compass use

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valleyforge.1777

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Joined
Oct 23, 2021
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5
Location
Greeley PA
Our forefathers, the trappers, the pioneers, the exporers, did not use GPS units. Not because they thoguht GPS units to be inferior, but because they did not have them, obviously. They also did not ride in trucks or fly in planes or have air-conditioned homes. Again, not because it would have made them weak and unmanly. I carry topo maps and compass in my pack whenever I am in the woods. But I never get them out unless I am looking for a specific trail that I know is marked on the topo (most of the trails I use are not marked on the maps). I carry a Garmin GPS unit and look at it often wile moving through the woods, even if I am on a trail to know about where I am, if my departure point from the trail is coming up, etc. And, of course the GPS keeps track of my routes and helps me to get directly to certain places. It really is a better resource than using a compass. Maps still have their place for various reasons including getting to see a wider area, being sometimes better able to identify land features that are of potential interest, etc. And of course if the GPS stops working you can get the compass out of your pack and use it and the map to get to where you are going, but not because that is the superior mode of navigating. With today's downloadable maps, color screens, multi-receivers that pick up the GPS, Russian GLONASS, European Galileo and integrate the info from those systems the GPS units for consumer use are pretty amazingly accurate. Older, less expensive models are not as good, but like anything else you get what you pay for.

Oh, and for terrain association, yeah. I guess that I don't really know how to do it. When I am in the woods and want to know where I am, I look around and 99% of the time here's what I see: lots of trees in front of me, lots of trees to my left, lots of trees to my right, lots of tress behind me. Look on the topo map now and what I see is 50 square miles of forested terrain. Oh great, now I know exactly where I am: in the woods somewhere. Like I said, maybe I'm just doing it wrong.
 
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yobuck

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Aug 23, 2008
Messages
1,859
Location
east central fl. /n.c. pa.
Our forefathers, the trappers, the pioneers, the exporers, did not use GPS units. Not because they thoguht GPS units to be inferior, but because they did not have them, obviously. They also did not ride in trucks or fly in planes or have air-conditioned homes. Again, not because it would have made them weak and unmanly. I carry topo maps and compass in my pack whenever I am in the woods. But I never get them out unless I am looking for a specific trail that I know is marked on the topo (most of the trails I use are not marked on the maps). I carry a Garmin GPS unit and look at it often wile moving through the woods, even if I am on a trail to know about where I am, if my departure point from the trail is coming up, etc. And, of course the GPS keeps track of my routes and helps me to get directly to certain places. It really is a better resource than using a compass. Maps still have their place for various reasons including getting to see a wider area, being sometimes better able to identify land features that are of potential interest, etc. And of course if the GPS stops working you can get the compass out of your pack and use it and the map to get to where you are going, but not because that is the superior mode of navigating. With today's downloadable maps, color screens, multi-receivers that pick up the GPS, Russian GLONASS, European Galileo and integrate the info from those systems the GPS units for consumer use are pretty amazingly accurate. Older, less expensive models are not as good, but like anything else you get what you pay for.

Oh, and for terrain association, yeah. I guess that I don't really know how to do it. When I am in the woods and want to know where I am, I look around and 99% of the time here's what I see: lots of trees in front of me, lots of trees to my left, lots of trees to my right, lots of tress behind me. Look on the topo map now and what I see is 50 square miles of forested terrain. Oh great, now I know exactly where I am: in the woods somewhere. Like I said, maybe I'm just doing it wrong.
Well just remember that it could be worse.
All some people see is water water everywhere.
And they also have wind and current to deal with.
There is little doubt that modern electronics have changed the world many of us live in.
 
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valleyforge.1777

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Joined
Oct 23, 2021
Messages
5
Location
Greeley PA
I am going to back off a little bit on what I said above.
Turns out that the Garmin GPSMAP 66i device with built in InReach features only has a single receiver for GPS and does NOT include the other (Russian, European, Japanese) systems. That forces the buyer to make a compromise to get the InReach type features. My 66sr has the Russian GLONASS, American GPS, and European Galileo, and the newer ones also include the Japanese QZSS. But that specific model, the 66sr is their only one in the GPSMAP line that includes those multi-system receivers and it does NOT include the InReach. I have used the Garmin GPS units for 25 years and I can say that having the multi-system receivers is a HUGE advantage for accuracy. Not wanting to get political about the Russians, and word has it they have let their GLONASS system age-out a bit, but their system added to our GPS gives a very accurate pinpointing of location. The European system is not fully deployed but already also adds a lot to accuracy on a GPS.
Our forefathers did amazing things with primitive maps. You can, apparently, walk (and paddle) from St. Louis to the Pacific coast without a GPS device, but Lewis and Clark would have used GPS if it had been invented (Little known fact, they actually started in Pittsburgh, PA, not St. Louis)
 
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VICTORNTN

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Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Knoxville, TN
Having been a scout, (but never an Eagle scout) I have been interested in maps and compasses since the early 1960s. I still have my second compass. The first bit the dust.

I agree with a lot of the posts here. If I'm going to be away from my truck, I'll have a map, compass and my GPS with me in the pack.
 
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