learning to use a GPS unit
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Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
learning to use a GPS unit on 04/29/2011 15:03:49 MDT Print View

Hey all
I recently was given a GPS unit as a gift. I am really excited to get into the back country and use it. I have played with it and gotten the basics down. But was wondering if you all had any resources or tips on how to learn to use a GPS unit and all its features. Any help would be awesome!

Thanks
Dan

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: learning to use a GPS unit on 04/29/2011 15:04:52 MDT Print View

Which one did you get?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: learning to use a GPS unit on 04/29/2011 15:08:24 MDT Print View

As Ken just suggested, all GPS receivers are a little different. It is nice to first understand the science of what is going on, where the satellites are, and the basics of what the receiver is trying to do. Then with a lot of practice, you will find how your particular model works best. I thought a GPS class for almost 15 years.

--B.G.--

M W
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Using a GPS with Paper Maps on 04/29/2011 15:24:53 MDT Print View

I found this publication by Garmin. It's a downloadable pdf:

http://www.weatherconnection.com/manuals/UsingaGarminGPSwithPaperLandMaps_Manual.pdf

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
which one on 04/29/2011 16:06:02 MDT Print View

Sorry forgot to say that haha. its a Delorme earthmate PN-40

Edwin Morse
(slosteppin) - F
learning to use a GPS unit - my thoughts on 04/29/2011 18:29:18 MDT Print View

I've been using the PN-40 since it was first available. I have a few suggestions, then some thoughts on learning.
First, I prefer to use Lithium batteries which last much longer. I always carry two extra sets of batteries. Then go to the DeLorme website and buy the map subscription for $29.95 per year. The US topo map disks that come with the PN-40 are good for many things. I also download USGS topos and color aerial images for hiking is new areas. While you are at the website join the forums - there are some very knowledgeable people with answers to nearly any question. Register your PN-40 so you will have the warrenty, assuming it is new. Once registered you will also get notices about firmware updates.

Read the manual to get an idea of what the PN-40 can do. Now you should have some thoughts on how you want to use it. I don't think most manuals are much good for learning how to do what you want. The PN-40 is the seventh handheld GPS I've owned, the first five were Garmins.
Go outdoors and walk around close to home while practicing the things you want to do. Some people like geocaching(sp). Some hikers just turn on their unit whan they want an exact position. I keep my GPS turned on all the time I'm hiking. I want to know how far I hike each day. I set the distance back to zero each morning. I mark the location where I park my vehicle. I mark the location where I camp each night. Then I write comments in my notebook about the campsite.

The only way to learn to use a GPS is to practice. All GPS receivers do the same thing. The programming (bells and whistles) are different with each make and model.

The menues are a little different with each screen. When I first got my unit I made a list of what was on the menue from each screen.

Just my thoughts,
Slosteppin Ed

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: learning to use a GPS unit - my thoughts on 04/29/2011 19:04:26 MDT Print View

"All GPS receivers do the same thing."

That's quite an over-generalization.

--B.G.--

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Re: learning to use a GPS unit - my thoughts on 04/29/2011 19:20:27 MDT Print View

"All GPS receivers do the same thing."

That's quite an over-generalization.

True. Mine does not have maps.

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
thanks on 04/30/2011 02:36:21 MDT Print View

Ediwn, thanks for the great advice. What do you think of the PN-40? I have been playing with it a bit around my house. I have the basics figured out. Still havent tried to manually place coordinates into it, and I cant figure out the computer program it comes with for the life of me.
Is it possible to plot routes so they show up on the map and then follow the route?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: thanks on 04/30/2011 15:24:53 MDT Print View

Dan, a route is a whole collection of waypoints. Often routes are saved as one file, but inside the file there is a bunch of individual waypoints, each with their own coordinates. Many handheld GPS receivers have an upper limit on the number of waypoints that can be stored, so it is easier when your route is very coarse.

--B.G.--