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GPS: instructions for use on excursions

How to get the best from our GPS

The Global Positioning System, GPS in current language, has now become a trusted companion of many hikers and bikers thanks to the inclusion of the cartographic vision that makes it similar, at least in the vision, to the familiar "maps", but with much more information.

Almost always, however, the "instruction manuals" of the electronic tools are clear and comprehensive in the theory, but often hardly understood in common use; We at TREKKING & Outdoor have decided to provide a simple but precise handbook on the use of this important "companion" of the hiker with practical examples that lead us to the discovery of new itineraries. We have chosen to present a series of advice on the most common situations and the most frequent questions asked by our readers.

My friends are waiting for me at home, I have promised them to take them to a special place but I need the help of my GPS. In order not to waste time, turn on the GPS and place it on the window sill while you prepare everything you need for the trip. The instrument will start acquiring the satellites and once arrived on the road, in a few seconds, it will be ready to "guide you" to the destination.

I want to mark a waypoint but, where I am, the GPS is partially covered and the reception of the satellites is very bad.

In many cases, especially if we want to share our waypoints with other friends, we try not to provide inaccurate data, rather we use our tool well. We mark the waypoint at a point, where the GPS "takes" well, which for obvious reasons will be slightly shifted compared to the place we wish to indicate as a destination; we now enrich the information by inserting a comment to explain how to reach the point actually chosen.

During the visit of an ancient city or a medieval village I would like to use the GPS to record the route taken and avoid getting lost in the maze of narrow streets.

Often narrow lanes and high houses make satellite reception conditions worse. In these cases, during our visit we mark some control waypoints at intersections. Thanks to the greater visible sky, pausing for a few moments, we can count on better precision and the sequence will help us remember the route taken or fix the track that otherwise could be affected by errors. Understanding where a striking photo was taken to go where it is not easy but observing the elements of the panorama can help us

I plan to organize a traveling holiday, I would like to build a "personalized" guide with the campsites in the area.

and more European camping associations offer the possibility to download the geographical position of the camp sites participating in the circuit from the various websites. Many other indications can be collected from forums and independent sites.

For example, using MapSource, collect all the waypoints found in a single file, apply the "camping" icon to them and do not forget to enter the corresponding address and telephone numbers for each waypoint in the comment text. Save in .gpx format and then with Garmin POI Loader upload it all on your Garmin satellite navigator. Your guide is ready.

On my Garmin Oregon I loaded POIs with the POI loader program but I can not find them, where did they go?

Personal POIs are placed in the "extra" category.

During my trip I will need to consult different types of maps but if I save a map on my GPS with MapSource will delete the one I had previously saved. How can I manage multiple maps on my Garmin GPS?

Generally a GPS Garmin dedicated to hiking is able to manage 2 sections of cartography from different packages (for example a "City Navigator" and a "Topo", or two "Topo" series cards related to different territories / nations). The best way to install them without making "mess" is to connect the GPS to the computer without inserting the additional memory card and load the first excerpt that will be stored in the internal memory.

Then insert the memory card (with GPS off and disconnected of course) and save the second excerpt that will be recorded on the SD card. At this point, through the configuration menu we can choose the cartography to display. It will then always be possible to add "BirdsEye" satellite maps or "CustomMaps" maps without risk of overwriting, they will also be managed from the configuration menu and can be displayed in superimposition with respect to the others.
Mobirise

Predict the weather with Altimeter GPS

The Altimeter GPS app uses the integrated barometer of your iPhone (available from iPhone 6S or higher). It shows useful indications such as atmospheric pressure and weather forecast based on the barometer.

The data displayed are the result of the sensors in the mobile device, ie the GPS and the barometer. If the latter is not available in the terminal, the data will be less accurate as the app will be based on data from local weather stations, if available.

On the road, in addition to my new GPS Garmin, I would like to bring a laptop to manage the tracks and design itineraries at a table, but I do not want to reinstall all the maps I have on my home computer.

If you want to see the map with the convenience of a larger screen without the clutter of CDs and DVDs, or without having to reinstall your maps on multiple computers, simply get free of the versatile Garmin BaseCamp software thanks to which you can also use on the PC the maps present on the GPS (as long as this is connected) and carry out all the operations necessary for the management and planning of even complex trips.

The three-axis compass allows you to control the direction while holding the GPS inclined while with the models equipped with simpler technology it is necessary to keep the GPS perfectly horizontal.

On the road I would like to maximize the autonomy of my GPS, especially during multi-day excursions; I would not find myself with the GPS turned off and I do not want to carry a lot of batteries!

On the go, rechargeable batteries are certainly the most versatile and the most environmentally friendly as they can be reused. Even in the case of multi-day excursions it will be sufficient to prepare for the start with 4 charged batteries and a compact battery charger that can be easily found today.

The most demanding will be equipped with a small solar panel that hangs from the backpack will be able to easily recharge a pair of 1.5V batteries. In addition, modern Garmin GPS dedicated to hiking, are rather parks from the point of view of consumption and use only two batteries.

Through the configuration menu it is possible to set the type of batteries used in order to obtain a reliable indication of the residual charge; moreover, different settings can be used to minimize consumption, such as a short backlight timeout.

Sometimes, consulting the GPS to check in detail my position on the resident cartography, I realize that a "veiling of color" on the cartography seems to worsen visibility, especially when I am under the sun.

Some GPS offer, in addition to the contour lines, also a "shaded" representation of the reliefs that is very effective for interpreting the mountain slopes. Obviously if you consult the map with a high zoom ratio (very large), the sfum becomes not sufficient to represent the small altimetric variations that will be more effectively represented by the level curves.

In these cases, from the configuration menu, it will be possible to deactivate the display of shaded reliefs thus optimizing the readability of the map with strong enlargements.

Often, in the woods, reaching a junction or a crossroads between two paths, when I stop to understand what direction to take, I realize that the GPS becomes unreliable and, if I magnify the display, the situation seems to get worse, I can not understand exactly where I am, even if I stay still, my position on the map keeps moving back and forth.

Generally, by approaching a crossroads or a crossroads where it is necessary to decide which direction to undertake, it will always be convenient to start checking the display during the approach phase and quickly marching; in this way we will understand our direction in relation to the conformation of the intersection and it will be easy to understand where to go without even stopping.

This is because the GPS, detecting our position, for example, once a second in conditions of poor visibility of the open sky, will get a slightly different position for each detection and this error is manifested by making our position to stand still.

If we zoom further we will only accentuate the problem as the video will accentuate the uncertainty.

My GPS Garmin is equipped with an integrated compass, what can it be used for if I already have GPS?

GPS is usually useful for "orienting" the hiker in movement as they deduce his direction by detecting the succession of his positions and through this calculation can also guide him towards a goal.

Unfortunately this is not enough in many typical situations of orientation; as in cases where you need to orientate a map according to your gaze, or when it is necessary to understand, while you are still and observe a panorama, our orientation, or, again, when you want to identify in a map topographical some elements of the territory to distinguish from our position: a bell tower, a castle on a hill or a peak, all cases in which the use of the compass and the calculation of the azimuth angle referred to the North are essential.

For this purpose some GPS are also equipped with engraved notches or drawn on the body of the instrument that can help the aiming.

I'm planning a multi-day trekking holiday. I would like to equip myself with a cartography of the trails in the area and I saw that on the internet there are some sites where to download maps and other data for my GPS for free. I do not know if you can trust me.

Unfortunately, the maps that are found on the Internet for free are often not complete and could also report errors in relation to the elements of the orography. Those who have made it difficult to verify all the information reported, also the graphics are often not very accurate and readable compared to those natively produced for our GPS from the same parent.

On the Internet it will be very advantageous to consult the various sites dedicated to hiking where you can find tracks recorded by fans who often will be updated and for which it will be possible, without doubt, to find detailed information.

The various tracks can be loaded on our GPS and, by activating their simultaneous display (possibly also customizing the color with which they are shown on the display), can in fact further enrich the data on a good dedicated map.

I found on the internet a photo of a particularly evocative place, in broad terms it is explained where it is but I do not know how to insert it between my goals on the GPS in order to reach it.

It often happens to find on the internet suggestive corners within a village, panoramic points that we would like to reach. In these cases an effective practice may be to try to recognize the place on Google Earth ™ through some recognizable elements.

A glimpse into a village can be identified by the relative positioning of the houses that you see in the picture and that we can recognize from the satellite view, a panoramic point can be deduced from the elements of the landscape included in the view: a country, a building, the peak of a mount or the shore of a lake.

Once the point has been identified, we can highlight it with a Google Earth ™ marker which will then be saved on our PC in Kmz format.

At this point the Kmz file will be convertible to .Gpx thanks to the many online services such as GPSBabel and loadable on our GPS thanks to the various dedicated software like Garmin MapSource.

I met some hikers who "passed" me some very interesting tracks. How can I be guided by GPS along those routes? And if they have undertaken them on the contrary from what I would like to do?

On Garmin GPS it is possible to activate tracks as routes simply indicating them as a destination for the "where to go" function. Normally the tracks will be navigated in the direction in which they were recorded, having to reverse the direction, you can act directly on the track from the management menu "track manager" and then activate them as a route.


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