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What Else Do You Do With Your Gps


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I guess I am just curious. Other than Geocaching and its derivatives, what do you use your GPS for?


I have the Magellan Meridian Platinum with 3 SD Ram cards with the Topo, Streets/Dest and Direct Route on each. (128MB Cards filled with each map type)

  • I use the internal compas and long/lat to help polar-align my telescope. I also use it for sunrise/set and moon rise/set as well as well as phase.
  • I use the DirectRoute to help with street navigation (has not failed even once)
  • I am a member of LocalHikes.com and use the GPS to map out the trails I hike for reporting.
  • I use the backtracking and street routing to help when out on photo shoots where we flip coins at intersections to determine which direction we go. You can end up in the more obscure locations and we have gotten lost before, but not since using the GPS.

I am interested in finding out what we all use our GPSs for. Looking forward to your responses.

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I have a Garmin Legend with Canadian Mapsource.


Once I had to use it to drive from one city to another (small towns outside Kitchener) because all my other maps were in the garage. :huh:


I also use it for hunting. Watch positions are all marked out and it's interesting to have the track on just to see how straight a run actually was.



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I use my Garmin V for many of the same activites listed above except I do not have a dog.


I've used it for watermarking lat/lon on photographs of family places of significance such as places of birth, location of ancestral homes, and just plain places of no particular interest other than the spot is noteworthy in our family's past like the long-ago remote pond my cousin and I were skinny dipping in when a car load of girl scouts showed up for a picnic - surprised I ever got rid of those wrinkles. Thank god for bullrushes. The watermark pictures are particularly interesting because it shows not only where the photo was taken, but how things looked at that time so those who may want to visit can stand in the same exact spot an marvel at the changes. It adds a lot to family history when you can return to the exact spot where something important to you and loved ones happened. I have family grave-site waypoints, some of which are not in the usual cemetary grounds.


I also use it to see iridium flares (www.heavens-above.com), which is seeing the sun's rays bounce off of satellites and the space shuttle as they pass by. Many of the iridium flares are bright enough to be easily seen in broad daylight. In the process you must use to catch an iridium flare the GPS provides not only lat/lon, but an accurate atomic clock which is critical because the flares are usually visible for only a second or less.


I've used it on the boundry waters up in Canada on canoe trips - if you've ever been out on big water you quickly realize just how difficult it is to keep track of where you are because the shoreline starts to all look the same when you are nestled in a canoe.


I've used the vertical height tracking capability to map out the height of the Interstate between Iowa City, IA and Salt Lake City, UT. One incredible fact that became very evident when looking at the tracking data for I-80 is that there is a steady and almost perfect incline going roughly from Des Moines Iowa to the top of the mountain pass just outside of Laramie WY. Theoretically you should be able to jump into a wagon at the mountain pass in Laramie and coast all the way down to Des Moines.


I've used it in scouting when my nephew needed an aerial map of the trails he had maintained and cleaned for his eagle project. All I needed was the address of the park, and within minutes I had a nice arial JPG file on its way to him via email showing not only the trails but the surrounding areas as well. The GPS has become a vital piece of gear when taking scouts on deep-insertion camping trips - no more lost scouts.


I've used it in fly fishing when scouting new waters, and I have laid in waypoints for those places along the river that have excellent holding water for trout. These rather secret fly fishing waypoints collected over several years are alone worth the price of the GPS unit, and yes, the fishing has been GREAT. Using the TOPO maps I can look for hidden streams, and then zoom in on aerial photos to make a first determination whether the spot in question may hold promise.


Probably the most notable use is when I set up the GPS with City Select maps for my wife and daughter when our daughter moved to Boston. Until then my wife referred to the GPS as "hubby's toy." But after spending a calm time finding all manner of addresses in the Boston traffic, my wife returned with new insights of the GPS' value. It is now referred to as "our" GPS. As for my daughter, it was only a matter of a few months before she was sporting her own GPS.


I hope this helps - aside from the enjoyment of geocaching, the GPS has truly made a huge difference in our lives.

Edited by RB_Nielsen
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I use mine for the reason I originally bought it ... to find my way back to my truck when riding my quad in the Tahoe National Forest and any unfamiliar areas, if I get lost. It is very easy to get lost in the forest. And I use the odometer so I know when to turn back and refuel (most quads don't have a gas gage). It's fun to download the info after a ride and review the different stats like avg.speed, max speed, total dist.,elev.profiles, etc.

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I originally bought mine for a trip to Ecuador where we visited the equator. I wanted to get a picture of my GPSr registering S00° 00.000', but sadly it never happened :D There is a theme park called "En La Mitad Del Mundo" (in the middle of the world) near Quito which supposedly marks the equator. The monument there is off by about 500 feet - which I guess is pretty good considering the surveying equipment and techniques employed in the 19th century when it was marked. Still, it's not the same as having a GPSr tell you that you're at S00° 00.000'. We intended to go to the real equator, but first we went into a souvineer shop, and then it was raining when we finished shopping. I didn't want to get my camera wet, so we didn't go. Someday, I shall return!!!


I learned about geocaching when I did research about GPS and "En La Mitad Del Mundo". THIS PAGE kept popping up in every search. Then I clicked on the "ABOUT GEOCACHING" link. The rest is history :D


I also use it when flying on trips. It makes long flights more enjoyable to watch your tracks, speed and altitude. Also use it on train trips (Washington to New York).


I also use the autorouting feature of the 60C to help find my way in unfamiliar territory.

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As a surveyor, I use one at work to help find Public Land Survey System (PLSS) section corners, among other things. I can get a relatively close coordinate by using the USGS Quad maps on TopoZone. It beats traversing a mile or more from another known corner (which sometimes is still necessary). I also use it to find benchmarks and project sites.

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Genealogy, geography, geocaching, geology am I stuck in the Gs?

Geneology? How does the GPS help in Geneology? The others I can visualize,but I just do not see how the GPSr can help with Geneology. I am interested in hearing about it, however. :D

How elso can you find lost relatives That are in a cache(but remember no digging then up, I did, Wish I didnt )I'm Couldn't find the log book. took nothing left nothing, Rebarried him. :D

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Hinking and biking trails posted at LocalHikes.com and GeoSnapper.com.


Geneology. I remember traveling to one cemetary with my father years ago. We spent a lot of time with the entire family looking for a specific grave that we knew was in the cemetary and were pretty sure was in a certain area but we had no more information than that. A GPS would have been useful. I plan on going back to mark these things out and document them for posterity.


Archaeology. The 250th Aniversary of the French and Indian War is coming up and I am trying to get involved in a project to accurately survey Braddock's Road. In 1755, Braddock's army cut a road from Cumberland, Md to "The Forks of the Ohio", now Pittsburgh, to attack Ft. Duquesne. Development has destroyed much of the route bust some traces can be found. A Maryland archaeologist has plotted the route through Maryland (paralleling Rt. 40 for the most part). I want to link up with some people to take that track into Pennsylvania


Don't you mean "used" mine as a hammer?

And it still works as a hammer. It just doesn't work as a GPSr anymore.

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I use my Vista on my kite buggy as a speedo. I always like to see how fast I've been going along the beach with no brakes.

wow i just skimmed that and just saw something along the lines of:


"i use my vista as a speedo at the beach".


and then i had to re-read it and go "OOOOH! speedometer!"



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Last Saturday I took the train from martinez to sacramento CA. I was riding all the way forward where the engineer was on a check ride with an Instructor Engineer. I overheard them comment that the Train speed sensor didn't match the automated mile marker speed sensors but they were unsure how much the error was. I pulled out my GPS and was able to show the instructor what the actual speed was (had to hold the GPS next to the window to get a good sat lock). Pretty cool...

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Oh these messages that cause outbursts of laughter... so grateful. I like the dog-tracking idea, but I'm not yet willing to risk losing my MeriPlat.


I use mine:

  • to track mileage when I'm using my own rig for work
  • WPTing potential photo subjects I want to return to
  • I explore "lost sights" and WPT those in passing: cellar holes, old junk piles I want to scavange, old cornerposts and highway markers, stone walls...
  • in 1759, American General Amherst built a military road from the Crown Point, NY Fort, across Vermont, to Fort #4 in Charleston, NH. Various DAR Chapters have marked points along this old route, and I drive around trying to find those markers. There are also marked military roads from Mount Independence in Orwell, VT, to the Crown Point Military Rd, and from Mount Independence to the Hubbardton Battlefield. I WPT the markers, view them on a topo map, and try to figure the exact route
  • I GPSd all the culverts crossing Cornwall town highways; not a random time-killer, but to assist the Road Commissioner with the State mandated inventory process. Used a variety (too many) of programs to report locations and distances
  • If I can figure out how to integrate all the pieces, I may locate the cable connection points for the telephone company I work for. Currently, houses, driveways, poles, and splice points are eye-balled onto the CAD maps.
  • I mount it on my dashboard and watch the fluxuations in track line positions as I drive the same road sixty-three times.

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I go fishing off the Channel Islands in SoCal and I use it to mark the hot spots the charter boats like to fish. They know all of the underwater structures so i follow them and mark them on my unit so whenever I go out I have a list of spots to drop a line. It always gets me some fish.

Its also fun to take one up in a commercial flight and track your speed and altitude. I flew back from Colorado and followed the map on the unit with the terrain below. Cruising at 505mph, leave the runway at 200mph. Prety cool.

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One of my interests is fishing, both offshore and in the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. I bought mine mainly as a backup for the chartplotter on the boat, in case an electrical problem or other malfunction occurs, we could always use the handheld to get back to the dock. Geocaching happened by accident, and now I'm hooked.

I used it once on a headboat fishing trip to mark a fishing hotspot, but the partyboat captain wasn't too happy. He didn't want anyone else to know where his hotspots were. Makes sense, he does make his living based on successful fishing trips, but he doesn't own the ocean. He didn't want a whole lot of smaller boats out there getting in his way. I think he has now posted a notice that GPS'rs aren't allowed on his boat.

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I help with trail patrol on the Appalachian Trail (to be specific, I frequently hike along with a guy who has that responsibility on a particular stretch).


Last year I used the GPS to mark waypoints for deadfalls knocked down by the hurricane. Apparently they usually rely on verbal reports for the cleanup crews to know where to go. I was able to give them a NG Topo jpg map showing the trail and marked deadfall spots. They seemed to think that was nifty.

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I live in Canada, in a region where a few miles north of me, there are no more towns or cities. The bush is literally crisscrossed with logging roads. Some are old, some are new. I do a lot of wilderness hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, ATVing, snowmobiling, biking and hiking. So keeping track of how to get back to my starting point will be easier. The nicest function will be how to get back to my starting point via a more direct or alternate route.

The second use will be for publicity. Hunting and fishing reports paid by clients in which I indicate geographical coordinates of places to hunt, fish, camp etc. Very few of the remote gravel roads are marked. There are flimsy signs but they get often get buried in the snow, lost, misplaced etc so I enter the coordinates and directions along with other info about the outfitter or cabin rental, coordinates for rental equipment, grocery store, gas, bait when on route to the area. The visitor or tourist finds that using his own gps while on route, gives him a lot of answers for a lot of questions .... "where, when, how".

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I got my GPSr after "losing" my car at the GA-FLA football game last year. The game started in daylight and ended at night. No landmarks were visible that we had remembered and it took over an hour to locate (by luck). Plus we got lost in Jacksonville after the game and headed about 15 miles in the wrong direction when going home. In another forum I visit that discusses lawn & garden tractors, someone asked how fast different units will go. Several members and myself posted speeds tracked with a GPSr.

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The visitor or tourist finds that using his own gps while on route, gives him a lot of answers for a lot of questions .... "where, when, how".

Makes me wonder if any of the travel guide books are starting to include coordinates. That would be handy.


Actually, that's something that Garmin should do with Mapsource. They should team with Fodor's or somebody like that and sell a cobranded travel guide that you can download to your GPS that has coordinates and searchable descriptions of good spots for travelers to visit. I'd spend $100 for a CD set that covers N. America.

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I use mine in my car along with Mapopolis to find my way in the wilds of south Lousiana and Texas, especially through the wilds of Houston. I also use a different one to find oil platforms and drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, and the heliport when I come back. Often I have to do an instrument approach to the platform, the heliport, or both, using the GPS. Geocaching is just a GPS sideline.


How fast will it go? I recorded ~500 mph on an airliner with a Legend, and I regularly see 180 or so in my helicopter. It should record up to 1000 with no problems.

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Among other things, I use my GPS to gather information for potential microwave radio sites. I use the coordinates & elevation AGL with a programme called Pathloss that will predict the reliability of the path. I can also use the GPS when it comes time to deploy the system. It will give me an accurate direction to point the dish antennas in. Granted, when you're up a tower this is where the electronic compass models come in very handy.

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I got my GPSr after "losing" my car at the GA-FLA football game last year. The game started in daylight and ended at night. No landmarks were visible that we had remembered and it took over an hour to locate (by luck). Plus we got lost in Jacksonville after the game and headed about 15 miles in the wrong direction when going home.

Thats what you get for being a Georgia fan :lol:

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