using GPS units for not getting lost in the scrub

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: using GPS units for not getting lost in the scrub
From: Vicki Powys <>
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 16:08:59 +1000
Marlene wrote:

> The only thing worse than relying solely on a GPS would be to wander off at
> Eulo bore on an overcast day and leave both the compass and GPS in
> camp.....a 5 minute wander turned into a 3 hour journey and I still haven't
> seen Halls Babblers.

Yes Marlene, that is exactly the sort of situation I had in mind, to be
wandering in habitat where there are no landmarks, and in combination with
overcast conditions so that when you turn around three times to check out a
bird you totally lose the plot.  I have a reasonable sense of direction,
except in that type of habitat!

> Would that be the Magellan 310?

My unit is a Magellan 300.  Someone has referred to "Waypoints".  The
Magellan uses "Landmarks".  It works well enough in combination with a
compass, (and thanks to those reassuring folk who also said they use a
compass.)  I take a reading and make the home base (or car) a "Landmark",
head off, take another reading, then select "Go To" and the original home
base "landmark".  The GPS unit will then give me the exact compass bearing I
need to take.  I make sure my compass is nowhere near the GPS unit or its
magnetism is upset.  Then I dial in the bearing (1 - 360 degrees) relative
to north, and head off.  My Silva 15 T Ranger compass is a beaut and I've
been able to line up every mountain peak in Capertee Valley to the enth
degree of accuracy, in this way.  But the thought of trying this system
"blind" out the back of Eulo Bore is still a touch worrying.  One thing I
have done is to apply lots of silver reflective tape to my (black) GPS unit.
It is all too easy to put it on the ground then completely lose sight of it
while waiting for a reading when a bird is calling.    With the GPS unit, I
also carry my own waterproof card version of how to use the darned thing!
(In case I lose my memory!)

If I did lose the GPS unit, I'm still not sure how a compass would help me
find my car in Eulo Bore type of country?  If I'd turned in circles three
times?  Then what?  I might know where north was, but not where my car was?

Vicki Powys

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