Does anyone else use old fashioned methods?

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by King Rat, Nov 25, 2018.

  1. King Rat

    King Rat Adventurer

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    I am useless with all this technology. My brain isn't wired the same way as technogeeks, I even find trying to send emails awkward (I hit the reply button!) - I really can't get to grips with all this modern stuff. I try, but I really struggle. One thing I have found out, my route notes and maps don't let me down. They are cheap too! I still use my M73 compass and a proper map or chart (if afloat).

    Anyone else still do it the old fashioned way?

    Anyone any ideas of how to get tuition in these modern methods? Trial and error just results in things getting a flying or float test, and that gets expensive!

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    #1
  2. millican

    millican Been here awhile

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    Yes. I was pretty stoked to find an actual paper map in a state visitor's center recently.
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  3. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    i wish i could follow a simple two or three road hand written route. unfortunately there are gates, road closures, detoures, construction, destruction, and sometimes traffic i want to route around. and thats just the on road, predictable stuff. off road it gets a lot more interesting!

    i still love to have a big full size map to gander at when planning, but once the trip starts, i love the simplicity of being able to find gas , alternates, trail heads, gorges, overlooks, canoeing landings, and all my old waypoints/tracks in just a second or two.

    for instance...

    i can display the upcoming park map that i downloaded before leaving (or snap a picture of it at the trail head) and plot a route across its trails. the park map can be turned on/off, and it's transparency changed vs the background to show more or fewer features as needed. even multiple map overlays can be stacked to compare their scenic overlooks vs equestrian trails vs wet weather alternatives vs winter closures all at the same time... instead of having to flip back and forth between different scale levels.

    like i said, i still love big paper maps, but out on the road/trail, it's so much more convenient to know where i am exactly, and how i can get to the next point. :-)
    #3
  4. Bairn123

    Bairn123 Not a Biker a Motorcyclist

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    I am with you King Rat. Give me a map and compass any day over GPS etc. I rode all over three different continents without GPS and always found my way home.:-):-)
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  5. everready

    everready Stuck in Ohio....Ugh!!!

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    I always take my compass with me.
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  6. deserteagle56

    deserteagle56 deserteagle56

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    I love my GPS units but would never ride without paper maps as backup. After all, I rode a lot of back country since the 1960s before GPS was ever thought of and all I had was a rolled-up paper topo map.

    These days I use both. Some years ago I invested in a color copier that can print up to 13" x 19"; when planning a trip I make copies of the relevant maps. I keep one map of the overall area rolled up and fastened to the handlebars and a map of the area I'll be riding each day is taped to the bike's gas tank. Usually I'll highlight the route I want to take on the tank map. I write notes all over these maps to be compiled into an overall trip diary once the trip is over and I can just throw the map copies away once I am done. The paper maps give me a good picture of the overall area I want to see.

    Generally I ride with two GPS units, a Delorme PN60 and a Garmin Montana, to orient myself to the paper maps. I love the Delorme maps and GPS unit because it gives me a name for every old mine, every windmill, every canyon, etc. as the display scrolls along and that helps orient me to the paper maps. The Montana I use because it is so simple and easy to create and load tracks on that I can follow. One of the reasons I tried and then went away from using a smartphone as my GPS was that, though the topo maps were excellent as far as showing terrain features, they did not give names to the man-made features. In other words, they would show a symbol for a mine, or a symbol for a well, but not give a name for those. Me, I like to know that I'm riding past the Delong windmill on Wild Bill Flats!
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  7. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Kind of like what I used to do before GPS. I put the map in a plastic sheet protector and wrapped it around the handlebar crossbar support. That way sometimes I could look at the map without having to pull it out. I remember days when it seemed like we had to pull the topo map out every few miles to try to figure out where we were and where to turn.

    Now I just keep GTR and Benchmark maps of the day's ride in my tank bag map holder and use them for getting a big picture of where we are and sometimes to plan a bailout if things go awry.

    Despite having good maps we still got lost a lot due to all the roads on the ground that weren't on the maps and the difficulty on estimating mileage between turns on curvy roads.
    I don't miss that aspect of riding.
    #7
  8. King Rat

    King Rat Adventurer

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    I don't actually understand half of what you have written - I think this is why I can't understand the instructions on how to use a GPS / Sat nag. It is so complicated - so are mobile phones. I just cannot fathom how to work all this 'connectivity'. I wish there were some places where you could go to learn, where they didn't treat you with total contempt because you are slow to understand even the basics.
    #8
  9. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    i could tell you where to learn it all, but it would be like you taking directions from the village idiot (me) who spoke a different language, through a straw ;-) but I'm even worse at following directions than i am giving them :-(

    here's a picture....

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    i took a picture of the park map for amicolola falls, at the gift shop. it's overlaid on top of Google Terrain, so i could see where we were at that park vs where we wanted to go. my son was in a wheel chair, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible to get him around. the park map moves with the Google Terrain background, as we move. the red track is what i recorded as we drove in and then hiked down to the falls. it's really handy for when the trail numbers are changed and the maps are updated, so you can see where you are on the parks map. really really handy when there are a bunch of similar wiggly trails with a bunch of intersections.

    does that make sense ? :-)

    but you're right, the big paper maps are really handy to have.
    #9
  10. King Rat

    King Rat Adventurer

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    I see what you mean, but knowing how to put the picture over the map, or download a map from the computer to the sat nav...even those types of things are beyond me at the moment. I am trying to get garmin over here in England to run a tuition day for customers. I bet it would mobbed. Your map, if you know how to read it, where is the advantage in having a battery one? Is it just that it takes away the need to maintain a check on your position? Your hike looks like some ordeal, 61 miles is a good yomp.
    #10
  11. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

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    this fellow may have some ideas on who or where you may be able to get advice
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  12. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    glad i didn't add too much confusion. usually pictures work better than words, for me.

    1 basically you just pick points on the picture and the background map that correspond. the app then does all the guesstimating and then overlays it where it should be. it's some gee wiz stuff that's really helpful with park maps. going from a park map on a trail head to a "oh here we are!" reference is really nice.

    2 unfortunately Garmin has over complicate this task to the inth degree. it's not hard, but they've added so many steps to the process, that i agree, there need to be tutorials for how to do it.

    3 this goes with 2, but yup, you're right, it would be a huge help.

    4 it bet i would be interesting, to get the folks that designed those user interfaces, to explain how to use them.

    5
    it makes planning easier, draw a line on the map and go exploring.
    take pictures and record a track. it makes finding those locations easier and more memorable years later.
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    all of that track/picture info can be shared over email/the net/etc to friends and family that want to try the fishing in the same location, hike the falls, or just sit and listen to the water.

    6 yes, that's a plus. there a quite a few others. the ability to know which winding valley or mountain road you're on is a big aid. comparing the recorded track vs others, or looking for interesting waypoints/points of interest nearby is pretty neat too. calling up the list of nearby points and seeing that Indian mounts are just two miles away is a nice bonus to a trip. or that fishing spot you meant to try last spring. or that hill you thought was a mountain when you were a kid.

    7 most of my exploring is motorized. only the last 3-4 miles is usually a hike.
    #12
  13. ozmoses

    ozmoses .

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    Yes.
    Resoundingly.
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  14. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    Ummmm... not calling BS on your story but... :D you did manage to post here, including attaching pictures and quoting other posts. Believe me, if you can do that, you can figure out a smartphone gps app. In my opinion learning to use and actually navigating using a smart phone gps app is about 90% easier than learning to use a Garmin type unit stand alone gps. Anyway maps work. Have fun
    #14
  15. King Rat

    King Rat Adventurer

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    I actually got suckered into buying a map navigation thing for a phone (Samsung galaxy 4) but I never got it to work (backcountry pro) and despite having paid for it the tution was crap. I still have no idea how you get a map on the phone, and when it was turned on to that program the battery disappeared like pouring it down the drain - useless. Battery life on these phones is absolutely dire. I gave the phone away in the end and went back to my earlier one with no camera - the battery lasts 10 days.
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  16. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    back country navigator ? basically you highlight the area you want to download, then it saves it to your offline maps for when you'll be offline.

    here are the cliff notes to battery life:
    1 use airplane mode (searching for cellular towers when the towers are far away kills battery life)
    2 in location services section of Android settings, change from "high accuracy" (which is a lie) to "gps only" which is the truth
    3 turn off all the Google"services" that want to use your cellular connection to phone home with stuff

    i see 2 days really, and 3 if I'm careful, only using the GPS antenna constantly and display frequently.
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  17. Menhir

    Menhir Been here awhile

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    I am comfortable with both the light side and the dark side of the force.
    I can use a map and compass and I almost always ride with a compass (not the expensive ones) in the bag. I don't ride off road, but I often take the motorcycle to places where I can hike, so a compass and a map...at least a trail map...is a solid idea. But I always have a GPS.

    Before I bought my first GPS all my road trips were planned and executed on paper maps. I still often carry them along on trips or and usually will pick up a local map in areas where I plan on exploring or spending some time.

    I'll admit that my traditional navigating skills are a little rusty these days, but I spend some time every winter refreshing them so I don't lose them all. It must work: I'm here typing posts instead of wintering lost in a forest somewhere. :D

    I find a GPS is the simple solution for everyday use. How do I get there? Am I still on track? Where's the nearest gas station/restaurant/hotel/campground? Heck...Where the hell am I? :shog It happens.
    I especially like the ability to randomly explore, knowing I can always find my way back to my campground or another destination even if it's after dark.

    So the map and compass have taken a back seat these days. They're still there when I need them, though.

    The basic use of a GPS device is clearly simple. Clearly, because I figured it out. :-) Let's not forget that it takes less time to learn basic GPS operation than we spent learning how to use a map and a compass in the first place.
    A little time, practice, and dedication...and the willingness to accept a few mistakes in the process...will do one good.

    I maintain that BaseCamp is user-hostile and speaking for myself, actually gets in the way. I learned how to use it once, but I stopped using it because I became sick and tired of having to re-learn it over and over again. I've had a better experience using other, simpler mapping programs.

    But I hope never to lose the "old school" tools.

    Whatever works for ya.
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  18. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    For reliability you can't beat a mapping compass and the topo quad sheet for your area.
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  19. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    i think you just described me
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  20. chrisjk

    chrisjk Been here awhile

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    As to the OP’s question, I think the best way to learn the use of this technology, for people who feel intimidated by it or for other reasons find it difficult to get to grips with it, simply to make a commitment to learn. A commitment with the same kind of intent as one, say, to give up smoking or as a promise to someone important. Then find somebody, a friend or other person willing to help them sit down with them for as long as it takes in as often as necessary to fulfil the commitment. Then practice!

    If this seems altogether too serious for something like GPS, then bear in mind that modern life requires more and more that we understand and are able to use this kind of technology. In the UK at least, much essential stuff is being pushed online, particularly by the government (stuff like taxes, passports, driving licences and so forth) and being unable to cope with all that leaves the technologically challenged at a considerable disadvantage.
    #20
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