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Why it’s best not to rely on cellphone navigation when hiking


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Home Forums General Forums Philosophy & Technique Why it’s best not to rely on cellphone navigation when hiking

Viewing 25 posts - 176 through 200 (of 210 total)
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  • #3627892
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    Yeah, I can do that sometimes : )

    It gets sort of boring when the same arguments are repeated many times, but we can just not click on this thread

    #3627899
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    “…lack of understanding of GPS was the primary reason the Iraqi army performed so poorly in the 1st Gulf War.

    Primary reason? that’s a bit over the top, isn’t it? smartphones would have turned the Iraqi army into a sudden formidable force? and smartphones won the war for us? Gee, what can’t they do!

    I also bring my Garmin when I’ll be in the snow. However: again, the topic of the thread is, why it’s good not to RELY on smartphones and this is what Roger and others were responding to. And many established rescue people have been quoted as agreeing with this basic point–again, the topic of this thread. Second, people bring up extraordinary scenarios like the Alaska Wilderness Classic and the Iraq war to justify their points. But the vast, vast majority of backpackers aren’t going into these extraordinary scenarios. And sure, you can cry ‘be prepared!’ but when does this tip over into packing your fears?

    In planning a trip you should look at your itinerary and make a choice. do you bring snowshoes into the Sierra in the spring ‘just in case’? No. Do you need a cellphone? In most cases, for most people, no. I bring my Garmin if I need gps. That way I don’t have to buy a smartphone and pay for its plan year around. I choose to simplify. and not believe the hype about how I MUST have a smartphone with a hundred apps or die.

    #3627906
    Mike M
    BPL Member

    @mtwarden

    Locale: Montana

    people bring up extraordinary scenarios like the Alaska Wilderness Classic

     

    An extraordinary event for sure (as is the Bob Open!), but not extraordinary in the context of what & where many folks do on this forum- traveling across rugged, remote country on/off trail; this is exactly where I like to spend my time, wether hiking, backpacking or elk hunting.

    To a eschew a tool as handy as a smartphone with mapping & gps capability (and pretty darn good photography as well) out of hand because someone has fears of becoming addicted seems awfully silly in my book.

    I don’t see anyone advocating you MUST have a cell phone or die; simply stating they offer a lot of functionality in a small, lightweight package (in something that many folks already own).

    If someone elects to instead bring a gps and a nice camera in lieu of a smartphone, then more power to them.  I’m fully satisfied with the photos I get off of my old iPhone (certainly won’t be featured in Nat Geo anytime soon, but still occasionally get a pretty nice one) and fully satisfied w/ the gps and mapping capabilities of it as well.  The fact that it slips into a pocket and weighs 4.5 oz doesn’t hurt either.

    You have a system that works for you, I have a system that works for me.

     

     

    #3627913
    Jon Fong
    BPL Member

    @jonfong

    Locale: FLAT CAT GEAR

    PS – talking of the military, lack of understanding of GPS was the primary reason the Iraqi army performed so poorly in the 1st Gulf War.

    Just an FYI – At the time of Operation Desert Shield there were two GPS signals: Military & Civilain.  I am pretty sure the Civilian signals were scrambled.  My wife was out doing field research in the tropics and couldn’t get an accurate location.

    #3627925
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    @Geoff (and others)

    I challenge you, or anyone else, to find a single posting of mine in which I argued that GPS units are useless. Go on, find ONE.

    On the other hand, I have said several times that I own one and that I have used it a couple of times.

    My arguments have been that relying on a tiny screen can be dangerous when you are not on a well-marked track. I am saying that you should have a map and compass, and be able to use them. If you want to carry extra electronics, that’s fine, HYOH, but have the basics.

    They were assuming it was impossible to navigate through the featureless desert to the west of their defences, and were surprised when the US forces used GPS to emerge from the desert and hit them on their flank.
    You know, a good navigator with map and compass should be able to do this without a GPS. He might not hit the target smack on, but he should get close. Whether the US Army had good navigators is a separate question.

    Cheers

    #3627978
    Sam Farrington
    BPL Member

    @scfhome

    Locale: Chocorua NH, USA

    Ah, Roger, it seems we both like bushwhacking in the backcountry for days on end. Maybe that partly explains why we share a different take on borg-ware, to coin a phrase.

    #3627979
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    borg-ware
    Origin unknown, but I like it. :)

    Cheers

    #3628090
    Sam Farrington
    BPL Member

    @scfhome

    Locale: Chocorua NH, USA

    OK Roger, can’t leave you in the dark.
    From Startrek, the 2d TV series. The starship encounters a race of beings that were formerly humans, but were converted somehow to reconstructed humans, or Borgs. Probably short for ‘Cyborg’. Like zombies, when they find humans, they either eliminate them or convert them to existence in a hive mind, sort of like ants and bees. They have various gizmos implanted on them, the grossest being a metal mask implant over half their faces with a scary eye thing. This is what happens when humans become so addicted to their gizmos that they must get them implanted. Knee or hip replacement anyone? But don’t worry, climate change will destroy the planet long before the Borgs take over.

    #3628095
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Ah yes, now I remember.
    Hence the ‘borg collective’?

    Cheers

    #3628131
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    Another thing is…it’s not just the phone. It’s charging the damn phone. and then you start to organize your trip around charging the phone. Bleh. and the weight of the charger…

    #3628425
    Aaron
    BPL Member

    @aaronmcd

    Is this the spot for old people to complain about kids these days and their fancy new-fangled tech?

    Books and paper maps were new at one point as well. I can imagine all the old guys sitting around complaining about “kids today with their faces in books instead of telling stories verbally like back in MY day. We don’t NEED your stinkin’ books.”

    #3628433
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    “Is this the spot for old people to complain…..?”
    yes.

    Old me complains elsewhere but same thing.

    #3628451
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    Aaron, the way it works is…you need to respond to the arguments against relying on cell phones for navigation in the back country in order to be relevant. Poking fun at ‘old people’ is entirely irrelevant. It makes you look a bit dithery. Did you just wake up from a nap?

    Or start a new thread. Maybe write, a la Andy Rooney “you know what I hate? Old people…” and go from there.

    google Andy Rooney.

    #3634530
    Brian W
    BPL Member

    @empedocles

    I think, it boils down to skills. If you bring along a map and compass and don’t know how to use them, then you can get yourself into trouble. Likewise, if you bring along a GPS, and you don’t know how to use it, you can also find yourself in trouble.

    I do think using a GPS is easier to use than a map and compass. But the device can fail you. However, if you destroy your paper map in a rain storm, you’re also out of luck.

    Given that both can fail you, bring both. They now make devices that don’t weigh a lot. I received an inReach Mini over the holidays that I’m learning to use. I’m doing some testing tomorrow on a local hike.

    At he end of the day, learn to use them, and buy insurance in case you need to get rescued.

    #3634540
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    if you destroy your paper map in a rain storm, you’re also out of luck.
    If you photocopy your map onto waterproof paper, that does not happen.

    Cheers

    #3634549
    Brian W
    BPL Member

    @empedocles

    What waterproof paper do you recommend?  That’s a great idea. I’ve always used ziplock bags with mixed luck.

    #3634561
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    I use regular paper and a laserjet printer.  Ink is waterproof.

    I used to use inkjet but that smudges in water.  Not to mention the jets clog after a while if you don’t constantly use it.

    #3634562
    matthew k
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    Rite in the Rain paper works great in a laser printer (I haven’t tried it in an inkjet but it is supposed to be good too)

    #3634570
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    There are quite a few brands of waterproof paper on the market. The only thing is you must use a laser printer, NOT an inkjet printer. Ink jets wash away, even when they are called ‘LaserJet’ by HP Marketing.

    I have used Rite in the Rain myself.

    Cheers

    #3634571
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    waterproof paper is good, but it is heavy

    regular lightweight paper sustains a lot of wetness.  If you try to keep it dry but it gets a little wet it’s okay.  If you set it out in the rain, then smoosh it, it will eventually turn into fibers

    #3634574
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    and of course there’s always the trusty zip loc bag. I understand that you might need to refer to the map while it’s raining. Then, there’s the trusty rock overhang or Jeffrey Pine. But there’s always those scenarios in the desert or at altitude when none of this available.

    Or just hike in the Sierra, where this is almost never an issue. Best of luck, duckies!

    #3634583
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    I use ziploc bag.  You can read the map through it.  Occasionally a drop of water will get on paper regardless, like when I hike from one page to the next, I’ll have to pull that page out and put it in front

    #3634598
    rubmybelly!
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    “The only thing is you must use a laser printer, NOT an inkjet printer.”

    I’ve used waterproof paper from Rite in the Rain made for inkjet printers and have had no problems with the inks washing away in the rain (using an inkjet printer).

    “even when they are called ‘LaserJet’ by HP Marketing”

    HP Marketing calls them Laserjets because they’re laser printers, not ink jet printers (at least in the US).

     

    #3634604
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Hi Doug
    I stand corrected – current LaserJet printers are toner-based.

    There was a time (OK, many years ago) when it seemed that some LaserJets were ink-based, but maybe I got confused by DeskJets, OfficeJets, PhotoJets, and so on. No matter.

    Thanks for the correction.
    Cheers

    PS: A lot of vendors call the HP toner modules ‘ink cartridges’, which might account for some of my confusion.

    #3634611
    Geoff Caplan
    BPL Member

    @geoffcaplan

    Locale: Lake District, Cumbria

    For relatively small areas with complex topography that you visit regularly, it’s worth printing out a section of map centered on the area and getting it laminated with light film.

    You can do this at home with simple kit, or any print shop will do it for you.

    I’ve done this for Glencoe, Ben Nevis and the central Cairngorms, for example.

    100% waterproof and lasts for years.

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