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Author: lakdasun (36 Posts)
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|Leaving technical descriptions aside it’s a little battery powered gadget that can find out exactly where you are (in terms of longitude and attitude). Most devices now days can continuously record a series of points, effectively “memorizing” the path you walk. Most devices today can also calculate total distance traveled, speed, and trip time and can also take you back on a recorded trail to the origin.
GPS is a free service. You only have to pay for the receiver which you will carry around.
Who use GPS devices?
from militaries, aviators, sailors to hikers like us can find this technology unbelievably helpful.
We carry a GPS receiver when we hike because:
1. It tell us where exactly we are and can help find our way to a known point (where we already know the co-ordinates) or can take us back on a track we have recorded. This gives you a great confidence in venturing in to unknown terrain since you are sure of finding your way back
2. It also provide us trip information such as Distance traveled, travel time, elevation etc, which are really useful in making decisions during a hike, andmany other interesting information such as the average speed, top speed, sunrise sunset times at a given location etc
3. It help me to record trails we travel and record points of interest so that we can share our experience accurately and consistently with other people (That’s exactly what we do in Our Trail Guides)
What to look for in a GPS receiver
It depends on what you want to use it for. If you want to use it as a street navigator you will need features such as map support. But if you only intend to use it for hiking (like us) the most basic GPS receiver will be more than enough
What should you look in a GPS device for Hiking in Sri lanka
What I don’t necessarily need in my Hiking GPS
Garmin etrex H
What have we used?
Garmin etrex: This unit had all the features that is desired in a GPS for hiking except that it was little weak on the signal sensitivity. Under thick forest canopy and in deep valleys the satellite lock was frequently lost. This does not mean that this unit is completely useless for hiking in Sri Lanka. We used an etrex device for about 4 years with satisfactory results and we still own one of them.
Garmin etrex H: in 2007 Garmin upgraded its basic GPS receiver to a newer model called etrex H. apparently “H” stands for “High-sensitive”. We upgraded to this model about an year back and it really is high-sensitive. Look, feel, and features, all very much identical to the previous model but this unit have been able to keep consistent satellite lock under almost every circumstance. Thick forest canopy, deep valleys no longer an issue. Many users have suggested that the etrex H got lower battery life compared to the etrex, but we haven’t noticed any significant difference between the two.
A last but an important remark
Don’t forget your compass. High tech comes with the obvious possibility of sudden failure. So don’t leave your old but faithful compass behind. I haven’t taken it out in a trail for years but I always carry it with me for the comfort of having a reliable navigational aid even if my GPS becomes unavailable for some reason.