GPS for birders

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: GPS for birders
From: "Chris Corben" <>
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 00:40:23 -0600
Alan wrote:

This is why those of us who can neither afford GPS nor use them in the environment in which they operate away from the tracks head down creek lines and up ridge lines.

Half your luck! Many places I've worked it's completely out of the question to walk along creek lines, in either direction.

if you do not immediately get the jist of this
draw yourself a little map with creeks and ridges on it and go for a
theroetical wander. If you try the inverse you will see your chance of
getting lost increase greatly at every unclear junction.

Which is why it helps to get started down the right ridge!

There have been a number of jobs where I've been able to work because of GPS where it simply wouldn't have been sane without it. For example, chasing bats at night for radio-tracking, when it's terribly easy to lose your way because you are constantly getting disoriented by the concentration necessary to follow the bat. Just try it on a cloudy night in remote mallee, mulga or the deserts of eastern Arizona!

The point is that GPS is an enabling tool which lets you do things which you couldn't otherwise carry out. But you need to know the limits of the technology to be able to use it to best advantage, or in some cases, with safety. I have seen people using it to map trees over small areas, and I think that's a good example of where there was too much confidence in the accuracy obtainable. But once you cover a bit of distance, a hundred metre error is pretty trivial.

Cheers, Chris.

Chris Corben


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