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Thread: How much do you rely on your GPS?

  1. #1
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    How much do you rely on your GPS?

    I like traveling with my GPS, mine are only handheld units. I like seeing where I am on the map, what is nearby, things like that. I haven't used it to find a route for me yet. If I am going somewhere new I will have planned my trip on a paper map. All I am saying is I don't completely trust my GPS. I go off on my own quite a bit and think they are a great tool but not the one to completely rely on.

    Anyway, I have heard of these stories happening more often about people getting lost or stranded because the GPS told them to take some forest service road instead of using common sense. I wouldn't be following a 16' wide dirt road I wasn't familiar with in order to save a bit of time. I am going to stick with the established routes. The same thing happened with the Stolpa's up in northern Washoe County back in 1993 but you can't even blame GPS directions on that.

    I am not the smartest guy either but come on.


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    My Garmin is just another navigation tool and is never solely trusted to make decisions. A good map atlas is invaluable to a GPS. Just how some fools drive into lakes or isolated roads have too much faith in a gadget. It is a tool to complement a map and should never substitute common sense. As a general rule, I use the GPS as a speedometer-- the speedo in the jeep and chevy truck are not reliable due to the larger tires, etc. There are times when i'll be out in some remote valley in central nevada and come to a cross roads. Time to lay the paper map on the hood and then use the GPS as a reference tool to find the correct lon/lat. Then pin point the location on the paper map. there are many unmarked spur and cattle trails that can be a road, or a road that is a cattle trail, like out near Troy, NV. So they must be used together for a good reference when and where to turn. And of course, there is no substitute for proper "presearch"- that is research your intended route and study the area carefully, this way there should be fewer uh oh decisions or navigation problems.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinStick View Post
    Anyway, I have heard of these stories happening more often about people getting lost or stranded because the GPS told them to take some forest service road instead of using common sense.
    That is what happened to us. I rely on the GPS in the Rubicon much less after our experience last summer when it tried to kill us.

    We were driving back from Minnesota and were taking Hwy 94 thru S Dakota to see the Badlands and we were planning on cutting down to I80 in Wyoming. Well we stuck to the directions given by the GPS. When we reached Casper WY it started guiding us south. It took us through Casper and into a more rural area. Nothing to worry about we thought as Wyoming is pretty rural outside of the cities like Nevada is. As we got further along the road went from a well marked two lane to a less well marked paved road. It then went to a wide dirt road. We were about an hour past Casper so we deceided to keep going, the GPS had to know the route to I80 right? Then things started to get rough. A thunderstorm had just passed, the road was really muddy, it was pitch dark out (almost midnight now) and there were now cattle in the road. Well we pressed on thinking that as far as we've driven we must be getting close to somewhere.

    Wrong. Now we started ascending a mountain. The road was still OK, much like the service road going to the top of Peavine. But its after midnight, the road is wet and muddy and we have little idea of where we are and what lies ahead. We press on and crest the summit at 7500' and finally start our decent. But the GPS isn't done trying to kill us yet. Theres a fork in the road and it wants us to go right. Unsure of what to do we go right only to be met with very deep muddy ruts in the road. We throw it into reverse, back up about 50 yards to the fork and take the left. After a while we finally reach the bottom of the mountain and come out in the back of a State park. The road evens out and turns to pavement (big sigh of relief!) and after about another 20-30 miles we reach I80 only to find the on ramp is closed due to construction! Gaaa! The detour leads us a few miles south to another on ramp and a gas station. We pull off at the gas station and get out to stretch and look the Jeep over. The rear fenders are coated in 3-4" of mud and the wheel wells are chock full.

    Heres the route the GPS put us through.


    We determined the problem was the GPS was set to "Shortest Route" rather than "Fastest Route." Rather than keeping us on the highways which would have been a longer drive it picked the shortest route regardless of the roads involved. Lesson learned. Plan the route with a map and use the GPS to stick to that route.
    Last edited by Pariah; December 29th, 2009 at 02:14 PM.
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    My question is: the people that rely on a device to tell them where to go, are these the same people that use the "Magic 8-Ball" to decide on what to do in life?

    I tend to rely on the most advanced data processing unit ever known, the human brain. I may not always make the best decisions, but I trust my brain far more than I will ever trust something that runs on AA batteries or a cigarette lighter plug.
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    I hear a lot of GPS slamming, but if you take the time to actually look at the GPS from time to time and not just listen to directions to a programmed end point, you would see that "most of the time" it shows the roads just as it is on a map. Little skinny access/forestry service roads generally look the same on a GPS as they do on a paper map.

    Disclaimer - I did say most of the time. GPS data can be in error or out dated, but guess what, so does that map/atlas that you've had in your back seat since 1970.

    Maps and GPS are only a resource. Use them wisely. Use your common sense. If the road is looking... not so good, turn around and get back on the main road.

    When you're taking a long trip, make sure you let somebody know your route and destination. If you change routes, update them. It may be an inconenience but well worth the time and effort if you get stuck somewhere, out of cell phone range, in freezing weather.

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    I overheard two ladies talking about how stubborn their husbands were about asking for directions. One said she got a GPS for their car and she loved it. However when her husband was driving, he never followed the GPS directions and would go straight when it said turn and vice-versa. She finally figured out that he was ignoring the GPS's female voice instructions because he couldn't stand having a woman telling him how to get somewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FallonJeeper View Post
    I hear a lot of GPS slamming, but if you take the time to actually look at the GPS from time to time and not just listen to directions to a programmed end point, you would see that "most of the time" it shows the roads just as it is on a map. Little skinny access/forestry service roads generally look the same on a GPS as they do on a paper map.

    Disclaimer - I did say most of the time. GPS data can be in error or out dated, but guess what, so does that map/atlas that you've had in your back seat since 1970.

    Maps and GPS are only a resource. Use them wisely. Use your common sense. If the road is looking... not so good, turn around and get back on the main road.

    When you're taking a long trip, make sure you let somebody know your route and destination. If you change routes, update them. It may be an inconenience but well worth the time and effort if you get stuck somewhere, out of cell phone range, in freezing weather.
    I am not slamming GPS by any means, I am pointing out how some folks use that technology without looking around at the surroundings.
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  9. #9
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    Best navigation tool combo:
    GPS, atlas, human navigator.

    Hard to navigate and drive at the same time. This tends to be the leading cause of J-turns.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinStick View Post
    I am pointing out how some folks use that technology without looking around at the surroundings.
    Oh, I wasn't talking about you slamming GPS. It's been all over the media. They act like nobody ever got lost, even following maps, before GPS.

    I totally agree, you gotta know where you're going and what's around you. Those of us that travel off the beaten path, and rely a little less on GPS know that things change. The road that was there even a couple months ago, may not be there today.

  11. #11
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    I have a bad habit of going on road trips solely relying on my nav system and phone
    I need a good set of maps for the jeep
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    Quote Originally Posted by kairo View Post
    I have a bad habit of going on road trips solely relying on my nav system and phone
    I need a good set of maps for the jeep
    I have been looking for "military type" maps, with terrain, trails, power lines, roads and buildings etc....

    I can not find any, any suggestions where to look?

    Sample of what I look for:

    Name:  Kjeller1969.jpg
Views: 176
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  13. #13
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    look at USGS quadraleteral maps, oh wait...

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=http%3A%2F%2Fww...aphical%2Bmaps

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    i spend every day in my jeep driving all over our little slice of heaven most days its like 150-200 miles.and i use my gps all day.but i find it doesn't know where its going sometimes.if i was not as familiar with the area i think it would waste time.
    just like ANY tool you have to use it with good judgement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by leifnv View Post
    I have been looking for "military type" maps, with terrain, trails, power lines, roads and buildings etc....

    I can not find any, any suggestions where to look?

    Sample of what I look for:

    Name:  Kjeller1969.jpg
Views: 176
Size:  879.8 KB
    Those are topographic maps, commonly called Topo's.
    National Geographic makes a nice set on CD.

    In general you can only load maps on a GPS that are from the GPS manufacturer. Garmin. Lowrance and Thales all have their own proprietary soft ware. However you can hook your GPS to your laptop via RS232 (newer units use USB) and use the NEMA protocols to talk to map soft ware, like that sold by Nat. Geo.
    I actually prefer this to using the little screen on the GPS.
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    if you use your gps with a map you can not go wrong for ex. last night on the way to some girls house i was driving down the road and it said i was driving down the fairway of a par 3 lol but out hunting use it with a map and you can't go wrong but i wouldnt use only a gps. they are nice to have in big cities but out in the hill not so much. A few years ago it saved my A** in San Fran i just told it to take me home and it got me outa the city in no time

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    also if you are looking for good NV maps go to the ndot office they have a great one that is broken up into sq. miles the whole state in on ebook best nv map i have ever had and they are only about 20 bucks

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    Quote Originally Posted by firstplace01 View Post
    also if you are looking for good NV maps go to the ndot office they have a great one that is broken up into sq. miles the whole state in on ebook best nv map i have ever had and they are only about 20 bucks
    The NDOT road atlas is great for showing every cow track in the state but it has no topo lines and I find it difficult to relate my position to the map. I use it with the Benchmark and Delorme map atlas. I also use the Magellan Mapsend map software if I have my laptop with me.
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    Interesting thread. I use 2 GPS's. My garmin rino loaded with topo's for off road and a cheap Tom Tom XL for finding food when out of town.

    If you manually enter GPS coordinates in the TomTom it will take you in the opposite direction every time. My garmin rino has never let me down.
    I usually use the rino for tracking where I've been, and planning a route off road. I use a map or atlas to verify my info and have been more than happy with the garmin (plus the rino model has a gmrs radio).

    As for the Tom Tom I regret not buying the more expensive Garmin but it seems to find major cities and restuarants reasonably well. I would never trust the Tom Tom to find a manually entered coordinate or anything not on a major thoroughfare.

  20. #20
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    i use the tomtom xl 330s on and off road! as long as its updated it seems to work great, and with a 3rd party program called trye you can import google earth to the tomtom! you should try it brigitta its kinda cool! takes a few to learn but totally worth it with the tomtom!
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    Having google earth is cool, but after taking both my garmin and tom tom geocaching and having the tom tom take me in the opposite direction each time, I'm not sure if my tom tom has a problem or if they aren't programmed to accept coordinates

  22. #22
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    I have just finished plotting a trip from here to Gerlach using Google Earth and my netbook with my Microsoft 360 GPS. It has taken me a while to figure out how to apply GE but I went out Tuesday with a friend for about 4 hours and ran all over the area north of 80 following GE's aerial map and all I can say is WOW did that work great! The big screen and the stored map info is flawless...plus ya got a damn picture of the trails. What's really cool too is by moving the cursor along the trail you get elevation and can tell how steep the trail is by watching the position and using your brain. Say if the elevation goes from 4200 to 4400 and the position doesn't change that's steep. I plotted a path to Gerlach and even off line when the zoomed view is a little blurry that red line stands out big and bold and the GPS will lock right on to it. I also plan on plotting some side trips on the trails off of the power line road and make the paths in different colors. GOOGLE EARTH IS REALLY COOL!!!! I'm really impressed.

    BTW- The only thing that it doesn't tell me is the composition of the trail....I almost buried the Jeep in some really loose sand Tuesday....
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