Why I always say you must still know the basics

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BillyBob66
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Why I always say you must still know the basics

#1

Post by BillyBob66 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:45 am

LOL! GPS are wonderful. I use my iHikeGPS on my iPhone all the time, it is just fun and fast, plus using it along with the topo maps that are on the GPS provide superb training(IMO) for how to use a topo map. I have found it is a wonderful training aid to be able to see exactly where you are on the GPS' topo map, you can really learn to read how all those elevation lines match up with the landscape you see round you. Great stuff. Using hi tech to train you in the basics.

But, here is one(or yet another) reason why I always insist to my boys that they must know the basics(map, compass, topography, Sun and other stars, moon etc) if they are ever really going to be comfy in trackless wilderness, or even just deep in the local woods where there are really few maintained trails and every thing looks about the same. It is not just that the the machine can give you erroneous signals(I have had it happen) or that you can't get a signal(used to happen a lot more often than now) or that the computer can crash or batteries run out(have had both happen). Or that even though the GPS will always point a straight line through the woods back to your truck, it might lead you over a cliff or other obstacle, so it still helps immensely to be able to read the topo that is usually on most GPS today in order to plan your hike efficiently. All of the above is valid, but here is a new reason to know the basics and why some are returning to teaching the basics:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... -hack.html


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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

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Post by ipokebadgers » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:17 pm

Very good points. I was in the Navy 37 years ago as an enlisted sailor. I was in engineering so we didn't get training in celestial navigation. It is one skill I wish I had. As a child in the 60's I was taught map and compass. I enjoy using a GPS receiver but still have to have my topo and compass too. Thanks for the link. It is good to see some logic and foresight returning to the command.

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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

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Post by Foresight » Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:16 am

ipokebadgers wrote:Very good points. I was in the Navy 37 years ago as an enlisted sailor. I was in engineering so we didn't get training in celestial navigation. It is one skill I wish I had. As a child in the 60's I was taught map and compass. I enjoy using a GPS receiver but still have to have my topo and compass too. Thanks for the link. It is good to see some logic and foresight returning to the command.

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Seriously though, I too was in the Navy, but there was no such thing as celestial navigation. Of course that may have had something to do with the fact I was on submarines :lol:

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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

#4

Post by Abner » Sun Oct 25, 2015 5:34 pm

The US Navy has gone back to include celestial navigation in many of its training programs. This is prudent because many nations and potential enemies have the capability to destroy satellites.

I had some compass training as a Boy Scout, but I did not learn "Land Navigation" until I participated in a serious Orienteering program. In Orienteering we used Silva type compasses. Later in the Army I was exposed to lensatic type compasses. The only thing I liked better on a lensatic compass for land navigation was the tritium glow for night. But, a compass is useless without basic knowledge in its use and limitations. Knowledge of the interpretation of topographic maps in equally important.

Possession of a simple compass and a topographic map coupled with knowledge and the confidence to is the is a powerful outdoor skill.

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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

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Post by BillyBob66 » Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:40 pm

Abner wrote:The US Navy has gone back to include celestial navigation in many of its training programs. This is prudent because many nations and potential enemies have the capability to destroy satellites.

I had some compass training as a Boy Scout, but I did not learn "Land Navigation" until I participated in a serious Orienteering program. In Orienteering we used Silva type compasses. Later in the Army I was exposed to lensatic type compasses. The only thing I liked better on a lensatic compass for land navigation was the tritium glow for night. But, a compass is useless without basic knowledge in its use and limitations. Knowledge of the interpretation of topographic maps in equally important.

Possession of a simple compass and a topographic map coupled with knowledge and the confidence to is the is a powerful outdoor skill.
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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

#6

Post by GregD » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:20 am

Abner wrote: Possession of a simple compass and a topographic map coupled with knowledge and the confidence to is the is a powerful outdoor skill.
In my experience it also makes it more fun. If I am relying upon something else to do the navigation (person, gps, signs, maintained trail, etc.) whether driving, walking in the city, or walking in the woods, I focus my attention elsewhere and have no idea how to get around on my own. Further, I have much less appreciation for my surroundings. If I have to follow directions and/or map I pay a lot of attention to my surroundings and appreciate them far more.

Not that I am very good with a topo and map these days, but I am getting more practice lately.

What I'd like to be able to do is take my tracks off my GPS (which I know how to do) and add them to a USGS topo map. What I don't know how to do is get and manipulate USGS topo maps for free. Maybe I should stop being a tightwad and give some money to DeLorme so I can do this with their maps and software (which I've done).

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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

#7

Post by Scott » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:42 am

[quote="GregD"] ...
Not that I am very good with a topo and map these days, but I am getting more practice lately.

...[quote]

That made me chuckle :lol: :lol: - topo map on the gulf coast :lol: :lol: :lol: ;)
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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

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Post by sarge » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:46 am

GregD wrote:
Abner wrote: Possession of a simple compass and a topographic map coupled with knowledge and the confidence to is the is a powerful outdoor skill.
In my experience it also makes it more fun. If I am relying upon something else to do the navigation (person, gps, signs, maintained trail, etc.) whether driving, walking in the city, or walking in the woods, I focus my attention elsewhere and have no idea how to get around on my own. Further, I have much less appreciation for my surroundings. If I have to follow directions and/or map I pay a lot of attention to my surroundings and appreciate them far more.

Not that I am very good with a topo and map these days, but I am getting more practice lately.

What I'd like to be able to do is take my tracks off my GPS (which I know how to do) and add them to a USGS topo map. What I don't know how to do is get and manipulate USGS topo maps for free. Maybe I should stop being a tightwad and give some money to DeLorme so I can do this with their maps and software (which I've done).

Try Maprika. Its an app for Android and I Phone devices that uses online maps to show your location and record tracks. Turns you phone or tablet into a GPS and there's no need to be online while its running.
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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

#9

Post by GregD » Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:18 am

Scott wrote:
GregD wrote: ...
Not that I am very good with a topo and map these days, but I am getting more practice lately.

...

That made me chuckle :lol: :lol: - topo map on the gulf coast :lol: :lol: :lol: ;)
Glad I could give you a laugh. But when I looked very closely at the topo map of the Phelps section of the LSHT during our overnight there this past weekend I noticed that it indicated the deep washes/ravines, which are very helpful reference points. Also, for me it takes some practice to create a mental 3d model just from looking at a topo. For that I was using maps of other areas.

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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

#10

Post by Scott » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:03 pm

no intention to Mock or be flippant, I live round here too, and I do use them with the scouts we work with. And they can be very useful. Just not what one typically thinks of with mountains and such. Probably more challenging to use them well here because the changes are more subtle, you can't just look out to a peak or landmark in the distance and get a bearing.
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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

#11

Post by sarge » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:17 pm

Getting the bearing is the hard part, unless you can get to a spot that has some fairly obvious terrain features that make one spot unique all together that has a clear view of another one some distance away.

But that's kinda like finding an honest politician-----
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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

#12

Post by GregD » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:21 pm

Scott wrote:no intention to Mock or be flippant
Didn't think you were. I saw the humor. I was a bit surprised when I found the topo info to be useful.

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Re: Why I always say you must still know the basics

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Post by BillyBob66 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:34 pm

GregD wrote:
Scott wrote:no intention to Mock or be flippant
Didn't think you were. I saw the humor. I was a bit surprised when I found the topo info to be useful.
Well, if you can train and learn in some place with few obvious landmarks, maybe even also in dense forest making it hard to see anything anyway, well if you can do it there you can do it anywhere. Except maybe flat swamps and Bayous and such, really tough there. But we rarely hike there, right? But if you can even find an occasional easily identified wash with water flow direction(at least when it rains) identifiable, you have a huge help. Throw in an intersection with 2 creeks or a lake, and you probably can figure out exactly where you are on the map with no GPS. What a huge help it is just to know that almost always, the (relatively more) pointy lines point upstream in any stream or stream bed/potential stream.

I also find using map and compass more fun than just depending on GPS, but I still usually have my GPS. First because it is just plain faster to use if I am in a hurry for some reason. But that is rare. The main reason I still like to have it is for training. Once I realized what a wonderful training device it is, I use it all the time for that. First, do my best to figure out where I am on the map in a challenging place without real obvious landmarks. Then when I have given it my best shot, I just pull out my GPS with Top map on it and immediately know if I got it right. That is a great GPS benefit for me even though I know most folks just use the GPS period.

One thing that is great about letting the topo map be the main thing I rely on. In addition to things that can go wrong with those computers we call GPS, most of which I have experienced over the years, I also at least on time was getting crazy signals on my GPS. It would tell me to head in one direction, then 10 steps later in a different direction, back and forth varying by maybe 20 or 30 degrees. And I have heard of compasses giving erroneous info due to hiking over big iron ore deposits, though I have never had that happen. However, if you can ever get your map oriented by lining it up with some landmarks, then you don't have to worry about mechanical/electrical/signal errors sending you off in the wrong direction. The ground and the map are not going to be affected by anything that might cause an inaccurate signal from GPS or compass.
Rom8:21the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption23..but..we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit.. groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body

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