not getting lost in the scrub, despite using a GPS

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: not getting lost in the scrub, despite using a GPS
From: Vicki Powys <>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 15:10:42 +1000
Such a lot of interesting and helpful postings on how not to get lost in the
scrub, thank you all!  (The satellite mobile phone link to helicopter backup
sounds the best bet of all, thanks Tony!)  I guess I am already doing most
of those things that people advise.  Except that I do tend to park right out
of sight and earshot of any main roads, and in the shade, then wander off
randomly tape-recording birdsong.  (I distrust highway traffic more than I
distrust my own common sense at direction-finding, and traffic noise is no
good if you want to record birdsong.)  I did once think of inventing a
remote-operated gadget that would automatically beep the car horn from, say,
within half to 1 km distant (any good gadget-inventors out there?)

The thing that so annoys me with the GPS unit is that the instructions
misleadingly say "accurate to within a few metres" when this is patently
untrue, at least with my Magellan 300 model.  I need to be at least 200
metres from my target before my GPS unit becomes reliable in its direction
advice.  In fact the further away I am from the target, the more accurate
the direction information becomes.  This is no use at all if I'm lost and I
don't know where my target is, and if I am already fairly close to it (and
hemmed in by mallee-mulga in featureless country and it's overcast too).

Just now I've tried the GPS unit at 150 metres from my house, and was given
the "bum steer" twice, once at 90 degrees off line, the next time at 180
degrees off line!!  As soon as I moved further away, and took another
reading, the GPS gave an accurate direction.  But that indecision of the GPS
is no good to me if I'm lost in the mulga just 100 metres from camp.

Do other people have more accuracy with their GPS units at shorter ranges?

Vicki Powys

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