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How Else do You Use YOUR GPS?


Dear Dora
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We all love Geocaching and we all have own opinions on which GPS is the best. My question is this...Other than Geocaching, what are you using your GPS for which is helpful or beneficial to others?

 

For example, at this time of year, my other half, Atrus, and I are deeply involved in the process of coordinating the delivery of 1100 to 1200 home cooked (nothing from a box or can) free dinners to anyone who lives in our county of Henderson, NC and for any reason is unable to come to the free, all volunteer, sit-down dinner, which is called Bounty Of Bethlehem. We visit the address of each meal recipient and create accurate directions and mark a waypoint in their driveway. These waypoints are then entered into our mapping program on the computer so that we can then create the most efficient driving routes for our 60 drivers/60 routes who deliver the meals on Christmas Day.

 

We also have a very close geocaching friend who is actively involved in disaster relief with the American Red Cross. He travels all over the US, in unfamiliar territory, where ever there is a need for assistance. He uses his GPS to auto navigate to the various locations at a particular disaster site. The auto routing is especially critical since many times, the local street signs have been destroyed. The GPS doesn't know that the street signs are missing and will take him to his destination anyway!

 

So, how do you use YOUR GPS to help others?

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In the UAE I helped a cabbie from ripping me and my friends off :). In Hong Kong it was usefull to find short cuts, and you know sometimes the brown cow isn't at the corner where the red house with yellow roof stood 30 years ago :).

 

Seriously, the other use for my gps is to get friends and family to where they need to be. I can be all the way in Hawaii and guide someone clear acrossed the world to where they need to be. Pretty cool I think.

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My experience pales in comparison to the previous two, however, I always "mark" the car when my forgetful relatives come into the city and park at one of our lovely mega-malls for a day of shopping.

 

There is nothing like the assurance of KNOWING where you parked and heading straight towards the car at the end of the day instead of strolling up and down the parking lot saying "I KNOW it was RIGHT HERE. I remember this van we parked next to!"

 

:):)

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My experience pales in comparison to the previous two, however, I always "mark" the car when my forgetful relatives come into the city and park at one of our lovely mega-malls for a day of shopping.

 

There is nothing like the assurance of KNOWING where you parked and heading straight towards the car at the end of the day instead of strolling up and down the parking lot saying "I KNOW it was RIGHT HERE. I remember this van we parked next to!"

 

:):)

 

Since you are with them, why? :)B)B)

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Last year I did a recon of a convoy route for my National Guard unit. It was a two day convoy to an Air Force base most of the Soldiers had never been to. I had the GPS going the whole time and saved the trip down and back as individual routes which I uploaded to the computer and was able to create great strip maps for everyone. Also waypointed multiple places on the base for off duty activities and created a seperate map of the base with those spots on them. Then finally Anyone with a like make GPS was able to bring it in and line up and I transfered the route to their GPS. I had also loaded all waypoints (rest stops, major turns, and those on base) to GSAK so I was able to load those waypoints to those with a different make GPS. Conovy went without a hitch and even the officers traveling seperate from the convoy all arrived without incident.

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Recently I was looking for a cache at a country crossroads about an hour from home. It was a nice little place I never would have visited if not for the evil little cache hidden around the phone booth area. During my search I noticed an SUV with out of state plates drive past me several times.

Finally they stopped and asked for directions to an address about a mile away . They had been looking for it for over an hour, had no cell phone, and the directions from their cousin left out one street, so they never saw the one they were looking for. I told them I'm not from around here, but give me the address and I can get you there. :)

 

I often use mine to find interstate overnight lodging and dining options when traveling as well. I never forget where I park, so that isn't a necessary option for me. :)

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I have used it to route lost family members to where they need to be over the phone, and this week I am using it for some actually quite evil purposes...

 

I moonlight on the side for a market research company (you know, telemarketing, mass mailings, the works... I don't really do any of the calling or mailing, but I help get it going. I really feel evil when I'm working for "the man", but the pay is phenomenal) anyway... this week I am doing an address research project for them that involves visiting several addresses and verifying their existence, etc....

 

The GPSr comes in quite handy for that.

 

Sure, its not as noble as making a route for a national guard unit or rescuing people, but... I suppose I am using my GPSr to help people receive all of the holiday mass mailings that they would otherwise miss out on? <_<

Edited by irchriscdk
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While, as I've said before here that this is the first GPSr I've owned, I have been using them for years at work. I work part-time, on an as-needed basis for FEMA. I don't work with individual homeowners, but with state, county and municipal governments, as well as school districts, fire departments, and entities such as sewer and water authorities. After a disaster, I inspect, evaluate and estimate damages to roads, bridges, public buildings (schools, libraries, police facilities, fire stations, etc.), and infrastructure such as sewer and water lines and facilities. Whenever making a report, I use a GPSr to enter the coordinates of the damages, so verification of the repairs can be made at a later date, with more certainty that these are the correct locations.

 

I wish I had heard of geocaching years ago! I sometimes have to spend months away from home, staying in hotels, which is boring as %^$#! Geocaching would have made that time much less boring! :(

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I use mine to help map cemetery locations in the county in which we live. The county highway department wants to get all the known burial locations into their new mapping system because folks stop in there looking for directions to the cemeteries. The secretary doesn't know of very many let along where they are. We are marking not only the cemetery location but the entry lanes to them since some are way back in the woods.

 

On my personal unit I have added in detailed local mapping for the county and I've used that little Garmin's map page to give people directions. I just scroll along the roads they will need to travel so they can see where they will be going. :P Works pretty good as long as my batteries hold out.

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Every time the army send me to a new post (or one I haven't been to in a decade or more) I use my GPS to mark the locations of the barracks, DFAC, PX, ranges, and anything else I may need to get back to, possibly in the dark. I also use it to verify speedometer readings, record travel distances, find upcoming highway exits.

 

I could do a lot more if I bought the navigator maps, but that's not in my main goal for this GPS in the near future. It's true purpose is to get me and my team around Iraq, while marking danger areas, and other points of interest that a commander could need.

 

SD

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It looks like a lot of good folks are using their GPS units for a lot of good uses to help a lot of other good folks! This thread has also provided a lot of good ideas as to how to make better or alternative uses of a GPS unit. Thank you for all the fine input.

 

I hope everyone has a very happy. safe, and prosperous New Year!

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I'm actually sitting in Rome right in the middle of a study abroad trip. I've done a bit of caching here, but I have used the GPS more outside of caching that in. When I got here, I immediately marked the hotel. I also mark a subway station whenever I leave. It turned out that on my first two nights here, I was using my GPS to navigate several drunk classmates back to the hotel when we didnt know where we were on a map. All of the drunk ones told me how cool it was that I had that (never thought I'd hear GPS and cool in the same sentence). Of course they hardly remembered the next morning, but hey, they were safe and snug in their beds.

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As a side job, I do historical research and consulting, primarily focusing on mapping of deeds and grants and architectural history work.

 

I use the GPSr heavily to mark houses, buildings, ruins, boundary points, etc. This helps tremendously when I am compiling maps and reports for my clients.

 

Scott Smith

aka "Rivercacher"

The Antiquaries, LC

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Within one week two people asked me about GPS use and decided to purchase ones for themselves. The first asked about using them for marking spots out in the desert when he finds gold. His prospecting is slightly more than a hobby.

 

The second stopped me at a cache in a nearby park (dang DNF's) and wanted to know how they could be used to mark meteorites that he finds in the desert.

 

It seems both hobbies are moving into mark coords. to stake claims or to mark locations.

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