Re: GPS navigation units

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Re: GPS navigation units
From: "Robert Read" <>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 22:04:55 +0930
This is not directly related to recent correspondence, but is a warning
worth repeating for those birding in remote areas .

About 2 years ago I was atlassing along  a road, using a GPS for the
coordinates of each search area without any problem.  At the next stop the
GPS took a long time to find satellites, and then came up with a position
somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  I had to shut it down and
restart twice before it gave a sensible result.  On another occasion a GPS
gave a position about 500 km out.

The only harm done was lost time.  However if I had marked my initial
position as a waypoint without looking at the coordinates I would have been
in big trouble if I had attempted to use it to find my way back to the car.

I have used GPS many hundreds of times to determine positions, and only seen
errors like this twice, so the problem is quite rare.

The moral is never to rely on GPS for navigation.  Always be sure that you
can find your way back by pre-GPS methods such as compass or landmarks.

Robert Read
Alice Springs

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