Author Topic: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!  (Read 3915 times)

jontea

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Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« on: 12:01:36, 09/06/16 »
Just so we are clear, I have a GPS and use it. But my main nav tool is map and compass, I use my GPS to confirm position, and track data.

So I am Pro GPS, but this article, does bring up some interesting points.

I think the interesting question that was mentioned was; how much pleasure and satisfaction do we get from map reading to a position, as opposed to following a GPS heading ?

Your thoughts ?

http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2016/06/08/is-using-your-gps-gadget-on-the-mountains-a-threat-to-your-life
« Last Edit: 14:43:59, 09/06/16 by jontea »
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sussamb

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #1 on: 13:27:10, 09/06/16 »
Same old story I'm afraid.  It assumes those who use GPS either don't know how to use them or have poor nav skills.  No difference to those who head out with map not knowing how to use it and simply follow way markers until something goes wrong.

Think all of us here who use GPS also know how to navigate and won't, as the article implies, blindly follow it  O0
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ninthace

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #2 on: 13:36:23, 09/06/16 »
I read this article last night and thought of publishing a link to it but decided it was poorly argued and would just reignite the map & compass versus GPS debate so I did not bother. But since you bring it up....


I use GPS, map and compass when I walk. My primary tool is the GPS and I have a phone with Viewranger on it as a back up. I plan my walks before I go. I carry spare batteries for my GPS. I also carry a printed map of my intended route and I have the OS map for the area I am in.  I suspect I am not alone in this - most people will make similar arrangements.  Using GPS, I still know where I am in the landscape and I use it confirm I am on the right route and to locate myself on that route. I can also set my GPS to warn me if I stray to far from my intended route. None of this detracts from the pleasure of my walk but rather adds to it as I am not tied up in navigating to the same extent and can still use the map to identify or visit features of interest on my way.  Moreover,  I can still deviate from my path if I wish but with more confidence.


To suggest that people will follow an arrow on a GPS wherever it takes them shows little faith in common sense and ignores the way a modern GPS is used. Most GPS units have mapping on them and can be set up to show the track or route to follow. If you plot a route that goes over a cliff and then blindly follow it then that is Darwin in action!


Using map and compass is a dark art for many people. I suspect a similar argument could be advanced saying that they too are a threat to life as one can just as easily get lost using them, especially in bad weather when more skill is required. I would agree that more people are going out into the hills relying solely on a smart phone and getting caught out.  That is an argument for education, not for condemning the equipment used.


I agree there is an arcane pleasure in using a map and compass but there is too in learning to use a GPS.


So my opinion is that electronics, maps and compasses are not mutually exclusive so I am neither  pro or anti GPS. They are all tools to help us enjoy the countryside, I can and do use all of them. 
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vizzavona

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #3 on: 14:28:19, 09/06/16 »
Preparation before you go maybe.
Bring up the old Memory Map onto the screen and then upload waypoints/route into the device....print out the map with waypoints marked....also take both  O.S. map for the area to visit and have a compass.  :)

jontea

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #4 on: 14:40:07, 09/06/16 »
I didn't really want to bring the map versus GPS debate up from a safety point of view, although the thread does suggest folk throwing themselves off cliff edges ::)

I think the interesting question that was mentioned was; how much pleasure and satisfaction do we get from map reading to a position, as opposed to following a GPS heading ?

Do we see as much of our surroundings using a GPS as a map ?

The article would imply we don't.  :-\
Walking is the world’s oldest exercise and today’s modern medicine.

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sussamb

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #5 on: 14:48:45, 09/06/16 »
Like ninthace, I reckon I see more as my head isn't so often involved in map work  ;)
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ninthace

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #6 on: 15:53:02, 09/06/16 »
Like ninthace, I reckon I see more as my head isn't so often involved in map work  ;)


That is certainly true. My gps beeps as I pass waypoints and warns me if I am too far off my intended track so as long as it beeps and doesn't warble I can just keep walking and admiring the view.  Only look at it if I need to make a decision or check progress. Happy days!  O0
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Andies

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #7 on: 17:09:03, 09/06/16 »
Before the time of GPS you had no choice. I being of a certain age used to rely on OS map and compass, and still carry these should the GPS fail. Plus a separate printed out map of my intended route.

Whilst anybody could make a mistake whatever they use I'm a fan of GPS and I feel far more confident knowing exactly where I am rather than where I think I am. That assumes the GPS is correct  :D



sussamb

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #8 on: 17:29:34, 09/06/16 »
That assumes the GPS is correct  :D

Which is why you should still be able to read a map, whether a paper or electronic one, so you know if somehow it's wrong  O0
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Andies

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #9 on: 17:38:45, 09/06/16 »
Which is why you should still be able to read a map, whether a paper or electronic one, so you know if somehow it's wrong  O0

I have never had a GPS problem to date, and that might be the risk when/if that happens as I and I suspect others have become increasingly trusting thereof.

It's also many years since I've used a compass so perhaps I should have a refresher when next out  :)

ninthace

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #10 on: 17:52:22, 09/06/16 »
TBH I have never found my GPS to be far out whereas I have found OS maps to be "wrong".  For example, I once nearly followed the green dashed line of a PROW drawn straight into a steep sided ravine and it wasn't a map reading error (I checked with the GPS).  >:(

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Dovegirl

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #11 on: 21:54:20, 09/06/16 »
Do we see as much of our surroundings using a GPS as a map ?

I recently started using Viewranger and I've found that by plotting my route I can take in the scenery more as I'm not so occupied with navigation.  I have more confidence too in attempting routes that might be tricky to navigate. But I plan my walks with a paper map, which I take with me, and I'm very much aware of how the walk relates to the wider context of the landscape.

dittzzy

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #12 on: 22:02:09, 09/06/16 »
Preparation before you go maybe.
Bring up the old Memory Map onto the screen and then upload waypoints/route into the device....print out the map with waypoints marked....also take both  O.S. map for the area to visit and have a compass.  :)

Ditto - and although I have a compass - I have never needed to use it, cos I can work out which way I am pointing by checking the surrounding landmarks against the map I've printed out.  (Admittedly I'm a fairweather walker and have always been able to see around me.)  I like to follow my route on the map, and use the GPS to confirm that I've gone the wrong way! 

keithie

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #13 on: 22:09:07, 09/06/16 »



Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!

..if it went wrong and you relied on it without any back up then it could be!


also you might drop it and trip over it and hurt yourself ...so double yes

Kukkudrill

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Re: Is using a GPS a threat to your life!!!
« Reply #14 on: 22:26:38, 09/06/16 »
On a recent walk the trail I was following began to diverge sharply from my GPS route. I assumed I had taken a wrong turning and left the trail, cutting across rough ground to reach the path indicated by the GPS. When I got there I found there was no path. Then I realised that the trail I had been following was the right one and the GPS route was simply a straight line between two waypoints that disregarded the curvature of the trail between those waypoints. My GPS (not the unit itself, but the route I had downloaded) was wrong. But you can't follow a GPS blindly, any more than you can follow a map blindly.


On the same walk the day after, I had to make a diversion from the route I was following because of a collapsed bridge. The diversion was a couple of miles long and I found that my GPS with its tiny screen was all but useless for plotting a route over that distance. I had to navigate by map, and I enjoyed it.


I agree that navigating by GPS frees you up to enjoy the scenery more. But it does take something away too. When you navigate by map you have more of a sense of where you are in relation to your wider surroundings. You can look at a distant hill or river and identify it from the map, and you can say "my route took me within 2 miles west of x". You can't do that with a GPS. Perhaps it's not an issue if you're on familiar territory, but it does emerge when you're walking somewhere new.


Then again, I've been on hills in cloud and just carried on walking thanks to my GPS, whereas I would certainly have found navigating by map harder and I might easily have gone astray. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.
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