Monday, November 02, 2009

It Is GPS Day At Gadling


In recent weeks we've had a string of "theme days" over at Gadling.com, the travel blog that I write for in addition to this one. Today's theme is GPS+Travel, which seems like a natural fit. These days, many of us have GPS devices in our cars, and they help us to safely and efficiently navigate our way around our home towns as well as our destinations when we travel.

But as many of you know, there is a huge difference between the GPS systems we keep in our cars and the ones that we put in our backpacks when we head out onto a trail. That is essentially the topic of my contribution today at Gadling, where I share some thoughts on the limitations of hand held GPS devices in the backcountry, where there is no such thing as "turn-by-turn" navigation and strict adherence to the GPS unit can get you into very big trouble.

In the article, I tried to stress the importance of learning how to use a map and compass to navigate, and not becoming too reliant on your GPS device. While the high tech navigational units can be very accurate and extremely helpful, the fact that it needs fresh batteries on a regular basis or may not be able to pick up a signal with the overhead satellites, can limit its functionality in the field at times.

Many people are also surprised to learn that when they get out on the trail, their hand held device doesn't give them precise, "turn-by-turn" directions to their intended campsite or that scenic overlook they want to hike to. They still need some essential back country navigational skills to get from Point A to Point B, and far too many people are lacking in those skills are are too trusting of the GPS, which can lead to problems.

You can read more of my thoughts on the subject by clicking here.