Re: Global Positioning Systems???
Fri, 12 Dec 1997 10:26:19 -0500
Steven G. Tyler wrote:
> Jay Thal wrote, in part:
> > The thought of getting a GPS is so intriguing....
> > Some, I see, have street map display capability so are also useful in
> > the wilds of the city. But who in Scout-L land has any experience with them?
> - Is there a reasonably-priced GPS integrated with contour map (as
> opposed to street map) info, which would be useful for off-road
> Ideally, such a system would be a light-weight integrated hand-held
> unit, or a plug-in for the Palm Pilot or Windows CE PDA's, but the
> storage capacity for contour info might require a CD-ROM (i.e., require
> a notebook computer), unless plug-in cards with limited area info could
> be used in a hand-held unit.
I have had a Garmin GPS 38 for almost 2 years. It performs reasonably
well but it can be difficult to get a fix in the backcountry depending
on the terrain. If I were buying another GPS, I would be sure to get
one of the newer 12 channel parallel receivers with an external antenna.
Most all GPS' have a computer interface capability, at least anything
beyond very basic models. It is called an NMEA interface and is not MAC
or PC specific and, in fact it's not even computer specific since this
interface was originally designed for instrumentation.
When buying a 12 channel GPS, ensure that the channels are processed in
parallel and not "multiplexed". (Hint: the new Eagle Pioneer "12
channel" receiver is actually a two channel multiplexing receiver. Read
the specs - don't rely on the advertising)
A good place 2 start for GPS info is on Usenet in the
newsgroup. Many experts and even manufacturers seem to post there so
you will get *lots* of opinions and unfiltered information but, this is
the Internet (buyer beware, you get what you pay for, YMMV).
An informative web site with lots of links can be found at
(same disclaimer applies, be an intelligent consumer - do your homework,
validate your research).
For mapping software you may want to check out Fugawi at
The software is named after the famous Indian tribe I think :-)
Fugawi allows one to calculate and apply coordinates to any scanned map
image, including a topo map.
A GPS is a great toy and a nifty stocking stuffer but,in the
backcountry, it's no substitute for a map, compass and brain.
Advisor Post 486
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City