REPOST DEC 2006 GPS Mapping for Birders RE: [Birding-Aus] GPS units

To: <>
Subject: REPOST DEC 2006 GPS Mapping for Birders RE: [Birding-Aus] GPS units
From: Simon Mustoe <>
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 23:28:53 +0000

This is a REPOST from Dec 2006. Please, don't waste your money buying a GPS 
these days. Get yourself a PDA with a built in GPS - it's also your phone and 
everything else. If you want simple mapping software, use Oziexplorer. Amongst 
other things, I run all the Australian 1:250,000 scale maps on mine.   
___Hi,I've refrained from commenting on this thread until now but since it 
overlaps with another recent thread about bird and animal lists, I will do so 
now. For my part, I use a Bluetooth GPS with my PDA. Although my Ipaq has a 
built-in GPS, this drains batteries quickly. I use a BT338 which boasts a 
battery life in excess of 9 hours continual use but 20+ hours on battery saver 
mode. It clips nearly to my binocular strap and from a warm start, gets a fix 
within a few seconds. More recently I have been toying with customised 
databases for storing wildlife records in the field. There is a fantastic piece 
of freeware called Cybertracker ( which was 
developed for South African game researchers using EU funding. You just 
download it and register. It is amazingly versatile, althoug somewhat difficult 
DATABASE I HAVE WRITTEN] They include various simple formats but the real 
benefits are in the customised databases. For instance, I have produced a 
database for recording seabird and cetacean sightings offshore, which includes 
a moving map and logs all information with time, date and position. It is 
amazingly easy and sychronises with my PC enabling me to download and produce 
maps and reports in minutes. I have done the same for dragonflies in Victoria 
and would like to do the same for birds in due course. It would take no more 
than a couple of hours for instance, to build a database that records data in 
BA Atlas format*. Since I travel everywhere with my PDA / phone, I can turn on 
and log data anytime any place. Previously I have depended on having a notebook 
available and then finding the time later to record data in electronic format. 
Ninety percent of what I collect never sees the light of day but that is 
changing thanks to taking the effort out of processing the written word**. 
*Incidentally, I have had no luck finding an electronic list of birds from BA 
including BA Atlas codes. BA have seemed reluctant to provide this, although it 
would make me much more likely to regularly submit records. An regularly 
updated list codes would be a useful resource. Similarly, I can't believe that 
there are not complete lists of species available for other groups. For 
instance, who keeps the current formal list of mammal taxonomy in Australia? 
And herps, butterflies etc.?**For those of you about to being a tawdry thread 
about the relative merits of notebooks vs PDAs, please don't. It doesn't 
replace a field notebook, it merely augments the process. My notebook is no 
longer full of lats and lons, enabling me to use the space for sketches and 
descriptions instead. I could continue on this topic for ages but won't. If 
anyone is interested in getting into this themselves, then I would strongly 
recommend starting with Cybertracker. You will however need to be familar with 
database design and patiently work through various help and FAQ files. This and 
a lot of trial and error and you will shortly be able to build a database that 
does anything you need. I have only just scraped the surface of its uses to 
now. For general mapping, Oziexplorer is cheap and incredibly versatile. You 
can georeference any map - easily done with reasonable accuracy by pinning 
locations in Google Earth (edit the properties of your pins and it gives you 
the lat and lon) and using these as your geo-reference points in Oziexplorer. 
Alternatively, you can scan and georeference any map whatsoever or simply buy 
the CSIRO 1:250000 maps on CD. For the PDA you need a $10 add-on for 
Oziexplorer and you have to save maps in a separate format before using them.   
______________> From: > To: ; 
; > Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2007 
11:24:46 +1030> Subject: [Birding-Aus] GPS units> > Hi Debbie/Peter etc> > 
Although it doesn't help the original question re GPS units, if you do have> 
one that runs like Peters on a blackberry or PDA, there is a great program> 
available on the net called GPS Tuner (V5).> > It allows you to load maps into 
it so even if you are out of phone range it> works. It comes with an other 
program called Map Calibrator that enables you> to calibrate any map in Jpeg 
format. These can be saved off the net as> pictures.> > Look around as it is 
available from various sites. I picked it up online for> around $23.> > Now I 
just have to find a decent Bluetooth receiver that is a little more> 
sensitive..> > Cheers> > Steve Potter> Blackwood SA> > > No virus found in this 
outgoing message.> Checked by AVG Free Edition. > Version: 7.5.503 / Virus 
Database: 269.16.4 - Release Date: 22/11/2007 12:00> AM> > 
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