back. Do you have a map and a know how to get back to your truck? Or did you just blindly rely on that stored waypoint in the unit?

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#105133 - 11/11/08 05:32 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: OregonMouse]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Mouse,

"I got off the train in Grindelwald, Switzerland and started to navigate my way up the hill to the youth hostel"
_____________________________________


I met my first true love on News Years eve at the youth hostel in Grindevald in 1968. I was the Christmas chess champion of the hostel. I met a nurse from Geneva and lived with her for 3 months. At Least it kept me from continuing on towards Tibet. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#105134 - 11/12/08 01:53 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Tango61]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
LOLOLOL Tango, you just remined me of a time I got thoroughly disoriented...

I'm an east coaster, and growing up I got used to the ocean being on my LEFT as I drove south. I found myself in California one day, being given a tour by a co-worker. After driving what seemed to be circles for a while he suggested we drive SOUTH from Huntington Beach to a restaurant on the coast. After a while of driving I asked my friend why we were driving NORTH if we were supposed to be heading toward San Diego... He got a good laugh out of it by the time I realized I was on the WEST coast (a bit jet lagged at the time).

Also, growing up the mountains were always to the WEST, even when I lived in Colordao the mountains were to the west. In Anchorage, the mountains are to the EAST. It took me a long time to orient myself to this new reality.

MNS
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#105135 - 11/13/08 02:49 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: midnightsun03]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
In the Salt Lake Valley, you have mountains on the east and west of you. It is easy if you know which are suppose to be where (ie. the bigger ones are east), but telling a new comer can get confusing. And, if they are really close to the small ones, they may think they are bigger. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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#105136 - 11/13/08 04:29 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: finallyME]
Spock Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 679
Loc: Central Texas
Why are we talking about this? We are backpackers, right? We carry our stuff with us. Home is where the pack is. As Daniel Boone said, "I have never been lost. But I have been a mite disoriented for a couple of days." Get lost. See new country. Go where no man has ever gone before <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

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#105137 - 11/14/08 08:30 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: midnightsun03]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
I think everyone gets turned around once in a while. I have a general direction compass built into the truck. Maybe everyone should carry one of those button general direction.

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#105138 - 11/16/08 09:04 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
Bmach Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/05
Posts: 25
I would never go anywhere that I am not familier with, with out carrying a compass and map as a bacup to my gps. I love the gps over a compass but would never ever not have a compass and map as a backup. If the gps dies or breaks I like having a backup.

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#105139 - 11/25/08 01:30 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Bmach]
gorge_medic Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 131
Loc: Kentucky
I've never really used a GPS, and my main backpacking/hiking area isn't very conducive to a GPS (the Red River Gorge...LOTS of trees and LOTS of rock formations to bounce a signal around). I use a topo map and compass and don't really have any problems knowing where I am; however, knowing that you're likely to be mistaken on your EXACT location by a few meters/yards is a given. I don't really need to know precisely how many meters from the trailhead I am, so the benefits of a GPS doesn't outweigh the limitations. Like a previous poster, I do SAR as well and there is a big push to rely on compass as a primary means of navigation, using GPS as a backup or possibly to mark the exact locations of clues or a victim location.

I hate the fact that I see lots of folks walk into the woods without a map, relying only on their GPS to get them to where they want to go. Being able to "read" a topo map is just a necessity, IMO, and being limited to a GPS and your next waypoint would be just disappointing to me. Hell, most of the really breathtaking spots in the Red are off the trail. How would you know that they're even there?

I guess that, like with any other gear, what you carry should be the best tools for the job at hand and that meet your comfort level. If you need the precision, go GPS. If you can get by with a map and compass and some navigaiton skills, do that instead. If you need both features, carry both.

Just make sure you can read a d*^% map <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#105140 - 11/26/08 06:16 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: gorge_medic]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
george

SOme interesting thoughts there.

I always assumed that most hikers use a topo map like a highway may. That is - if they stay on the trail, they should be able to figure where on the trail they are. Do to the extreme difference between topo contours and actually being there, its a tough call to say that a topo will help you find more places than you would find by wandering around and seeing close up in real time. Since I am rarely ever on a trail, a topo has little to offer me. If I can SEE the canyon, mtn etc, then I don't need a topo to know its there, and if I'm wandering around on a mountain I frankly could care less where I am, as long as I can find my truck when its time to go home, and I'll travel cross country following a GPS directional arrow because it has never failed me yet, whereas other systems have.

I think if I look at a map at home, it has little value to me on the trail, and often the maps are wrong and just confuse you. I trust my GPS. I mean GPS systems are accurate and reliable enough to be incorporated into missles and to deliver payload with extreme accuracy. The technology is not in its infancy. Do you worry about your wrist watch failing?
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#105141 - 11/27/08 08:55 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Quote:

I think if I look at a map at home, it has little value to me on the trail, and often the maps are wrong and just confuse you. I trust my GPS. I mean GPS systems are accurate and reliable enough to be incorporated into missles and to deliver payload with extreme accuracy. The technology is not in its infancy. Do you worry about your wrist watch failing?
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />


I have to stongly disagree on this one Jim. I've learned to see the contours on a map better than a picture could hope to present them. Granted, I've used them for many years as a forward observer and supporting arms coordinator in the Marine Corps, as well as using those same contours when travelling in the snow-covered mountains while a NOLS instructor. But to me, the map is generally more convenient than GPS.

As for reliability, I've dealt with GPS failures on a handful of occasions, either because we were in areas where GPS satellites were not readily accessible like northern Norway, in deep valleys (Absaroka range), or due to heavy tree cover (southeastern Tennessee). GPS is generally reliable, but beyond losing a map, the map has never failed me.

Those GPS guided systems? They're all high in the sky with NO intervening terrain or canopy to disrupt them. For ground dwellers, there really is a "what it?" factor.

I believe if hikers learned map reading BEFORE using GPS (and resorting to cell phones), "disaster" experiences would be fewer. But it has also been my experience that those who first learn to use GPS NEVER really learn to read a map.
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#105142 - 11/27/08 01:46 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Bearpaw]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1813
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I'm with Bearpaw on this one. If I had to choose one way to navigate, I would always choose a map and compass. Fortunately, I don't have to choose. I will always have a map and compass with me; I will occasionally take a GPS along although I seldom feel the need for it. I may be a Luddite but I don't think so. I am just a lot more comfortable with a map than I am with a GPS.

I learned to use a map and compass a long time ago as a working forester and as a working soldier and am a pretty fair hand at finding my way around with a map. Do I (did I) get lost? Sure, but so far I have always been able to get unlost by myself.

When I was a faculty member in forestry at Colorado State University, I used to teach map and compass techniques at our forestry summer camp; in later years the course started including use of GPS. This was when the average GPS unit was about the size of a brick and they were still dithering the satellite signal as a security measure.

We used to have teams of students regularly get lost during field exercises. They were mostly able to find their way home once they thought things over. The worst a group got lost was a group that had a GPS unit; the person carrying it fell into a creek while holding it and the thing quit. While the students had a map and several compasses, none of them were able to find their way back to the camp headquarters. They finally crossed a road with some traffic and hitched a ride back to camp around midnight; we had just started the search process and were able to call it off. The map they had was wet but still usable. Frankly, I don't think they would have gotten lost if they had been primarily relying on the map rather than the GPS.
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#105143 - 11/28/08 05:39 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Pika]
HikerMatt Offline
member

Registered: 09/20/08
Posts: 21
Loc: Michigan
This is an interesting discussion. Myself, I usually grab a trail map of the area I am hiking on, and when I want to venture off trail, I mark where I was with my GPS so incase I can't find my way back to the trail myself, I will find a clearing (or some area) where the GPS can get signal and get the general direction of the trail and then use my compass to find my way back. Sometimes I will recheck my progress on the GPS.

I think that relying completely on one or the other is down to personal preference, I just can't trust my map reading skills enough to not have a backup plan. Normally, I like to just use a general heading when I leave the trail, such as, I left heading east, so the way back to the trail is west.

I haven't much experience hiking outside of Michigan, but even in pretty dense forest, I have not had a problem getting a GPS signal, although it may take an increased time to get one.
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#105144 - 11/28/08 06:07 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Pika]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Pika
I think down where you live, a map should be adequate without a compass. Territory like where you live is big and open with weird identifiable landscape. I also feel completely at home in the high sierra without a compass and generally without a map. BUT here in the Cascades the plant life is dense and the terrain is rolling with no identifiable landmarks unless you can see one of our mountain peaks.

If I was lost out here in the forest I would simply head south and I would cross the highway sooner or later and hitch home. I generally don't need a compass to know which way is south.

But I digress. I normally carry nothing so the GPS is sort of a backup to my wilderness skills. I have spent a lifetime paying attention to my surroundings and finding my way home like Daniel Boone would. Sometimes I have a might bit of problem getting the last tenth of a mile to my camp of truck.

Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with carrying a map and compass and some places it just would be stupid not to, but they are not easy to use and to suggest that all beginners should have them sort of implies that they know how to use them. When Longhair and I got lost trying to get back to my truck, the map was absolutely worthless due to circumstances, limited visibility in fog, etc, BUT we were near the tree line and got good signals. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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#105145 - 11/28/08 07:18 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
Heber Offline
member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 245
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
That's exactly my problem here in the Ozarks. In summer you can't see landmarks to orient yourself like you can in the desert. Of course in the winter it's another story. Once the leaves have fallen a map and compass work great because all the trees lose their leaves (as opposed the the pacific northwest where you mostly have evergreens). So that's why I've been thinking about a GPS. My Daniel Boone skills aren't anywhere near as good as Jim's I guess. I've been pretty bewildered sometimes.

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#105146 - 11/30/08 08:01 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Bearpaw]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Quote:
I believe if hikers learned map reading BEFORE using GPS (and resorting to cell phones), "disaster" experiences would be fewer. But it has also been my experience that those who first learn to use GPS NEVER really learn to read a map.


I agree. Learning to use a map and compass first should be a given. I remember being taught basic map and compass in the scouts. I enjoy using topo maps to get a feel for the area I'm planning to visit. I did go with a GPS and map and compass on the last trip to the Ponca wilderness area in Ark. and found the Map and Compass (and mostly the map) gave me most of the information I needed. The GPS was useful in verifing the elevation and location. The GPS (etrex) had to catch up when we didn't have canopy cover. On the point that Jim was making on just wandering around an area (like slot canyons or whatever), I can see where a GPS can get you back from getting yourself lost. But If the unit fails for any reason then you could be in trouble. I won't go anywhere without a map. I even use a map when hiking a local trail route that is well marked. Not for the fact that I could get lost on a simple loop but I find it fun and skillful to know where I am all the time. Plus I can make notations on key points of interest.
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#105147 - 12/02/08 07:50 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: chaz]
rambler Offline
member

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 46
Never solely rely on anything electronic. It is not if they fail, but when they fail. Ever back up data on your computer? But, once hiking into a canyon near Prescott AZ, I soon lost the trail as dry run off paths looked like trails. Anyway when I got down into the canyon floor the GPS helped me figure out where I was. Next day as I started to hike out, I also followed a dry river bed and the trail was not visible. Suddenly I came upon a vertical wall of smooth rock, once a waterfall. I had to climb up out of the river and soon found the trail, but where on the map was I? Again I used the GPS and found that I had not yet gone off my map, so I knew I was okay as the trail was helping me complete a circle. Supposing I had not had a GPS, just my map and compass. Guess what? I would have been fine and able to locate my exact position. Why? Do you know how a steep vertical waterfall shows up on a contour map? When contour lines cross streams or rivers, they loop slightly uphill or upstream. Water runs downhill, right! So, as the line crosses the stream it shows which way is uphill or upstream. But, if a waterfall is there the line goes straight across showing a straight drop down. That is where I was. No GPS needed as long as I had the topo map! Without a compass one cannot walk in a straight line for very long. You will start to walk in a circle. Try it next time you are on a playground field, a soccer field, etc. Put on a blindfold and try walking in a straight line. Have someone sighted next to you to keep you from walking into danger. It won't work if there is traffic or other noise to help keep you oriented. You will soon start to curve off to start what would become a circle. In the woods without a blindfold, pick a compass course to follow, then put the compass away. In ten minutes time you will be way off course. That is why I never hike without a compass. Get off trail and you will walk in a circle without a compass. It has happened to me several times, once even on a small island in Maine, Roque, Is. Once at night when I was trying to stay on course, following stars and only occasionally checking my compass. I came upon fresh tracks in the snow and soon realized they were mine of only 20 minutes ago. It happened again when skiing, came upon my tracks again, and another time while hunting. Came upon the same road I had started on half an hour before. Never thought I was walking in a slow circle. Even while hiking the AT in NY, I had to use a compass to get myself back on the trail. Hike in the fall with leaves on the ground. It is easy to find yourself off the trail and without a compass you could soon be really lost. Be careful taking short cuts through the woods if you do not have a compass. The Army dropped off a guy in Alaska by chopper where there was only snow, no landmarks. They pointed him north, left him alone an hour or so. Guess what? He walked in a circle.


Edited by rambler (12/02/08 08:12 PM)

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#113595 - 03/31/09 07:17 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Bearpaw]
WasteLand Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/24/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Alabama, North Carolina, Afgha...
Originally Posted By Bearpaw
Except those were all infantry officers. When you're an artillery officer, who knows that a six-gun sheaf of fire will plaster 8 football fields with shrapnel, you stay pretty motivated to know where you are.

Most infantry captains simply turned to me and asked "Art'y, where the hell are we?" We didn't have to concentrate on moving 40 Marines (2d Lieutenant) or 160 (Captain), so I could keep very close tabs on where we actually were, using topographic features from the map, an occasional compass bearing and so forth.

Nowadays I much prefer a map for navigation. If the terrain in flat and heavily forested (NC coastal areas for instance) a compass is nice. If I'm with my wife, a GPS is occasionally nice to play with (since I don't carry one on solo trips). They all have a place.

I'm surprised no one hasw mentioned using the sun for a quick orientation. It's my best quick reference versus a compass.

My concern with GPS is mostly for those who don't have a decent foundation in basic orienteering who rely totally on GPS. I really do feel that those who wander into the backcountry ought to have at least very basic map skills.


Just wanted to throw out a Hey to another Arty guy. USMC Scout/Observer here!

I like to run with both a compass, map, and a GPS. Just depends on the mood or what kind of trip I want.


Edited by WasteLand (03/31/09 07:17 PM)

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#113618 - 03/31/09 11:55 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: WasteLand]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Semper Fi! Welcome aboard.
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#114783 - 04/21/09 03:44 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: billstephenson]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Bill,
If you have e-TDD (e-Trex Dissacociative Disorder) then you should get a Garmin Oregon or find one of the phased out Garmin Colorados like I have.

Easy to use, GREAT frikkin' reception/antenna!, and, my favorite, a 3-D map display if ya want it.

Eric
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#114784 - 04/21/09 03:54 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: rambler]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Yep! Rambler is correct. ANYTHING electronic can fail. That's why I carry Katadyn chlorine dioxide tabs to back up my electronic Steripen.

And that's why even the GPS manufacturers recommend carrying a map and compass.

MURPHY'S LAW - Anything that can go wrong WILL go wrong.

O'TOOLE'S COROLLARY - Murphy was an optimist.

Eric
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#114785 - 04/21/09 05:15 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: 300winmag]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I haven't had a chance to play with the new color touch screen GPSs yet but they do look like a big improvement over the eTrex models.

I mostly use my eMap in our houseboat when driving at night and unfamiliar areas of the lake. I have it hooked to an antenna and it gets great and fast reception.

You can get an eMap with memory and external antenna for around $125 on ebay now. I dunno what the Garmin Topo maps cost, but I think I paid around $100 for mine new.

Money is too tight for a new Garmin any time soon, but I will certainly look into them now. Who knows, a deal might fall into my lap smile

Bill

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#114802 - 04/22/09 02:27 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: billstephenson]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
"anything electronic can fail. I carry XXXX as a backup in case"

of course. you could just not carry the unreliable electronic junk smile

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#114803 - 04/22/09 06:07 AM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: phat]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 666
Loc: Upstate NY
Originally Posted By phat
"anything electronic can fail. I carry XXXX as a backup in case"

of course. you could just not carry the unreliable electronic junk smile



Accepting that gear can fail doesn't necessarily mean it isn't reliable. wink

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#114838 - 04/22/09 08:52 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
All,

The idea that "anything electronic can fail and therefore is unreliable" and therefore should not be used is a total load of horse feathers. mad

Your car has an electronic brain, do you not drive it to the trail head anyway? confused

Do you not own or use a cell phone because it MIGHT break? A compass can break too. Your shoelaces can break, etc, etc. crazy

So give me a break about GPS being unreliable. Yes sure maybe a nearby nuke might burn its circuits out - ha ha. Speaking of which, a gps IS reliable enough to deliver a nuke. wink

Geez anything CAN break. Its a popular misconception to single out electronics. The saving grace of a GPS is that the user CANNOT mess with the programs. blush

Jim thanks
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#114844 - 04/22/09 10:53 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
Geez anything CAN break. Its a popular misconception to single out electronics.

Jim thanks


People single out electronics because they provide a false sense of security to folks with little or no backcountry skills who then call for rescue.
_________________________
http://www.trailjournals.com/BearpawAT99/

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#114947 - 04/25/09 04:17 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Bearpaw]
Becks Offline
member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 18
Loc: Switzerland
Hi,
imo you need a bunch of devices for navigation. Depending on the situation I am using a compass, GPS or an altimeter. If you are just walking, a compass and a map are enough. If you are stuck in a white out, navigation with a GPS is more reliable than using a compass and helps you out of the situation. And if you are on the way up to a mountain, the altitude is a more precise way to predict where you are and if you should consider to turn around than any other method.

Alex

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#114966 - 04/25/09 11:47 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Bearpaw]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
bp
People single out electronics because they provide a false sense of security to folks with little or no backcountry skills who then call for rescue."
_________________________________________________________

but BP, what do they use to call for rescue? Electronics? not semaphore crazy

The problem is with an entire class of modern wussy campers who think they deserve to be rescued if they mess up doing something dangerous. mad whats up with that? confused SPOT and other such stuff should NEVER have been manufactured. The wasted public dollars trying to rescue people who were unprepared and ventured into the woods with the attitude that "oh well I can always press my rescue button, or call on my GPS cell phone in case I mess up or get lost". Its like people who speed because they have air bags in their BMWs.

Adventure does not include a film crew and a waiting ambulance. A GPS can help avoid being separated from your camp or truck better than any other single navigation item, or collection of them. wink
Jim crazy


Edited by Jimshaw (04/25/09 11:48 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#115020 - 04/26/09 11:38 PM Re: compass vs GPS [Re: Jimshaw]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
bp
People single out electronics because they provide a false sense of security to folks with little or no backcountry skills who then call for rescue."
_________________________________________________________

but BP, what do they use to call for rescue? Electronics? not semaphore crazy

The problem is with an entire class of modern wussy campers who think they deserve to be rescued if they mess up doing something dangerous. mad whats up with that? confused SPOT and other such stuff should NEVER have been manufactured. The wasted public dollars trying to rescue people who were unprepared and ventured into the woods with the attitude that "oh well I can always press my rescue button, or call on my GPS cell phone in case I mess up or get lost". Its like people who speed because they have air bags in their BMWs.

Adventure does not include a film crew and a waiting ambulance. A GPS can help avoid being separated from your camp or truck better than any other single navigation item, or collection of them. wink
Jim crazy


Jim, spoken like a true Darwinian. crazy
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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