Using GPS

To: <>
Subject: Using GPS
From: "Robert Inglis" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 07:07:42 -0700
Hello BirdingAusers,
    Most of the replies to Irene's request concerning using GPS haven't been really helpful in my opinion.
GPS units are like modern mobile phones: full of useless gimmicks as far as the average user is concerned.
If you want to use all the facilities on a mobile phone you need to be a telecommunications expert.
If you want to use all the facilities provided by the latest GPS devices you need to be a map reading expert.
And then you would really be better off just using your maps.
GPS should only be used as another aid in map reading.
If you can't read a map properly you will really get into trouble just relying on your GPS unit!
GPS was invented to help the US military to accurately (didn't work, did it) drop cruise missiles on people.
They control the accuracy of the set-up. The accuracy for civilians is not as good as for the military.
Readings of lat. and long. by civilians should not be taken as guaranteed to be any better than 100 metres (200 m would be a safer assumption).
100 metres in some terrain means the difference between life and death.
It also means that you may be in the wrong Atlas square!
Yes, there are ways of getting better accuracy but they require a lot of time and effort and the ability to move around a fair bit, something not always possible in some terrain.
As a bird watcher looking for a bit of pleasant outdoor activity I would always choose life and so I would suggest that anyone not well versed in map reading
(reading touring maps is not map-reading!!) should treat their GPS units with caution.
All GPS devices will give a reading that is suitable for use when atlasing.
But, please, learn map reading as well. All the terms used in using your GPS unit are map-reading terms.
And...... take a real compass (that you know how to use) when you go out into the bush!!!!
Good luck and safe GPSing
Bob Inglis
Woody Point, SEQld
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