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How good are GPS systems?

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  • How good are GPS systems?

    I am almost to the point of breaking down and buying something like a Garmin so I can see my distance/time/speed BUT I also want to know how good they are at helping me get 'unlost'

    We have some of the most amazing trails around me but the downside of that it, if you don't know they you can get seriously lost. Can the Garmins (or similar) help me get back to point A, even if it just means following my path back same as I came?

    Would it help me track a new route to Point A, by which I mean I don't expect it to know the trails but would it accurately keep my position and distance from Point A so that I could weave my way down and eventually get back?

    Also which ones do you use and love and why?
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.

  • #2
    No advice but a story

    My husband has a hand held GPS he loves so much that while we are riding, I have to remind him to look up and enjoy the scenery. (Good thing we are riding not backpacking, or he would run into a tree, he studies that thing so intently.) At some point I decided I should learn how to use the thing, so I read the GPS manual, actually listened while my husband described how to use it, planned a long ride with a friend, found some topo maps and programmed in some way points along the way, and so forth. I fired up the GPS and we set out on our ride. The GPS died after 35 minutes, because I had not recharged the batteries and had neglected to bring spare batteries.

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      GPS died after 35 minutes
      ROFLMAO that would be me! Half way through the woods, totally lost and the batteries die
      I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.

      Comment


      • #4
        I can see myself moving along the screen on my GPS. It shows me going out and as I turn for home you can see the line trace of you moving along. It usually has an accuracy of 21 feet, tells time, sun rise, sun set and elevation as you go up a hill. I have never used it to find home since I always know where I am but I am sure it could if I actually got lost.
        It is really good for speed, distance travelled, top speed attained , average speed and time on trail.

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        • #5
          I have a Garmin Forerunner 201 and I LOVE IT!

          I just used it today, and I went 12.01 miles.
          (¯`·._¤ Jess!·._¤ ´¯)

          Comment


          • #6
            I have a several year old e-trex legend and think it's quite good. I do keep spare batteries in the saddle bags!

            I'll mark the trailer location and if I don't want to map the entire ride, will turn the unit off and stick it in the saddle bag. If I were to get well and truly lost, I can use the 'go to' function to get back to the trailer.

            I carry it foxhunting in new (to me) country for the same purpose.

            I would add that it's an essential item out here in the west. If you are in a remote spot, and need a medical helicopter for an injured rider, they won't come looking for you unless you can give precise coordinates. It's also an essential tool for search and rescue.

            A foxhunting friend has a unit that she wears on her wrist, like a watch- nifty idea, I don't know how much memory it has for carrying maps though.

            I have carried it skiing for grins, to track my daily vertical and every now and then, to take a peak and see how fast I'm going.

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            • #7
              I have a Garmin E-Trex, and I do like it, but there are limitations. It has the tendency to "double pass" or sometimes it's called "double track." Essentially it will double the speed and distance as the signal bounces off dense tree cover. I delt with Garmin 3 times on this issue and every time there is no resolution. They say it is just a shortcomng of GPS unless you buy a very expensive model.

              I use it a LOT more during driving to unknown trails than I do while actually on the trail. I have never had it double pass while driving because you're not in dense tree cover.

              I use the breadcrumb trail to find my way back to the highway or back home after I've driven 4 hours and made 19 turns. My bread crumbs are saved as separate trips so if I need to get back to somewhere a second time, in a year from now, it's very easy to blow up the crumb trail and know exactly where I need to turn.

              I also like the elevation features and according to Garmin, the elevation calculation is not affected by the double passing. So I can see how much we climb and descend throughout a ride, though here in WI, that's never more than 600 feet or so.

              On many ocassions it has told me I was cantering at like 55 miles per hour and I traveled 32 miles. Yeah right. The double passing is a real PITA.

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              • #8
                I have the same one, the Garmin Etrex and I haven't experience that but I mainly run in the open and have the GPS in my shirt pocket or saddle bag.
                I would like a little pocket high up on my arm so it is not blocked. I have lost the signal at times due to my body I assume blocking contact.

                I want out of this "training level "and into the "going the distance"??? I haven't been in training for nothing in the last 20 plus plus years. LOL

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Shadow14 View Post
                  I have the same one, the Garmin Etrex and I haven't experience that but I mainly run in the open and have the GPS in my shirt pocket or saddle bag.
                  I would like a little pocket high up on my arm so it is not blocked. I have lost the signal at times due to my body I assume blocking contact.

                  I want out of this "training level "and into the "going the distance"??? I haven't been in training for nothing in the last 20 plus plus years. LOL
                  The pocket sounds like a good idea. Some day I want to sew the perfect riding outfit for myself. My fear, however, is that I'll have as many pockets as a fly fisherman, my garment will weigh 30 pounds when I'm done loading the "essentials," and I'll jingle so much when I move that the horses will all spook.

                  Regarding training level, it's measured by sheer numbers of posts. Yak on, and you'll find yourself a Grand Prix rider by and by. Then you can complain about the saddle horn hitting you in the gut during your stadium jumping rounds.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I started out with a Gamin Foretrex (wrist style unit) but I recently decided to move up to a handheld unit. I did a little research and decided to spend the money on one of the units with the new and improved chip. The satellite sensitivity is sooooo much beter than the older models and so much more accurate as to location and mileage. I need to spend mnore time playing around with this thing but really, if you want accuracy then pay a little more and get the better models. I have the Garmin 60cx. There is a 60 cSx which also measure altitude and adjusts your mileage accordingly. Look for Garmin models with the cx in the model number to find the units with the better chip.

                    Bonnie

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                    • #11
                      You might lose the signal in dense forest or if the terrain has deep gullies. I had that problem, so bought an external amplified antenna and strapped it to my mare's head :-) Not all handheld GPS units can connect to an external antenna.

                      I'd definitely get a data cable accessory. That way you can download your routes to your computer and plot them on topo maps. Delorme sells great map software.
                      http://www.youtube.com/user/toowoombatoo?feature=mhee

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by carp View Post
                        The pocket sounds like a good idea. Some day I want to sew the perfect riding outfit for myself. My fear, however, is that I'll have as many pockets as a fly fisherman, my garment will weigh 30 pounds when I'm done loading the "essentials," and I'll jingle so much when I move that the horses will all spook.

                        Regarding training level, it's measured by sheer numbers of posts. Yak on, and you'll find yourself a Grand Prix rider by and by. Then you can complain about the saddle horn hitting you in the gut during your stadium jumping rounds.
                        Putting it in your pocket might not be the best idea. Your body will block a large portion of the signals, so the reception will be poor. Poor reception means big errors in the location calculation. You're better off strapping it to your arm like a cellphone.
                        http://www.youtube.com/user/toowoombatoo?feature=mhee

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My GPS is combined with a two way radio. That makes it just a little bit bulky to strap to my arm, plus unstrapping it every time someone paged me might be a bit awkward. On the plus side, it's got a very obvious antenna. It's pretty easy to see if the antenna is pointed at the sky.

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                          • #14
                            I've been carrying my GPS unit in a water bottle holder strapped to the front edge of my saddle. So far this new unit had been fine but I haven't been down in any deep canyons. Tree cover hasn't been a problem yet but the foliage will get heavier. I ride largely in dense foliage areas.

                            Bonnie

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                            • #15
                              My garmin forerunner 201 is a wrist model, but I am vain and hate watch tans, so I just put it on one of my belt loops
                              (¯`·._¤ Jess!·._¤ ´¯)

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