GPS for birders

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: GPS for birders
From: Michael Tarburton <>
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006 18:01:25 +1100
G'day to those interested in GPS usage

Chris Corben gave some advice in warning GPS users about their stated accuracy. So I have taken that advice and taken 11 readings for an easily repeated spot in our back yard at different times of day and night. Between these I have gone to two sites several hundred metres and several kilometres away and come back to check the readings out.

Standing on the same spot the reading never varies more than one point either way from the original. Whatever the reading is it will change one point by my moving two steps in each of the four cardinal points. Quite often one step changes the reading by one point. I do not claim to be an expert on this but to me putting these two observations together means I have an accuracy of + or - 2m. I reckon I could find a birds nest with this accuracy. In fact both the distant points I have visited are Tawny Frogmouth nests and each time I visit them I get the same reading or within 1 digit.

Now I know it was popular opinion (& probably the truth) that Garmin did pull away from Magellan for some years. However, from what I have seen and tried to outline here the Magellan explorist XL has now bridged that gap.

I cannot cease from being amazed at the speed it finds satellites and changes speed or direction very soon after the change has occurred in reality. It even reports my walking speed and direction inside the house. So I think it will be very good for locating my cave entrances that swiftlet colonies occupy on Cape York, when I go there next month.

Thanks Chris and Colin for your comments on this issue for these things are not the answer to everything and I am sure I still l have something to learn from others.

Mike Tarburton


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