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Learn to Use GPS in the Backcountry (Intro) | Learn About Your GPS Receiver | Set Up Your GPS Receiver | Practice Recording Locations | Interpret your Data: Recording and Using Tracks

Learn to Use GPS in the Backcountry (Intro)

by Phil Romig Jr.

An old folk song by Pete Seeger starts with the words: “To everything there is a season and a time…”

That certainly is true for learning how to use your GPS receiver, and the time certainly is NOT when you are on a twenty-mile pack trip. The season to learn is spring, the time is now, and the place is around your home.

In these pages, we will talk about:
  1. Learning to use your receiver
  2. Setting up the receiver to meet your needs
  3. Reading and using location coordinates
  4. Recording tracks
  5. Creating and following routes
  6. Accuracy and Precision

Most of these can be done as you go about your regular activities from day to day. Some might take a little extra time in the evening. Get in the habit of carrying your GPS with you as you walk (or ride your bike) around town and use it at locations and on routes that you know. This will help you become confident that you know its capabilities and limitations while becoming familiar with its use.

There are day and weekend courses that teach you how to use it, but I’m not a big fan. They are good at presenting a lot of information in an organized and efficient way, but after fifty years in education, I know that few people are able to remember even 10% of it for more than a few days. The skills and knowledge that you gain by doing something every day are much more likely to stick with you.

Next, Learn About Your GPS Receiver

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