Basic GPS Navigation

A practical guide to GPS navigation.

by

John Bell



Copyright

Authorized copying and distribution: It is my intent that individuals be able to
print a reasonable number of copies for personal use.

Unauthorized copying or distribution is prohibited.

Copyright ©2008 John Bell All rights reserved

Last revision 01/25/2008

Acknowledgement

In my research to find what kind of material was already available on the web, I
came across a GPS for kayaking course taught in Boston by Adam Bolonsky. I
sent an e-mail to Adam to ask his opinion. Adam has been kind enough to give
me extensive feedback on this book. Note that this is an expression of thanks for
his help rather than Adam‘s endorsement for the content. For that, I remain
solely responsible. Adam teaches kayaking skills as well as being an outdoor
writer. His e-mail is adambolonsky@yahoo.com .

I used G7toWin, by Ron Henderson, extensively for screen captures. It is
available at http://www.gpsinformation.org/ronh/.

Thanks to Fred Simon and his many e-mails on tacking.









Preface and Disclaimer

Although I say essentially the same thing in the introduction, I believe that it
bears being said separately for emphasis.

Both the e-book and print on demand versions of this book are not professionally
edited or published. Professional editing adds a layer of confidence in that the
text is checked for both writing errors as well as factual errors. Although I
consider myself to be knowledgeable and I have tried to make this information
accurate to the best of my knowledge, this book has not been edited.

Although I have hopefully provided accurate information that will increase your
level of safety and effectiveness in navigating with GPS, I take no liability for any
of the material.

If this book proves to be sufficiently popular, I may have it edited and published in
a more formal manner. By doing so I will have to freeze the content and updates
will be harder to make and fewer.

The grammatical and general stylistic errors will be the easiest to fix by hiring
somebody with more writing skill. Although I am open to such corrections, these
are not my primary concern. I would very much like to hear about substantive
errors. These are cases where I was outright wrong or explained something in a
manner that while being logical to me, was actually confusing.

I would also like to hear if this book helped you and if there are things that you
wish that I had included but did not. Not that I will necessarily include them,
there has to be some winnowing of subject matter, but I do appreciate any ideas.

Sincerely,



John Bell
handheldgps@hotmail.com

Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction .......................................................................................... 1
What I hope to accomplish in this book. ............................................................ 1
Which GPS receivers I address. ....................................................................... 1
My experiences and qualifications .................................................................... 1
A brief history of this book ................................................................................. 2
Nomenclature .................................................................................................... 2
Synopsis ........................................................................................................... 3
Chapter 2 How GPS Works .................................................................................. 5
Basic GPS ......................................................................................................... 5
Selective Availability, SA ................................................................................... 7
Differential GPS ................................................................................................ 7
Basic GPS ..................................................................................................... 7
WAAS ............................................................................................................ 8
What your GPS does when it starts up ............................................................. 9
Chapter 3 Issues ................................................................................................ 11
Proficiency ...................................................................................................... 11
How to become proficient................................................................................ 11
GPS fixation .................................................................................................... 12
GPS dependence ............................................................................................ 12
Operator Error ................................................................................................. 13
Accuracy ......................................................................................................... 14
Hazards not depicted ...................................................................................... 17
Signal Availability ............................................................................................ 17
Detecting Signal Loss .................................................................................. 18
Channel marker collisions ............................................................................... 19
Traffic in Low Visibility ..................................................................................... 20
Using GPS to avoid collisions ...................................................................... 20
GPS and Terror ............................................................................................... 20
Chapter 4 Choosing a GPS receiver .................................................................. 23
Total Cost ........................................................................................................ 23
Mapping GPS .................................................................................................. 24
Mapping data ............................................................................................... 24
Which map product? ................................................................................... 26
Unlock areas on CD-rom ............................................................................. 27
U.S. GPS outside of the basemap area ...................................................... 28
Memory requirements for maps ................................................................... 30
Memory availability ...................................................................................... 33
Processor Speed ............................................................................................ 33
Display Screen ................................................................................................ 33
Available data fields ........................................................................................ 33
Marine vs. Generic .......................................................................................... 35
Aviation GPS Receivers .................................................................................. 35
Garmin Nuvi type receivers ............................................................................. 35
Built in Altimeter and Compass ....................................................................... 39

Number of Channels ....................................................................................... 40
Less than 12 channels ................................................................................ 40
More than 12 channels ................................................................................ 40
WAAS or non-WAAS ...................................................................................... 41
Antenna Location and Type ............................................................................ 41
Mounting ......................................................................................................... 42
Computer connection ...................................................................................... 43
Automotive use ............................................................................................... 43
Auto routing and pedestrian use ..................................................................... 45
Dead Reckoning ............................................................................................. 46
Multiple Uses .................................................................................................. 47
Where to get more information ....................................................................... 47
Laptops and PDA‘s ......................................................................................... 48
Specific Garmin Models .................................................................................. 48
eTrex (basic) and Geko ............................................................................... 49
Garmin GPS 72 ........................................................................................... 49
Garmin GPS III Plus .................................................................................... 49
Garmin eTrex Vista, Legend, and Venture .................................................. 49
Garmin GPS 76 ........................................................................................... 50
GPS V ......................................................................................................... 51
Garmin GPS Map 176 ................................................................................. 51
Garmin 196 and 295 ................................................................................... 51
Magellan ......................................................................................................... 52
Lowrance ........................................................................................................ 54
Other Manufactures ........................................................................................ 54
Chapter 5 Waypoints .......................................................................................... 56
Appropriateness of data .................................................................................. 56
Mark Present Position ..................................................................................... 58
Marking on the map screen ............................................................................ 58
Projecting a point ............................................................................................ 60
Understanding some mapping basics ............................................................. 60
Datums ........................................................................................................... 60
A little extra background on datums ............................................................ 61
Location Format .............................................................................................. 63
Latitude and Longitude ................................................................................ 63
UTM, Universal Transverse Mercator ......................................................... 64
Various other Grids ..................................................................................... 66
Specialized Charts and Maps ......................................................................... 66
From the Internet ............................................................................................ 66
Mapping Programs ......................................................................................... 69
Delorme Map Print Pack (U.S. Only) www.delorme.com ............................ 70
Microsoft Streets and Trips ......................................................................... 71
GPS Manufactures‘ Mapping and Data Software ........................................ 72
National Geocgraphic http://maps.nationalgeographic/top .......................... 72
Ozi Explorer www.oziexplorer.com ............................................................. 73
Other software............................................................................................. 73

Ordinary Road Maps ....................................................................................... 73
Google Earth ................................................................................................... 74
GPS Babel ................................................................................................... 77
Chapter 6 Connecting your GPS to the computer .............................................. 79
Hardware ........................................................................................................ 79
Garmin Serial .............................................................................................. 79
Lowrance Serial ........................................................................................... 80
Software .......................................................................................................... 80
Garmin......................................................................................................... 80
Garmin POI Loader ..................................................................................... 80
Lowrance ..................................................................................................... 81
PC Programs ............................................................................................... 82
G7toWin http://www.gpsinformation.org/ronh/ ............................................. 82
EasyGPS www.easygps.com ...................................................................... 82
Ozi Explorer http://www.oziexplorer.com .................................................... 82
GPS software for the Mac ........................................................................... 82
Chapter 7 Navigation Terminology ..................................................................... 83
What is North? ................................................................................................ 83
Magnetic North ............................................................................................ 83
Grid North .................................................................................................... 85
TRACK—synonym TRK or COG (Course over Ground) or HEADING ........... 86
BEARING ........................................................................................................ 86
TURN .............................................................................................................. 86
COURSE-- synonym DTK(desired track) ........................................................ 87
TKE, Track error ............................................................................................. 87
TO COURSE, COURSE TO STEER .............................................................. 87
OFF COURSE, XTK (cross track error) .......................................................... 87
Terminology Example ..................................................................................... 88
Chapter 8 Navigation Displays ........................................................................... 89
Map Display .................................................................................................... 89
Bearing Pointer, Compass, or RMI ................................................................. 89
HSI or Course Pointer ..................................................................................... 90
Highway Screen .............................................................................................. 91
Other navigation screens ................................................................................ 91
Which screen should you use? ....................................................................... 92
Setting up the map display for navigation ....................................................... 93
Lines ............................................................................................................ 93
Detail ........................................................................................................... 93
Data Fields .................................................................................................. 93
The variations: ............................................................................................. 95
Chapter 9 Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation ................................................. 97
When this chapter does not apply: .................................................................. 98
Technique ....................................................................................................... 98
Navigating to a point using BEARING and TRACK information .................. 99
Steering ....................................................................................................... 99
Homing verses tracking ............................................................................. 100

Sighting ..................................................................................................... 101
TURN Sensitivity ....................................................................................... 102
Navigating along a line using bearing information ..................................... 103
Navigating along a line using COURSE information ................................. 104
Navigating to a point using course information ............................................. 106
Great Circle .................................................................................................. 106
Chapter 10 Two Dimensional Navigation on foot ............................................. 109
Warning ........................................................................................................ 109
Which activities does this chapter apply to? ................................................. 109
Track vs. Heading ......................................................................................... 110
Track ......................................................................................................... 110
Heading ..................................................................................................... 111
What data and displays are still useful without TRACK? .............................. 111
Basic BEARING and a compass technique .................................................. 112
Which Screen to navigate with ..................................................................... 113
Magnetic North ............................................................................................. 114
Other navigation clues .................................................................................. 115
More Tricks ................................................................................................... 116
Using True North ....................................................................................... 116
Aligning the GPS screen ........................................................................... 117
Triangulation ............................................................................................. 118
Foot navigation for the urban tourist ............................................................. 118
Equipment ................................................................................................. 119
Finding Points of Interest .......................................................................... 119
Routes ....................................................................................................... 121
Navigating ................................................................................................. 122
More information on using a Map and Compass .......................................... 122
Chapter 11 Routes ........................................................................................... 123
Warning: ....................................................................................................... 123
What is a route?............................................................................................ 123
First leg uses the second waypoint ............................................................... 123
Evaluating routes .......................................................................................... 125
Waypoint and leg sequencing ....................................................................... 125
Creating a route using the map display ........................................................ 125
Garmin ...................................................................................................... 126
Magellan ................................................................................................... 127
Enroute GOTO ............................................................................................. 127
Is the receiver capable of an enroute GOTO? .......................................... 128
Executing an enroute GOTO ..................................................................... 128
Example: Setup of Manchester Channel ..................................................... 130
Example: Route between a chain of lakes ................................................... 131
Chapter 12 Path navigation .............................................................................. 135
Using the computer to create the route ......................................................... 137
Magellan adaptive technique ........................................................................ 138
Another example........................................................................................... 138
Chapter 13 Using Maps with an unknown or no grid ........................................ 141

A little math of conversion review .................................................................. 143
Bearing reciprocal calculation technique ....................................................... 144
Creating Waypoints from known Waypoints.................................................. 145
Bearing and Distance method ................................................................... 145
UTM method .............................................................................................. 148
Example using a reference point ................................................................... 149
END relative to reference points ................................................................ 150
Some Bearing and Distances .................................................................... 150
How well did the methods work? ............................................................... 153
Chapter 14 Advance techniques for generic maps ........................................... 155
Bearing from two points method ................................................................... 155
User Grid Overview ....................................................................................... 156
Map Requirements .................................................................................... 156
User Grid Preview ......................................................................................... 158
User Grid Technique ..................................................................................... 159
1. Renumber the grid if necessary ......................................................... 159
2. Enter the reference point into the GPS ............................................... 159
3. Measure the point on the map in grid terms ....................................... 159
4. Calculate meters per grid: .................................................................. 159
5. Calculate GPS scale: ......................................................................... 161
7. Get Northing of the reference point. ................................................... 162
8. Set User Grid False Northing to: ........................................................ 163
9. You are finished setting up the GPS. ................................................. 163
User Grid Summary and worksheet .............................................................. 165
Chapter 15 Rowing, Kayaking, and Sailing ...................................................... 169
Rowing .......................................................................................................... 169
Rowing promotion ..................................................................................... 169
GPS techniques ........................................................................................ 169
Sailing ........................................................................................................... 170
VMG, Velocity Made Good ........................................................................ 170
Hazards ..................................................................................................... 172
Chapter 16 Odds and Ends .............................................................................. 177
Man Overboard – MOB ................................................................................. 177
Measuring with a map display ....................................................................... 177
Tracks ........................................................................................................... 178
Chapter 17 Links and Further Reading ............................................................. 181
Marine GPS use ............................................................................................ 181
Aviation use .................................................................................................. 181
GPS information ............................................................................................ 181
Map and Compass Information ..................................................................... 182
Cartographic information ............................................................................... 183
Rowing .......................................................................................................... 183
Kayaking ....................................................................................................... 184
Geocaching and other different uses ............................................................ 184
Introduction
Basic GPS Navigation
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Chapter 1 Introduction
What I hope to accomplish in this book.

It is possible to go into a chain store and purchase a GPS receiver which will give
more navigation capability than was available at any price just a couple of years
ago. However, many people have no idea what they can do with one. Many of
the people that have GPS receivers are using their GPS receivers to a fraction of
their potential. My intent is to try to show you how to use a GPS for many
recreational activities.
Which GPS receivers I address.

I use screen shots from several different GPS receivers. I occasionally mention
a feature or trick that is applicable to a specific receiver. However, this book in
no way is meant to be model specific. Much of navigation is relating parameters
such as bearing, cross track error, track, routes, etc. Whether you are using a
very economical handheld GPS receiver, an expensive marine chart plotter, or
an integrated flight management system on an airliner, many of the principles of
navigation are similar.

Different receivers have different keystrokes and menu selections to accomplish
certain tasks. This is certainly true from manufacture to manufacture, but this is
even true between different receivers made by the same manufacture. Although
I may occasionally give advice relevant to a specific receiver, for the most part I
do not tell you the button and menu sequences to accomplish a specific task.
This is the realm of the owner‘s manual and simply playing with the GPS to get
familiar with it. Generally, there is a logic to the menus and button presses.
Even if the logic is not what you might try on the first guess, a little trial and error
will usually get you to the required menu or function.
My experiences and qualifications

The perspective of an author always influences a book. It is fair that you know
my expertise and experience relative to using GPS.

By profession, I am an airline pilot for a major airline in the U.S. I also have a
degree in Aerospace Engineering. One thing that I am not is a writer. Even
though my professional expertise is flying, I have used GPS for a variety of
activities. I have used GPS for aircraft navigation, kayaking, rowing, bicycling,
personal watercraft riding, and I commonly use GPS to find my way around
unfamiliar cities. Some of the uses of GPS that would get strange looks from my
neighbors if they didn‘t know me as well as they do are when I have put a GPS
into my hat to measure the linear distance mowing my lawn. I commonly inline
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skate around the neighborhood with a GPS strapped to the top of my helmet to
tell me how far and fast I have skated.

In only one of these activities that I have used GPS, flying, would I claim to be an
expert or at least professional. I am confident in my knowledge of how to use
GPS for navigation, but my advice does not extend beyond the GPS aspect of
the activity. Thus, there are many subjects that I do not cover in much detail,
such as reading nautical charts or topographic maps because they are beyond
the scope of the book and my expertise. The good news is that there is much
good material addressing these issues.
A brief history of this book

My little sister married a Norwegian. She was kind enough to release me from
the standard bridal registry of useless things such as fine china. Instead she let
me know that they could really use some camping gear. Living in the Houston,
Texas at the time, I would occasionally read about someone being caught in a
blizzard and being lost. Certainly Norway qualified as having blizzard potential,
so I also purchased a GPS for my little sister so that she and her new husband
would be able to navigate their way through any surprise blizzard.

Unfortunately, I played with the GPS before I gave it to her. I had to have one
also. I was amazed that for a couple of hundred dollars, this handheld device
would provide much of the navigation information that the boxes costing
hundreds of thousands of dollars in the airliners that I was flying. I became
fascinated with GPS, and I think that my sister‘s GPS resides in a drawer in
Norway.

When I first started using GPS in airplanes, I realized that many pilots did not
know how to use GPS to its fullest potential. What started as an e-mail became
a website which eventually became a downloadable book, Cockpit GPS
(www.cockpitgps.com). GPS became somewhat of a hobby and I would often
talk to boaters about using GPS. I would also talk to salesman at local boating
stores, occasionally go to seminars for boaters, and read several books.
Unfortunately, I found a shortage of knowledge and skill in using GPS. I also felt
that many of the books on using GPS left out some crucial skills in using the
GPS. Thus, I wrote Small Boat GPS which was published on the Internet.

Much of what was in Small Boat GPS is generic to navigation using GPS and is
applicable across a wide variety of activities. Thus, this book is a re-editing and
expansion of the scope of Small Boat GPS.

Nomenclature

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GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a system that includes satellites
that are monitored and controlled by ground stations as well as receivers. The
thing commonly referred to as a GPS is actually a receiver integrated with a
navigation computer, sometimes called a GPS navigator. Referring to a GPS
navigator while being technically incorrect is the common usage. I feel that
nothing is lost in this somewhat incorrect terminology and I often use the term
―GPS‖ in reference to the receiver. It is usually contextually obvious when the
receiver is being referenced and when the whole system is being referenced.
Synopsis

I have tried to lay out this book in a logical manner. However, this is not a novel;
pick and choose what you find interesting and useful. There is information that
some people will find irrelevant that others will find useful. For example, if you
already have a GPS, you will not need advice on which GPS to buy. If you have
a mapping GPS, you will not need to figure out how to get waypoints.

- How it works

Every book has a description of how GPS works. There is also much
good information available on the web. I have a brief oversimplified
explanation that will hopefully give you the conceptual knowledge of how
GPS works.

- Issues

GPS is a wonderful technology, but there are some caveats and
limitations that you should understand.

- Which GPS

Before you can use a GPS, you must have one to use. GPS receivers are
like any other piece of electronics in that new models are constantly
replacing old models. Thus, a model-by-model buyer‘s guide quickly
becomes obsolete. Although I list my opinions on some specific models,
my primary goal is to let you know what issues to consider in choosing a
GPS.

- Where to get Waypoints

Another issue is where to get waypoints. Before you can navigate with a
GPS. It is necessary to describe where you want to go to the GPS
receiver. There are a variety of methods for getting these coordinates.
Some are as easy as pointing and clicking on a mapping GPS. There are
also ways to get coordinates using a computer including Internet sites.
Maps and charts are also useful for finding coordinates. Using a road
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map for flying would obviously be improper. However, a road map might
be ideal for using with a basic GPS for a canoe trip. A proper topographic
map may be better in such a case. However, the time and expense of
acquiring such a map may be overkill when a road map or free map from
the ranger station might be adequate.

- Navigation terminology

Although it is possible to navigate with GPS in a rudimentary fashion
without knowing basic GPS terminology, there are some terms that you
should know.

- Navigation Displays

This chapter explains how the GPS displays the navigation information.


- How to Navigate

I divide GPS navigation into two-dimensional vehicle navigation, foot
navigation, and path navigation. Two dimensional vehicle navigation
applies to steering a vehicle such as an airplane or a boat where the GPS
is used for a steering reference.

Path navigation is where the GPS is used to orient and provide progress
along a route such as boating along a river or traveling along a road or
trail. However, in path navigation the GPS is not actually used for steering
guidance. The sides of the road or banks of the river provide guidance.

Furthermore, there is a slight variation in using GPS for foot navigation.
One of the biggest advantages of GPS is that it provides information on
the direction that you are traveling. This is unique in that most systems in
the past have only provided information on the direction that a vessel is
pointing. Due to currents and winds, there is often a significant difference.
However, often during foot navigation the GPS is unable to provide
direction of travel. Thus, there is a difference in navigation technique.


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Chapter 2 How GPS Works

There is no shortage of information on how GPS works. My explanation is meant
as a brief summary. If you would like more information, I have many sources in
the links and reference section.

Essentially GPS takes the range (distance) from a constellation of satellites to
calculate your position. If the GPS knows where you are and you tell it where
you want to go it is then able to calculate bearings, distances, off course
distances, and your track.

If you want to have a slightly more detailed explanation, I have a slightly longer
but still purposefully over simplified explanation in the next several pages. If you
want a more detailed explanation than I offer, here are some sources:
- GPS Explained, Paul Bertorelli of IFR magazine
http://www.avweb.com/articles/gpsexpln.html
One of the best explanations that I have seen on how GPS works.

- GPS Guide for Beginners, http://www.garmin.com/aboutGPS/manual.html
This is a Garmin pamphlet that is good at explaining the basics of how
GPS works. There are also basic introductory explanations of elementary
navigation terms.

- Trimble GPS tutorial, http://www.trimble.com/gps/index.htm
This is a Flash explanation of how GPS works.

- Navtech GPS Seminars and Supply, http://www.navtechgps.com
If you want a post graduate engineering text on GPS, Navtech would be a
source.
Basic GPS

The GPS system consists of 24 satellites. The number may vary slightly as new
ones are launched and old ones are retired. Each satellite is in an 11,000 mile
orbit and transmits a very weak signal. The system is monitored and maintained
by the U.S. Military. The satellites only broadcast to the user and the user only
receives. There is no charge for use.

To start with, assume that all of the satellites and the receiver have a perfect
internal clock. This is not the case, but it makes a good starting point. Each
satellite transmits a coded signal. Consider this signal to be like the peaks and
ridges along the edge of a super long key. This code is generated as a function
of time. The receiver is also able to generate the same code. The receiver
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matches the incoming code to the internally generated code except that there is
a delay caused by the signal‘s travel time between the satellite and the receiver.
The receiver measures how much it has had to shift the timing of its code to
match the incoming code. Since the receiver knows how much time it took the
signal to reach the receiver and the speed of travel of the signal, it can then
calculate the distance from the satellite.

If you know how far you are from one satellite then you know that you are
somewhere along an imaginary sphere around that satellite. If you know how far
you are from two satellites, then you are somewhere along the intersection of
where these two spheres, which is a circle. If you add another satellite, then you
are somewhere where this third sphere intercepts the circle created by the
intersection of the other two spheres. The sphere will most likely intercept the
previous circle at two points. One of these points is where you are, and the other
is not a reasonable solution – somewhere in outer space. Thus by knowing
where you are relative to these three satellites the receiver with a perfect clock
can know where it is.

Although no clock is perfect, the satellites have atomic clocks—pretty close. The
clock in the GPS receiver is closer in technology to an inexpensive digital watch.
Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. If the receiver time was off by 1/100 of
a second the calculated distance would be off by 1,860 miles.

For each receiver to have its own cesium clock would make GPS technology
prohibitively expensive and non-portable. What the GPS receiver does is to use
a cheap clock similar to a digital watch and add one more satellite to the
calculation to correct the time in the receiver. The receiver shifts the time
calculation back and forth so that all of the imaginary spheres around the
satellites intercept at one point.

For three-dimensional navigation you need to receive four satellites. Think of it
as one satellite for each dimension and one for the time. For two-dimensional
navigation you can scrape by with only receiving three satellites. If you know
your altitude, the GPS can treat the center of the earth as a satellite reducing the
number of required satellites by one. Your distance from the center of the earth
is the radius of the earth plus your altitude. This is why aviation GPS models
have barometric altimeter input and you may occasionally see a handheld GPS
ask for your altitude during poor reception conditions.

Newer GPS receivers use the extra signals above the minimum that is required
to further refine the position for increased accuracy. This is known as an over
determined solution.

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Selective Availability, SA

SA is an intentional error introduced into the GPS signal to make it less accurate.
Although I suppose that the military could turn it on again, SA no longer exists. I
mention it because you may see it in mentioned in literature on GPS.

Not only is GPS good for flying airplanes, but it is good for guiding bombs and
missiles. To prevent somebody else from doing this well, the military added a
little random time shift to the satellite signal available for civilian use. This added
some inaccuracy to the calculated position.

Error correction technologies such as differential GPS, WAAS, and LAAS take
out much of the SA induced error. Thus a sophisticated enemy could negate the
effects. Thus, selective availability was turned off.

Differential GPS

If you have an inaccurate piece of equipment, but know exactly how inaccurate
the output is, then you know the correct value. For example, if your watch was
exactly 5 minutes fast, you could look at your watch and subtract five minutes to
know exactly what time it was. In fact, I have found most people who use this
watch setting technique to prevent chronic tardiness also subconsciously perform
this calculation every time they look at their watch.

Differential GPS technologies use a similar idea. The signal from each satellite
must pass through the atmosphere. The atmosphere, and especially the
ionosphere, causes errors due to refraction. The GPS receiver has some
internal models to calculate these effects, but an even better way is to directly
measure the errors.

The idea of differential GPS is to install a GPS receiver at a known point. Since
the location is known, this GPS compares the distance to each satellite and to
what it should be and then rebroadcasts the error in digital format. GPS
receivers so equipped can then use this known error in its position calculations.

Basic GPS
Basic GPS uses local receivers and local transmitters. In order to use differential
GPS, you need a special differential receiver which then sends the signal to the
the GPS. Differential GPS is mainly a marine application and it is not widely
used for recreational applications.

For more information on differential GPS:
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8

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/dgps/default.htm

One of the biggest advantages of differential GPS is that it helped to eliminate
the purposeful errors caused by Selective Availability. Now that Selective
Availability has been turned off, the level of accuracy increase from using
differential GPS is significantly less. Additionally, WAAS, Wide Area
Augmentation Service is common in most new GPS receivers. WAAS is a
differential type of technology.
WAAS
Another differential technique is known as WAAS, Wide Area Augmentation
Service. WAAS has 25 receivers scattered around the United States. A
mathematical model of the satellite errors is created based on the measurements
and the error correction values are then sent to a geo synchronous satellite to be
rebroadcast. The advantage of WAAS over conventional differential GPS is that
it is available in small handheld receivers without needing a separate receiver. In
fact, almost every new GPS receiver is WAAS capable.

Europe is developing a system similar to WAAS called EGNOS, European
Geostationary Overlay Service. Japans is developing MSAS, Multi-Function
Satellite Augmentation System. Hopefully, any WAAS receiver should work with
EGNOS or MSAS.

WAAS was designed for aviation use. GPS is more accurate in laterally than for
altitude. One of the goals of WAAS was to provide sufficient accuracy to allow
GPS to be used to provide vertical guidance during an instrument approach.
Most larger airports have something called an ILS (Instrument Landing System)
which provides a ―radio beam‖ down to the runway. However, many smaller
airports do not have this expensive navigational infrastructure. There are many
issues involved, but WAAS enabled GPS approaches with vertical guidance offer
big safety improvements to runways without ILS equipment.

The other goal of WAAS is not so much accuracy as it is integrity. If a satellite is
sending a bad signal, it takes a few minutes to detect and stop broadcasting the
signal. Currently aviation receivers use satellite signals beyond the minimum
required to cross check the accuracy of the signal. For example, if you need 4
satellites to determine a position and you are receiving 5 satellites, you can use
the extra signal as a cross check. This is called RAIM, Receiver Autonomous
Integrity Monitoring. Part of WAAS provides integrity checking which is faster
than what is offered through the basic GPS system.

Most newer inexpensive handheld GPS receivers, use the extra signals above
the minimum that is required to further refine the accuracy of the position
solution. The technical difference between RAIM and the possibly proprietary
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algorithms that consumer handhelds use is well beyond the scope of this
discussion or my knowledge. However, I think that it is fair to say that an aviation
receiver is optimized to give as quick of a warning as possible to bad or
insufficient satellite data, whereas a consumer GPS and the aviation handheld
receivers that they are based on them are not designed with this in mind. In fact,
consumer handheld receivers are probably more designed to not give nuisance
warnings than they are to give timely warnings of bad navigational data. This is
not necessarily bad design as much as it is a reflection of differing design
parameters for different uses. For the most part, this is not a big issue, but it is a
very good reason why you cannot use a handheld receiver as if it were a certified
aviation receiver.
What your GPS does when it starts up

You may have noticed that the amount of time it takes for your GPS to calculate
a position varies. It will take an especially long time to get an initial fix when you
first start it and it will get a fix very quickly when you start it again after just
shutting it down.

The GPS has two types of data on the location of the satellites and their orbits.
The first is a rough idea of where each satellite is located and is called the
almanac. This almanac data is good for a couple of months. If the GPS does
not have a current almanac it will take about 15 minutes to download.

The second type of data is the fine data more technically referred to as the
ephemeris data. Each satellite broadcasts the almanac which is applicable to all
of the satellites, but only broadcasts its own ephemeris data. The ephemeris
data takes 18 seconds to download and is good for a couple of hours. It is this
ephemeris data that the GPS actually uses for deriving a position. The almanac
is used for deciding which satellites to ―look for.‖

For most 12 channel parallel receivers, the GPS will start looking for the satellites
that it expects that it can receive based on it‘s current position and time using the
almanac data. The GPS assumes that it is where it was last shut down and the
clock is correct. However, you can change the position and time, this is called
initialization.

No accuracy is required in this initial position. I have shut down my GPS in
Florida and turned it on in Europe and was able to get a position. The GPS did
not attempt to look for satellites that would be in view to the east because they
would be invisible from Florida where the GPS was assuming that it was.
Likewise, the GPS was attempting to download data from satellites that would be
well over the western horizon from Europe that would be visible from Florida.
However, there are usually enough satellites that would be visible from both
Europe and Florida and eventually the GPS will get a position and sort things out.
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I have been keep the GPS from getting a lock in the wide open outdoors by
initializing it to the other side of the world. Thus none of the satellites that it was
attempting to receive would be in view. The point of this is that when you give
the initial position during the initialization, accuracy is not important – anywhere
within a couple of thousand miles is probably good enough.

Obviously, part of this calculation is the almanac data. If the Almanac data is
grossly out of date, the GPS will not have the correct data to calculate which
satellites to look for. The almanac data takes 12.5 minutes to download. Thus,
you should leave the receiver on for at least 15 minutes to a half hour every
couple of months to get a fresh almanac.

Most receivers have a mode where they can just start searching cycling through
the list of satellites searching in a trial and error manner. The advantage of this
mode is that it does not depend on a initialization position, time, or current
almanac.

Most receivers will display a list of choices if it has trouble getting an initialization
asking you if you want to use the automatic mode, enter a new position, continue
trying with the same initialization, or just give up because you are indoors.

Having more than 12-channels will make most of this discussion a non-issue.
Cobra makes a handheld GPS with 18 channels at the time of this writing. I
would be surprised if other manufactures don‘t eventually follow. Quite honestly,
getting an initial first fix usually is not a problem. When it is a problem, it is
simply dealt with by giving the GPS a new position or using the automatic mode.

Once the GPS starts to receive data from a satellite, it will show a hollow bar on
the satellite page. On some receivers you might see bars go solid with others
following. On other receivers you might not see any go solid until at least three
go solid simultaneously. In the first case, the bars go solid as soon as the
ephemeris data can be used to give a pseudorange to calculate a position. In
the second case, the solid bar indicates that the satellite is being used for a
position fix. In this second case, If at least three satellites are not being received
with current ephemeris data, there is no position fix and therefore an individual
satellite is not being used for a position fix because there is none.

A ―D‖ for differential superimposed on the bar means that WAAS corrections are
being applied.



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Chapter 3 Issues
Proficiency

I find that the biggest shortcoming with GPS is that users do not know how to use
it. A GPS is a powerful tool. It is up to the user as to whether it is used like a
hammer in the hands of a two year old or in the hands of a craftsman. Human
Factors Ph.D. theses have been written about the application and pitfalls of
automation and advanced tools such as GPS, especially in the aviation field.
GPS can be a distraction, it can create complacency, it can carry you down the
road to the wrong destination. However, when wisely and proficiently applied,
GPS navigation can significantly improve your situational awareness and be an
overall safety enhancement.
GPS is often easy to use on one level, but it is also very sophisticated if you want
to master it. In this respect, GPS is similar to many other fields. Take the
example of an engineer. Calculators are available at a modest price that would
amaze an engineer working on the space program in the 1960‘s. However, this
does not mean that you can go into a local chain store and buy a programmable
scientific calculator, sit down, read the owner‘s manual, and be able to design a
rocket to the moon. Keeping with the same analogy, you can go to the chain
store, buy the calculator, and immediately be able to add, subtract, and multiply.
You do not need to know every function to get utility out of the calculator.
How to become proficient

One of the biggest factors in becoming proficient is simply to use the GPS.
Obviously, the best thing is to just get out and use the GPS. However, some
activities such as some forms of boating, flying, or learning to use your new GPS
when you live in cold climates and you just got a new GPS for Christmas are
more suitable to using the simulator mode.

The specifics on how to use the simulator vary from model to model. Most of the
simulator modes allow you to set a speed and track as well as to allow the GPS
to automatically track the navigation information. A known exception to this is the
Garmin eTrex series, including the Legend series, which allow you to only follow
the navigation information at a set speed.

For most Garmin GPS receivers, go to the satellite page, press menu and select
the simulator function. You can also use the menu on the satellite page to select
―New Location‖ to locate the GPS wherever you want.

Press the page button until you get to the compass page. On some GPS
receivers this is called the pointer, compass, HSI, RMI, etc. I get into the details
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of these displays later, but just get to the page with a compass card display.
From this page you can use the rocker pad to control the speed and track. Up
and down controls speed and left and right steers. If you execute a route or a
GOTO, the GPS will usually follow it; however, you can manually override the
track with left and right on the rocker pad. You can also set in values in the setup
menu, but the rocker pad is usually easier. A couple of extra details: On some
GPS receivers, such as the Garmin 196 the zoom keys can be used to set the
altitude.

The simulator function is a great way to ―play‖ with the GPS and learn the
functions. Most of the screen shots in this book have been made using the
simulator mode.
GPS fixation

Precise navigation using GPS is of no benefit as you run over something or
somebody or get run over yourself. GPS can be an eyeball magnet, especially
when you first start using it. It is still vitally important that you do not let it distract
you from your other duties such as looking for hazards and traffic.

As you become proficient, you should be able to get the information that you
need from the GPS by just including it in your scan. I think that ease of using
GPS actually frees up brain computing power to be used else ware. The catch is
that this depends on your proficiency at using GPS.
GPS dependence

Name the activity -- flying, kayaking, boating, etc. Many ―old hands‖ think that
there people too dependent on GPS. If you take away the GPS, then several
people will be clueless. I think that this view has its merits. However, if you learn
to navigate with GPS as opposed to using GPS to avoid learning basic
navigation, then I do not think this will be a great problem.

If there is a rule of thumb, I would say don‘t get yourself into a situation where
losing the GPS would leave you unable to find your way. Ask yourself, ―If the
GPS fails, how will I find my way?‖

GPS is not unique in this regard. When I fly over the ocean, the flight plan still
has dead reckoning headings and times to fly should we loose all navigation
data. This is in addition to triple inertial navigation systems which are able to
navigate with no external input. Also, it is often possible to visually follow another
aircraft at a different altitude on the same track. In other words, there are several
options.

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However, when I go on a well-marked trail in the local state park, do I carry a
topographic map and a compass? No. If the GPS dies, I can follow the signs or
just ask somebody. Obviously, the GPS is not even necessary.

My point is that there are too many situations for me to give you some specific
admonishment. Just use common sense and think of various contingencies.

There is the possibility of the whole GPS system going down. For the most part I
consider this to be fairly unlikely – not that it is impossible and that you should
not have a contingency. In fact, this fear and is one of the reasons that Europe
is implementing its own GPS system, Galileo. For areas of systems
unavailability you can check the U.S. Coast Guard website at
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/gpsnotices/.

The most likely failure is from the failure of your receiver. For a handheld
receiver, the most likely failure mode is power failure -- carry spare batteries.
You might also consider having a spare receiver. A relatively inexpensive battery
powered handheld makes a great emergency backup whether the primary
navigation is another handheld GPS or an expensive onboard navigation system
that uses ship‘s power.
Operator Error

The biggest weakness of GPS is operator error. Not that this is unique to GPS
technology. If you ignore the conspiracy theorists; a 747, KAL 007, was shot
down because the pilots input the wrong co-ordinates into the inertial navigation
system. Part of the vulnerability of GPS is that it is too easy to blindly follow it.
Accurately navigating to the wrong place is of no benefit. In spite of this, with the
proper precautions, GPS is one of the most dependable systems available.

I see two independent courses of action to reduce operator error: identify the
most likely sources of error and cross check the solution.

The cross check will most likely be a method of navigation that you could rely on
if appropriate. In all cases, the first and best cross check is your own
reasonability filter. Is the distance and direction that the GPS is indicating
reasonable? Mapping GPS receivers also add the cross check of looking at the
route on the map display

The two biggest potential sources of error are in measuring the coordinates and
then in entering coordinates into the GPS. A good way to eliminate both of these
errors is to have a mapping GPS and to enter the route or waypoint using the
map display. A second way is to create the waypoints and route on the map
display of a computer and transfer them into the GPS directly. If you merely
measure the waypoints using an Internet site or a mapping program, you have at
least eliminated the measurement error. If you are measuring directly from a
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chart and then entering the coordinates into the GPS, you are doubly vulnerable.
The only protection is being careful and double-checking.
Accuracy

Standard GPS is generally advertised to be accurate within about 15 meters (50
feet). In actual practice you will probably find basic GPS to be more accurate.
Differential GPS is accurate to within 3 to 5 meters (10 to 15 feet).

How accurate is accurate enough is a matter of perspective. A typical
recreational receiver is phenomenally accurate in the perspective of price and
intended use. If you start talking about landing an aircraft traveling 150 miles per
hour on a runway that is 150 feet wide, un-augmented GPS is insufficient.
Usually, the GPS would get the airplane very close to the centerline of the
runway, but every once in a while the airplane would be off in the grass. For this
reason, the pilot has to see the runway by a specified height before he continues.

For those of you who are pilots, I apologize for the oversimplification. For those
of you who have read about airplanes making blind landings, most airliners and
some business jets can, but this is not based on GPS.

My point is that I think that the accuracy of GPS is very impressive. However, I
would not depend absolutely on it. An example where I can see this becoming a
problem is for a boater trying to use GPS to navigate a narrow passage around a
hazard or through a narrow channel. In such a case, GPS is a great tool, and
would be sufficient 99% of the time. However, due to the small number of times
that the GPS accuracy is insufficient, it would be dangerous to depend solely on
un-augmented GPS without sighting the hazard or locating it on radar.

Ask yourself, ―what if I am really not where the GPS says that I am?‖ Even if
your GPS shows an accuracy circle, this is just a calculation based on probable
error. Just because you are probably within the circle this does not mean that
you are absolutely in the circle.

In addition to the actual accuracy of the GPS there is the issue of the accuracy of
the surveys used to draw maps. It is very possible that the GPS is more
accurate than the map. Thus, a disagreement between the position indicated by
the GPS and your location on the map, the map may actually be in error.
Although I have read of stories of islands being way off, generally I don‘t think
you will find these errors to be large. However, when you wonder why a
landmark is a couple hundred feet from where it should be and the GPS is giving
a position error significantly smaller, the problem may be the map more than the
GPS.

The GPS will give an estimated position error, EPE. This is usually on the
satellite page. Understand that this is not a guarantee. For an actual
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measurement of this error, the GPS would have to know exactly where it was
and compare it to where it thought that it was. If it knew exactly where it was,
then there would be no use of measuring the error since it would know exactly.

The EPE is an estimate of how accurate the position is based on a number of
factors. It is undocumented, but I have read estimates that the EPE means that
there is a 50% estimated chance that you are within the given value of the
position. A 50% chance that you are within the EPE radius would also imply that
there is a 50% chance that you are more than the EPE measurement from your
position. Many of the Garmin handheld GPS receivers will also draw a circle
around the present position indicating the EPE.

Another accuracy measurement that you might see is Dilution of Precision, DOP.
This is a measurement of satellite geometry. A lower DOP is better than a higher
DOP.

For most recreational use, it isn‘t necessary to get wrapped up in the details of
DOP and EPE. Another point is that comparing two receivers by comparing EPE
readings is not that useful. The percentage that the EPE is based on is not
published and appears to vary from one model to another. So one receiver that
shows an EPE of 10 feet may not be more accurate than a GPS that shows an
EPE of 20 feet, but might just be reflective of a different percentage used for the
probability calculation.

If I have totally confused you, here is the main point. EPE and DOP are both
useful to see how well the GPS is receiving satellites and will give a rough idea of
the accuracy of the receiver. However, there is not much you can do about and
while it is interesting, it not something to worked up about.


Figure 3-1

Figure 3-1 is the plot from a GPS V that I left on the dash of my car overnight. I
turned the WAAS off for dramatic effect. Also, the dash of the car causes the
signal reception to be less than ideal for satellites that are to the rear of the car.
However, this will give you an idea of GPS accuracy. This is an easy experiment
to repeat yourself.

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As I mentioned, the accuracy of the survey of the maps adds a possible error.
There is also a slight error added from compressing the maps into digital format
in a mapping GPS. Here are some screen shots from a Garmin GPS III Plus to
show you what I mean.



Figure 3-2

Figure 3-2 shows several inaccuracies. The dotted line is the path that I actually
traveled. In the first two, I never left my rowing shell to go on land. On the third
one I stayed on the street and did not actually wander into the neighbor‘s yard.

As a test, I marked a spot at the tip of my dock using my Garmin GPS MAP 76
which has WAAS. I went out on several different times over a couple of days.
Each time that I stood on the same point at the end of my dock it showed me
within 7 feet and often closer to where I originally marked the waypoint.

Perspective on the issue is important. I have seen complaints on newsgroups
about the accuracy of some of the GPS maps. Mostly the complaints are about
non-U.S. maps. From my personal experience, I am still amazed that they are as
accurate as they are. I certainly would not use the maps on a recreational GPS
for blind navigation in a tight space such as under a bridge or through a tight
channel. However, the GPS and the maps are still more than sufficiently
accurate in most cases to get you to the bridge or the mouth of the channel.

The limitations of accuracy also apply to paper charts. With a GPS you might be
tempted to plot and navigate a tight course between depicted hazards. From
what I have read, this has put a couple of boats on the rocks. Keep in mind that
many of the hazards on the paper charts were surveyed before GPS. Give these
hazards appropriate leeway or verify their precise position by other means.
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Hazards not depicted


Figure 3-3

Also in the discussion of the accuracy of the mapping is what is and isn‘t
displayed. For example in the middle of the lake I usually boat on, there is what
varies between a shallow area and an outright island depending on the water
level. I have taken the liberty of roughly drawing this in the right screen in Figure
3-3. This is not depicted on any of the loadable GPS maps that I have seen.
Unfortunately, it is also not depicted on many paper maps. People have killed
themselves without using GPS by hitting this area at high speed at night. If the
GPS depicts a hazard, it is probably there. If the GPS does not indicate a
hazard, there might be one there anyway. Once again, use common sense and
prudence.

In coastal regions, several manufactures offer expensive loadable charting
products which show the same hazards as the government charts. Even if you
do not use these more expensive charts, the map display is still valuable. Like
any piece of equipment, you just have to be aware of its limitations and use it
accordingly.
Signal Availability

The GPS satellite signal is very weak and easily blocked, putting your hand over
the receiver will usually be enough to block it. I would imagine that the designers
of GPS would rather have had a stronger signal, but you have to consider the
problem of getting power to run a transmitter in space. Given all of the various
limitations of payload weight and size, I would imagine that the satellite
transmitters are as powerful as possible given the various constraints of getting
them into space.

The implication for the user is that signal availability can be an issue in a number
of circumstances. One factor is where you locate the antenna, which I discuss in
more detail in the Choosing a GPS receiver chapter. The other factor is where
you are trying to use the GPS.
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If you are boating and flying, signal reception is seldom a factor because you are
generally out in the open. Where this becomes a factor is using the GPS in a
city, hiking in heavy tree cover, etc.

Added to the blocking of the signal is something called Multi Path error, where
the signal bounces off of buildings or rocks before reaching the receiver. The
GPS works on the principle of calculating the distance the signal has traveled
from the satellite. If the signal zig-zags around a little by bouncing off of things,
this increases the distance and introduces and error.

I use GPS for finding my way around cites on layovers. I expect the signal to be
spotty. Needless to say, it is possible to find your location in a city without a
GPS. However, the GPS can be a useful tool. I will find that walking down the
street I often lose the satellite lock. When I am at a street corner, I find that I am
usually able to get a good position because the receivers view of the sky has
been improved.

I was riding in a bicycle ride in New York, www.bikenewyork.org. I found that
when I was stopped, the GPS position would float all over Manhattan and often
into the East or Hudson rivers. When I would start moving the GPS would give a
good position. It appeared that moving would allow a signal from one satellite to
come into view as another one was blocked. I have also found this to be true
when using the GPS in my car.

Some more expensive automotive systems use a system that detects heading
and vehicle speed such as a from speedometer input to estimate the position
based on the last known position when satellites are blocked such as driving in a
city.
Detecting Signal Loss
The Garmin handhelds go into a dead reckoning mode when they lose the signal.
The purpose of this feature is to avoid constant nuisance warnings during weak
signal reception. The GPS will just assume that you are still traveling in the
same direction and speed as when it lost the signal. This happens for well under
a minute before a message is displayed indicating that the GPS has lost satellite
reception. A good way of demonstrating this is in an automobile. Just before
coming to an intersection cover the antenna with your hand. Turn at the
intersection. The GPS will show that you have gone straight through the
intersection before it displays a warning that it has lost the signal.

For most recreational purposes, the dead reckoning feature is not a problem.
However, if you were to be pressing the limits of common sense such as
navigating a tight channel with no backup and a poor antenna location, this might
be a problem.
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The Magellan units that I am familiar with give no warning of signal loss unless
you override the default setting and activate the loss of signal alarm. The default
setting for this alarm is off. Without this alarm set, they will just display the last
navigation information such as bearings and position before it lost the signal.
They more or less just freeze. I recommend that you activate the loss of signal
alarm.
Channel marker collisions


Figure 3-4

A was discussing this booklet with a coworker who is a sailor. One of the GPS
related problems that he had seen was that he was familiar with several markers
with big dents where boats had hit them.

Here is the scenario-- a sailor programs the GPS to follow a route defined by
markers. He turns on the autopilot and goes below deck while the autopilot
steers the boat exactly where he specified using the GPS – into the marker!

With the type of boating that I do and my aviation experience, this had never
occurred to me. If you use the location of a physical object, such as a marker, as
a waypoint -- remember not to hit it!
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Traffic in Low Visibility

GPS will allow you to navigate in zero visibility conditions. I have already
mentioned that accuracy and dependably issues make this a bad idea.
Additionally, the GPS does nothing to deal with collision prevention. This ability
to navigate in such conditions might lead to false security ending in a collision.
The techniques for dealing with this are outside the scope of this book and
beyond my personal experience.

Using GPS to avoid collisions

Interestingly enough and as an aside, there is an experimental technology being
developed for aviation called ADS-B, Automatic Dependent Surveillance
Broadcast. The basic idea is that each aircraft constantly broadcasts its GPS
based position and track and any aircraft in the area can then receive this
position and track, which can then be displayed.

Garmin produces radios (Rhino) that broadcast their GPS position which can
then be displayed on another corresponding unit. These radios are short range
and do not constantly broadcast. The purpose is more for hunters, hikers, and
maybe kayakers to find each other. However, the principle is somewhat
analogous to ADS-B in a relatively inexpensive consumer variant.

There are many problems with ADS-B for marine use such as the fact that all
vessels would have to have a transmitter for it to be useful and airplanes do not
have to deal with airplanes floating around un-powered or otherwise anchored in
the sky. Even as a marine layman, I can see many reasons why an ADS-B type
of system for marine applications may never be practical, especially in
comparison to more traditional tools such as radar. However, since I am on the
topic of GPS and collisions, I though that it made an interesting aside.

GPS and Terror

Could GPS be used in a terror attack? Sure. However, so could many ordinary
devices that we use daily. I don‘t think that GPS significantly increases our risk
from terror attacks.

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I bring up the subject up as somewhat of a retort to what I have already seen in
the press. The New York Times published an article discussing the fact that the
September 11
th
hijackers had purchased Garmin GPS III Pilot GPS‘s. The
heated windshield of the 767 blocks the GPS signal making the operation of a
handheld GPS receiver very difficult.

I can say beyond a reasonable doubt that the final targeting on September 11
was flown visually. If you have suicidal terrorists who are able to guide a weapon
visually to the target, GPS is a moot point. The availability of economical
portable GPS has nothing to do with the hijackers ability to execute their
diabolical plan on September 11
th
.

While I am here, let me also say that very little if any flying skill was
demonstrated on September 11
th
. Landing the airplane safely, even in good
whether requires skill. Anybody who credits the September 11
th
hijackers with a
demonstration of skill is misinformed.

Now, back to using GPS.
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Chapter 4 Choosing a GPS receiver

This booklet is meant to be a guide to give you some techniques for using GPS.
It is definitely not meant to be a buyer‘s guide. Specific advice on any piece of
electronic gear quickly becomes obsolete. Although, I have some specific
references to some specific receivers, my ultimate goal is to explain the factors
that you should consider in choosing a GPS. I include these, because I think that
it is worthwhile knowledge to pass along even if it is not my primary focus.

Primarily, most GPS receivers give you certain fundamental navigation
parameters and an electronically generated map on the mapping units. There
will certainly be increases in capability. I think that you will continue seeing better
screens, more data storage capacity, and maybe a couple of new bells and
whistles; however, much of the basic functioning of the GPS will remain.

There is always the issue of should you buy a GPS or wait for the next model
which will offer more capability for the money. In this respect, GPS is similar to
many of the electronic products available. However, if you continue to wait you
will miss out on the utility available from the given product.

Without a doubt, I have my prejudices and preferences. Hopefully, these are
based on experience and with good reason. However, it is fair to say that these
preferences are based on uses and parameters that may differ considerably from
yours.
Total Cost

This is probably one of the bigger factors for most people. There are receivers
that I consider hard to use and primitive and would otherwise not recommend,
such as the Magellan 310. However, when I find one available for $50, I have to
just be amazed at the price to performance ratio. If you are comfortable with
basic navigation, this little receiver will give you location and navigation
information anywhere in the world.

Not only must you include the cost of the GPS receiver itself, but include the cost
of extra downloadable maps, a computer interface cable, memory cartridges,
power cable and mount. Some of these items are included with one brand or
package and not included in others and some are not necessary. Of course, the
value and cost of such components must be looked at in the context of the
intended use. For example, a package that includes a cigarette lighter power
adapter is not much of a benefit to a kayaker. Conversely, if you buy a GPS for
your car and must buy a mount and you will probably want to run it from the car‘s
power instead of on battery. These additional costs must be factored in.

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Something to consider when debating as to whether or not to purchase a
mapping GPS is that even though the total cost may include the extra expense of
the extra downloadable maps, they may be purchased later. A non-mapping
GPS can never be upgraded to be a mapping GPS. However, you can use a
mapping GPS with just the base map and purchase the improved maps for a
mapping GPS later. Also some GPS packages include the extra maps, but most
do not.
Mapping GPS

The implementation of mapping displays is an order of magnitude improvement
to GPS. A non-mapping receiver will still offer quite a bit of utility. However, if
you can afford a mapping GPS, I believe that you will be glad that you spent the
money. Although inexpensive non-mapping GPS receivers can be very useful,
you will have to be much more proficient with maps and ways of getting
coordinates to fully utilize a less expensive non-mapping GPS.
Mapping data
When choosing a mapping GPS, one consideration is the availability of
downloadable maps for your region and purpose.

Mapping receivers come with a built in base map that usually includes major
roads and waterways within the given region and a world wide map consisting of
the borders of countries around the rest of the world. Additionally you can
download extra detailed maps for a much smaller region. The utility offered by
mapping GPS varies on the quality of the maps. There are some parts of the
world, where there is little coverage.

Generally, you are restricted to maps in the manufacture‘s proprietary format.
There are some minor exceptions in that some manufactures offer mapping
products created by third party developers in the manufacture‘s proprietary
format and some manufactures‘ GPS receivers are compatible with mapping
products that are in the proprietary format of third party companies.

Thus, the availability of mapping products for a given GPS is also a
consideration.

I think that the issue and what will develop as far as data standards is an
interesting business economics and intellectual property problem. However, the
important thing to realize for the scope of my discussion is that you cannot buy
a computerized mapping program such as Microsoft Streets and Trips or
Delorme Street Atlas and hope to load the maps into a mapping GPS.

I have seen many such programs offer GPS capability. This is not false
advertising, it generally means that you can link you GPS to a computer so that
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the program can use the GPS data to navigate using your computer with position
information from the GPS. Some of the programs also allow you to upload
waypoints that you have created within the program to the GPS and download
waypoints and tracks from the GPS into the computer. I have nothing against
these programs, there are many fine uses for them; I just don‘t want you to think
that they are an inexpensive way of getting detailed maps into a mapping GPS. I
have a further discussion of this under Mapping Programs on page 69.

Similarly, if you have GPS mapping software one brand of GPS, it will not work in
another. Interestingly enough, both the GPS manufacture and software company
may get the data from the same third party such as Navtech.

I have seen the issue raised as to why it is not possible to scan in maps to use
with GPS. It is, but only on third party software running on computers or PDA‘s.
It is important to realize the difference between a raster and a vector map. A
raster map is like a paper map. The level of detail is fixed. Imagine a globe or
map of a large area, it might show countries, states, and major rivers. Next look
at it with a magnifying glass. You will see the same detail, just larger. Even if
you look at the map with a microscope, you will not see more map detail.

A vector map is like a computerized map display such as a GPS mapping
display. Zoom out and you will see minimal detail over a large area. Each time
that you zoom in, you see more and more detail. You are not seeing a map as
much as you are seeing the presentation of coded geographic data. By the way,
on most GPS receivers, you will reach the zoom level where you will get a
warning -- ―OVER ZOOMED.‖ This is not an error; just an indication that you
have zoomed beyond the maximum level of detail for the data and subsequent
zooming will not reveal new data. It is often useful to operate over-zoomed, just
do not expect more detail to be revealed.

There are has been some success at attempts to develop map data which can
be used for Garmin mapping GPS receivers. I am somewhat ambivalent as to
the intellectual property implications. Intellectual property arguments‘ aside,
making one‘s own maps is only for the technologically skilled and ambitious. Any
cost savings are far outweighed by the time required. On a utilitarian level, the
possibility of making custom maps offers potential for areas with little map
coverage or specific applications such as golf courses. For more information you
can try:

- http://gpsinformation.net/gpsmapper/gpsmapper.htm
This is a article with an example on how to use GPS Mapper to create
maps.

- http://www.gpstm.com/eng/dekode_eng.htm
Information on using MapDekode

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- http://gps.chrisb.org/gps_mapper.htm
This is the program, GPS Mapper, that allows the creation of Garmin
compatible maps.

Which map product?
Some manufactures offer a variety of products, even for the same area. Some of
the products are more general such as Garmin‘s Metro Guide and Roads and
Recreation and some are more specific such as topographical and nautical
charts. One of the best sources of information is the manufacture‘s web site and
third party reviews such as available at www.gpsinformation.net. Garmin even
has a viewer where you can view samples of the maps online, look for
MapSource Map Viewer on the Garmin website.

An important factor is checking the compatibility of the mapping product with the
GPS receiver. GPS development and mapping development are often
intertwined. As receiver capability has evolved, more data and features have
been coded into the unloadable maps. Some older designs may not be able to
use some of the newer maps. So, make sure that the mapping product that you
are considering is compatible with the GPS that you are considering.

To give you some perspective on different levels of detail, Figure 4-1 and Figure
4-2 are some screens from my GPSMAP 76 comparing the base map, Roads
and Recreation and Waterways and lights cd-roms.


Basemap Roads and Recreation Waterways and Lights
Figure 4-1 GPSMap 76 comparison for Orlando, FL

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Basemap Roads and Recreation Waterways and Lights
Figure 4-2 GPSMap 76 comparison for Manchester, MA
Specialized products such as topographic or nautical maps are nice and can be
worth the money. More general mapping products are missing important data
such as marine hazards and terrain contours. It is ideal to have this data
depicted on the GPS. However, it is not necessary. In no way do I want to
discourage you from buying appropriate software for a given use, but I want to
make the point that often a general mapping product is useful if you do not have
sufficient usage or budget to justify a more specialized product.

A general mapping product such as Garmin MetroGuide, Roads and Recreation,
or an equivalent product for another GPS manufacture is still useful for a wide
variety of activities. In such a case, you must realize that they just provide better
situational awareness from increased detail and you will need a proper chart or
map to indicate important data such as depths, heights, hazards, and terrain
features as is relevant. Even if you do have one of the more specialized
mapping products loaded into your GPS, I would still keep an appropriate paper
map handy.

To be able to look at a map display and instantly get a picture of where you are
to help you mentally correlate your position is valuable. You can still get this
from a generic mapping product. However, choosing and creating a route must
be made in conjunction with the appropriate charts and maps if necessary.

I further discuss the issue of the appropriateness of using generic software on
page 56.
Unlock areas on CD-rom
Something to consider is that some cartography products, such as Garmin‘s
BlueChart, City Select, and City Navigator only include the ability to unlock some
of the maps on the CD-rom. To use other regions on the CD, you will have to
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pay for extra unlock codes. Some deluxe packages include unlock codes for all
of the regions on the included CD.

Figure 4-3 shows an example of several separate regions for Garmin BlueCharts,
only one of which is unlocked at a time.


Figure 4-3
My point is not to criticize Garmin for only letting you have part of the data, but to
point the issue out so that you know what you are buying. Garmin makes this
information explicit also. There is logic to such a distribution method in that it
saves the inventory issues of having separate media for each area while only
having to pay for the data that you use.
U.S. GPS outside of the basemap area
I live in Florida and come across many foreign tourists looking to purchase a
GPS in the U.S. because prices are often significantly less expensive than in
Europe. The problem is that the base map for an American GPS usually has
very poor coverage of Europe. Although I use the example of a Garmin GPS
Map 76, the issue is relevant to most brands and models.

Figure 4-4 Garmin GPS Map 76 show the dilemma. The first screen is as much
detail as is available for Europe or other regions outside of the main Americas
basemap area. Notice the caption, ―overzoom,‖ over the scale – there is not
more detail to be gained from zooming in further. The second screen is with
WorldMap loaded into memory which gives a basemap level of detail to other
parts of the world outside of the main basemap. The last screen is with
European Roads and Recreation loaded.

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U.S. Basemap Garmin World Map European R and R
Figure 4-4 Garmin GPS Map 76


Figure 4-5
Since the data in the Garmin World Map, is not very dense, it is possible to fit a
large area into a given memory. Figure 4-5 represents about 8 Mb of World Map
data. More dense mapping such as European Roads and Recreation would
require 8 Mb square area of about 90 miles (145 km.) x 90 miles around
Stuttgart.

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There is not necessarily a need for having detailed basemap. When I layover in
Europe, having the detailed Roads and Recreation maps for the city that I am in
is fine. Since I just need the central city area, I find that I usually have enough
memory in the 8 Mb of a Garmin eTrex Legend to load in two cities with an area
much larger than I ever travel in. However, if I were living in or traveling around
Europe, I would prefer a GPS with more memory such as the Vista or 76S so that
I could load World Map over a large area and more detailed maps such as Roads
and Recreation or MetroGuide for smaller areas.

This basemap issue is not limited to Garmin receivers.
Memory requirements for maps
The first part of the memory and map issue is how much memory an area of
mapping will require. There are two main factors that influence the amount of
memory needed for a given area. The first is the area itself. New York City data
is generally going to take up more memory per unit area than somewhere in the
middle of west Texas. The other factor is what data is actually included. A
mapping product such as Garmin MetroGuide includes much more detail such as
address lookup than U.S. Roads and Recreation which just includes streets. A
product with includes routing data takes even more memory.

I have used 8 megabytes as an example references because that is the amount
of memory in the Garmin eTrex Legend and GPS Map 76. There are also more
expensive versions of both of these receivers, the Vista and 76S, that offer more
memory. My purpose is to give you a rough idea of the correspondence between
an area of extra maps and a given amount of memory.

Although I use the Garmin MapSource products as an example, there are
parallels to various other manufactures cartography products.

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Figure 4-6 Garmin MetroGuide 4 7.50 Mb
The shaded area in Figure 4-6 shows approximately an 8-megabyte area around
Orlando, FL. Auto-routing data which is available on version 4, but not on
version 5, adds about 50% to the memory requirements.

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Figure 4-7 Garmin Roads and Recreation 7.96 Mb

Figure 4-7 shows the coverage of Roads and Recreation for approximately 8
megabytes of data. MetroGuide only covers the Atlantic Shore from Jacksonville
to Fort Lauderdale. Since the data is even less dense, Waterways and Lights will
cover a very large area as depicted in Figure 4-8.


Figure 4-8 Garmin Waterways and Lights 7.98 Mb

As you can see in the examples, Garmin allows you to select ―chunks‖ of data.
Other manufactures such as Magellan and Lowrance allow you to draw a
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rectangular section. The ―chunk‖ method prevents overlap, but the drawing
rectangular section method allows you to select the are that you want to closer
tolerances.
Memory availability
Many of the handheld GPS receivers use internal memory and are therefore
restricted to the amount of memory available. At the time of this writing, all of the
Garmin handheld receivers, except the eMap, use internal memory. The
Magellan Meridian series and the Lowrance iFinder offer the ability to store maps
onto SD memory cards. SD memory is a common format used in many devices
such as PDA‘s and digital cameras. They are widely available at a variety of
electronics and chain stores. A variety of Garmin receivers, such as the eMap,
196, 295, and various marine units, use proprietary memory modules. Perhaps
Garmin is moving away from proprietary memory. The new Garmin Street Pilot
2610 uses compact flash and the iQue uses SD memory.

The models that use memory cards give a virtually unlimited capacity for carrying
extra detailed maps without needing to a computer to load them.

I like the idea of having the ability to use non-proprietary memory cards such as
SD memory. However, I should add that many of my favorite receivers are made
by Garmin and do not offer this ability.
Processor Speed

The processor speed makes a big difference in how fast you can do things like
zoom and pan the map screen. Unfortunately, this is not published and it is one
of those ―how does it feel‖ type of items. I am sure that there are other factors
beyond processor speed, so publishing a specification would probably be
useless. You will have to play with the receiver and see if it is sluggish.
Display Screen

Not only is size a factor, but so is resolution. Bigger is not always better. The
eTrex Legend, Venture, and Vista have small screens, but they are sharp.
Available data fields

Which data will the GPS display? Where and how will it display it?

When I explain navigation, I see the problem as three separate cases, 2-D vessel
navigation, path navigation, and foot navigation. 2-D navigation is where you are
free to travel in any direction such as a boat or airplane. Path navigation is when
you are traveling along a road or river and are constrained to traveling along a
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path. Foot navigation is unique in that often you are stopped and have to get a
bearing from a compass because the GPS can only tell you which way that you
need to go. The GPS only knows your direction of movement and if there is no
movement, this changes the way in which you navigate. Each form of navigation
creates different data requirements, the case of 2-D vessel navigation being the
most restrictive.

The data display capacity of handheld receivers vary from something like a
Garmin original yellow eTrex that will give you the distance to a waypoint, a
pointer, and one user selectable data field to a Garmin 76 which will display nine
data fields. I have a personal prejudice that is no doubt caused by my aviation
background in that I like to be as precise as possible. When I am navigating a
vessel of any type, I prefer that the GPS give me a digital display so that I can
best exploit the accuracy that the GPS has to offer.

When navigating a vessel, I want to know the direction that I am going, TRACK;
the directions that I need to go, BEARING or COURSE; how far off course I am,
CROSS TRACK ERROR; and how far it is to the waypoint. Generally this
requires a minimum of four data fields, unless the GPS offers a data field called
TURN which is the difference between TRACK and BEARING, then I find the
minimum to be three data fields.

For foot navigation, I really only care about bearing and distance. As I will
discuss further in the Two Dimensional Navigation on foot on page 109, the
arrow is pointer is useless unless you are moving. If the GPS will give BEARING
and DISTANCE, this is all I need for foot navigation.

For path navigation, I am usually most concerned about the distance to the end
of the route, not the intermediate points. For example, if I am canoeing along a
river and create a route with several waypoints to define the shape of the river, I
usually don‘t care about how far it is to the next waypoint, but how far it is to the
end of my journey. The Magellan mapping receivers do not have a data field for
this.

Map displays give excellent situational awareness. However, map displays can
be somewhat slow to update and are very poor at precisely showing how far off
course you are when zoomed out. A digital presentation is very precise, but it
requires quite a bit of interpretation to translate into a mental picture of your
location. When a map display is combined with digital data fields, it provides a
very powerful combination.

Thus, for navigating a vessel in two dimensions, I like to have the previous
minimum three or four data fields displayed on the map. For foot navigation, I
find two data fields adequate. For path navigation, generally distance to the
destination is all that I need, but I like more information such as ETA and speed.

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Marine vs. Generic

For the most part there is not much difference between a generic GPS and a
marine unit as far as navigation. The two most common features that make a
marine GPS a marine model are tide charts and preloaded waypoints such as
lights and buoys. In fact some GPS receivers not primarily marketed for marine
use such as the eTrex Legend, Venture, and Vista come with these waypoints
preloaded.

Note: It does not appear that the eTrex Legend, Venture, and Vista still come
with the preloaded marine waypoints. However, they did at one time and you
can still go to the Garmin website under Updates and Downloads to load the
files. My bet is that Garmin got tired of the technical support issue of dealing with
users that had their marine points overridden by other Map Source maps and just
stopped preloading the points. I demonstrate this override in Figure 4-2 on page
27.
Aviation GPS Receivers

Handheld aviation GPS receivers sell at a premium to the generic models that
they are based on. I would like to see the differential smaller, but in many ways I
consider an aviation receiver to be a bargain if you can justify the expense.
However, it is possible to use a generic GPS for aircraft navigation. I cover this
in much more detail in my book, Cockpit GPS available at www.cockpitgps.com.

Garmin Nuvi type receivers

It used to be that automotive GPS units were big clunky things that would not
even be of use discussing in the context of the activities discussed in this book.
However, there is a whole new series of small GPS receivers that are very
tempting such as the Garmin Nuvi, Tom Tom ONE, Mio DigiWalker, Lowrance
XOG. These are not necessarily strictly automotive receivers. Many have MP3
player, picture viewers, etc, but they are very different from the general handheld
receiver meant for a variety of navigational tasks. This a crowded category and
there is no way that I can keep track of them all, so let me pass along my
observations of a more general nature.

In general, these are made to be very simple. The idea is that you can put it in
your car, look up an address and follow it. The maps are pre-loaded so there is
not even a need to be technically proficient enough to load the maps. These units
are designed to require no more skill than using an internet mapping site such as
Mapquest. These are not necessarily bad designs, but they are optimized for
simplicity and have very limited features.
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Why even discuss these in my book and why should you even consider one? As
I mentioned on page 23, you have to consider the total cost. When the price of
the pre-loaded maps are considered, these receivers are relatively inexpensive.
They are often sold at large retailers and the market is competitive. As an
example, at the time of this writing a Garmin Legend Cx, which is a more
traditional GPS, can be purchased for around $235 and a Garmin Nuvi 200 is
about $200 on sale. With the Legend Cx, you will probably want to spend another
$100 to $150 for installable maps and more memory to make it truly useful. So
for about $150 less for the total package, the Nuvi 200 gives you a bigger
brighter screen, already installed detailed maps, voice prompts for auto
navigation, and a mount for your car. What you are giving up is detailed
navigation information, the ability to load multiple point routes, outdoor
robustness, etc.

Let‘s say you want to take a wilderness canoe trip into the back woulds. The Nuvi
would be a poor choice. However, let‘s say that you wanted to do some
Geocaching, some hiking in a relatively tame state park, and perhaps some
boating on a local lake. In this case, the Nuvi would offer quite a bit of value for
the money. Additionally, you get a very useful automotive GPS for everyday use.

Every GPS in this class that I have played with allows you to go into the settings
and go directly to a point as opposed to following the roads. However, when you
navigate, they will not show data fields giving BEARING, TRACK, CROSS
TRACK ERROR, etc. Some offer the ability to make multiple point routes using
―via points,‖ but many are not set up for multiple point routes.

They are several limitations for outdoor use. Most have built in rechargeable
batteries. This is great until the battery is dead. There is not popping in a new
couple of AA batteries and continuing. However, you could use one of those
portable cell phone rechargers with a mini-USB end that use AA batteries. Most
GPS receivers in this category are not even water resistant, let alone waterproof.

Generally, the ability to interface with the computer is much poorer. For example,
my Garmin Nuvi 270 does not allow me to download tracks to my computer of
where I have been, it does not allow me to upload routes. However, I can
download waypoints which are referred to as favorites with a big heart icon in the
menu. I can also create custom points of interest as described on page 80.

Let me give you some examples:
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Figure 4-9

Figure 4-9 represents a 2-D navigation example. What is my BEARING and
COURSE? How far do I need to turn? How far off course am I? The answer is
that If I were attempting to follow the course directly to the next waypoint, I would
need to turn right a little until the bearing line is straight ahead. How precise
would this be? Probably precise enough in many cases. Since, I am on a lake I
would really be looking out and using the bearing line to determine if I am
generally going in the desired direction of the point that I marked as the channel
to the next lake. While there is not much navigation data here, this might be more
than adequate.


Figure 4-10

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Figure 4-11


Figure 4-12

Let‘s say that I‘m hiking. I am navigating to the end of the trail in Figure 4-10. I
could put in one via point, but in general the Nuvi is not set up for multiple
waypoint routes. Figure 4-11 shows the trail in Google Earth. Even though I am
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not navigating to them, I have put in some other waypoints along the route that
show up when I pan (drag the map) in Figure 4-12.

What is my magnetic BEARING? How far do I have to go along the path since I
cannot walk straight to the end? All I can tell is that the end point is a little east of
true north and that it is 2.6 miles away and from Figure 4-12 that I have to go a
little east before the trail curves up. Is this adequate? Maybe – maybe not.
Built in Altimeter and Compass

Several of the top of the line Garmin and Magellan GPS receivers have built in
altimeters and compasses. Without an internal compass sensor, the GPS only
knows the direction that you are traveling, TRACK. It has no idea of which way
that you are pointing, HEADING. If you are not moving, then there is no direction
of travel and no TRACK. Some handheld GPS receivers have a built in
electronic compass that will orient the GPS when you are moving to slowly to get
a useful value for TRACK . There is a user settable threshold speed that below
the speed the GPS will orient with the compass and above that speed it will use
the GPS track data.

Where this is useful is while trolling or standing and reading a map while hiking.
If you do not have this feature, you can simply use an economical compass,
something that you should carry anyway when you are in the woods. I have
more detail on using a GPS while hiking in Two Dimensional Navigation on foot
on page 109. One thing to consider is that at least in the Garmin line, the models
with the compass often have more memory.

The GPS calculates a three dimensional position. Of all the parameters, altitude
is the least accurate. Some GPS receivers have a built in barometric altimeter
also.

An altimeter is nothing more than a barometer or atmospheric pressure gauge
calculated to read altitude. Let‘s say that you had a giant tower with the height
marked along it like a measuring tape. Starting on the ground, you would first
have to set the altimeter to read the altitude of the base of the tower to
compensate for atmospheric pressure conditions. If you went up the tower on a
cold day, you would notice that the altimeter would indicate higher than the
height on the tower because the cold air is more dense and the same amount of
air is shorter if it is colder. If it were a hot day, the altimeter would read lower
than the tower because the hot air is less dense. The point is that an barometric
altimeter also has its share of errors.

The GPS uses the input from the barometric sensor and from the GPS to
calculate the altitude. Overtime the difference between the GPS altitude and the
barometric altitude can be used to calibrate the readings from the barometric
altitude to get a more accurate short-term reading of altitude.
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I cannot think of any aviation GPS that has a barometric sensor, nor would I
suggest using a GPS with an altimeter for aviation type of use in general. There
are some activities such as hiking in the mountains or for recording soaring flight
paths where I could see some benefit. Also, as I mentioned earlier, many of the
Garmin units that have the compass and altimeter have more memory.
Number of Channels

If you are looking at a new receiver, you do not even need to bother reading this
section. All of the receivers that I know of on the market are at least 12 channel
parallel receivers. There are some brands that offer 14 or 18 channel receivers.
More channels than 12 is better, but not significantly so. However, there are still
many used GPS units that are not 12-channel available used such as on eBay.
Among the more common ones are the Garmin II and the Garmin 38. The
Garmin II Plus is a 12-channel.
Less than 12 channels
The big advantage of a modern 12-channel receiver over an older 8 channel is
not in the number of satellites it can monitor, but the manner in which it monitors
the satellites. A 12 channel parallel receiver essentially has 12 receivers on chip
and is able to dedicate a receiver to each satellite. An older receiver such as a
Garmin 38 will monitor up to 8 satellites at a time, but it does this by rapidly
switching between satellites with one receiver. The biggest advantage to a 12-
channel receiver is the ease in which the receiver obtains and keeps a lock on
the satellites. If you plan on using the GPS for anything other than on open
water where the signal is not blocked, I would not even consider anything other
than a 12-channel parallel receiver. Overall, a GPS that was not a 12-channel
parallel would have to be almost free for me to consider recommending the
purchase. Even then, it would not be an enthusiastic recommendation.
More than 12 channels
The idea of 12 channels is that if there are 24 satellites are in the GPS
constellation, then the most you can expect to see at any given time would be 12.
I have heard it argued that this is not entirely correct. However, in a case where
you may be able to receive more than 12 satellites, many of them will be too low
on the horizon to be useful. Thus, there may be some cases where having 12
channels adds to the accuracy, but the additional accuracy is unlikely to be much
and it is unlikely to be beneficial very often.

On page 9, What your GPS does when it starts up, I discuss how the GPS
searches for satellites. Having more channels would mean that having the
correct initialization time and position as well as almanac data would be less
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important and that initial fixes would often be easier to obtain. However, this
usually isn‘t much of a problem.

More channels is better, but not so much that I would give it much if any weigh
when choosing between two receivers.
WAAS or non-WAAS

Whether or not to buy a WAAS GPS is quickly becoming a moot point. Most of
the newer receivers, including the moderate priced ones, have WAAS. WAAS is
only really effective in the U.S. but eventually Europe and Japan will have their
versions operational.

The lack of WAAS does not necessarily make a receiver obsolete. For basic
navigation, it probably does not make that much of a difference. If you want to
find a spot again that is readily identifiable visually once you get reasonably
close, WAAS is probably not that important. If you are trying to locate something
underwater such as a dive site, WAAS might be important.

What I have noticed kayaking is that both of my WAAS capable receivers react
much quicker to course changes. Since I notice this even with WAAS selected
off on the receiver, I suspect that this is as much the design of the internal
software and the speed of the processor as much as it is WAAS.
Antenna Location and Type

The GPS signal is a very weak signal that is being broadcast from a minimum of
11,000 miles. Essentially, the receiver has to have a clear view of the sky. If you
are in an open boat, this is not a problem. If you have some type of top, it may or
may not be a factor. I use a GPS on the dashboard of my car and it is able to
maintain a good lock. The metal of the body blocks the signal, but the windshield
does not. As an aside, some coatings on some windshields do block the signal.

A couple of examples come to mind where the top could be a problem, a long
metal canopy on a pontoon boat, a bimini top on a sailboat, or a high wing metal
airplane. In many cases, materials such as fiberglass and fabric will have little or
no effect on the signal. However, metal coverings will block the signal. Also,
materials that have not effect when dry may impede the signal when wet. In
some cases cases, location within a wheelhouse or cockpit might make a
difference. For example, a GPS without an external antenna may work on the
glare shield of a high wing metal aircraft, but not on the control yoke.

If you plan on using a GPS where this might be a factor, buy a GPS that has a
provision for an external antenna. If the receiver works without the need for an
external antenna, which it probably will, great. If you need to add one they are
relatively inexpensive. In addition to the manufacture‘s models, I have found
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generic antennas on eBay and from Gilsson Technologies, www.gilsson.com.
Antennas on several of the Garmin receivers; such as the Garmin II, III, V, and
176, 196 and Street Pilot series; can be removed from the unit and mounted
remotely with some inexpensive cable and fittings from Radio Shack.

Another antenna factor is orientation. There are two types of antennas, helix and
patch. The patch antennas are usually the ones that are internal such as on the
Garmin 12 and the eTrex series. The helix antennas are generally the ones that
stick out such as on the Magellan 3xx series and the Garmin II, III, V, and 176.
However, there are internal helix antennas such as on the Garmin 76 and the
Magellan Meridian. The helix antennas should ideally be orientated vertically like
a flagpole. The patch antennas should be used horizontally.

I have found that most receivers do surprisingly well when they are orientated the
wrong way, but you can often see a significant effect of the angle on signal
strength. As a practical matter try to use a patch antenna with at least a little tilt
towards horizontal—the more the better. Try to use a helix antenna with at least
a little tilt towards vertical, the more the better. I routinely use a GPS Map 76
with about a 30-degree tilt from horizontal and the performance is fine. I need
this 30 degrees for viewing the screen anyway.

As a practical matter, the antenna orientation will usually not be enough to effect
the GPS functioning. However, if you add this to another factor such as a cover
of dense wet foliage, the two factors added together might be enough to cause
the GPS to lose the satellite lock.
Mounting

Simply enough – where are you going to put the GPS on your boat, airplane, or
other vehicle? Most manufactures make a variety of mounts for different models.
In addition to the manufacture‘s mounts, another source of mounts is Ram
Mounts, www.ram-mount.com or Gilsson Technologies, www.gilsson.com.

One of my favorite mounts for the Garmin GPS V and III is the beanbag mount
which works well on the dash of a car or the glare shield of an airplane.
Certainly, I would not use this in an open cockpit or a boat.

For temporary mounting, I have found Silly Putty or its generic equivalent to be
useful. It will not keep objects from tipping, but it will keep them from slipping.
For example, I put a small bead of silly putty around the circular base of the
Garmin dash mount in my car. It is easily removable, withstands the Florida sun,
and is sufficient to hold a Garmin 196. In addition to keeping the GPS from
sliding around, the bead around the edge has a suction cup effect, even on the
textured surface. However, Silly Putty is not easily removed from all surfaces
including carpet, fabrics, and the rubber like material on the Garmin Legend.
Test any material first.
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Many of the GPS units are advertised as waterproof. Garmin‘s specifications are
IPX7 which is 30 minutes of submersion at 1 meter. However, I just feel more
comfortable carrying my GPS in a dry bag when I kayak. Whether or not you
want to use your GPS in a dry bag depends on what kind of boating you do and
your comfort with the manufacture‘s water resistance claims. Most outdoor and
camping shops sell these dry bags. Certainly kayak shops do. I have used both
the Voyegeur and the AquaPac dry bags and have been happy with them. I
looked at the Seal Line bag. Although it looked like was a high quality product, I
liked the Voyegeur or AquaPac because the plastic is softer and clearer making
the GPS easier to operate and see.
Computer connection
Being able to exchange tracks, waypoints, and routes between the GPS can be
very useful. Most of the older GPS receivers use a serial interface. Most new
computers no longer come with a serial port. While there are USB to serial port
adapters, it is much more convenient to buy a GPS with a USB interface.
Automotive use

Most GPS receivers will only draw straight lines between waypoints. There are
several that will follow roads and even choose the roads along the way. Some
of the older receivers such as the original Garmin Street Map, will allow you to
use the cursor to drag the map over roads and the route would ―rubber band‖ to
the roads as opposed to a straight line between waypoints. Newer GPS
receivers with this feature allow you to put in a destination such as an address
and the GPS will calculate a route along the roads.


Figure 4-13
Figure 4-13 shows the difference between an auto route and a direct route. Both
cases are using a Garmin GPS V. In the first screen I had the GPS calculate the
fastest time to an address. While actually traveling along the route, messages
pop up to alert you to the next turn. In the second screen, I had the GPS create
an off road routing to the same address. Notice the difference between the
highlighted road in the first screen and the direct line in the second. This second
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screen is the way in which a wide variety of non-auto routing GPS receivers can
be used in the car.

There are many GPS receivers that are built just for automotive navigation,
including built in units offered as an option on new cars. However, this is
becoming a more common feature offered on more general receivers. I have
used the feature on the Garmin GPS V which is somewhat of a generic receiver
and the Garmin GPS 196 which is an aviation GPS.

I thought that auto routing was interesting, but personally not that useful. Most of
the streets in Orlando, FL, where I live, are laid out on a north-south and east-
west orientation. It is relatively easy to find your way in a car. The couple of
times that I have actually used auto routing for finding my way around
Washington, D.C. and Boston as opposed to checking out the feature in familiar
territory, it was incredibly useful.

The GPS V processor is a little over taxed and takes a while to find a route, but it
does work. The Garmin 196 has a very fast processor and the auto routing
works very well. One of the slicker features is the automatic recalculation
feature. If you skip a turn, whether purposefully or accidentally, the GPS will
recalculate a route from your present position to the destination. On the Garmin
GPS V the processor is a little over taxed in that by the time the new route is
calculated, you may have already missed it. This causes an endless loop of
recalculation until your route corresponds with the calculated routes. Even so,
this is still a nice feature. If you are really lost, you can pull into a parking lot for a
short time and wait for the GPS to recalculate. On a GPS with a faster
processor, this works very well.

In the setup menu there are settings to avoid toll roads, U-turns, etc. There is
also a setting to choose the type of vehicle that you are driving. Among the
choices is pedestrian, which I will address in the next section.

It is important to realize that not only must the GPS receiver be capable of
calculating an autoroute, but the mapping data loaded in the GPS must also
support auto-routing. For example, you could purchase a Garmin GPS 60C,
which supports auto routing, and load in MetroGuide 5 maps and then find that
the 60C will not calculate a route. This is because MetroGuide 5 will not support
auto routing in the GPS.

Auto routing is slick technology. However, just because a GPS does not have
auto routing, that does not mean that it is useless in the car. Often just being
able to know your position in relationship to the final destination is 90% of the
utility. If you are truly unfamiliar with an area, you can create a route from the
origin of the trip to the destination. You can then use the map editing features to
drag the route to intersections where you have to turn along the way. This is the
same technique that I later describe for creating a route along a river in the
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Routes and Path navigation chapters. In creating a route, you will be reminded
of not only where you are in relationship to the destination, but also where you
are in relationship to the next turn. I have used a Garmin eTrex Legend very
effectively in this way.

It is also possible in some cases to create a route on the computer and load it
onto the GPS. For example, MetroGuide 5 will calculate a route on the
computer. You can then load this route into a non-autorouting GPS such as a
Garmin GPS Map76 or an eTrex Legend as a route made up of a series of
waypoints. The waypoints will correspond with turns and intersections and the
route legs will be straight lines between the corresponding waypoints. For that
matter, you can load the route into a non-mapping GPS such as a standard
eTrex. There are also some third party applications such as Delorme Street
Atlas that also offer this feature.

For GPS receivers without the ability to load extra street level maps, or with no
mapping ability at all, you still might occasionally find it useful to find the
coordinates of an address and using the GPS to help find the address. While
using a non-mapping GPS to find an address is not nearly as nice as using a
mapping GPS, even a bearing and distance can be useful.

Auto routing and pedestrian use

I use an eTrex Legend and Roads and Recreation Europe to find my way around
European cities on layovers. Although not perfect, I find that this makes a good
compromise considering factors such as total cost and size. I also usually grab
one of the free tourist maps to help me find my way around.

Although I personally do not use a GPS with auto routing capabilities for
pedestrian navigation, I like the idea. One of the settings on most auto routing
GPS receivers is the type of vehicle that the GPS will calculate a route for.
Among the settings is ―pedestrian‖. In the past, this has always seemed a little
silly to me. Most auto routing GPS receivers have been a little large to carry
around while walking. Even the Garmin GPS V is not really something that easily
fits in a pocket.

However, with some of the newer small receivers such as the Garmin 60C, 76C,
and iQue offer auto routing. I routinely use a GPS while finding my way around
European cities on foot. For example, I load Roads and Recreation Europe
maps into my eTrex Legend. I create a route from my hotel to my destination. It
I am ambitious, I will drag the route to some of the turns that I will have to make.
If I were to use an auto routing GPS, it would calculate turn by turn directions to
get to my destination.

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I find that I am often only able to pick up a good satellite lock only at street
corners where the GPS has two unblocked directions to receive satellite signals
from. The nature of the problem is such that I am often doing this while stopped.
Thus, the GPS has no way to orient its direction. I find a cheap compass on my
watch band is sufficient considering it is needed only to choose which street
corresponds with the desired direction of travel rather than for a precise heading.
However, a built in compass with a GPS that offered auto routing would be a
slick combination.

Remember that it is necessary to have the maps which support auto routing and
that these maps are more expensive. For example, with the Garmin 60CS, you
would need to use the City Select maps instead of the much less expensive
Metro Guide or Roads and Recreation maps.

As I mentioned, I use the eTrex Legend with Roads and Recreation Europe.
MetroGuide would offer better information, a unit such as a Vista with more
memory and a compass sensor would be better, and a unit such as a Garmin
60CS with auto routing and the appropriate City Select maps would be ideal.
However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you can still get a lot of use from
a simple non-mapping GPS using a street map and creating waypoints using a
bearing and distance from a known point such as your hotel if you know the
techniques to do so.
Dead Reckoning

As I have mentioned, one of the problems with GPS is that the signal is easily
blocked, especially in a city with narrow streets or tall buildings. Dead reckoning
is the calculation of your position based on the speed and track from your last
known position. On most handhelds, this involves just calculating the position
based on the last know speed and track. However, some automotive GPS units
use other techniques to navigate. Garmin offers some versions of the Street
Pilot series that use input from the car‘s speedometer. A special Garmin
authorized dealer must install these versions.

Tom Tom is introducing a unit that uses accelerometers and rate sensors to dead
reckon. You can measure acceleration as the amount of force exerted on a
mass. Think of this as the amount that you are pushed back against your seat or
forward against your seatbelt, or the amount that you are pulled from side to side.
Acceleration is just the change in speed. Thus, by measuring acceleration you
can indirectly calculate speed and therefore position. In fact airliners use an
order of magnitude more accurate and more expensive version of this technology
called inertial navigation.
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Multiple Uses

I have multiple GPS receivers for various uses. However, I also find GPS
interesting enough to write this booklet. For most people, you will want to use a
GPS for multiple uses. You may or may not have to make some compromises
for one use or the other. For example, a Garmin GPS 176 might be great for
your boat; but even though it is portable, it is too big to be a good GPS for hiking.
If your other intended use is as an automotive GPS rather than hiking, it would be
great for both. A Garmin eTrex Legend is great for hiking, but the screen size
might be a little small for the boat. In this case, a good compromise might be a
GPS MAP 76.

Something to consider is that a marine GPS is perfectly usable in other
applications. Take the Garmin 176. You can buy extra memory and load Metro
Guide maps into the unit and it will be a pretty good automotive GPS. It will not
have auto routing, like the GPS V or the Street Pilot III, but it will still work well in
the car. The things that make the 176 a marine GPS will not detract from the
secondary use. In fact, the tide table might be useful if you are driving on
Daytona Beach (you are still allowed to drive on the beach).
Where to get more information

One of the best ways to get information is to go to the manufacture‘s web site.
Even better than the information page about each receiver, most of the
manufactures publish the owner‘s manual. The owner‘s manual is a good way to
get details on the operation and specific capabilities of each receiver. I would
also suggest www.gpsinformation.net for reviews.

- Garmin, www.garmin.com
The Garmin site has a feature where you can compare different units side
by side in a chart. Click on the Product Comparison link from any
individual receiver‘s page

- Lowrance, www.lowrance.com

- Magellan, now owned by Thales Navigation, www.magellangps.com

- Raymarine, formerly Raytheon Marine, www.raymarine.com

- Furuno, www.furuno.com

- Standard Horizon, http://www.standardhorizon.com/

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- C-Map, www.c-map.com

- Tom Tom, www.tomtom.com

- Cobra, www.cobra.com
Laptops and PDA’s

You might be wondering why you could not use a laptop or a PDA as a GPS
interface. In fact, this is a very popular option. It is not an option that I have used
except just to see how that it works while riding as an automobile passenger. My
prejudice is towards a dedicated GPS receiver. This is based on my personal
use. Even though a PDA with a GPS receiver could be entered into used in a dry
bag on my kayak, a mapping GPS receiver is considerably more robust and
cheaper.

However, there are certainly many uses and arguments for using a GPS with a
PDA or laptop.

Among the possibilities is to purchase a relatively inexpensive GPS and hook it
into the laptop or PDA. You can use the GPS/computer combination or just the
GPS separately for situations where the computer or PDA would not be
appropriate.

A couple of sources of information on using the GPS with a computer or PDA:

- http://www.palmflying.com/

- http://www.gpsinformation.org/dale/

- http://www.gpsinformation.net

Specific Garmin Models

Just to reemphasize, this is not meant to be a full GPS review. However, I have
had some experience with several units and thought that I would pass them
along. All of the units are Garmin receivers. I have comments later about my
Garmin prejudice. These are my personal opinions.

I have had at one time or another had a Garmin 38, II Plus, III Plus, III Pilot,
eTrex, eTrex Legend, and GPS Map 76, Magellan 315, and Magellan 330.
Garmin has recently announced the 60, 76 color, and 296 series. I do not have
specific comments on them other than they appear to be big improvements on
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products that I am already a fan of. The biggest changes are colored screens,
automatic road routing, and increased memory.

I started to list all of the GPS units that I know something about, but instead I‘ll
list some of my recommendations and opinions.
eTrex (basic) and Geko
I have mixed feelings about these models. On one hand, they are very
inexpensive and can certainly be useful tools. However, I think that you would
be better served to spend a little more and look at the eTrex Venture, GPS 72, or
even a Lowrance iFinder.

My complaints are that these two models are just too basic. The eTrex and Geko
101 do not offer a field for OFF COURSE. The Geko 101 does not even offer
multiple point routes. The Geko 201 offers TURN and OFF COURSE, but they
can only be displayed on the trip computer page.
Garmin GPS 72
This is the economy version of the non-mapping GPS 76. It has a lower
resolution screen, lacks the ability to use and external antenna, and does not
include the data cable. Since this is a non-mapping receiver, the lower resolution
is not a big problem. Generally the lack of external antenna support should not
be a problem. The extra expense of the cable is a factor, however you can
connect the GPS 72 to a computer for a couple of dollars in parts from the local
electronic store. I describe this in more detail on page Error! Bookmark not
defined.. For the price, the GPS 72 has a lot to offer.
Garmin GPS III Plus
This is a good solid mapping GPS. Although, it is still a solid handheld receiver,
there are newer models such as that offer more memory and better screens.
The limitations are that it is non-WAAS and it is only able to hold 1.4 Megs of
maps. The non-plus version is an earlier version without the capability to load
Map Source maps.
Garmin eTrex Vista, Legend, and Venture
These are the second generation eTrex receivers. All of these are WAAS
enabled. The Venture is non-mapping; the Legend is mapping with 8 megs; and
the Vista is mapping with 24 megs, an electronic compass, and an altimeter.

The original yellow eTrex is cute and inexpensive, but the interface on the
Venture is so much better, it comes with a computer interface cable, and it has
WAAS that I would at least jump this extra step in price.
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The Legend is one of my favorite GPS receivers for recreational use such as
kayaking. I have at times seen the Legend sell for a similar price to the Venture
when rebates are included. Often this is just a little more expensive than the
basic eTrex. Not only is the Legend a mapping GPS, but it includes the
computer interface cable. Even if you do not decide to spend the money on
additional maps, the Legend‘s base map is still useful, it will perform at least as
well as a non-mapping GPS, and you will have the option of purchasing a
MapSource CD later. The Vista is even nicer, but is usually much more
expensive.

The screen is small. However, it has good resolution. One potential problem is
the click stick. If you want to use it for kayaking, it is virtually impossible to
operate the click stick inside a dry bag. Even though the Legend is waterproof to
1 meter for 30 minutes, I feel much more comfortable with the GPS in a dry bag.

The Legend series is not totally useless for kayaking though. I found some parts
bags similar to a Zip Loc sandwich bag, but they are thicker and the main
compartment is smaller at 4 inches x 6 inches. You might find these at a jewelry
store. There is a hole above the seal where a piece of shoelace or string can be
used as a lanyard. Worst case, you could probably get by with a sandwich bag.
The eTrex doesn‘t float normally, but these bags trap enough air so that they
float in the bag. The click stick is more necessary for setting up a route than it is
for operating in the boat. Most of the things that need to be done in the boat
such as changing screens and zooming can be accomplished with the side
buttons instead of the click stick. If you do need a click stick function, the click
stick can be operated through the plastic even if a little awkwardly.

One little trick that I have not seen documented is that there is a quick way to get
to the active route. Hold the bottom left button on the side for a couple of
seconds until the active route appears. If you are not navigating on a route, but
are going directly to a waypoint the active waypoint will appear.
Garmin GPS 76
The GPS 76 also comes in non-mapping, mapping with 8 megs, and a 24 meg
altimeter and compass version. The 76 is WAAS enabled.

Among my favorite features is the ability to display up to 9 data fields on the map
display. For a pocket sized GPS, this is a lot.

The GPS 76 is at the limit of being pocket sized. The buttons are on the front
making it easily operable in a dry bag or a mount. There is also a provision for
an external antenna. This is also built to IPX 7 standards and will supposedly
float although I have not tried it.

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I have both a Legend and a Map 76. I like the Legend for it‘s pocket size and
price. I like the Map 76 for its bigger screen, ability to show more data fields, and
touchpad on the front. Overall, I think that the GPS 76 is more versatile and is
better for marine use, but it is also more expensive and a little bigger.
GPS V
The GPS V has the capability of calculating road routings. For off road routing
the interface is very similar to the eTrex Legend. My biggest objection was the
thick line for off road routes. It is more like a gray highlighter than a nice clean
line. This has been fixed in the 2.11b software which is available for download
on the Garmin website. My only objection is that as of 2.11b there is no true
enroute GOTO capability. If you execute a GOTO on a route, it will cancel the
rest of the route. This is a disappointment for a receiver that is advertised as
versatile and hopefully Garmin will fix this. However, overall the GPS V is
certainly feasible for generic and marine use.

For auto-routing, the GPSV often is slow to calculate a route, or re-calculate a
route. Slow is a relative term to expectations. The GPS V will recalculate the
route when it finds that you have not followed the original suggested route.
However, often I will find that by the time it recalculates the route that I am often
not on that route and it will start recalculating again. The auto-routing feature
seems to be at the limits of the processor capability.

Believe it or not, I like the GPS V. Considering, the compact size, price, battery
life, I still think that there is much to recommend it.
Garmin GPS Map 176
I have not actually used a 176 outside of the store. The only real downside to the
176 is that it is no longer truly pocket sized, which may or may not be relevant to
any secondary use. What it offers is a relatively large and very sharp screen with
the option of color. The 176 does not have any memory built in, but it allows
memory cartridges. Unfortunately, Garmin memory cartridges are proprietary
and expensive per unit of storage. However, this allows you to load the 176 with
up to 128 MB of data. Battery life may be an issue with the color version.
Garmin 196 and 295
There is no reason that you can‘t use an aviation GPS for boating. Usually my
argument is that a marine or generic GPS can be used for aviation. There is
definitely a price premium for an aviation GPS receiver. You definitely would not
purchase an aviation GPS instead of a marine to save money. However, if you
are a pilot, an aviation GPS might be able to serve dual duty.

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The 196 is advertised as a receiver for marine, auto, and aviation GPS. I do not
use my 196 for boating because there is no way that I want to risk it on my
kayak. However, the 196 is very impressive. The brief review is that the Garmin
196 earns its hype. I hope that Garmin brings out a non-aviation version of the
196 or a version of the 176 with the faster processor and auto-routing.
Magellan

Considering that cost is usually a factor, I am not recommending that you not
consider the Magellan products. I have occasionally seen packages including a
Magellan GPS and MapSend CD for prices that I would definitely recommend a
Magellan receiver for consideration for someone who needs a basic GPS. There
are many people who are satisfied with their Magellan GPS receivers, but I find
them disappointing for all but the most basic navigation functions. Although they
are usable, I find them less than ideal for more complicated tasks such as 2-D
navigation along a route or even path navigation. All of my complaints could be
fixed with a software upgrade if Magellan were so inclined.

I must add the disclaimer that I have not extensively used one of the new
Magellan Meridians and that my experience is based on using the 315 and 330 in
actual use and experimenting with the Meridian and SporTrak series in stores.
The operating system on the SporTrac and Meridian series appears to be very
similar to the 330.

Before I start complaining, I must give credit that I like the Meridian‘s ability to
use non-proprietary SD memory cards in the Meridian is a very nice feature.

Here are my specific complaints with regard to the Magellan mapping receivers
as well as some perspective and adaptive techniques if you already own one..

1. All of the Magellan mapping receivers can only display two data fields on
the map. This is adequate for foot navigation. Where this is most lacking
is for 2-D navigation.

The two data fields will allow you to display TURN and DISTANCE. If you
are following a route, XTE is also important. You could set up the GPS to
display TURN and XTE on the map page. DISTANCE is not required to
actually follow a route, but it is an extremely useful data field. I would
suggest using TURN and DISTANCE while occasionally checking another
page that has been so customized to get a value of XTE. It is true that the
map display itself will show a course deviation as indicated by the
difference between the route line and the position icon. However, when
the map display is zoomed far out, the deviation has to be large to be
detectable from the map display itself.

My point is not that it is impossible to navigate with the two data fields, but
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that it is less than optimum and less than most other brands offer.

2. The Magellan GPS receivers do not offer a data field for distance to
destination as opposed to distance to the next waypoint. There is no easy
way to get this information, including on the route page. About the only
way to get this information is to add the distance to the current waypoint to
the subsequent leg distances on the route page.

I have been informed that some models may now offer DISTANCE TO
DESTINATION through a software update. Unfortunately, the 330 is not
among them and the models that I have seen in stores do not have the
update.

This is significant for what I label as path navigation. An example situation
is on page 135 where the GPS is used to canoe around a hook in the
river. The direct line distance is about 3 miles, but the path along the river
is over 10 miles. In this case, a route is created to follow the river. The
GPS can then be used to let you know how much further you have to
travel. The key to this is having a data field for DISTANCE TO
DESTINATION. The distance to the intermediate waypoints is of no
significant use.

A work around is to use the distance to the destination in the name of the
waypoints. If you know that you are 1.2 miles from WPT 3.2, then you
have 4.4 miles to go. I have an explanation of this on page 138.

3. The Magellans hold 500 user waypoints. Selecting these waypoints is
annoying slow on the Meridian and 330. The entire list must be scrolled
through line by line. The 315 at least allows you to scroll one page at a
time with the left and right movement of the rocker pad.

If you do not use all of the user waypoints, this may not be a factor. There
are some useful features that allow you to find waypoints near the present
position, cursor, or other map object such as a city. This find near feature
is not unique to Magellan.

4. Being able to edit the route graphically from a map display is a powerful
feature that the Garmin and Lowrance units have. It is possible to drag
the route to where you want on the map. On the Magellans, it is possible
to move the cursor to points, create waypoints and then add them to a
route. However, it lacks the elegance of being able to edit on the map.

On the Magellan mapping receivers you can move the cursor to the
position that you want, create a waypoint by holding the ―Mark/ GOTO‖
button and then adding it to a pre-existing route. The trick is to first create
a dummy route with any two waypoints. You then add waypoints to this
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pre-existing route as you create them. When you are finished, you delete
the two dummy waypoints. There is also a way of creating a horizontal
route using the menu selections of Vertical Profile and Path Check. Thus,
the Magellans can be made to create a route graphically, but the features
are much less sophisticated than the Garmin and Lowrance receivers.

One of the most frustrating things about several of these faults is that they could
be fixed with software updates. Now that Thales owns Magellan, I am hoping
that Magellan produces a more polished product in the future. Thales, formerly
named Thomson-CSF Sextant, is a major European avionics company.
Lowrance

I have not had the experience with Lowrance that I have with the Garmin
products. However, I have had the chance to experiment with the basic iFinder
and I own an Aviation version of the upper end iFinders, the AirMap 600c.

The user interface is quite capable. However, it is not as well thought out and
easy to use as the Garmin interfaces. What proportion of this perception is based
on my familiarity with Garmin products verses actual design is hard to say.
However, even discounting my personal bias, I think that the Lowrance is
capable but awkward.

Some models have an advance and easy setting. If you find the features lacking,
make sure that you have the GPS in the advance mode.

Exchanging data with a computer is more difficult on the Lowrance units than the
Garmin units. However, it is possible to exchange waypoint, track, and route data
as I describe on page 80. The exception is that it appears that it is not possible to
transfer data back and forth between the iFinder Go and a computer.

None of the Lowrance handhelds offer automotive routing. The logic that I have
heard from a sales representative is that for the savings in price buying a
Lowrance handheld, you can afford to buy a separate automotive unit.

I would not eliminate the Lowrance units from consideration. When price is
considered, I think they offer a lot of capability. Additionally, the screen on the
color handhelds is brighter and sharper than most of the Garmin color handhelds.
Other Manufactures

In no way do I want to imply that Garmin, Magellan, and Lowrance are the only
options. However, they represent the more popular choices in the handheld GPS
market, which is my area of familiarity. As I mentioned in the beginning of the
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chapter, my goal is to explain many of the factors in choosing a specific model
rather than to create a review of all of the models available.
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Chapter 5 Waypoints

WARNING:
Do not interpret this chapter as a recommendation to throw away your
nautical charts and topographic charts and replace them with a road map
from the convenience store or some waypoints downloaded from an auto-
mapping program off of the Internet.

Before you can navigate with GPS, you have to tell the GPS where you want to
go. This can be as simple as moving the cursor to a point on a mapping GPS. If
you have a non-mapping GPS, finding the latitude and longitude of a place can
be somewhat of a data scavenger hunt.

For experienced users of non-mapping GPS receivers who are used to
specialized maps such as topographic maps and nautical charts, getting
coordinates is no problem. However, for many recreational activities there are a
variety of places to get coordinates without needing to resort to specialized,
which often implies expensive and hard to locate, maps and charts.
Appropriateness of data

Before I get to the subject of how to tell the GPS to navigate to where you want, I
think that it is important to discuss the issue of using the proper charts and data.
Specialized charts such as nautical charts and topographic maps give much
more information than just the location of points. They give information on
depths, hazards, visual navigation aids, shore characteristics, currents, heights of
terrain, etc. A generic road map, mapping program, or internet site will not
replace a topographic map or a marine chart. However, there are many cases
that using such a generic mapping data is still very useful. In some cases, the
more specific mapping is not necessary, and in other cases, the generic mapping
data is useful when used in conjunction with more specific mapping data.

There are simply too many variations and possibilities for me to give hard and
fast rules. Mostly it comes down to common sense and prudence. As I have
previously disclaimed, I am a professional pilot, but an amateur at many of the
possible activities in which GPS navigation can be used. I use specialized
aeronautical charts when I fly and would not dream of replacing them with road
maps.

There is a slow flowing river near my house in a state park that rents canoes. I
use a mapping GPS such as Garmin GPS Map 76 with a MetroGuide maps
loaded in. MetroGuide is a generic mapping product made more for automobile
navigation than anything else. Considering that most people do not even use a
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map or GPS, I think that using such a generic mapping tool is more than
sufficient.

In this same scenario, I would think nothing of using an ordinary road map,
mapping software, or internet program to find the location of a couple of
reference points for a generic GPS.

If this were a large park in the wilderness with cliffs, rapids, and all sorts of
hazards as well as being miles from civilization, I would highly recommend a
good topographic map as well as a compass and the required proficiency to
make use of it all.


Figure 5-1 GPS with generic software and nautical chart comparison (courtesy of
Marineplanner.com)
An example where generic mapping data would be insufficient alone is offshore
boating. Figure 5-1 shows an example depicting the position indicated by the
GPS on the left and the same position on a marine chart on the right. This
position is on the rocks. The chart shows it and the GPS does not.

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In fairness to Garmin, this example shows Metroguide data which is generic GPS
mapping data. Specific Marine software, BlueChart, which should show data
similar to the marine chart is available. The point that I would like to make is
twofold. The first point is to show how the generic mapping software may be
insufficient for many applications.

The other point is that such generic mapping data is still useful. What such
generic software offers is the ability to provide better correlate your position.
Even though the hazard of the rocks is not depicted on the GPS, you can look at
the GPS and realize that you are just south of Baker‘s Island and southeast of
the North and South Gooseberry Islands and quickly form a mental picture of
your location. If you then look at a nautical chart, you can see that this is a
position that has numerous rocks.

In this case, I feel that you are better served using a generic maps on a GPS to
mentally correlate your position than you would be using a non-mapping GPS. I
still recommend that you know how to read the raw latitude and longitude and
plot it on a marine chart. Consider that the depiction of features on the GPS map
display may be in error, especially if the maps are not meant for the purpose
intended. However, the speed of the mental correlation must be weighed against
the lack of speed, distraction factor, and possible errors when transposing a raw
latitude and longitude to a nautical chart. Often navigation is not about absolutes
as much as it is about using the best information that you have in a prudent
manner.

In summary: It is important that you use appropriate data when it is needed.
Even if you cannot justify the expense of the appropriate mapping product, a
generic mapping product may be useful to correlate your position when used
prudently. I should add that if you are navigating in a situation where you need a
specialized chart or map, I am a big advocate of still having a paper chart or
backup even if you do have the latest GPS with the best software.
Mark Present Position

One of the easiest ways to get the location of waypoint is to use the GPS itself.
On all GPS receivers, it is possible to mark the present position and name it as a
waypoint. You can then return to this position. Usually this involves pressing the
ENTER/MARK key.

The Magellans work similarly except that the key is MARK/GOTO. Press for
GOTO, hold for mark.
Marking on the map screen

On mapping GPS receivers, it is possible to move the cursor to a position on the
map and navigate to that point or mark it as a waypoint for future use or
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incorporation into a route. This is the easiest way of creating waypoints provided
that you have a mapping GPS with detailed maps loaded in.


Figure 5-2 Garmin GPS Map 76

In Figure 5-2 I moved the cursor to a point on the map, pressed the NAV key,
and selected Go To. On most receivers, the button is labeled GOTO, but most
mapping receivers work in a similar manner.

On the eTrex Legend, Vista, and Venture, you must select ―Pan Map‖ from the
menu box in the upper right corner and press in on the click stick instead of
pressing the ENTER/MARK key.

On most Garmin receivers you can press the ENTER/MARK key to create a
waypoint at the cursor location. There is a caveat in that if you hold the
ENTER/MARK button too long on many Garmin receivers, you will end up
marking present position instead of the cursor point.

The Magellan receivers are similar in operation except that you use the
MARK/GOTO key and want to hold it until the create waypoint menu is displayed.
Just pressing the key instead of holding it, will result in you getting a GOTO that
point.

I should add that the Garmin receivers also allow you to go to a point on the map.
When you get the waypoint creation menu, many of the Garmin receivers will
have a GOTO menu button. Even easier, on the Garmin receivers with a NAV or
GOTO button, place the cursor on the map and press GOTO or NAV.

On many of the Garmin mapping receivers, the name of the geographic feature
will come up when you press ENTER at the point that you want to create a
waypoint. For example, if you are trying to create a waypoint at the cursor
location in Figure 5-2, ―Little Lake Conway‖ will be displayed. In such a case,
you can usually press MENU and select SAVE AS WAYPOINT. There are
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variations on exactly how this is implemented on each model. You can either
play with it and probably figure it out or refer to the manual for more specific
information.

The advantage of using the GPS in this way is that it avoids a variety of errors
including, incorrect datums, mis-measured coordinates, and mis-entered
coordinates.
Projecting a point

Most GPS receivers allow you to create a new point based on a bearing and
distance from a previous point. This is a significant help in working with generic
maps with no grid. I discuss this in more detail in the Using Maps with an
unknown or no grid on page 141.
Understanding some mapping basics

Before you get coordinates from an external source such as a map or even an
electronic source, it is important that the GPS and the map are referencing the
same thing.
Datums

Just to add a little confusion, it is often not enough to know the coordinates such
a latitude and longitude that define a waypoint. It is also necessary to know the
datum. I found that I could not improve on Peter Dana‘s definition of the term
datum:
- Geodetic datums define the size and shape of the earth and the origin and
orientation of the coordinate systems used to map the earth. Hundreds of
different datums have been used to frame position descriptions since the
first estimates of the earth's size were made by Aristotle. Datums have
evolved from those describing a spherical earth to ellipsoidal models
derived from years of satellite measurements.

- Modern geodetic datums range from flat-earth models used for plane
surveying to complex models used for international applications which
completely describe the size, shape, orientation, gravity field, and angular
velocity of the earth.
(http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/datum/datum.html):
The default datum for GPS is World Geodetic System 1984, WGS 84. Unless
you know that data uses WGS 84, you should look in the legend or
documentation. There are still many charts, maps, and geographic information
that are not based on WGS 84. If you can‘t find the datum, you should treat the
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accuracy of any points derived from the source as possibly inaccurate until you
have had the chance to see how the waypoints correlate with actual locations.

If you find the coordinates for a waypoint in another datum, it is usually possible
to change the setup menu of the GPS to accept the coordinates in this datum.
Most GPS receivers offer a large number of datum options. These coordinates
are converted and stored in the GPS as WGS 84. If you enter a point in a non
WGS 84 datum, the GPS will indicate the coordinates that you entered. If you
then change the GPS to WGS 84, the numbers displayed for the coordinates will
change, but it will still define the same point.

In Florida, entering a waypoint with NAD 27 instead of WGS 84 will result in an
error of around 100 feet. Depending on what you are doing this may or may not
be even noticeable.
A little extra background on datums
Because the earth rotates, the measuring of longitude across oceans has
historically depended on comparing the positions of stars and planets with
relationship to the time in Greenwich, England. As the ability to coordinate the
time in Greenwich improved with such inventions as transatlantic cables and
shortwave radio so did the accuracy of latitude measurements. Eventually such
tools as bouncing laser beams from the moon and satellite radar images were
used to more accurately locate reference points and to measure the shape of the
earth. Currently, a more accurate version of GPS than is available in the
average consumer GPS is used for surveying.

The technology for accurately measuring distances within a landmass relative to
some fixed reference point has historically been a step ahead of the ability to
measure coordinates, especially longitude, in an absolute sense. Thus maps
have been surveyed relative to a ―known‖ point within the landmass. In this case,
―known‖ is a relative term. As technology has increased, so also has the ability
to more precisely locate these known reference points.

An additional factor is that the earth is not round. The earth is not perfectly
spherical. It is more like a piece of spherical fruit like an orange -- fairly round, a
little fatter around the middle (by approximately 1/298) but with some
irregularities. The abstraction of the shape of the earth that is an ellipse rotated
around the earth‘s axis is known as the ellipsoid. As our level of technology has
changed, our ability to accurately measure and model the shape of the earth has
improved.

Until global navigation systems such as GPS or perhaps Loran, the fact that one
chart may be mapped relative to a datum which is slightly inaccurate in the
context of a world system was not important. What was important was that
everything on a given map was accurately surveyed relative to other things on
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that map. The fact that a property line in the United States might be off several
feet relative to Greenwich, England is not important. The accuracy of this
property line being mapped with regard to other property lines, roads, etc. is
critical. For navigation use, long-range navigation was insufficiently accurate for
it to make any difference and short-range navigation has been done relative to
the navigational aids located at a physical location on the earth rather than by
reference to a worldwide system. Thus, different regions being surveyed relative
to different datums has not been a problem.

Let‘s say that an aircraft was flying from Europe to the New York. There are still
many airplanes that navigate across the ocean with only inertial navigation.
Inertial navigation measures the effects of acceleration over time to get velocity.
It measures the effect of velocity over time to calculate a position. If you are
familiar with calculus, inertial navigation double integrates acceleration, which
can be measured with an accelerometer, to get position.

Over time, the inertial position drifts. When over land, the aircraft navigation
system corrects this drift with radio navigation input. After being out of radio
contact for a couple of hours, the system can drift up to several miles with no
correction. As the aircraft approaches the shore, it is once again able to use
radio navigation aids to update the inertial position. This aircraft will eventually
follow a radio beam called an Instrument Landing System, ILS, to the runway.

To use the ILS it does not matter that the ILS is charted correctly relative to some
worldwide reference. It matters that the transmitter is physically placed beside
the runway. A similar situation exists with a boat navigating using the radar
returns from the land. It is important that the features on the chart be correct
relative to each other, especially the radar return generating features, rather than
correct relative to a worldwide grid.

This is a gross oversimplification to make a point. Yes, newer aircraft use GPS
to update the inertial systems. There are 60 miles between the tracks across the
Atlantic, so a couple of miles of inaccuracy is not a safety hazard. However, the
point is that until GPS and perhaps Loran, the inaccuracies of long range
navigation systems was greater than errors caused by different datums.

The accuracy of GPS has made the errors from using different datums
noticeable. The accuracy of GPS also allows it to be used for things that
previous long-range navigation systems would never be used for. Being able to
correlate the position indicated by the GPS with the position of points on the
earth make it important that the data or map and the GPS use the same datum.

Here are a couple of references for more information on Datums:

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- http://gpsinformation.net/main/maps.txt
Jack Yeazel‘s explanation of datums.

- http://www.nima.mil/GandG/geolay/toc.htm
This is Geodesy for Laymen by NIMA, the National Imagery and Mapping
Agency

- http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/datum/datum.html
Peter Dana‘s Geodetic Datum Overview

- Longitude
Longitude is the story of John Harrison‘s development of the sea going
chronometer. I have seen the A and E movie version which is based on
the book by Dava Sobel. Although I have read that there is some literary
license, it is still an excellent story.
Location Format

There is a multitude of ways of defining a location. All GPS receivers allow you
to input a latitude and longitude. However, this is just one of many ways of
defining a location.

To locate a point on a surface, you need two coordinates. Latitude and longitude
is just one potential format. My Garmin GPSMap 76 lists 28 possible ways of
entering a position. Most of these represent various official grid systems for
maps.

Even beyond latitude and longitude and any number of grid systems there are
other ways of defining a point. Think about an address -- this is usually a street
and a number along the street. Another example is an intersection of two
streets. Although these are not coordinates in the traditional numerical sense,
they are coordinates in the sense of being two complimentary specifications to
locate a point. Many mapping GPS receivers, assuming the proper map data is
loaded, allow you to specify an address or intersection to specify a point.

It is also possible to define a location with respect to other known waypoints.
Many GPS receiver allow you to specify a new waypoint as being a bearing and
distance from a previously known waypoint. Although it takes a little trickery for
most GPS receivers, it is also possible to define a point as separate bearings
from two separate points. I have only seen panel mounted aviation receivers that
explicitly support this feature.
Latitude and Longitude
The GPS has three ways of being setup to enter latitude and longitude. The
difference is when you stop dividing into units of 60 and just use the decimal
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portion. Minutes and seconds work just like in time with each degree being
divided into 60 minutes and each minute being divided into 60 seconds. The
format is a ‗ behind the number to designate minutes and ― to designate seconds.
Here is the same coordinate all three formats.

Hddd° mm.mmmm‘ N38° 51.418 W094° 47.941
Hddd.ddddd° N38.85697° W094.79902°
Hddd° mm‘ ss.s‖ N38° 51‘ 25.1‖ W094° 47‘ 56.5‖

If you want to convert the decimal portion of a degrees to minutes, just multiply
the decimal portion by 60. From the above example, to convert the .85697 in N
38.85697, multiply it by 60 to get 51.418‘.

Conversely, to convert minutes to a decimal portion of a degree, just divide by
60. From the same example, 51.418‘ / 60 = .85967. Some inexpensive scientific
calculators have a special button to do this conversion more automatically.

Some more information on latitude while I am on the subject:

Latitude is commonly thought of as the angle formed between two lines, one from
the point to the center of the earth and the other being from the equator to the
center of the earth. This is close and would be true if the earth was a sphere.
However, the longitude is actually based on the line perpendicular to the ellipsoid
at the point in question and the surface of the equatorial plane. This line does
not quite intercept the earth at the center.

While I am on the subject of latitude and longitude, a nautical mile is
approximately 1 minute of latitude. My memory trick is that the normal highway
speed (I learned to drive when the national speed limit was 55 miles per hour)
used to be approximately 60 miles per hour, which is on mile per minute. A
nautical mile is one nautical mile per minute.

The approximation of a nautical mile being equal to 1 minute of latitude is now
just an approximation. It used to be the definition, but such a definition meant
that the value of the nautical mile kept changing as the shape of the earth was
further refined. The nautical mile is now defined as 1852 meters, which converts
to approximately 1.15078 statute miles or 6076.1 feet.

Lastly, if you need a way to remember which direction is latitude and which is
longitude I like to remember the Jimmy Buffet song, ―Changes in Latitude –
Changes in Attitude.‖ My son‘s teacher taught him to think that latitude sounds
like ladder and that the latitudes are like rungs.
UTM, Universal Transverse Mercator
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This is a very light coverage of UTM because there are several very good
sources of information on the Web. Four good sources of information on UTM on
the web are:
- http://www.nps.gov/prwi/readutm.htm
- www.dbartlett.com
- www.maptools.com/UsingUTM
On this site, follow the ―Datums‖ link for some good information on the
measurement difference between NAD 27 and WGS 84 maps.
- Using a Garmin GPS with Paper Land Maps
Go to the Garmin web site, www.garmin.com. Select Support ->User
Manuals. There will be three pull down menus to select the category and
type of receiver that you want the manual. Select, other and other, then
select the title.

Some maps do not use latitude and longitude. If you are using a topographical
map for, there is a good chance that you might run into the Universal Transverse
Mercator, UTM, coordinate system. It is interesting, but initially confusing to read
the full details about what each UTM coordinate means. However, using UTM in
practice is simple.

Figure 5-3 UTM Grid (from www.NIMA.mil website)

UTM divides the world into 60 zones. The coordinates consist of the zone
number then an east number referred to as an easting and a north reference
referred to as a northing. The easting is listed before the northing, just the
opposite of latitude and longitude, but the same as Cartesian coordinates. The
eastings and northings are in meters. Often on a map the three right digits,
which are meters, are omitted or printed in smaller font. The grids are usually
labeled in kilometers; therefore, each grid square is 1 kilometer or 1000 meters
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on each side. It doesn‘t matter whether you are in the southern or western
hemispheres, the coordinates always increase from west to east and south to
north.

Point P in Figure 5-3 has coordinates of East 357,800 North 4,276,750. This is
not specific enough for GPS use. The GPS would have also have to be told
which sector the map itself was in. If the zone is not printed on the map, you can
get it directly from the position of your GPS by actually being somewhere on the
map and reading the position or creating a waypoint for a place somewhere on
the map using a latitude and longitude and then changing the GPS position
format to UTM. The same waypoint that I had previously used to illustrate the
different latitude longitude formats is 15S 0343898 4302285. If you were looking
at a topographic map, this point would be 898 meters east and 285 meters north
of the grid marked 43 on the east axis and 02 on the north axis.
Various other Grids
There are numerous other grids. I went into an English bookstore and found a
rack of maps that all had grids that could be used with GPS. One of the biggest
caveats is that it is not enough to specify the grid, but you must also specify the
datum. For example, if I select British Grid as the position format using my
Garmin Legend C, the Map Datum automatically changes to Ord Srvy GB. On
the basic eTrex, I have to make sure that I select the map datum manually.
Another example is the Swiss grid works with the CH-1903 datum.

For more information on the Ordinance Survey maps and grid, the website is:
http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk.
Specialized Charts and Maps

Needless to say specialized maps such as marine charts and topographic maps
that have a standard grid are an excellent source of getting data. I have even
seen specialized maps for local chains of lakes in my local Wal-Mart which
include latitude and longitude marks for using with GPS.

By the way, even if you have a mapping GPS with specialized marine or
topographic data, it is still wise to carry a physical map or chart.

Chart and map reading is a separate subject altogether. There are many books
that cover this subject well.
From the Internet

Google Earth is one of the most incredible sites available and warrants its own
section starting on page 74. The only real downside is that it requires that you
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install a program. This is only a drawback in that you may not be able to use it at
a library or internet café.

There are many Internet mapping sites. Each varies in its coverage and ability to
use some sort of coordinate system. Some of these can be used to find
coordinates of a point. The other task that you might want to accomplish is to
map coordinates that you already know from another source such as marking a
point with your GPS so that you can see where they are.

Although I may give you some specifics for a given site, my intent in this section
is to give you some tricks as to where to look for coordinate information. There
are many non-U.S. sites that I do not cover, but odds are you might be able to
use some of the techniques listed in this section to extract coordinates. Be
warned that interfaces and features constantly change. For example,
www.mapquest.com and www.mapblast.com both used to be able to give latitude
and longitude information but have been redesigned so that they are no longer
useful for getting coordinates.

Sites vary in their coverage of Non-U.S. locations. For example, Google maps
allow you to look up Buenos Aires, Argentina and get very clear images.
However, there is no ability to overlay a street map. Microsoft‘s maps.live.com
will get you both. This is not to slam Google, just to make the point that you may
have to search around to get non-U.S. information.

If you find a site not mentioned below, some of the techniques may apply.

- Yahoo maps, maps.yahoo.com, is relatively easy to get the latitude and
longitude for a given location. As you drag the map around with your
cursor, the latitude and longitude of the center of the map is very easy to
make out in the address bar and will update as you drag the map. The
center of the map is marked with cross hairs.

For example: The latitude and longitude for the map with the center at
N28.557154 W081.333336 is pretty easy to find from the following URL
which automatically updates as you drag the map:
http://maps.yahoo.com/#mvt=h&lat=28.557154&lon=-
81.333336&mag=1&q1=Orlando%20FL

Working the opposite direction, if you had marked a point and wanted to
see that point on the map, you could simply search for it in the following
formats N28.557154 W081.333336 or 28.557154 -81.333336

- Google maps, http://maps.google.com. While not nearly as useful as
Google earth, it is quickly accessible from almost any computer.

Finding the location of a point is a little more hidden. Double clicking on a
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point will cause the map to center and zoom on the point. To find that
point that you centered and zoomed, use the Link to this page or Send
feature. The latitude and longitude will be embedded in the URL. For
example:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype
=&q=Orlando,+FL&ie=UTF8&ll=28.55715,-
81.33334&spn=0.000545,0.001247&t=h&z=20&om=1

The coordinates of N28.55715 W081.33334 are evident in the URL . If you
want to search for this point, you can simply search for N28.55715
W081.33334 or 28.55715 -8133334.

- Microsoft Live search, maps.live.com. Live has some nice maps, but I
know of no easy way to map already known coordinates. Finding the
coordinates for a point works similarly to Google and Yahoo maps. Double
click on the desired point to zoom and center on that point. To find the
coordinates for that point, use the Share feature. The URL will look like
this:

http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=28.55715~-
81.333364&style=h&lvl=18&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-
1000&scene=3890034&encType=1

It is easy to pick out the coordinates N28.55715 W081.333364.

- Multimap, www.multimap.com. I did not find a way to look for known
coordinates. The interface seems a little slow, but it is a U.K. site and I
tried it from the U.S. The latitude and longitude of the center of the map
are shown in the information area below the map. I found the latitude and
longitude would sometimes stop updating. The trick is to reload the web
page to get a fresh location. You can right click to zoom in on a point. You
can also use the shit key and mouse to draw a zoom area.

- Maporama, www.maporama.com, The latitude and longitude is the
bottom and to the left of the map under ―Information.‖ To measure a
latitude and longitude, select ―re-center‖ or ―re-center and zoom in‖ from
the options icons in the upper left corner.

There is no aerial photo view – just maps. There is also no way to map
coordinates that you already have. However, finding coordinates is easy
and worldwide coverage is good.

- Marine Planner, www.marineplanner.com, good site with marine charts.

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- MapCard, www.mapcard.com (U.S. Only)
MapCard is not free, but it is relatively inexpensive. It has tools to mark
coordinates at points.

- Topozone, www.topozone.com, has topographic maps of the United
States. Note that many of the maps are Nad 27 datum.

- Streetmap.co.uk , http://www.streetmap.co.uk/ , streetmaps of the U.K.

- TerraServer.com http://www.terraserver.com/
TerraServer allows you to view aerial or satellite images and find the
latitude and longitude of a point on the image or find an image of a latitude
and longitude. There are various subscription and download options, but
when you select and download a map, the position of the cursor is
indicated to the left of the map.

- TerraServer USA, http://www.terraserver-usa.com
The initial TerraServer project was by Microsoft and Compaq and was
meant to demonstrate Microsoft‘s data management software. I am not
well versed in the details of the split, but this is also a source of finding the
latitude and longitude of a place or finding and aerial or satellite image of a
point.

As the name implies, the data is limited to the USA. Click on the ―Info‖
icon at the top of the page for the latitude and longitude. You can click on
the map to re-center and zoom as well as use the controls to the right of
the map. However, you will need to click on the ―Info‖ icon again to get
the latitude and longitude.

Mapping Programs

The PC or a PDA can be useful for finding waypoints. Many programs offer GPS
compatibility. This can mean one of two things: 1. The ability to use the
computer such as a laptop to display your position on the map using GPS. 2.
The ability to upload points on the map into the GPS so that you can use the
GPS independently of the computer.

Most of the programs that advertise GPS compatibility are advertising this first
type. I am sure that there are many people who find the first type of compatibility
quite advantageous. For example, a salesman who is driving to new unfamiliar
places would likely find this very useful. I have hooked up my laptop with a
mapping program and it was pretty impressive. However, for recreation use, this
type of GPS compatibility usually is not of much use. I can‘t see taking my laptop
kayaking or inline skating. If you intend on using the GPS with the computer as
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an interface in this manner, you might want to check www.rammount.com to
mount the laptop.

The second type of GPS compatibility is obviously useful for many recreational
activities in that it eliminates incorrect measurement and entry of data.

Even though many programs do not offer this second type of GPS compatibility
or any GPS compatibility at all, they can still be very useful. Many programs can
give you a latitude and longitude of a point of the cursor. You can then manually
enter these into the GPS. Often you can print a map and mark points along with
the latitude and longitude that you measured at waypoints. Examples of this are
Figure 5-4 and Figure 5-5. This is a simple and inexpensive solution.

The factors for the feasibility of using a PDA with GPS are the same as using a
computer with GPS except that the magnitudes have changed. Using a GPS
with a PDA is similar to using a GPS with a computer. The tradeoffs are similar,
but at a different point on the continuum. For example, the display is not as big
as a laptop, but a PDA is not nearly as bulky. For more information on using a
PDA I would recommend Dale DePriest‘s information at:
http://www.gpsinformation.org/dale/.

The more recent the program and the data, the more likely it is to be based on
the WGS-84 datum. However, this is not necessarily the case. Be weary or the
program unless it states the datum or until you have had the chance to use a
couple of measurements and see how well they work. Most likely the latter will
be the case.

Although I list a couple of programs in the next few pages, there are many more.
Also some of these programs are only applicable to United States use. My
purpose is to find some of the more readily available concrete examples. I have
even used some of the inexpensive atlas programs in the discount software rack.
Delorme Map Print Pack (U.S. Only)
www.delorme.com
Delorme does not sell marine charts, but they do have topographic maps. For
many lakes and inland waterways these are what you need. Some of the more
expensive products have the ability to create routes and waypoints and then
upload them into the GPS. I was impressed with Map Print Pack USA for the
money. Map Print Pack retails for $20 and is the least expensive DeLorme
product line. It is somewhat stripped down from the other DeLorme products, but
for the price it is great for recreational use. If you want to spend the money, you
can pay an extra $40 and download an optional GPS interface for the program.
This will give you both types of GPS compatibility.

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An interesting feature of Delorme Map Print Pack and several of the other
Delorme products is that they let you print a large map by separating the map
into separate sheets. Each sheet is printed separately and becomes part of a
mosaic covering a large area. Maps can be printed as single sheet, 2 x 2, or 3 x
3. Map Print Pack comes with a vinyl 3 x 3 holder to slip the maps into. You also
have the option of overlaying the maps with a latitude/longitude or a UTM grid.
The downside of Map Print Pack is that it has limited use as a road map. Roads
will be shown, but street names are only displayed at the closest range. Even
then, the naming coverage is not complete. This program also lacks address
lookup. These are not failures of the program, but will be disappointments if you
are looking for this program to be something that it is not. For the price, I think
that this is an excellent program.


Figure 5-4 Delorme Map Print Pack
In Figure 3-2, I right clicked on the mouse and selected label with coordinate map
note. I then right clicked on the map note and edited it to add the name. You
can set up a map with tags like this and then enter them into the GPS.
Microsoft Streets and Trips
This is a program mainly aimed at finding routes and address for automotive use.
However, I have found the maps to be very good. It actually showed the island in
the middle of the lake that I describe in Figure 3-3 on page 17.

If you mark a point, you have to manually input the coordinates into the flag or
Push Pin as it is called in this program. The nice thing is that you can put the
cursor over the point and see the coordinates using the location tool as you are
doing this. There is a distance tool where you can draw a free form line along a
curved path such as a river.

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Figure 5-5 Microsoft Streets and Trips 2001
Other non GPS use benefits are that if you use the program as it was intended,
you can get driving directions from point to point. If you zoom out far enough,
you will see a globe. The mapping for the rest of the world consists of major
cities and national boundaries.

The GPS capability advertised on the box requires you to plug the GPS into a
laptop computer and it will display the GPS data. The catch is there is a delay of
up to 15 seconds. From my understanding, this is a purposeful delay put in as a
licensing issue between Microsoft and Navtech.

Things I did not like were that there is no way to print a grid on the map. Thus,
there is no way to measure new points on the printed map without using the
computer. It is not possible to print large area maps using DeLorme‘s mosaic
method.
GPS Manufactures’ Mapping and Data Software
Even if you do not have a mapping GPS, you might consider purchasing the
extra mapping or cartographic software from the same manufacture. You will
have to check the compatibility of the software and your GPS. For example, if
you had a non-mapping Garmin GPS you could buy the Waterways and Lights or
Roads and Recreation CD and still be able to upload routes and waypoints that
you had created on the PC. What you would not be able to do is upload the
maps themselves. Unfortunately, you would be paying for this unusable
capability. However, you would have the software should you later buy a
mapping GPS receiver.

I have a more detailed discussion of the various mapping software on page 24
under my discussion of whether to by a mapping of non-mapping GPS.
National Geocgraphic http://maps.nationalgeographic/top
I have not had the chance to try this software. These are topographic maps
available by state. They also offer a PDA (both Palm and Pocket PC) version.
Both the PC and PDA versions advertise the ability to upload route and waypoint
information to the GPS.
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Ozi Explorer www.oziexplorer.com
I have not used Ozi Explorer, but it is a very popular program that among other
capabilities allows you to import and calibrate scanned maps.
Other software
There are many other programs on the market that I have not mentioned. There
are even programs where you can scan in maps with your computer, calibrate
points on the map with known coordinates of the points, and then measure other
points on the map and print it out with a grid overlay. Instead of trying to list
them, let me send you to some sources where you can find this software.

- GPS for Dummies
Joel McNamara
Wiley Publishing, ISBN 0-7645-6933-3

GPS for Dummies has good coverage of the various software available to
interface a computer with the GPS.

- For PC shareware, try www.gpsinformation.net

I have referred to this multiple times, but this is a great place to look for
links to several other shareware programs. Look under the section for
Third Party Software.

- For PDA software
http://www.gpsinformation.org/dale/
www.palmgear.com (palm)
www.handango.com (Palm, Pocket PC / Windows CE)
www.tucows.com (Palm, Pocket PC / Windows CE)

Search on keywords ―map‖ or ―GPS‖
Ordinary Road Maps

Most ordinary road maps have grids that are of little use with GPS, but if you hunt
around, you can find some maps that can be used easily with a GPS.

In the U.S., Delorme has been good about putting latitude and longitude on their
map products. This includes their state Atlas and Gazetteer series. Recently,
Rand McNally has started updating their maps with latitude and longitude grids. .
I have also seen some Michelin road maps with latitude and longitude.

Ordinance Survey maps of Great Britain have grids that can be used. More
information on the grid can be found at www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk. In addition
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to selecting the grid, also make sure that you change the datum to Ordinance
Survey Great Britain if your GPS does not automatically do so when you select
the grid.
Google Earth

Google Earth is a free program available at earth.google.com. There is a $20 per
year version that allows you to use your GPS with Google Earth. According to the
Google documentation the GPS features do not support exchange of routes,
waypoints, and tracks – just the present position and direction.. However, it is
possible to use the free version to create waypoints and routes for use in your
GPS. It is also possible to view data downloaded from your GPS such as tracks
using the free version. There are numerous other features in Google Earth
including a flight simulator feature. These functions are well documented in the
help files as well as numerous other places. This section is dedicated to some
tricks to use Google Earth with GPS.

While not difficult, the techniques in this section do involve a little tinkering. If you
use Garmin Map Source, you may find the View in Google Earth option to be all
you need.

There is also an internet site, GPS Visualize http://www.gpsvisualizer.com, that
may suite your needs. It will show your GPS data on a Google map. It also offers
some of the data conversion functionality offered by GPS Babel.


Figure 5-6

Within Google Earth, the latitude, longitude, and altitude at the cursor is shown in
the bottom left corner of the image as shown in Figure 5-6. The simplest way of
using Google earth is to note this location and enter it enter your GPS.

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In the upper left corner of the screen is a toolbar as shown in Error! Reference
source not found.. If it is not there, use View -> Toolbar. Selecting the pushpin
allows you to click on the image and create a place mark.


Figure 5-7
Google also offers a tool where you can graphically create a route. This is
described in the help files, but the simple explanation is that you can select the
route tool and click along the points to describe the route as shown in Figure 5-8.

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Figure 5-8
These routes and place marks are saved in My Places as shown in Figure 5-9.
Driving directions are not automatically placed into My Places, but you can right
click and save a set of directions to My Places or simply drag and drop.

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Figure 5-9
Within My Places, you can create folders to organize your objects. These objects
can then be dragged and dropped as appropriate. You can then save these
objects or whole folders as .kml files.
GPS Babel
The problem is that most GPS software does not directly recognize these .kml
files. However, there is a shareware program, GPS Babel
http://www.gpsbabel.org, that will convert the data from .kml format to a multitude
of formats. One of the most convenient formats is .gpx. Many programs,
including Garmin‘s MapSource, can use GPX. Once the data is in a recognizable
format it can then be uploaded into a GPS using a variety of GPS software
described in Chapter 6 Connecting your GPS to the computer.

Another option in addition to GPS Babel is to use one of the forms on
http://www.gpsvisualizer.com.

The filter option in GPS Babel allows you to do things like converting the
waypoints from an automotive route into a route. This isn‘t necessary with a
manually drawn route, but can be useful for an automatic route. For example if
you had Google Earth create a road route from address a to address b, the
converted file would have waypoints for each turn, but using the convert
waypoints to route filter would create a route using these waypoints.

This process also works in reverse. You can download tracks and waypoints
from your GPS into your computer, then convert the data into Google Earth
format using GPS Babel, and finally open the .kml file in Google Earth. The
possible exception to this process is that Garmin Map Source has a simple
option to view data in Google Earth by using View -> View In Google Earth.

There is a little quirk in that the translation does not take place when you hit save
from the file selection dialogue, but when you click on the ―let‘s go‖ button.
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Figure 5-10

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Chapter 6 Connecting your GPS to the computer

Linking the GPS to your computer allows you to transfer waypoints, tracks, and
routes.
Hardware

Many of the newer GPS receivers use USB. If you have installed the
manufacture‘s software, the drivers are probably installed automatically. If not,
the USB drivers are most likely available on the manufacture‘s website.
GPS receivers with the old serial interfaces generally have proprietary cables.
Some receivers may come with the cable, but often the cable must be purchased
separately. The manufactures cables can be a little pricey.
Garmin Serial
For the Garmin receivers such as the 12, II, III, 72, with the round plug it is fairly
easy to connect the GPS to a serial port for $2 worth of parts at an electronics
store such as Radio Shack. The part from Radio Shack is 276-1428, 9-Position
Female D-Sub Connector. You can enter this part number at
www.radioshack.com to see better what it is. You will need 3 wires about 1 foot
long. Strip about 3/8 inches off of each end and crimp the metal fittings onto
each end of each wire. The holes of the connector are numbered, you will need
to stuff the metal ends into the housing on the end that will attach to the
computer. The other ends will clip onto the pins on the GPS with the fittings.
The wires should connect to the GPS as follows: pin 2 – receive (T on the GPS),
pin 3 – transmit (R on the GPS), and pin 5 ground (- on the GPS). You will want
to somehow mark the wires for future references. The source for this information
is: http://www.garmin.com/support/faqs/faq.jsp?faq=68).
A GPS that is still being sold that uses a serial connector is the basic yellow
Garmin eTrex. Unfortunately, purchasing a serial cable represents a high
percentage of the value of the GPS itself. The easiest solution is to spend a little
more and purchase the eTrex Legend which comes with a cable. However, it is
possible to rig a connection. I bent the wires over the end of a small piece of note
card which slid into the slot on the back of the GPS. I had to hold the wires
against the contacts with my finger to keep the connection. Certainly not elegant
and it might be too frustrating, but I did get it to work. With a little work and some
scrounging, you might be able to find some springs and a small piece of plastic to
do some minor recreational engineering.
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Although there is the possibility that you could do some damage, the risk is
relatively low. I initially connected the transmit and receive wires backwards. It
didn‘t work until I switched the wires, but it didn‘t harm the GPS or the computer.
Lowrance Serial
Most of the newer Lowrance GPS receivers offer a serial connection. However,
the serial connection is used to send present position and direction data back
and forth. The serial interface is not used to transfer waypoint, route, and track
information. This is done by transferring data to and from an SD memory card.
Software
Garmin
If you have a Garmin GPS, the easiest software to use is Garmin‘s software –
either Map Source or Garmin Trip and Waypoint manager. The Garmin software
is good and easy to use, but you may want to look at some of the other programs
in this section if you do not have the Garmin software, are looking for some
functionality not present in the Garmin software, and you do not mind a little
tinkering.
Garmin POI Loader
There is a slight difference in a waypoint and a Point of Interest, POI. Waypoints
are user defined and POI‘s are loaded into your GPS and cannot be edited on
your GPS. For example, you could mark a spot on the trail and save it as a
waypoint. If you looked up the location of a restaurant in the database it would be
a POI. You can‘t change the POI, but in many ways you can use it similarly to a
waypoint.

Depending on your GPS, you may be limited to 500, 1000, or some similar order
of magnitude number of waypoints, but the number of POI‘s is usually just limited
by system memory.

Check on your specific model, but many of the newer models allow you to create
custom POI‘s. The software, POI Loader, is relatively easy to use and freely
downloadable from Garmin‘s website. All you need is a file with points in a
suitable format and POI Loader will load the custom POI‘s into your GPS. The
best format is .gpx, but it is possible to use simple comma separated values, .csv
also.

These .gpx files can be created using the programs listed in this chapter, or as
described in the section on Google Earth. You might also search the internet and
find databases that people of have already compiled for things like trail locations,
WiFi hotspots, airports, radio control flying fields, speed cameras, etc.
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POI loader differs from loading waypoints in that the custom POI data will replace
any POI data that you previously had loaded. When you run POI Loader it will
ask you for the folder containing the POI data. If you have multiple data files put
them all into the same folder and they will show as separate POI databases.


Figure 6-1
Figure 6-1 is a screenshot from a Garmin Nuvi 270 showing multiple POI
databases. Each one was a separate .gpx file in the same folder that I told POI to
load from.

There is not progress indicator on POI loader. The U.S. Airports database has
over 15,000 points and it appeared to cause POI loader to lock up. However, POI
Loader was not locked up, it was just loading a large data file. I left it and came
back a while later and the load was successful.

As an aside, I created the U.S. Airports database from data at a Paul Tomblin‘s
excellent http://navaid.com.
Lowrance
Lowrance offers Map Create software. MapCreate is necessary to load more
detailed maps. MapCreate allows you to create routes and waypoints using the
computer interface and load them onto an SD card for use in the GPS.

If you do not own MapCreate, Lowrance offers GPS Data Manager, DGM, for
free download on their website. GDM is an unimpressive piece of software. GDM
may be useful if all you want to do is to save your data onto your computer for
backup.

For use with other programs or Google earth a little tinkering is required. The
problem is that MapCreate and GDM only recognize the Lowrance data format.
In contrast, the Garmin format is much more common and the Garmin software
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allows you to use a more standard format like .gpx in loading and saving data to
MapSource and Trip and Waypoint manager.

If you have a Lowrance, you can use several of the GPS programs such as those
listed in this chapter. The catch is that most of them do not recognize the
Lowrance format, .usr. However, you can use the .gpx format and use GPS
Babel, https://www.gpsbabel.org to translate the files back and forth between
.gpx and the Lowrance .usr format.

To save data to or load data from the SD card in the GPS use Menu ->Menu ->
System Setup -> Transfer My Data.
PC Programs
G7toWin http://www.gpsinformation.org/ronh/
This is one of the more powerful freeware programs. I highly recommend
this program.
EasyGPS www.easygps.com
Perhaps the simplest program of my suggestions. It works with several
different brands of GPS. EasyGPS is simple and free. Although, I have
not had time to explore the programs in any depth, TopoGrafix also sells
some other programs including ExpertGPS, which allows you to view
waypoints overlaid on satellite photos.
Ozi Explorer http://www.oziexplorer.com
GPS Track Maker http://www.gpstm.com

GPS software for the Mac
GPSy http://www.gpsy.com

MacGPS Pro http://www.macgpspro.com
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Chapter 7 Navigation Terminology

This is not meant to be a discussion of all of the data fields that your GPS can
display—just the more relevant ones to navigation.















Figure 7-1


Figure 7-1 is a schematic showing the various GPS data field values together. I
present all of them together so that you can compare the fields to each other. In
the next several pages, I will explain each one of them separately.

What is North?
Magnetic North
Before, I explain what the GPS is capable of indicating, it is important to realize
that the compass does not necessarily point to north. The earth‘s magnetic field
and its rotational axis are not the same. The compass aligns itself with the
magnetic field of the earth. Maps are usually drawn to true north. The GPS can
use either.

This difference between magnetic north and true north is called variation or
declination. It varies with location and even slowly with time. Special use maps
such as marine or aviation maps have this compass variation displayed, whereas
ordinary generic maps do not. There are algorithms to calculate variation that
OFF COURSE
TRACK
TURN
Current

BEARING
COURSE
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the GPS receiver uses. GPS receivers use this calculated value of variations at
a given location to convert true values to magnetic values.

Interestingly enough, the magnetic field has flipped several times over the life of
the earth. This is on a geological time scale – you are not going to wake up one
morning and find that your compass reads backwards. I have seen
manifestations of this in seeing charted magnetic heading for familiar runways
change a couple of degrees over several years even though I know the concrete
has not rotated. Figure 7-2 shows the change in the magnetic North Pole from
1831 to 2001.


Figure 7-2 http://www.geolab.nrcan.gc.ca/geomag/long_mvt_nmp_e.shtml

If you really find this interesting and want to dig a little deeper, two interesting
sites are:

- http://www.geolab.nrcan.gc.ca/geomag/northpole_e.shtml

- http://geomag.usgs.gov

On this site look under Intro to Geomag. Also check out the movies
showing the change in declination over time. Choose Models Charts
Movies -> Movies and choose one of the Declination movies.
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Other things such as metal structures and electronics can also affect the
compass. This is something that is impossible to map or for the GPS to
calculate. This is referred to as deviation. This is an entirely different issue and
involves adjusting your compass or displaying a correction card.

Back to variation… In Boston, MA the variation is 16°W. To steer a heading of
090° on the map, you would actually need to steer a compass heading of 106°.
Similarly, if you thought that you were heading east because your compass
indicated 090°, you would actually be headed 074° with respect to true north.

To convert a true heading to a magnetic heading, a memory aid is ―east is least
and west is best.‖ This means to add the west variation and subtract an east
variation. Just remember, that the opposite is true if you need to convert a
magnetic value to a true value.

If you setup your GPS to use magnetic values, the GPS data will correspond to
your compass with no conversion. If you set up the GPS to use true values, then
the GPS data will correspond to your map without conversion. There are
advantages and disadvantages to either one.

For navigating a vessel with GPS, it is best to compare the GPS generated
TRACK with the GPS calculated value for BEARING or COURSE. In such a
case, you are more concerned with the difference between the values whether
they are both magnetic or both true. For example, if the GPS indicates a TRACK
of 085° and a BEARING of 090°, you are tracking 5° left of going directly to the
waypoint. It doesn‘t matter if both values are magnetic or true, any magnetic
variation cancels out.

It is important that you understand the difference between magnetic and true
values, but where the issue of magnetic verses true headings becomes
especially important is when the GPS does not indicate a useful value for TRACK
such as when hiking. I address this in more detail in the Two Dimensional
Navigation on foot chapter on page 109.
Grid North
Every map projection warps something when trying to represent a three-
dimensional curved surface on a flat piece of paper. In trying to represent square
areas on the map, UTM causes the grid to not be exactly north south except at
the central meridian. Usually, the effect is only one or two degrees. Grid north is
measured relative to the grid lines rather than true north.
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TRACK—synonym TRK or COG (Course over Ground)
or HEADING
This is the answer to the question ―which way am I going.‖ This is the direction
the boat is actually moving relative to the earth. With a couple of exceptions, the
GPS has no idea which way you are pointed or your speed through the water.

Put down the book or the computer, stand up, and start walking sideways like a
crab. The direction that you are pointing is your HEADING. The direction that
you are traveling is your TRACK. They are very different. It is not uncommon for
an airliner to have a TRACK that is 20 degrees different from the heading.
Imagine paddling a kayak at 3 knots across a current that is 4 knots. HEADING
and TRACK are sometimes very different.

The exception is that some more expensive GPS receivers have an electronic
compass built in which will actually tell you which way that you are pointed. This
electronic compass works like a regular compass in that it gets its alignment from
the information from the earth‘s magnetic field. This feature is designed to give a
heading reference when you are not moving or practically still. When you are
still, there is no track.

It is important that if you have one of these GPS receivers, that you set the speed
at which the GPS switches from referencing this internal compass to referencing
the GPS satellite system to an appropriate value. The ability of the GPS to use
the actual track of the boats is one of the significant benefits of the system. I
have not used one of these receivers, but I would suggest that if you are
kayaking or rowing that you might even consider setting this threshold as low as
1 or 2 knots, mph, or kilometers per hour.

Several GPS receivers throw the term heading around loosely. For example, the
Garmin eTrex series uses the term HEADING, but it is really TRACK with the
exception of units that have electronic compass functions when they are below
the transition speed discussed in the previous paragraph.
BEARING
This is the answer to the question ―Which way do you need to go in order to go
directly to the waypoint?‖ BEARING is the direction to the next waypoint relative
to North. For actually guiding the boat, BEARING should be compared to
TRACK rather than the heading. For sighting, BEARING is useful relative to
heading.
TURN
Most handhelds have a TURN field which tells you how far you need to turn the
boat to go directly to the active waypoint. Turn is the difference between the
TRACK and the BEARING already calculated by the GPS. It is both easier to
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read and takes up one less data field than using BEARING and TRACK
separately.
COURSE-- synonym DTK(desired track)
The term COURSE is somewhat confusing in that many of us are used to using
course for the thing that is TRACK in GPS nomenclature. COURSE is really just
short for desired course. COURSE in the context of GPS data fields means the
TRACK necessary to parallel a route leg. It is important to distinguish that
BEARING is relative to the active waypoint from the present position and
COURSE is relative to the line between two waypoints. The waypoint being
navigated to makes one end of the line. The other end is the waypoint being
navigated from. If a GOTO has been executed, the position at which it was
executed becomes the waypoint being navigated from.
Desired track is a bit of a nomenclature problem in that the Desired Track may
not be the TRACK that you desire. If you want to go directly to a point, then the
TRACK that you should desire is BEARING not DTK.
TKE, Track error
This is analogous to the TURN field except that it is the difference between
TRACK and DTK rather than the difference in between TRACK and BEARING.
You are only likely to see this data field on panel mounted aviation GPS
receivers. It is useful, but is used slightly differently from TURN.
TO COURSE, COURSE TO STEER
Quite simply, I do not like and do not use TO COURSE for navigation.
Theoretically, you could steer so that your TRACK match TO COURSE. What I
find is that TO COURSE is too sensitive for manual steering. The TRACK
correction for a given OFF COURSE value is usually what I consider to be more
than necessary.
OFF COURSE, XTK (cross track error)
This is just how far you are off the line defined in the definition of COURSE. The
direction indicated is the direction of the error. L 1.2 nm. means that you are 1.2
nm to the left of course not that you need to go 1.2 nm. to the left. The sensing
of the OFF COURSE fields is one of my pet peeves. Most navigation devices tell
you which direction to go to get to the course. If an aircraft‘s navigation needle is
to the left, you need to go to the left to get on course. Even the TURN field
functions this way. A TURN of L005 would mean that you have to turn 5
degrees to the left to go direct to the waypoint, not that you are drifting 5 degrees
to the left.
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I explain a technique for dealing with a GPS that only gives a magnitude without
a direction in the discussion of ―Navigating along a line using bearing information‖
section.
Terminology Example

Figure 7-3 Garmin GPS 76 showing different fields
Figure 7-3 shows the difference between TRACK, BEARING, and COURSE.
The Garmin 76 has the ability to show lines for all of these fields. Many receivers
can only display a course line, which is very sufficient. However, for purposes of
this illustration, the ability to show all of these fields graphically is very useful.
Incidentally, the track line is labeled as ―heading line‖ in the map set up window.
This is a bit of a misnomer since this is based on TRACK rather than heading.

Notice that TURN is just the difference between TRACK and BEARING.
COURSE references the line formed between the two waypoints and BEARING
references the line from the receiver to the waypoint. If a GOTO is executed, this
reference point becomes the point at which the GOTO was executed.

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Chapter 8 Navigation Displays

Not only must you understand the basic navigation terminology, but you have to
understand what the GPS is indicating. I have placed Figure 8-1 through Figure
8-3 at the same location so that you can compare and contrast some of the
displays. Several times I refer to a value for TRACK, but the GPS displays a
value for HEADING. With the exception of some of the models with built in
compasses, the GPS has no idea what direction it is pointed, HEADING, only the
direction that it is traveling, TRACK. This is a common misnomer that many
models of GPS use that I discuss in more detail on page 86.
Map Display

Figure 8-1 Garmin GPS V Map
I am a fan of the map display as a primary interface. The map itself provides
context and the data fields provide precision. You can tell in a quick glance
where you are from the map and the data fields give you precision. In this case,
you can see from the map that you are right of course and you need to come left
to get to the next waypoint. The data fields tell you that you need to turn 24° and
that you are .2 miles right of course. The map and the data compliment each
other.
Bearing Pointer, Compass, or RMI

Figure 8-2 GPS V Bearing Pointer

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The bearing pointer screen is one of the most popular displays and almost every
GPS offers some variation even though it might be called something slightly
different such as a compass or RMI. With the exception of distance, in Figure
8-2 I have selected the data fields that the bearing pointer represents in a graphic
representation. The 12 o‘clock position is the TRACK (347°). The needle on the
pointer screen points to the direction that you need to track to go directly to the
active waypoint. The value at which the needle overlays the compass card is the
BEARING (322°). The amount the pointer is deflected from the 12 o‘clock
position the depiction of TURN (24°L).
HSI or Course Pointer

Figure 8-3 Garmin GPS V Course Pointer

The new eTrex series, GPS V, and most aviation receivers have a course pointer
or HSI. The 12 o‘clock position is the TRACK (347°). The needle points to the
COURSE or DTK (346°) rather than BEARING. The middle part of the needle
called a D-bar or course deviation indicator, CDI, deflects proportionally to the
OFF COURSE value (R .2 miles). The scale is adjustable with the in/out zoom
buttons. The little triangle in the middle, if the GPS displays one, points forward if
you are navigating to the waypoint and backwards if you are navigating from the
waypoint.

It is important to realize that following the needle will only get you parallel to the
course rather than steering you to the next waypoint. I have read newsgroup
postings and corresponded with users who were frustrated in that they followed
the needle and it did not take them to the waypoint. This is not that the course
pointer is a bad display, it is just that it is different from the bearing pointer and
the pointer must be used in conjunction with the D-bar or CDI.

Some receivers such as the 276C and many of the aviation receivers have an
extra little symbol called a bug around the edge of the compass card. When this
is set to indicate BEARING, the bug works like the head of the bearing pointer
needle. With the bearing bug, the course pointer works like a compass pointer
combined with a course pointer.

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It is important to realize that the default for what the bug indicates may or may
not be BEARING. By default on many of the Garmin aviation receivers, the bug
is set to indicate TO COURSE. As I have mentioned, I do not have much use for
TO COURSE. With the exception of the Garmin III Pilot, you can go to the HSI
page and set this to indicate BEARING.

The course pointer is similar to a very expensive aircraft instrument known as an
HSI or Horizontal Situation Indicator. The difference is that the GPS version is
based on TRACK rather than heading and the needle or D-bar deflects
proportional to OFF COURSE rather than the difference between COURSE and
BEARING.
Highway Screen


Figure 8-4 Garmin GPSMAP 76

Figure 8-4 shows another location with another GPS to demonstrate the Highway
screen available on many GPS receivers. The left screen is the highway screen
and the other two are the bearing pointer and map respectively for comparison.
The highway display is basically a simple route plot drawn in perspective.
Other navigation screens

There are still other screens or depictions. The Magellans, Garmin 195, and 196
offer a horizontal tape track indicator. This works like the compass display
except that it is depicted from a different perspective. There are also many
receivers that have a more two dimensional version of the highway page.
Sometimes this is called the CDI page, but it works similarly and may be better
because it is calibrated.

The point is that all of the various screens and displays are just abstractions for
certain fundamental navigational values.
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Which screen should you use?

I have a very strong opinion on choosing a navigation screen that I have not seen
expressed in other literature on using GPS. Compare the depictions from Figure
8-2 to Figure 8-4. I think that you will find the map screen is the easiest to
interpret. If you buy a mapping GPS, learn to use the map display to navigate
unless your receiver displays too few data fields for it to be useful.

The map portion of the map screen has some drawbacks. It can sometimes be
slow to update and it will not indicate with precisely how much you need to turn
or how far off course you are.

The data fields displayed on the map page compensate for shortcomings of the
map display itself. The data fields provide the precision that the map display
lacks and the map portion provides the situational awareness that the raw
numbers of the data field are unable to provide. The map display used in
conjunction with properly selected data is the best way to navigate with the GPS.

With most of the GPS receivers that I am familiar with the data fields are user
selectable. Unfortunately, the default data displayed on the map page is usually
not the best data for navigating. I will get to this shortly.

The bearing and course pointers are very useful abstractions of navigational
data. My point is that if you have to choose between a map display and the
course or bearing pointer, the map display combined with data fields is generally
better. On many GPS receivers, it is possible to set the map display to include a
simultaneous display of a course or bearing pointer. In such a case you often
have the option of various combinations of pointer displays and data fields. I still
prefer the numerical precision of the data fields, but there is a fair argument for
using the course or bearing pointer. I‘ll leave this to personal style.

There are some receivers such as the Garmin eTrex (basic yellow one) and
Geko where there is inadequate data displayed on the map or plot screen to
recommend it as a primary interface.

There are other cases where I would recommend the map screen conditionally.
The Magellan line of handhelds fits into this category. With only two selectable
fields this may or may not be sufficient for the navigational task at hand. The
GPS 12 and II series both display BEARING and TRACK on the map page, but
neither have a way of displaying OFF COURSE on the map page.

If you map is just a plot such as on a non-mapping GPS or a mapping GPS in a
region without much mapping data, I still think that it is useful. Some of you
might be surprised to know that the mapping display on a modern airliner is much
closer to the mapping display on a non-mapping GPS such as an eTrex Venture
or GPS Map 76. Just the route and waypoints are normally displayed along with
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the compass arc at the top of the screen. Some more data such as airports and
navaids can also be displayed, but these are just symbols—similar to other
waypoints being displayed on the GPS screen. There is no map display similar
to the detail of the average consumer mapping GPS.

If you have a mapping GPS and do not have the appropriate maps loaded for the
activity, the map is still of enormous use. For example, if are boating and using
Metro Guide or Roads and Recreation data instead of BlueChart maps, this is not
foolhardy. The depiction of shoreline and various features are still enormously
helpful for situational awareness. It would however, be inappropriate in many
cases not to use the appropriate marine chart for more information on hazards.

Similar logic applies for many other activities. Non-aviation GPS receivers do not
show pertinent aeronautical information and aviation GPS receivers show this for
reference only. If flying along you see that the GPS shows you next to a big lake
and the chart shows that your course runs beside a big lake, then you know
where you are. Of course, you would use the proper aeronautical chart for
information such as obstructions, airspace restrictions, etc.
Setting up the map display for navigation
Lines
Depending on the GPS there are several different options for setting up the map
display. In Figure 7-3 on page 88 I depict an example of the various lines that
can be displayed – course, heading, and bearing. My intent at that point was to
illustrate the corresponding navigational terms. However, it also demonstrates
the possible map setup options. Not all GPS receivers are capable of displaying
each type of line. Generally, the default is the course line. If this is all that your
GPS is capable of displaying, you can be reassured that this is generally quite
adequate. In fact, displaying every line option can be more cluttered than
beneficial. This is something that you will have to experiment and decide what
you like.
Detail
Some receivers allow you to select a level general level of detail. Some
receivers allow you to select whether or at what zooms to display certain
mapping features. More detail is not always better. There is a tradeoff between
a screen being detailed and cluttered. It depends on the use and user. In fact
most aviation receivers have a ―declutter‖ button that can be used to reduce the
level of detail. Your preferences will develop with experience.
Data Fields
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Choosing the proper data fields for your primary navigation screen which I hope
that I have convinced you is the map screen is key. I will try to give you some
initial guidance that you will probably update as you get more familiar with the
navigation techniques that I will describe later. How to actually change the data
fields I will leave to the owner‘s manual and your experimentation. Practically
every GPS receiver has a slightly different way of selecting the data fields.
Furthermore, many GPS receivers have options to set up how many fields may
be displayed.

Ideally, you want to know:
1. Which way that you are going, TRACK
2. Which way that you need to go, BEARING or COURSE.
3. How far to the next waypoint.
4. How far off course you are.
5. That you are actually navigating to the next waypoint.

The reason that I cannot simply state which data fields to choose is that the
capability varies quite a bit between the various receivers, especially with how
many fields can be displayed.

Let me start with the baseline of a Garmin GPS III which allows the display of
four data fields. I recommend displaying TURN, OFF COURSE, DISTANCE to
NEXT, and NEXT WAYPOINT as depicted in Figure 8-5. The ability to display
more fields is better, but the ability to display fewer might still be usable.


Figure 8-5
TURN: The two most fundamental pieces of data are which way that you are
going, TRACK, and which way that you want to go, BEARING or COURSE. For
most handheld GPS receivers I suggest that you display TURN. By steering so
that TURN is zero, you will track directly to the next waypoint. TURN combines
the which way that you are going and the which way that you need to go data
into one easy to interpret field. If you are able to display many data fields, then
you might eventually also consider displaying TRACK, BEARING, and
DISTANCE separately.


OFF COURSE allows you to not just navigate directly to the next point, but to
along a route line also.

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DISTANCE to NEXT: Obviously your distance to the next point is a useful bit of
data.

NEXT WAYPOINT: Accurately navigating to the wrong waypoint is considered a
navigational faux pas. You must verify that you are indeed navigating to the
point you intend.
The variations:
As I said, this is a baseline configuration.

If you have sufficient data fields, you may decide to display TRACK, BEARING,
and COURSE separately in lieu of or in addition to TURN. Some aviation
receivers do not have a TURN field, but offer TKE. Given four data fields such
as on the Garmin GPS 400 series, I would just substitute TKE for TURN. There
are some slight technique differences in that the TKE only directs you to parallel
the course rather than going directly to the next point.

If you have a GPS that only allows you to display two data fields, such as the
Magellan handheld receivers, then you might choose to only display TURN and
DIST depending on your needs. Steering so that TURN is equal to zero should
keep you on course.

It is critical that you have a way of verifying that you are navigating to the correct
waypoint. Some GPS receivers such as the Garmin 76 series do not allow you
to select a data field to display the name of the active waypoint. If you are using
a Magellan, then you will not want to spend 50% of your data fields on this
information. Just make sure that you have the map zoomed out far enough to
see the waypoint that you are navigating to.

Some of the Garmin aviation GPS receivers such as the 295 and 196 allow you
to choose between more data fields or an HSI or RMI. Personally, I am used to
the data fields and like the precision. However, HSI or RMI when used in
conjunction with the map display instead of in lieu of is still a very powerful
navigational interface. Just change the bug to use BEARING rather than TO
COURSE!

The eTrex Legend, Venture, and Vista only display two user selectable
navigation screens. However, by displaying NAV Status you get the name of the
next waypoint along with the distance and time along the top of the screen.
When you display Data Fields, then you also get two user selectable fields that
can be set to TURN and OFF COURSE. In effect, you have five data fields on
the map display, two of which are user selectable.

There are many other useful things that the GPS can tell you in addition to the
primary data fields that I have suggested. This is data that you will want often,
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such as SPEED, ETA at NEXT, ETA at DEST, etc. However, these fields are of
secondary importance and to not need to be on your primary navigation screen.
Set up one of the other screens to display your favorite secondary data so that
you can switch to and back from this screen quickly rather than having to change
data fields on your primary screen.

A point to consider with a GPS that can display many fields is that too much data
may be confusing and the font size suffers. For example, the Garmin 76 can
display nine data fields in small font. However, it can also be set to display a
maximum of two data fields in very large font. Perhaps a good tradeoff between
leftover map size not taken by data fields and readability would be four fields of
medium text.

Another consideration is that you should try to order the data fields in some
layout that seems logical. Since I consider TURN to be most important, I like this
high as possible and left is possible as appropriate. It is the first field that I come
to when reading the data fields. Next, I like OFF COURSE. This is my
preference, but my point is that it helps having a logic to the arrangement.
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Chapter 9 Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation

The best way of navigating with GPS depends on what you are trying to do with
it. I have chosen to divide GPS navigation into three different classes: Two
dimensional vehicle navigation, two dimensional foot navigation, and path
navigation. I have devoted a chapter to each.

Path navigation is where you use the GPS to navigate along a predetermined
path. Examples of this are navigating along a river, road, or trail. In this case the
GPS is not used for steering, but for orientation.

Two-dimensional navigation is where there is freedom to steer and the GPS is
used for guidance. I further divide this into vehicle and foot navigation. Although
I could think of some overlaps, let me explain the difference.

What makes GPS unique is that it will give a value for the direction you are
traveling, TRACK, as opposed to the direction you are pointing, HEADING.
While GPS is not the first navigation equipment to give TRACK, it is the first
technology to do so at a price that makes it readily available for a wide variety of
users.

Boats and airplanes are the primary examples of vehicle navigation in two
dimensions as opposed to being confined to a path. In both cases, the direction
that the vehicle is pointed may be very different from the direction of travel.
Winds and currents cause the vehicle to travel a different direction from the
direction that it is pointed.

Most navigation techniques have been designed to work around the fact that it
has been difficult to directly measure TRACK. While it is possible to use many of
these techniques with your GPS, using TRACK is fundamental to fully exploiting
GPS to its full potential.

For review and emphasis: TRACK is the direction you are moving and HEADING
is the direction that you are pointing. Due to winds or water currents, these can
be very different. In general, the GPS has no idea what your HEADING is. It is
only able to detect your movement, which is TRACK.

There is a slight issue in that if you are not moving the GPS has no directional
reference. Some GPS receivers compensate for this by including an electronic
compass, which is an internal magnetic sensor. Thus, below a certain speed the
GPS gives HEADING from the magnetic sensor and above the threshold speed it
gives TRACK from the GPS.

I don‘t dislike built in electronic compasses, it can be a very useful feature.
However, if you have one of these GPS receivers, it is very important that you
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know whether you GPS is giving you TRACK or HEADING. The way this usually
works is that if the GPS is below a threshold speed for a given amount of time,
the GPS starts using the heading from the internal magnetic sensor instead of
TRACK from the GPS receiver as the directional reference.

This speed threshold can be set in the setup menu. At the time of this writing, 10
miles per hour seems to be a common default setting. I find that TRACK
information is useful at much slower speeds such as kayaking speeds. At slower
speeds such as kayaking speeds, the effects of current and wind are increased
and exploiting TRACK for navigation is even more useful. In such a case I
recommend that you lower this threshold speed.

There is also a nomenclature issue. TRACK is labeled different things on
different receivers. On some receivers it is referred to as COG for Course over
Ground. On many receivers, such as the Garmin eTrex series, the data field is
labeled HEADING even though the information is actually TRACK. On models
with the internal compass feature, the label for the data does not change when
the reference switches between HEADING and TRACK although some receivers
display a small icon to indicate that the directional information is from the
compass sensor rather than the GPS.
When this chapter does not apply:

Even if the issue of cross currents and winds is not an issue, there are activities
that I would imagine that using GPS navigational techniques base on TRACK are
still useful. Although I have never done either, driving across an open desert or
snowmobiling across a featureless terrain come to mind.

However, there are many times where it is not possible to get a useful value of
TRACK. One of the biggest examples that I can think of is hiking. Although it is
often possible to use the TRACK as you walk along at a reasonable speed in an
area of good satellite reception, it is often the case that TRACK is not useful
while hiking. Often the navigating is done while standing still for obvious reasons
or hiking is often done in environments where the GPS coverage is intermittent
due to blockage by terrain, forests, or buildings. Thus, I have a separate
discussion of using GPS for hiking in the Two Dimensional Navigation on foot
chapter on page 109.
Technique

All of the examples in this chapter use a mapping GPS. The mapping GPS
screenshots provide a much better illustration of what is behind the in this book
as well as in real life. However, these techniques are certainly not limited to
mapping GPS receivers.
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Navigating to a point using BEARING and TRACK information
Most navigation tasks can be divided into navigating to a point and navigating
along a line.

Navigating to a point with a GPS is very simple. Just turn the vehicle so that the
TRACK matches the BEARING. If you have a GPS that will display a data field
for TURN, navigating so the TURN is equal to zero is the same thing as matching
the BEARING to TRACK except that it is easier to interpret and takes up only
one data field. Following the pointer is also the same thing, except that the
pointer is not as precise as the digital values. On some non-mapping GPS
receivers, the pointer, displayed in Figure 9-1 as a data field, may be the best
thing that you can get. For example on the basic Garmin eTrex, there is no data
field for TURN and it is impossible to display TRACK (labeled as HEADING) and
BEARING simultaneously.


Figure 9-1
In Figure 9-1 I have set the display to show three separate ways of navigating so
that you can compare them. The screen depicts TURN, a pointer, and the
pairing of BEARING displayed with TRACK separately.
Steering
The important thing is to find the best way to steer a straight course. For aviation
use, I consider the GPS to be a navigation instrument rather than a flight
instrument. The amount of the turn is determined by referencing the GPS, but
the actual turn is made by referencing the heading indicator. The gyro gives
immediate and stable feedback, whereas there is often a slight lag in the GPS.

Small boats do not have heading gyros. For marine use, you will have to
experiment as to find the best way to actually steer using GPS information.
There are too many variables for me to give you a rule such as the existence or
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quality of the compass, which model GPS you have, the calmness of the water
and whether or not you can see the shore.

For my situation rowing or kayaking within site of land, I pick out an aim point on
the shore and then shift this to reflect what the GPS indicates. The Garmin GPS
Map76 updates very quickly and I could almost steer by it. Other GPS receivers
such as my Magellan 310 and Garmin GPS III Plus have more of a lag.

A bit of an aside: I took my GPS on a cruise ship. I found it interesting that the
track of the Disney Wonder would wander around within a several degree range.
It took me a couple of seconds to figure out why. The ship rolls slightly. The roll
is not bad, but enough to be perceptible. On the top deck where I was standing
with the GPS, this roll results in a slight lateral motion. This lateral motion added
to the forward speed results in a slight zig-zag. Post September 11
th
, there were
no bridge tours to satisfy my curiosity. I can only assume that there is a gyro
mounted somewhere near the meta center of the ship that is used to stabilize the
bridge indications.

As a relevance to this discussion, the motion of the boat in rough water may
cause you to have to do some mental averaging of track information.
Homing verses tracking
If you just turn so that TURN is zero, then you will go directly to the point—very
simple. If however, you try to steer a compass heading that matches the bearing
then you may end up following a curved path. This is a common problem with
pilots flying to a non-directional beacon if the pilot is not proficient in crosswind
correction techniques. Another example that can also occur in boating is if you
just aim towards a point visually with a cross current. This is called homing and
is depicted in Figure 9-2. You will eventually reach your destination, but it is
considered bad form and potentially dangerous depending on what is beside the
route.


Figure 9-2 The symbols are my generic craft, not the navigation needles.
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In kayaking, steering with a correction for the cross current as depicted in the
GPS path is referred to as ―ferry gliding.‖

One of the implications of the fact that GPS does not suffer from homing when
using the technique of matching TRACK to BEARING is that if you get off course
either accidentally or purposefully, the shortest distance to the next waypoint is to
go directly to the waypoint rather than to re-intercept the original route leg. This
is one of the reasons that I do not recommend using the TO COURSE field. If
there is no hazard between you and the waypoint – just go direct. If there is a
hazard, you will want to choose your own intercept path rather than blindly
following the TO COURSE field.

There is a caveat to this technique. I was talking to a sailor friend who was
saying that many people sailing from Florida to the Bahamas for the first time get
caught making very little progress crossing the Gulf Stream. I will defer detailed
explanations of how to deal with this problem to appropriate books on boating
technique. However, let me at least give you a description of the problem.

Let‘s take the problem to its limits for illustration. Let‘s say that you are trying to
cross a 5 knot current in a boat that is only capable of 5 knots due to wind or
muscle power. If attempt to track straight across the current, you will only end up
pointing into the current and remaining still – you will never get to the other side.
If you head (as opposed to track) straight across, you will drift down stream, but
you will make it across. This is the same problem as a swimmer in a rip-tide.
The trick is to not fight the rip tide, but to swim out of the influence laterally.

My initial instinct, open to further analysis and argument, is that for all but the
strongest cross currents in the slowest boats, that tracking directly to the
waypoint is the most efficient path.
Sighting
The fact that the GPS uses and displays track rather than heading will cause
objects not to be where you might think they should be if you do not consider this
difference and just looked at the GPS. Figure 9-3 is a depiction of the same
scenario as Figure 9-2 from the perspective of what you would see looking
straight towards the bow of the boat. The GPS map display shows waypoint B
straight ahead. However, waypoint B (the lighthouse) appears 20 degrees to the
left of the bow. The boat is tracking on a straight line towards B, but the heading
is 20 degrees to the right to counteract the current and/or wind.

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Figure 9-3
Properly, BEARING should be compared to HEADING for sighting. However,
since precision is often not important, just knowing about this phenomenon with a
rough idea of drift angle is sufficient. Just look a little to the left or right as
appropriate rather than straight ahead. Working the other way, if you sight the
waypoint and compare it with the track, you will get an idea of the drift angle.
TURN Sensitivity
As you approach the waypoint, the TURN field will get more sensitive. In fact,
the GPS will indicate 90 degrees before it sequences to the next waypoint.
Figure 9-4 shows the phenomenon. Look at the distance to the waypoint as well
as the off course distance and you will see that a right turn of 69 degrees is not
desired. In fact, a slight left turn instead of the indicated right turn to intercept the
next leg is probably appropriate – unless your goal is to actually hit the buoy.

The ability to recognize this rapidly increasing TURN value as sensitivity rather
than a rapid divergence from course will come with a little experience. Hints will
be that the next waypoint is very close and that the OFF COURSE is not
increasing.

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Figure 9-4
Navigating along a line using bearing information
There are times when you are going to want to travel relative to a line defined by
two points. An example might be if you define a route to go between two
hazards or if you are following a channel. To do this, you should manage the
value of OFF COURSE.

It is important to know which waypoints define the line. One of the points will be
the next waypoint. The other waypoint, which I will refer to as the reference
waypoint, is either the previous waypoint in the route or the last place that you
executed a GOTO.

Navigating along a line still involves steering. Not only is the OFF COURSE
information important but TURN is also important. The key is to know whether
the TURN is indicating a further drift from course that must be corrected or an
angling in towards the course that can be left uncorrected until you are centerline
of the course.

The simplest technique is to just navigate towards the next waypoint keeping the
TURN at zero. This works well if you are close enough to your course already.
Your track and the line will converge at the next waypoint.

A more advanced technique is to compare the direction of the TURN field to the
direction of the OFF COURSE field. If they match, you are correcting, if they are
different you are drifting and you must correct for the TURN value.
Don‘t try to remember Table 1, just remember that you need to correct the TURN
if its direction does not match the OFF COURSE direction. I remember it as if
the TURN and OFF COURSE match, everything is working in my favor. It is a
little hokey, but it helps keep it straight for me. Comparing directions of OFF
COURSE and TURN is instantaneous as opposed to having to observe OFF
COURSE for a trend.
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TURN OFF COURSE
L L and decreasing Converging – TURN is O.K.
L R and increasing Diverging – correct TURN
R L and increasing Diverging – correct TURN
R R and decreasing Converging – TURN is O.K
Table 1
If the GPS does not display a direction for OFF COURSE and the display that
you are viewing does not make the direction of the correction clear, you can use
the trend of the OFF COURSE field. If OFF COURSE is increasing, then TURN
should be corrected. If OFF COURSE is decreasing, TURN is an indication of
how much more of an angle than direct to the next waypoint you are correcting
by. If you have a TURN of zero and you are not correcting towards course fast
enough, use trial and error. Turn a couple of degrees and use the above
technique.


Figure 9-5
Figure 9-5 demonstrates the technique with three sequential screen captures
from a GPS III Plus which does not have a direction to the OFF COURSE field.
In the second screen, you can see that the R004 was indicating that I was
diverging from the increase in OFF COURSE from the first screen. I turned 9
degrees to the right and as you can see in the third screen the OFF COURSE is
decreasing. The L005 in the third screen is indicating that I am correcting
towards the course at 5 degrees more than going direct.
Navigating along a line using COURSE information
Just as OFF COURSE references the line between two points, there is a
direction that also references this same line, COURSE or DTK (desired track) on
some receivers. Using COURSE instead of bearing information eliminates the
sensitivity of bearing information such as TURN as you get close to the waypoint.
It also allows you to navigate parallel to the course line. This ability to navigate
parallel to the course might be useful for things such as navigating with a slight
offset to the GPS route such as along a channel where your goal is to stay in the
channel but to not hit each channel marker. In actuality, I realize that you would
be navigating along the markers visually with the GPS as a reference.
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Figure 9-6
Figure 9-6 shows the difference between using bearing and course information. I
included the bearing information for comparison. In this case, the fact that the
TRACK matches the COURSE indicates that we are navigating parallel to the
course. Many aviation receivers have a field called TRACK ANGLE ERROR,
TKE. TKE is the difference between the TRACK and COURSE – the course
based equivalent of TURN. I wish that manufactures would include this field in
handheld GPS receivers and call it something like PARALLEL to avoid confusion.

There is a catch to using course information. The line defined by the active and
reference waypoints circles the earth. You could travel beyond the waypoint and
it would still indicate that you are on course. Usually, this is not a problem if you
are navigating along a route unless you are navigating to your destination as the
next waypoint because the route will usually sequence to the next waypoint.
Since the airport is the final waypoint with no point to sequence to after passing,
pilots have over flown their destination airport because of this behavior.

Figure 9-7 in the first screen demonstrates this phenomenon. The dark area is
the land – not a good thing to drive into in with a boat. Notice the TRACK and
COURSE indicate that I am on course. Also notice that the bearing information
such as TURN is self-correcting. Theoretically, I could follow this all the way
around the world and end up at the reference waypoint again. In practice, if you
are using a route, the GPS will sequence to the next leg of the route. This is
shown in the second screen. To contrive this behavior, I had to erase the legs
beyond the red nun just passed in the second screen from the route.

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Figure 9-7 Ashore
Navigating to a point using course information

For the most part, it is easiest to use TURN or BEARING compared with TRACK
to navigate to a point. However, there are some receivers which due to the
availability of data fields on the display it is better to compare the TRACK to
COURSE (DTK) rather than to the BEARING. Some aviation receivers even
offer a data field called track angle error, TKE, which is the difference between
TRACK and DTK (synonym COURSE) as compared to TURN which is the
difference between BEARING and COURSE.

The essence of the technique is that you create a leg by using the GOTO
function and navigate the resulting line or route leg.

I discuss this more in detail in my book, Cockpit GPS, available at
www.cockpitgps.com. The basic technique is to execute a GOTO to the point
and turn so that you are at least parallel to the course and perhaps just a little
beyond. Clean up with another GOTO and navigate this new line using TKE and
XTK error (OFF COURSE).
Great Circle

The GPS uses great circle navigation. For most recreational uses, this is of no
consequence. Simply enough, if you put a string from one point to another on a
globe this is the great circle routing. On most maps this would show up as a
curved path. This curve comes from the fact that when cartographers draw large
maps, there is distortion caused by representing a three dimensional portion of a
sphere on a flat piece of paper. The name, great circle, has nothing to with the
curved route on the map, but comes from the fact that the route has the same
radius as the radius of the earth.

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If an airplane where to fly from New York to Tokyo, it would appear from looking
at most world maps that a course slightly south of west would be ideal. However,
the course is actually northwest out of New York and southwest into Tokyo.
Figure 9-8 shows the route on a global view.



Figure 9-8


Figure 9-9

Another aspect of Great Circle navigation is that the course from one point to
another is not 180 degrees different from going the opposite direction from the
other point. The initial course from New York to Tokyo is 333°. However, the
initial course from Tokyo to New York is 25°.

If you want to play with the concept, you can always find a globe and a piece of
string, but there is a higher tech method. The Garmin mapping GPS receivers
have a great feature that allows you to edit a route graphically on the map
display. From within a route, you may see a button or may have to press the
MENU key depending on the model to allow you to edit the route with the map.
Before a point is added, the GPS draws a straight dashed line on the map from
the last waypoint to the cursor position. When you press enter to add a
waypoint, the line becomes a route line and will show the great circle route. I
used this method for Figure 9-9.

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Where I have seen the route line curved is at higher latitudes. If you are in
Norway, Alaska, upper Canada, etc. you might occasionally notice this behavior.
The route is straight, but the map is distorted.

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Chapter 10 Two Dimensional Navigation on foot
Warning

In no way do I want to give you the impression that a GPS is a replacement for
map and compass skills. As with any other activities where you use GPS for
navigation, you need to be able to find your way without the GPS.
Which activities does this chapter apply to?

A basic GPS orients itself using TRACK. TRACK is just the relatively
instantaneous direction of movement.

As long as the speed is consistent and above a certain threshold, the techniques
that exploit TRACK in the previous chapter are recommended. With the
elimination of the errors created by selective availability (page 7) and with a
modern 12-channel receiver the speed at which TRACK becomes useful is very
low. I find that even at kayaking speeds, the GPS information based on TRACK
is useful. Therefore, the techniques in the previous chapter are much more
useful. Considering that currents and winds have even a greater effect on a
kayak than a faster moving boat, the use of TRACK is a tremendous benefit.

The problem with foot navigation is that one is often not moving at a sufficient
speed or consistency to use TRACK. Without TRACK, the basic GPS has no
directional orientation. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that often foot
navigation takes place in places where GPS signal coverage is marginal such as
in heavily wooded areas or cities. Even when walking in good GPS coverage,
TRACK is determined by the path of the receiver rather than the hiker. A modern
GPS is even sensitive enough pick up the motions of arm swing.

It is possible to hold the GPS steady while walking in an area of good satellite
reception and follow the guidance directly. However, if you are going to use the
GPS for hiking in general, especially in wooded areas, it is good to know how to
use the GPS without regard to TRACK. This means using a compass or having
a GPS with a built in electronic compass.

There are borderline activities such as canoeing along a wooded creek or river.
In areas of heavy tree cover, the satellite signal may be blocked. Generally, this
is not a problem in terms of navigating, but instead it is an irritant in that the
ability of the GPS to provide orientation is not constant. In such a case, the need
to determine the direction to steer is moot. The actual determination of which
way to steer is determined by the banks of the river. About the only boating
example that I could think of where track might be useless is poling in a skiff
through a heavily wooded swamp – an activity that I have not tried.
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Track vs. Heading
Track


Figure 10-1 GPS direction in track mode

It is important to understand the difference between the behavior of a GPS in
track mode and the behavior of a GPS with an internal compass mode operating
below the threshold at which the GPS uses TRACK data. Pretend that you are
using the GPS as oriented in Figure 10-1 on a moving open boat. Figure 10-1
shows what happens if a GPS is rotated while operating in track mode. The
track is still at twelve o‘clock on the screen no matter which way the receiver is
rotated and everything is still referenced to the track. Likewise, the digital values
do not change.

Although this may seem like strange behavior if you are used to a compass, I
actually find it nice that the GPS is independent of the direction that you are
holding it.

As long as the GPS is moving, the TRACK can be very useful. When the GPS
stops, it usually uses the last value of TRACK. Although the GPS will often stay
steady on the last track, there are things that induce a random or at least
unwanted track. As the GPS perceives a change in position, this is reflected in
the TRACK value. Sometimes this is due to perceived change in position. With
the elimination of SA (page 7), this is usually not much of a problem, but it still
happens. Sometimes a change in TRACK is induced through actual motion such
as taking a step or moving your arm (assuming you are holding the GPS). may
create a value of TRACK.
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Heading
There are a couple of ways of dealing with lack of TRACK. One way is that
some of the more expensive models of GPS have an internal compass. Below a
user definable speed, which is a default of 10 miles per hour, but can be set to a
slow crawl, the GPS reverts to orientating itself using an internal electronic
compass.

The other way of dealing with the situation is to simply use a magnetic compass
for orientation. Even if the GPS does not have any idea of which way that it is
going or pointed towards, it can still tell you which way you need to go.



Figure 10-2 GPS in heading mode
Let‘s change the scenario. Now the boat has stopped and we have a GPS that
has a built in compass function. When we rotate the GPS in the second screen,
this is reflected by the change in orientation of the compass card depiction.
Notice that the arrow still points to the direction that we want to go rather than
relative to the twelve o‘clock position of the case.

What data and displays are still useful without TRACK?

Useful Useless
BEARING TRACK
COURSE TURN
DISTANCES POINTER
ELEVATION ETA
LOCATION ETE
OFF COURSE SPEED
Figure 10-3 Summary of data without TRACK
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Figure 10-3 shows some of the values and whether or not they are useful without
the GPS moving. There is a little bit of an exception in that ETE (Estimated Time
Enroute) and ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) have some averaging and may still
be of value even when stopped depending on the GPS design.

With the exception of GPS receivers with an electronic compass, the only
navigational display that is directly useful is the map display. Other pages may
still be useful in the sense that the data fields on those pages can be used to
display digital values that are still useful. I suggest that you set the map on a
mapping GPS to orient towards North or maybe COURSE. If you have it set to
TRACK, the orientation of the map will jump around as the TRACK jumps
around. At least on the Garmin GPS receivers, when you set the map to orient to
north, it will orient to true north even if the GPS is set to use magnetic north for
navigation values.
Basic BEARING and a compass technique

The key to navigation with a GPS and a compass is the BEARING field.
BEARING is the direction that you need to go. If you have the GPS set to use
magnetic values, then you can use the GPS to tell you the direction that you
need to go, but use the compass to point in the correct direction.


Figure 10-4

Here is the scenario for Figure 10-4: We are hiking in the woods and we have
stopped to look at the map, GPS, and compass to determine which way to go.
The GPS says that the magnetic BEARING to LAKE is 297°. Notice the little ―M‖
beside the BEARING indicating that this value is magnetic. We next dial 297 on
the compass plate or simply place it at 12 o‘clock to our person if the compass
does not have a base plate. We then rotate our body so that the compass
needle aligns with north. We are now pointed the right direction.
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Notice that the needle on the GPS is not pointing the correct direction. This is a
GPS without an internal compass. Also, notice that the needle still points to the
proper bearing of 297°. So what is it referring to? Who knows, maybe it is a
track created by me taking a step back to sit on a log while I sort out the
navigation. The point is that unless you are walking, holding the GPS steady,
and in good satellite coverage, the pointer is useless unless you have an internal
compass. However, there is still good navigation information that can be used
with an economical compass.

The nice thing about navigating with BEARING and a compass is that it is a self-
correcting situation. Each time, that you re-examine the BEARING to the active
waypoint, the GPS will reflect your present position. If you had previously
strayed a little off course, the GPS will give you a new BEARING to the waypoint
from this position.

I commonly use the GPS to navigate around unfamiliar cities. The GPS will
usually only get a usable signal at street corners. Even if this were not the case,
while walking I am looking at things other than the GPS. If I am on a winding
street or a little lost, I get a quick signal at a street corner, look at the GPS for a
BEARING, and compare it to the inexpensive compass on my watchband.
Which Screen to navigate with


Figure 10-5
Which screen you use as the primary navigation interface depends on the
capabilities of your GPS. I personally like a map display as long as you can
display a sufficient amount of data. In the case of a GPS without an internal
compass, this means being able to display BEARING and DISTANCE. This
even applies to such non-mapping GPS receivers such as the Garmin 72, 76,
and eTrex Venture, where the map is nothing more than a plot of waypoints and
course lines.
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Examples where the map display is not useful as the primary interface are the
basic Garmin eTrex models and the Geko series. You need a page that will
display BEARING and hopefully DISTANCE. With these models, the pointer
page may offer you the most information even though the pointer display itself
may not always be relevant. The Geko 201‘s most useful page may be the trip
computer in that it will display four user selectable data fields.

If you have a GPS receiver with a built in compass, you might also want to
display HEADING. However, you can combine the HEADING data and
BEARING data into one field, TURN. You may also have the option of a little
pointer, which is the graphic equivalent of TURN, but is not as precise. TURN is
especially useful on the Magellan mapping GPS receivers with an internal
compass in that they only offer two data fields on the map display. TURN and
DISTANCE are sufficient for navigation. Also on models with a built in compass,
it is not as critical to have the map set to north.
Magnetic North

Figure 10-6 http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/seg/potfld/image/WMM-00D.gif

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When navigating with TRACK data, magnetic variation or declination is not
critical. This is because BEARING and TRACK are compared to each other and
as long as they are both either magnetic or both true, the magnetic variation
cancels out. However, when using the GPS and compass together this is critical.

The GPS will give the value for navigational data already corrected for magnetic
variation as long is you have the receiver set up to do so. Thus, you can use
things such as BEARING directly with the compass.

Although the GPS will correct for magnetic variation, there are still reasons that
you will want to know the magnetic variation. A topographic map should have a
magnetic variation printed on it. However, you may be using a map that does not
have the variation. A good example of where I could see you wanting to know
the variation is so that you can align the map with true north.

The GPS has a mathematical model of the magnetic variation that it uses for
correction. In addition to setting the GPS to use magnetic values, it is possible to
go to the setup page and select ―Magnetic‖ for the north reference and have the
GPS display the value for magnetic variation as in shown in Figure 10-7.


Figure 10-7

Other navigation clues

Although the main method of navigation is to use the BEARING in conjunction
with the compass, there are still some other useful navigation clues.

Although TRACK is often unusable, it may be useful for orientation for parts of
the journey where a consistent course and speed can be maintained in an area
of good satellite coverage. There are parts of the world due to heavy iron ore
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content or proximity to the poles where GPS TRACK may be more reliable than a
compass heading – or at least I have read so.

OFF COURSE is useful. If OFF COURSE is increasing, then you are not going
straight towards the active waypoint. It is possible to have a decreasing OFF
COURSE value, but still not be going directly to the next waypoint. In such a
case, the value of OFF COURSE would not decrease as quickly as going
directly. In such a case, a GOTO would reset the OFF COURSE to zero and
provide a new reference.

Another navigational clue is the change in BEARING. As you move clockwise to
the active waypoint, the BEARING will increase. As you move counter-
clockwise, the BEARING will decrease. This is the same sense as the compass
card or even a clock face – clockwise is an increase and counterclockwise is a
decrease. If the BEARING is increasing, then you are moving clockwise or to the
left. If the BEARING is decreasing, then you are moving counter-clockwise or to
the right.

Some GPS receivers even have a page that can show the relative position of the
Sun and Moon for navigation such as in Figure 10-8. This information can be
used as a crude heading reference.


Figure 10-8

More Tricks
Using True North
Many of the techniques that can be used with a map and compass can be
adapted for GPS use. Instead of using the compass to read magnetic values by
orienting the compass needle to north, it is possible to turn so that the needle is
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aligned to adjust for magnetic variation and use true headings. For example, if
the magnetic variation is W 8°, turn so the needle is on 352° instead of north.
352° is 8° west of north. With the compass now orientated as such, true
headings can be used.
Aligning the GPS screen
There is a technique of using the compass to align the map with the terrain. The
idea is to use the compass to rotate the map so that north on the map aligns with
true north. The technique is simple. Align north on the compass and rotate the
map so that the needle points to north adjusted for magnetic variation. For
example, if the variation is 8° W, rotate the map and compass until the needle is
on 352°.



Figure 10-9
Figure 10-9 shows this technique used on a Garmin GPSMap 76, which does not
have an internal compass. I have exaggerated the variation to 20 W to make it
obvious for the photo. The technique is to line up the north south line of the
compass with the screen of the GPS. A base plate compass such as the one
pictured makes this easy, just rotate the bezel to N and align the screen with the
edge of the plate. Next, rotate the GPS and the compass together until the
needle is pointed to north adjusted for magnetic variation.

The GPS is an electronic device that effects the needle a little. Although I have
the compass and GPS next to each other for illustration purposes, it would be
better to separate them in real life. A couple of inches using eyeball alignment is
probably sufficient. If you wanted, you could put the compass and GPS on either
end of a clipboard and rotate the whole clipboard.

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Triangulation
A common application of the compass is in triangulating a position. The GPS will
give positions in a variety of coordinate systems. This is useful only as long as
you have a map with a grid. The GPS can also be used for triangulation so that
you can locate yourself on maps with no grid. Unlike the compass, the GPS is
not limited to objects you can see. I cover this in more detail in the Using Maps
with an unknown or no grid chapter on page 141.
Foot navigation for the urban tourist

I make no claims of being a great outdoorsman. However, I often use the
techniques in this chapter for navigating around European cities on layovers.

Overall, I find that the key to finding the GPS useful for navigation around a city is
low expectations. The problem with GPS is that the signal is easily blocked by
buildings. You will probably be able to get a satellite fix as you walk down a wide
boulevard. However, forget about picking up a satellite fix while walking down
those quaint side streets of Europe. For that matter, satellite reception is also a
problem in a place like New York City where the streets may be wide, but the
buildings are tall. Thus, the angle of sky view is still small.

The compass and map are still the most valuable navigation tools for finding your
way around a city. However, in spite of its limitations, I still find the GPS to be
tremendously useful while I tour an unfamiliar city on foot.

I leave the GPS on and when I come to a reasonable large street corner I am
usually able to get a satellite position. Since I use a GPS that does not have a
built in compass, I refer to a compass to orient my direction. I use a very
inexpensive watchband compass. The streets are usually labeled and I do not
need to find a precise heading, but to make the proper choice between opposite
directions. Thus, a compass heading within 90 degrees is theoretically sufficient.

I still use a map. The maps that I usually use are either the inexpensive ones
from tourist offices or the free ones from the hotel. It is usually much easier to
initially plan a route on the map than to use the small screen of the GPS. This is
often true even if you program a more detailed route into your GPS beyond a
simple GOTO the destination.

To most people, the GPS looks like a cell phone. I still have to stop and look at a
map occasionally, but for the most part I can walk along without looking like as
much of a tourist as I might otherwise appear.
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Equipment
I use the Garmin eTrex Legend with European Roads and Recreation maps.
Every choice of a GPS model is a compromise. The 8MB of the Legend is plenty
to load two cities worth of Roads and Recreation maps into. If I get the Legend
stolen such as through pick pocketing, I will be able to replace it for $150 and can
upload the Roads and Recreation maps into the new GPS because unlike City
Select, their is no unlock code keyed to the specific GPS.

This is the best match of my parameters to my budget. However, there are many
other solutions. I think that the Garmin 76 CS or 60 CS with the European City
Select would probably be the ideal GPS solution for foot navigation in the
European cities that I lay over. This is considering memory capacity, compass
sensor, color screen, size, ruggedness, and battery life. At the time of this
writing, this combination is about $700. Not that it is not worth it, but I find that
the Legend and European Roads and recreation is sufficient in the context of my
personal needs and budget.

Also a novel solution is the idea of city guides loaded into a PDA with GPS
support. One of the interesting solutions that I have come across are the Lonely
Planet travel guides from www.gate5.de.

It is also possible to go to the lower end of the spectrum and use a non-mapping
GPS. The problem with this it is more difficult to get the location of the desired
destination. However, using some of the sources I discuss in the Waypoints
chapter or the Using Maps with an unknown or no grid chapter it is possible to
use an inexpensive non-mapping GPS.
Finding Points of Interest
I will use the Garmin GPS Map 76 with European Roads and Recreation
software. However the discussion in various degrees applies to other models
and manufactures.

addendum: Since I initially wrote this, I purchased a Garmin Vista C. Many of
the newer Garmin GPS receivers allow you to search for points of interest
containing a term in addition to searching by name. If you are using one of these
newer receivers, this is a very nice fix to the next issue.

Laying over in Rome, I wanted see Saint Peter‘s Basilica (where I was denied
entrance for wearing shorts). It is not as simple to look up on the GPS as you
might think. The name is not found by looking up ―Saint Peter‖, but is under ―B‖
for ―Basilica Di San Pietro‖. Sacre Coeur in Paris is Basilique Du Sacre-Coeur,
Trevi fountain is Fountana Di Trevi, etc.

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There are a couple of tricks to finding these points. Often the labels on the local
tourist maps are what you need to look for if you look up a point of interest by
spelling. Another trick is to move the courser near the location and look for all of
the attractions near the location. You will generally be able to find the place that
you are looking for.

Let‘s take the example of looking for Notre Dame, the main one in the middle of
the Seine where Quasimodo used to hang out.


Figure 10-10
The GPS is positioned near the Arc de Triumph in simulator mode. Let‘s say that
we want to go to Notre-Dame so we search for Notre-Dame. Figure 10-10 shows
what happens if we search for Notre-Dame by spelling. It is difficult if not
impossible to know which of these Notre-Dames is the correct one. It turns out
that none of the Notre-Dames shown are correct, but that the correct one can be
found by scrolling down below the options shown.


Figure 10-11
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One of the best tricks that I have found is to move the cursor to the approximate
area where the landmark is supposed to be and search for landmarks near the
cursor. Figure 10-11 shows the search for Notre-Dame using this technique.
Using a tourist map or some general knowledge it is possible to move the cursor
to the general location of Notre Dame. It is pretty easy to locate being on an
island in the middle of the Seine.

To find a location near the cursor with the Garmin GPS Map 76:

First move the cursor to the desired location with the touch pad to the
desired location -> NAV button -> Go To Point -> Points of Interest ->
Attractions -> All Types -> if necessary: (MENU button -> Find Nearest).

To find the location near the cursor with the Garmin eTrex Legend or Vista:

Use the Click Stick to move to and select the second box from the upper
right corner of the screen. Select Pan Map -> move the cursor to the
approximate location -> Press the FIND button (bottom button on the left
of the case -> Points of Interest -> Near Map Pointer -> Attractions -> All
Types.

There is a nice feature of the Legend series in that if you select the local
menu (second from upper right box) you can add this point to your
favorites. You can then access your favorites by pressing the FIND key
and selecting Favorites instead of Points of Interest.
Routes
Usually a simple GOTO is sufficient. When I have a satellite lock, I can use the
bearing and distance along with a simple compass to know that I am still going
the right direction and that I have not passed the destination. Certainly, I can still
refer to a paper map and even ask directions. The GPS is one more tool.

A GPS loaded with the appropriate maps that supports auto routing would be
ideal. However, on the Garmin mapping receivers it is possible to drag and drop
the route to intersections along the way. The easiest method that I have found is
to create a route consisting of two points which can be looked up such as the
name of a hotel and the name of the destination. I then select ―edit on map‖ and
drag the route to significant intersections along the way. Move the cursor to the
route until it becomes a dash line, press ENTER or click on the Click Stick, now
drag the route to an intermediate point and press ENTER or click on the Click
Stick again. The route will consist of straight lines between the intersections
rather than conforming to the road, but this may still be useful. This is one of
those features that is more complicated to explain than it is to use after playing
with it for a few minutes.

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With other brands of GPS, it is usually possible to use the map display to mark
waypoints and incorporate them into a route.
Navigating
So now that I have found and selected a GOTO the proper Point of Interest, I can
set out. I put on my sunglasses, my best disinterested look, and stuff the
minimum I.D., ATM card, and some cash into my travel wallet which I keep in an
undisclosed location.

If I am walking along a wide street, I can look at the GPS to see my progress.
The position indicator should line up roughly with the street, which should match
the BEARING line. Since there are many times that I will not be able to keep a
satellite lock, I keep the map display oriented to North and display the BEARING
data field. If I get disoriented, I can usually get a good position fix at an
intersection. I look at my watchband compass and can usually decide whether to
turn or go straight or in some cases, which of the intersecting streets to take.

This is where I think that an auto-routing GPS with the compass sensor would be
ideal. The GPS can orient itself as well as calculating which street to take –
taking into account all of the turns along subsequent streets to get to the
destination. Most of the auto-routing Garmin receivers that I am familiar with
have an option for choosing the type of automatic route calculations, pedestrian
being one of the options.

Usually, this process takes a couple of moments. However, it is more discreet
than pulling out a big map. Although sometimes pulling out the map is best. I
will even admit that I have even asked directions, but this is rare.
More information on using a Map and Compass

The map and compass have been around for a long time and a good-sized body
of literature has been created on navigating with a map and compass. There are
several books available and I have several internet links in the Links and Further
Reading chapter under Map and Compass Information on page 182.

Routes
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Chapter 11 Routes
Warning:

Since routes consist of waypoints, I have already discussed at length the
issue of the appropriateness of different data sources including the GPS
itself in the Waypoints chapter on page 56. Essentially, I feel that the GPS
itself or mapping software is a good way of reducing measurement and
input errors and provides excellent situational awareness even if it is not
application specific such as being a marine cartography product. However,
in many such cases the amount of information available is insufficient and
you should use the proper nautical chart for trip planning. The nautical
charts will offer the data on depths, hazards, currents, and etc. that the
mapping GPS or mapping software lacks.
What is a route?

Routes are just a sequence of waypoints. Once you are past one waypoint, the
next waypoint will be navigated to. Whether you navigate each leg as a line or
navigate directly to the next waypoint is a matter of circumstance. For example,
if you are navigating a channel, the OFF COURSE value will be important. If you
are navigating from a point on one lake to a point a couple of lakes away in a
chain you will want to navigate directly from point to point. You can mark a point
at the mouth of each canal or creek connecting the lakes. After getting into the
next lake, you only care about navigating as directly as possible to the entry to
the next lake rather than how far you are laterally from the route. If you are
navigating a river, bearing and track information might not even be important
because the navigating will essentially be one-dimensional. I address this as
Path Navigation on page135.

Routes are reasonably straightforward conceptually. However, there are several
tricks and caveats.
First leg uses the second waypoint

Another important thing to note is that when you activate a route, the first
waypoint being navigated to will actually be the second waypoint in the route.
This is logical after you understand what the GPS is doing. Let‘s say that you are
navigating on a route from A to B to C to D. When you first activate the route, the
GPS will assume that the first leg is A to B. B is the waypoint being navigated to
and A is the anchor point that defines the first leg of the route.

There are two simple ways around this. Either include the origin or some other
reference point in the route or execute a GOTO to the first waypoint. On some
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GPS receivers, you can also display a course line to at least alert you to the
problem.


Figure 11-1 Problem
Figure 11-1 shows the problem. I activated the route. As you can see,
navigating directly to the Red Nun will take you straight to House Island if you
don‘t run aground on Ram Island. Notice if you are navigating this first leg as a
line between TR On Spindle and Red Nun, using TRACK, COURSE, and OFF
COURSE your error will be obvious. In the second screen I displayed the
bearing line to show the error of following the bearing information.



Figure 11-2 Solution
Figure 11-2 shows two ways of fixing the solution. In the first screen I just
executed a GOTO to Tr On Spindle. In the second screen I put a waypoint to
better reflect what I really want for the first leg. The second screen in Figure 11-2
is analogous to putting in an origin to anchor the first leg.

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Evaluating routes

When you evaluate the route for things like distances and courses along each
waypoint, make sure that the route is not activated. If the route is activated,
distances will be based on the present position of the GPS rather than from the
first point of the route.

Waypoint and leg sequencing

Usually the GPS will sequence to the next waypoint and leg with no problem.
However, I have seen it occasionally not do so. This usually seems to happen
when a route is intercepted at a point beyond the first leg. However, even then I
find that it usually works.

As you pass each waypoint, the GPS should sequence to the next waypoint and
leg. I really do not know how the GPS sequences to the next leg. I have read
that some older GPS receivers require you to pass within a certain distance of
the active waypoint in order for it to sequence. Most of the Garmin units seem to
calculate which leg is closer.

If the GPS does not sequence properly, the easiest thing is to do is to reactivate
the route. This varies from receiver to receiver. On most receivers you will have
to go through the route list and reactivate it. On some receivers, you might have
to de-activate the route before you can reactivate it. Here are some examples of
how this is done.

- Garmin GPS III: Press the MENU button from within the active route and
select ―Re-evaluate.‖
- Garmin GPS 76: Press the NAV button and then select NAVIGATE
ROUTE and re-choose the route.
- Garmin Legend, Vista, and Venture: Hold the bottom left key until you get
to the active route. This is an unpublished shortcut that is much easier
than drilling down through the menus. You will notice the STOP button is
highlighted – click on the click stick. Now the button will say NAVIGATE—
click again.
Creating a route using the map display

On any GPS, you can create waypoints and then create a route by listing the
waypoints textually in order. Many mapping GPS receivers offer the capability to
create a route using the map display. I have found this feature to be poorly
documented, but it is easy to learn with just a little playing around.

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Garmin
First of all get to a route, not the list of routes, but a single route. It can be a new
route or you can modify an existing route. From within the route on some GPS
receivers, press the MENU key and there should be an option such as EDIT ON
MAP. The Garmin Legend, Vista, Venture, and GPS V have a MAP button on
the route.

When you select edit on map, you will see that the cursor has ―INS‖ in small text
for insert. Using the cursor you can point and click and edit the route. Move the
cursor to a point that you want to add to the route and press ENTER or click on
the click stick as appropriate. If there is no point at the point that you press, such
as out in the middle of a body of water, you will get a menu to create a new
waypoint at this point. After you have created this new waypoint, you may have
to go back over the point and then add it to the route – a two step process on
some receivers.

Note for Garmin Legend C, Vista C, 60C and 76C: When you get to the menu
to create a new waypoint while creating a route on the map, use the QUIT (upper
right button on Legend and Vista) key to jump back to the route rather than
selecting the DELETE, MAP, or GOTO buttons at the bottom of the screen.

If you want to modify a route, you can do the same thing with an existing route.
Move the cursor over the route line until it is a dashed line. Press ENTER (or
click), now you can drag the route to an interim point as I described above.
You can also click on the first or last point of the route and you should get a
menu asking you if you want to add turns or review the waypoint. If you choose,
―add turns‖, you can now add to the route at the beginning or end.

There are slight variations from receiver to receiver, but I find that it is reasonably
intuitive. Also note that many receivers such as the eTrex Venture, GPS 76, and
GPS 72 that are the non-mapping versions of mapping receivers also offer this
capability. In this case, there is no map to reference, but you can do the same
thing for existing waypoints or tracks.

To exit this mode on the Legend, Vista, and Venture press the side upper right
button. On most other Garmins, press the QUIT button -- this will still leave you
on the map page so that you can do more editing. Press QUIT one more time to
get back to the textual route. On some receivers, you may be able to press
MENU and select SHOW TEXT to get out of the map editing mode.

If the cursor position is already defined, such as a road intersection or city name,
the GPS will save it as such and will not offer the create waypoint screen.
Usually this is not a problem, but if for some reason you want to save the point as
a waypoint, it is possible. Go to the route, select the point, and press ENTER.
Press MENU and select SAVE AS WAYPOINT. You can name this waypoint
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and change the symbol. You will then have to change the route to go over this
waypoint that is located at the same point as the previous point.

You can also do this ahead of time by pointing and clicking on a point in the map
display, pressing MENU and saving this point as a waypoint. This will allow you
to create a waypoint at this point. The Legend, Vista, and Venture function
similarly except the menu is selected at the top of the screen with the click stick.

This ability to edit on the screen is also useful to review and check a route. By
going to the map screen, you can then pan the map to make sure that the route
really is what you want. On some receivers, if you cursor over the first point and
press ENTER you will see a menu option, NEXT. This allows you to jump to the
next point. By successively doing this, you can graphically review the route.
Magellan
The Magellan receivers do not offer nearly the same capability to edit the route
with the map display. I have a Magellan 330 and often check on specific
functions at the local boating store. The Magellan software appears to be very
similar from model to model when compared to the Garmin receivers. However, I
am not nearly as familiar with Magellans. With this disclaimer in mind, I can still
offer some techniques.
Technique 1
On the map screen, you can create a point by pressing MARK at the cursor
location. Hold the MARK/GOTO button until you get the new waypoint page.
You should see a ROUTE button on the page. By selecting this, you can add the
new waypoint to a route. The caveat is that you must have a route to add it to.
This can be solved by first creating a route with two dummy waypoints. When
you are done creating the route with the map display, erase the two dummy
waypoints that you had used to first establish the route.The waypoints do not
matter, just
Technique 2
Press the menu key and select ―Vert. Profile.‖ From the next menu, select ―Path
Check.‖ Using the cursor, press the MARK button at each point that you want to
add to the route. When you are done press Save to Rte to create the route. I
would be happy to explain the logic of creating a horizontal route from a vertical
profile if I understood it, but I don‘t.
Enroute GOTO

Often you will want to skip a waypoint along a route, yet continue to operate
along the rest of the route. This is a very common scenario in aviation where a
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controller is often able to provide shortcuts along the route if traffic permits or
often the pilot will be re-cleared to a down line waypoint after a vector for traffic or
a weather avoidance routing.

Knowing how to do an enroute GOTO is what I consider to be a basic
navigational skill and not just applicable to aviation.

Is the receiver capable of an enroute GOTO?
Not all receivers are capable of doing an enroute GOTO. After executing a
GOTO to a down line waypoint, many receivers terminate the route rather than
continuing to navigate beyond the now active waypoint. Receivers that I know
lack this capability are the basic eTrex and the Garmin GPS V on off road routes
as of Software 2.11. However, I am hoping that Garmin updates the GPS V
firmware to support this.

The Magellan series will also terminate the navigation along the rest of the route
if you attempt to GOTO an intermediate point. However, you can select a route
leg. Got to the route list, highlight the active route, press MENU, and select
―Select Leg.‖ The active waypoint will now be the waypoint defining the front of
the leg. BEARING and TURN will allow you to navigate to the active waypoint.
XTE and the course line on the map will reflect the selected leg rather than a
GOTO and can be ignored.
Executing an enroute GOTO

Figure 11-3

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Figure 11-4

Figure 11-3 shows the original routing on an Garmin eTrex Legend. Figure 11-4
shows an updated routing after an enroute GOTO was executed to CHS. In this
example CRG, VIYAP, and SAV are being skipped. In Figure 11-3 the OFF
COURSE value references the line (Great Circle) from ORL to CRG. In Figure
11-4, OFF COURSE references the line starting at the point that the GOTO was
executed to CHS.

On most of the Garmin mapping receivers, you can pan the cursor to the map to
execute a GOTO. Although I think that editing a route on the map is great, I
often find that moving the cursor to the point while actually navigating is more
trouble that it‘s worth. I suggest that you page over to the active route. There is
a trick to getting the active route on the Garmin Legend, Vista, and Venture:
Hold the bottom left key until the active route is displayed. Next move the cursor
to the desired waypoint. This is the easiest way of selecting the waypoint to go
to, if you are executing an enroute GOTO.

After you have moved the cursor to the desired point point:

- Receivers such as the Garmin GPS III and aviation receivers with a
GOTO or direct (D with an arrow through it) key: Press the GOTO key.
The waypoint is selected and you can press ENTER. Some aviation
receivers allow you to not only select the waypoint, but also the leg into
the waypoint. In this case, the line is not from the point of execution of the
GOTO, but from the previous point in the route to the selected waypoint.


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- Receivers with a NAV key such as the Garmin GPS 76: Press the NAV
button and select GOTO the point or press ENTER and select the soft
GOTO button on the waypoint page that is displayed.

- Garmin Legend, Venture, or Vista: Click on the point, select REVIEW and
then select the GOTO soft button.

In addition to knowing how to execute a GOTO, you should know how to cancel
the GOTO.

- Receivers with a GOTO: Press GOTO and then press MENU and select
CANCEL GOTO.

- Aviation receivers with a direct button: Press the direct button and there
should be a soft button to resume the route. If not, press MENU and look
for a CANCEL GOTO or CANCEL DIRECT.

- Receivers with a NAV button. Press the NAV button and select
NAVIGATE ROUTE.

- Garmin Legend, Vista, and Venture. Hold the bottom left button until the
active route is displayed. The STOP button should be highlighted. Click
on the STOP, which should change to NAVIGATE. Now click the
NAVIGATE button – two clicks on the default selection.
Example: Setup of Manchester Channel

This example uses the Garmin GPS 76 map with Roads and Recreation maps
loaded to create a route.

As I mentioned in the Waypoints section, there are several ways to get
waypoints. As I also mentioned, the easiest way to do this is to point and click on
a map display. You will still want to reference an appropriate chart to make sure
that your routing is safe. Inputting a route in the manner introduces the
possibility of errors and inaccuracies of the GPS maps, but it reduces the threat
of you incorrectly measuring or entering the waypoints.

First go to the routes page, then select new route. From within the new route
screen press MENU and select ―Use Map.‖ The cursor arrow will now have INS
for insert below it. Just point and press ENTER on successive points. If you
miss a point, you can go back, click on the route line, and drag it to an
intermediate waypoint.

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Figure 11-5 Route into Manchester Harbor

Figure 11-5 demonstrates making the route into Manchester harbor. In the
second screen, I skipped a realized that I skipped a Red Nun. It is a simple
matter to fix. Put the cursor on the route line and press ENTER, then drag the
route line to the Red Nun and press enter and it will be inserted into the route.

Example: Route between a chain of lakes

This example is also made with a Garmin GPS Map 76 with Roads and
Recreation maps loaded.

There is a great little sandwich shop with a dock, Larkin‘s, two lakes away that
makes a good paddling destination. Needless to say, I don‘t need a GPS to find
my way. But it does make a handy if slightly contrived example. In real life, I
have used the GPS kayaking in that it is hard to see the bridge from the middle to
the bottom lake from the north end of the middle lake.

Figure 11-6 shows the process: I start by making the route between the origin
and destination. I don‘t know the exact coordinates for Larkin‘s, but I know about
where it is by looking on the map. If I had wanted to, I could have gone on the
Internet to Map Quest and found the address and gone to Map Blast to get the
coordinates. There is an old pontoon boat with ―Larkin‖ painted on the canopy. If
I get close, that is sufficient. After I have the route from origin to destination
made, I drag the route line to the entrance of the channel for each lake. On the
GPS Map 76 the procedure is to put the cursor on the point where you want to
make the waypoint and press ENTER. After making the waypoint, press ENTER
again to add the point to the route. If you are selecting a point rather than
making a new point, you will only have to press ENTER once.

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Figure 11-6


Figure 11-7
As shown in the first screen of Figure 11-7, the routing takes me right across
land. This is not a problem. I would just follow the shore around from waypoint 1
to 2. Having waypoint 2 marked would make sure that I got the correct cove for
the entrance to the channel. I would go through the channel and then when I got
to the next lake, I would navigate directly to point 3 as shown in Figure 11-6.
Essentially from waypoint 1 to the north end of the next lake would be one
dimensional navigation along the shore and through the channel. If I wanted to
engage in a little overkill, I could add more points as shown in the second screen
of Figure 11-7. What might be useful is to add a waypoint for the exit of each
lake. These would become the entrances going home.

I can go to the text display of the route and then press MENU and select Plan
Route. The route plan accepts values of speed, fuel flow, departure time, and
departure date. After putting in my speed of 3 knots, I can get an idea of how far
the route is and how long it will take as depicted in Figure 11-8.

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Figure 11-8
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Chapter 12 Path navigation

Whether navigating along a river, trail, or roads, there is a similarity to the
navigation problem in that the GPS is not needed to steer along the route.
Actual navigation along the path is done by reference to the river banks, trail, or
road. A GPS route can be very useful to gauge progress along the route even if
it is not needed for steering. Figure 12-1 through Figure 12-3 shows an example
of boating along a river. The put in point to the destination is a very short
distance ―as the crow flies‖, but is a considerably longer distance along the river.
If you are paddling this in a canoe or kayak, this is a significant distance.

There are times that path navigation may be used in combination with two-
dimensional navigation. An example that comes to mind is a long canoe trip.
You paddle down a river using path navigation, then come to a lake and use two-
dimensional navigation to cross the lake.


Figure 12-1
Figure 12-1 shows the route directly from start to finish. Using the drawing tool
on Microsoft Streets and Trips the distance should be about 10.3 miles. The
distance in Figure 12-1 is obviously useless at 3.04 miles.

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Figure 12-2
Figure 12-2 shows the resulting distance after putting in seven intermediate
waypoints. Putting these waypoints in was very fast using the graphic route
editing features of the Garmin GPS Map 76 and therefore totally practical. If you
have a Garmin mapping GPS, I highly recommend that you learn to edit the route
using the map page. I have more information on page 125.

Using the map display to edit the route made the task much easier. However,
this could be done without too much difficulty with a non-mapping GPS using one
of the many techniques in the Waypoints chapter.


Figure 12-3
Figure 12-3 shows what the display would look at two different zooms while
navigating. There is really no need for a course or a bearing line, so I shut them
off.

As you can see, I set up the data fields to display different data from the two
dimensional navigation. The data that is useful are things such as ETA‘s, and
distances.
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An added factor is when the river, road, or trail has forks or intersections. The
waypoints defining the route can be created along these forks and intersections
to mark where a decision as to which fork to take must be decided. I use this
technique on a regular basis when navigating on foot around cities on layovers. I
simply create a route from origin to destination and then edit the route using the
map display to drag the route line to intersections where I have to turn.
Using the computer to create the route

It is worth noting that a route can be created with a variety of computer programs
and then uploaded into the GPS. Depending on the software it is possible to
create an automatically created route along roads and then load the route into
the GPS even if the GPS is not capable of auto-routing. The waypoints will
correspond to intersections and turns. Once uploaded into the GPS, the route
will consist of a series of line segments between the waypoints as opposed to a
curved path following the roads.

DeLorme Street Atlas and some newer versions of Garmin‘s MetroGuide will do
this. Not all of the MetroGuide versions will do this, but even some of the
versions that do not support auto routing on GPS receivers that have auto routing
will facilitate this ability on a computer. For example, I could create an auto route
using MetroGuide 5 and then upload it into a non-auto routing GPS such as an
eTrex Legend or Garmin GPS Map 76, or even a basic eTrex for that matter.
The loaded route would be direct lines between the uploaded waypoints in the
route rather than following the road exactly.

If I had an auto routing GPS such as a 60C and loaded the map data into the
GPS from the same MetroGuide software, I could not create an auto route on the
GPS itself because the Metro Guide does not support auto route on the GPS. I
would need the more expensive City Select maps for this feature.

It is also possible to create and edit a non-auto routing route such as along a
river as in the example in the beginning of this chapter. The difference is in that
the computer would be used to edit the route instead of the GPS. Editing the
route on the GPS offers independence from the computer, but using the
computer offers a bigger map view as well as the ability to use a map to create a
route with a non-mapping GPS.

I will leave the details to the individual program documentation. However, I do
want to point out roughly how this is done using Garmin MapSource. MapSource
is the interface which works with a variety of products such as MetroGuide, City
Select, etc.

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- From the main menu, go to Edit -> Preferences -> Routing tab and
choose ―Use Direct Routes.‖

- Go to View and select ―GPS map detail.‖

- Select the route creation icon from the tool bar. It is the icon with
the black squares connected by magenta lines.

- Now go to the map and click where you want to the route to go.
You can use the find function (binocular icon) to find something
first. You can click successive waypoints or you can just create a
route from origin to destination and modify it.

- If you want to create a route from origin to destination and then
drag the route to follow a contour such as in the river example, you
can use the route tool and press the escape key when you have
created a route from origin to destination. Now move the cursor
over the route and right click and select ―insert route section.‖
Successive clicking on the route with the route creation icon
selected will allow you to drag the route to intermediate points.
Magellan adaptive technique

One of the keys to this technique being useful is to be able to display a distance
to destination as opposed to the next waypoint. Many Magellan receivers do not
offer this data.
My first recommendation is that you go to the Magellan website,
www.magellangps.com and check for an software update in hopes that this
feature has been added.

My second recommendation is that you use the name of the waypoints as an
indirect indicator of distance to go. By going to the route page, it is possible to
get leg distances. Rename the waypoints to reflect the distance from the end of
the route. For example, the waypoints in Figure 12-2 could be renamed
something like END, R11, R20, R31, R38, R50, etc. If you were .8 miles from
R20, then you would have 2.8 miles left to paddle.
Another example

I borrowed my brother in law‘s personal watercraft in Saint Simon‘s Island,
Georgia. I thought that it might be interesting to follow the water to Fort
Frederica. The intercoastal waterway and Frederica River are set in a large
grassy moss. The GPS was immensely helpful in providing orientation and
making sure that I traveled up the correct fork among the many little creeks in the
marsh.
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Figure 12-4 depicts the route from the boat ramp, RAMP, to Fort Frederica,
FORT. All that I found necessary was to include a point at the fork, FORK, to
make sure that I made the turn. This was a short distance sitting on a personal
watercraft – a low effort trip. If I were kayaking, I probably would have added
some interim waypoints so that I had a more accurate distance to the destination
as I paddled. However, the line from FORK to FORT was plenty to orient me
considering that I also had a map display and that I was steering between the
river banks rather than steering from the GPS guidance.


Figure 12-4


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Chapter 13 Using Maps with an unknown or no
grid

This chapter describes some techniques of using a GPS with ordinary maps.
Certainly, the ideal situation is to have a mapping GPS with extra detailed maps
loaded in. The next best thing is to have a detailed paper map with a grid that is
usable for inputting coordinates into a GPS. However, there are a wide variety of
maps that can be used with reasonable common sense with even the most basic
GPS.

Where do you get these maps? I have seen maps in the back of phonebooks,
guidebooks, rental car counters, on the internet, entrances to parks, tourist
information services, and printed out from mapping programs. Additionally,
within this category are satellite and aerial photos.

The catch to the wide availability of maps is that most often these maps do not
have latitudes or longitudes or other grids such as UTM that can directly be used
with GPS. Even though GPS is becoming more popular and more map
publishers are printing maps with such information, there are still a large number
of otherwise good maps that do not include this information. However, with some
simple techniques, these maps can be used with an inexpensive GPS.

The requirement for a map is that it is proportional and accurate. You have to be
able to measure bearings or distances accurately. Every map is distorted
because the earth is spherical and paper is flat. For the size of areas that I see
these applications being applicable, the distortion should be minimal. I can‘t see
using these techniques for areas much larger than a city.

Another factor is precision. For each degree of error in a bearing a point would
be off by one unit for each 60 units of distance from the point. For example, if
you tried to create a point that was 120 miles away, if you mis-measured the
point by 1 degree, the new point would be off by 2 miles. Thus, precision in
measurement is more of a limitation than map projection.

Common sense is important. Specialized and expensive maps such as marine
charts and topographic maps have a lot of important information in addition to
where things are. Nobody would have much sympathy for you if you drug the
keel of an expensive sailboat across some submerged rocks because you were
navigating with a road map from a convenience store. However, these
techniques might be of great use if you use a simple inexpensive non-mapping
GPS to keep track of your journey on a couple of hour canoe trip in a state park
where most people do not even use a map.

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The techniques for working with generic maps are often similar to more
traditional navigation and position fixing techniques. If you are familiar with such
techniques as getting a fix from such things as non-directional beacons or
compass sightings, then many of these techniques are conceptually similar.

Although the GPS is similar to compass triangulation, there are some important
advantages that the GPS offers. The GPS will give a distance to a waypoint,
you do not have to actually have the landmark in sight if you have it saved as a
waypoint, and you can use bearings relative to true north rather than having to
convert magnetic values to true values.

There is a multitude of ways that you can use these maps. My intent is to not so
much explain every possible way to use every possible map, but to give you an
idea of how you might use a generic map. Essentially, you correlate the position
on a map with the coordinates or location of a known point. Additionally, some of
these techniques might be of some use when using a map with a grid.

There are some clever and popular computer programs that allow you to scan in
maps and calibrate them for GPS. Certainly, they are worth checking out if this
subject interests you. My only objection to them is that they require a computer,
scanner, and printer. Not only will these computer programs work with scanned
maps, but they will work with aerial photographs. For an excellent list of
computer software that will calibrate maps, I would refer you to the Third Party
Software section of www.gpsinformation.net, the book GPS for Dummies, or
Mapping Programs section on page 69.

The computer offers more accuracy, but the methods that I give only require a
GPS, calculator, ruler, and perhaps a protractor or base plate compass.

Between using a mapping GPS with extra maps loaded in, using a computer
program or Internet source to get waypoint coordinates, using scanned maps
with a calibration program, the techniques in this chapter are potentially the least
accurate and most hassle. However, being able to use the least expensive GPS
with cheap or free maps offers much flexibility and capability.

The accuracy of GPS is addictive. However, sometimes precision just isn‘t that
important. For example taking the paddle along the river in a rented canoe, often
a simple, ―I‘m about here‖ on the map is more than sufficient. Although, I use an
example with angle drawn with a protractor, often a simple mental bearing is all
that is required.

Also, consider that the GPS does not have to be used in isolation, but can be
used with several other techniques to help locate yourself. For example, you
might use the GPS bearing from the start point and the fact that you are on a
portion of the river that goes a certain direction as indicated you either the GPS
or the compass to get an approximate position. Perhaps you see a landmark
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that you think that you might recognize. A rough bearing from a GPS landmark
can be used to confirm or reject the identity of the landmark. Navigation is
sometimes like a mystery and you use as many clues as you can get.
A little math of conversion review

When using maps, you will often have to convert things like measurements on
maps to distances in the real world. Conversions are easy once you learn a
couple of tricks. These techniques will also be useful to you in many other
situations in addition to using your GPS. Before I get started, let me say that this
technique does not work with Celsius to Fahrenheit conversions because they
are not equal to each other when both are zero. Zero miles is equal to zero
kilometers, but 0°C does not equal 0°F.

The problem is whether you divide or multiply by the conversion factor. The first
method for figuring whether you want to divide or multiply is to figure out whether
the converted value is larger or smaller than the original value. Take as an
example converting 3.6 miles to kilometers. The conversion is 1 mile = 1.60934
kilometers. If you know that a kilometer is shorter than a mile, there are going to
be more kilometers after you convert miles to kilometers. Thus, it is obvious that
you multiply the 3.6 miles by 1.60934 so that you end up with a larger number,
5.793 km.

If you were to have divided instead of multiplied, then you would have ended up
with 2.2 kilometers being equal to the 3.6 miles. This flunks the common sense
test that you should end up having more kilometers than miles. Just go back and
do the opposite – in this case, multiply. This is not the most rigorous method, but
it is a good common sense method and makes a good check for the next
method.

The key to this next method is to multiply or divide by 1. There are two principals
involved. One is that any number multiplied or divided by 1 is the same as itself.
The second is that any number divided by itself is one. The application of these
principals involves using the units with the numbers expressed as fractions when
you multiply and divide. Let‘s use the example of converting 2.6 miles to
kilometers. Since 1 mile = 1.60934 kilometers, we can multiply the 2.6 miles by
the fraction of 1.60934 kilometers/1 mile. Since the numerator and the
denominator are the same quantity, even if they are expressed in different units,
this fraction is equal to 1. If we multiply this fraction by 2.6 miles we are not
changing the actual distance, but the form. When the numbers are multiplied,
the 2.6 is multiplied by 1.60934. When the units are multiplied and divided the
miles from the 2.6 miles is canceled by the miles in the denominator of the
fraction leaving kilometers.


2.6 miles x 1.69034 kilometers = 5.793 kilometers
1 mile
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There are several neat things about this technique. One is that it is self-
checking. If you accidentally inverted the conversion fraction, you will get
something that is technically correct, but obviously useless.






Another nice thing is that you can calculate multiple conversions. For example,
lets say that you wanted to convert 700 feet per minute to miles per hour:




For map reading, this is useful. Let‘s say that 1 inch on a map is equal to 2.5
miles. You would use the fraction 1 map inch/2.5 actual miles as appropriate.
For example if you had a distance that was 3
3
/
16
on the map, the first step would
be to convert 3
3
/
16
to decimal by 3/16 + 3 = 3.1875. Next, multiply it by the
conversion factor.





Using the units in calculations like this is common in many disciplines and is not
a bad idea for many calculations beyond conversions.
Bearing reciprocal calculation technique

Often the GPS will give the bearing to a point and you want the bearing from a
point. This is sometimes also referred to as a back bearing. I have discussed
great circle navigation on page 106. However, in most cases, the reciprocal is a
matter of adding or subtracting 180°. There is a simple trick that makes this
calculation much easier.

1. Add or subtract 2 from the first digit. Decide whether to add or subtract so
that the first digit remains between 0 and 3.
2. Subtract or add 2 to the second digit. If you subtracted 2 to the first digit,
then add 2 to the second digit and vice versa.
2.6 miles x 1 mile___________ = 1.53815 miles
2
/kilometer
1.69034 kilometers
700 feet x 60 minutes x mile____ = 7.8545 miles
minute 1 hour 5280 feet hour
3.1875 map inches x 2.5 actual miles = 7.9687 actual miles
1 map inch
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For example, the reciprocal of 123 is 303. Add 2 to the 1 and subtract 2 from the
2. The reason that this works is that it is the same as adding 200 and subtracting
20 or subtracting 200 and then adding 20.

Creating Waypoints from known Waypoints
Bearing and Distance method
All of the Garmin receivers of which I am familiar, including the basic eTrex are
capable of creating waypoint as a bearing and distance from a known waypoint.
The Magellan receivers that I am familiar with do not offer this feature. The
techniques vary from model to model, so I will refer you to the manual for details.
In order to use this feature with a map, you will need to have a waypoint in the
GPS and correlate it with a point on the map. First of all, you must find a point on
the map and enter its location into the GPS to correlate the map with the GPS.
Some generic maps may have a couple of latitude and longitude tick marks along
the side. If you are printing the map from the Internet or mapping program, you
might be able to mark the coordinates for a point to use as a reference. One of
the easiest methods is to physically be at the spot and use the GPS to create a
waypoint at the position.

I have found that one of the bigger weaknesses is the accuracy of the scale. As
long as you realize that this is a limitation and keep your expectations
reasonable, most scales on generic maps will be close enough. If you need
something more accurate, you can create two reference waypoints and compare
the distance along the map with the route distance between them in the GPS. If
you do this, you can also get a more accurate north reference by finding the
course between the points.

If there is a scale on the map then:

scale of length
scale by d represente ce dis
map on length ce dis
_ _
_ _ _ tan
_ _ tan × =

For example, if the scale mark was 1.43 cm and represents 1.0 miles and the
distance between waypoints as measured on the map is 7.0 cm then the
distance is:
cm
miles
cm miles
_ 43 . 1
_ 0 . 1
_ 0 . 7 _ 9 . 4 × =

Notice that by keeping the units in the calculation, that the cm. cancel out leaving
miles. If you always keep the units in the calculation like this, it will help you to
make sure that you have multiplied or divided correctly. Also, it will keep my
excellent high school chemistry teacher, Cliff Foster, from yelling at you.
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In this example, you can also store the 1.0 miles divided by 1.43 cm which is
.6993 miles/cm in the memory of your calculator and write it on the map by the
scale.

Sometimes you may be given a scale such as 1:50,000 instead of scale as a
mark and represented distance. This means that each unit of measurement on
the map represents 50,000 of the same unit over the ground. You could
measure the map with and convert inches to miles and then multiply by the scale,
but I don‘t recommend it. Measure the distance in metric distances and multiply
and set your GPS to metric. You can change the GPS back to whatever system
you had before after you had have entered the distance and bearing.

Take as an example that the distance on the map is 6.8 cm and you are using a
1:50000 map. The distance is:

km meters
meter map
meters actual
meters map 4 . 3 3400
_ 1
_ 000 , 50
_ 068 . = = ×

Here is a some typical examples of how to create a new waypoint using the
bearing and distance from an old waypoint:

- Garmin GPS 76: Press and hold the ENTER MARK button. From the edit
waypoint page press MENU and select ―Project Waypoint.‖ This menu will
then give you the chance to base the waypoint being edited on the bearing
and distance from the map cursor, present position, or another waypoint.

- Garmin eTrex: Select the reference waypoint from the waypoint menu.
When you select the waypoint, you will be given an option of Delete, Map,
GOTO, or Project. Select Project and a new waypoint menu will be
created that will allow you to reference the previous waypoint. The eTrex
is limited in that the distance is only 1/10
th
of a unit. For example, if you
are using statute units, you can only specify the distance within .1 miles
which is 528 ft.

- Garmin eTrex Legend: Pick a reference waypoint by pressing the bottom
left side button and then going through the menu to view it. There are two
navigation boxes in the top right corner. Using the click stick, click on the
right box and then select ―Project Waypoint.‖ A new waypoint will be
created based on the waypoint that you had originally selected. The
BEARING and DISTANCE fields are editable and are based on the
previous point. Also, the name is editable.

- Garmin GPS III and 196. When creating a waypoint, there is a bearing,
distance, and point selection field on the waypoint creation menu itself.

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I have not listed every Garmin GPS, but most likely it works something like one of
these. If yours is not listed, play with it and/or read the owner‘s manual.

Here are some tricks and caveats:

- Go to the setup page and change the north reference to true rather than
magnetic north so that the map and the GPS are referencing the same
thing. If you are using the GPS with a compass make sure that you go
back and return the setting to magnetic when you are finished.

- To help with measuring the angle on the map with the protractor, you can
crease or draw a line on the map to make a north – south and an east-
west line through the reference point.

- If you want to use this reference point for orientating yourself on the map
as opposed to creating and navigating to a new point, you can GOTO the
waypoint and use the BEARING and DISTANCE to the point. Optionally
on some GPS units you can place the cursor on the reference point and
get a bearing and distance to the point from your present position using
the plotting or map page.

- Many GPS receivers only allow distances to be defined to the first decimal
point. For example, if you are using miles, you can only define a distance
to the reference point within .1 miles or 528 feet. In many cases, this is
close enough to still have practical value.

- If you need the conversion: There are 5280 feet in a stature mile, 6078
feet in a nautical mile.

If your GPS does not support creating a waypoint by referencing a third point or if
you want more accuracy, you are not without options:

- NavCalc for Palm OS is a $10 utility that allows you to get coordinates by
using radial and distance from a known point, or bearings from two
separate points. Go to www.palmgear.com and search for NavCalc.

While you are at PalmGear.com, search for ―Converter.‖ It is a free
application for unit conversion. It is fantastic. Before, I leave this aside, I
use APCalc, also available at PalmGear, for my calculator and am very
pleased with it.

- Ed Williams‘s Aviation page, at http://williams.best.vwh.net/, offers an
online javascript calculator as well as formulas if you want to write your
own program.

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- There are probably several other places to get this information. You might
look around www.gpsinformation.net for other sources.

UTM method
If you recall, UTM coordinates are based on meters east and north. If you the
reference waypoint in your GPS, you can change the GPS setup to UTM. You
can then measure how many meters east and north the new point is from the
reference point. When adding distances, north and east are positive and south
and west are negative.

For example, your reference point is 17R 450771 3182409 and the point that you
want to go to is 5.7 km east and 6 km south as measured on the map. The zone
of 17R remains the same. The new easing is 450771 + 5700 = 456,471. The
new northing is 3,182,409 – 6,000 = 3,176,409. Thus, the new point is 17R
456471 3176409.

There is the caveat that if you are at the edge of a zone and the new waypoint is
in the next zone over this technique will not work.

It is worth noting that although the UTM grid is based on the metric system, it is
not required that you use or set up your GPS to use metric values. You can still
put in a UTM coordinate and have the GPS indicate distances and speeds in
miles or nautical miles and miles per hour or knots.
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Example using a reference point


Figure 13-1
Here is the scenario: I have decided to go to King‘s Landing to rent a canoe to
go down the Wekiva river. The Wekiva is just north of Orlando, FL and it is a
very slow moving and often very shallow river. At the end, King‘s landing will
pick you up at Wekiva Marina and take you back to your car. Most people don‘t
bother with any kind of navigational device or map. Any navigational information
is better than what most people use, so navigational accuracy is not critical.

Although, I have a mapping GPS and loadable maps that will show the Wekiva
river, let‘s pretend that I just have a basic non-mapping GPS. I can think of
several ways to handle this situation. Even from this set of limitations, I could go
on line and download satellite imagery or maps and calibrate them with a
computer. However, for the sake of demonstration let‘s just use a basic map
such as a street map available from a convenience store. In this case, I print out
a map from an Internet source, www.mapquest.com as depicted in Figure 13-1.

I need a way of correlating the map with the GPS. Unfortunately, the takeout
point is not on my way. For reference points, I pick a couple of intersections on
the map that I will pass through along the way. Although, there are numerous
techniques for finding the coordinates of the intersection that I mention in the
Waypoints chapter, I am trying to keep this scenario computerless. I will simply
mark the intersections using the GPS as I go to King‘s landing. I cannot set up
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much with the GPS until I have the location for the intersections, but I can do
some preliminary work before I leave the house.
END relative to reference points
Before I leave, I pull out a protractor and ruler and find that END is 132° true and
4.9 miles from REF. If I had a GPS that did not support waypoint creation with
bearing and distance, I could measure that END is 6.118 km east and 5.647 km
south of REF.
Some Bearing and Distances
My use for GPS in this case is not precise navigation. I just want to know about
where I am without an unreasonable effort. I decide that if I know the bearing
and distance from any point that I will be able to know where I am. I print another
copy of the map and draw some bearing and distances from REF. Since the
GPS gives bearing to the waypoint from the GPS, the reference that I draw on
the map reflects this. In other words, a 10° bearing from REF is actually a 190°
bearing from the GPS to REF. Thus, I label the map accordingly. I then use a
compass (drawing kind) and ruler to draw some range arcs. The result is Figure
13-2.



Figure 13-2
Just for amusement, I make one more copy of the map and mark bearings from
two reference points that I will mark with the GPS on the way to King‘s landing as
an alternate form or orientation. The advantage of this technique is that there is
no need to worry about the accuracy or proper measurement of distance from the
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scale. Figure 13-3 is the result. By using the bearings from two points, I can
locate myself at the intersection of the bearing lines.

To some degree, bearing and distance, or two bearings is more information than
I need. The intersection of one bearing and the river is usually sufficient to fix my
position. However, there are a couple of bearings that intercept the river in two
places. Usually, a little deductive reasoning will let you select the proper
intersection. So, remember that a creak, road, or trail can be used in conjunction
with a single bearing, but I wanted to show you the two bearings or bearing and a
distance also.


Figure 13-3
Figure 13-2 and Figure 13-3 demonstrate the point that I am trying to make about
using the GPS for orientation. However, I should note that if I had not taken the
time to draw the range and bearing marks, that knowing that a reasonable
estimate of orientation could still be made ―eyeballing‖ the bearing and distance
from REF and/or REF2 without having to take the time to mark the map.

On the way to King‘s Landing, I create a waypoint for REF and REF2 by marking
present position on the GPS. After I get out of the car, I can quickly create the
END point as being 132° true and 4.9 miles from REF.

If I had a GPS that did not support this feature, I could calculate the UTM
coordinates for END based on my previous measurement that 6.118 km east and
5.647 km south of REF. REF is 17R 0450727 3181207. The east displacement
is added to REF‘s easting and the south displacement is subtracted from REF‘s
northing. This yields a UTM for END at 17R 456845 N3175560.

As I paddle along the river, I can now use the GPS to orient myself. Figure 13-4
shows what the GPS display might look like. The GPS is actually navigating to
REF so that it gives me a BEARING and DISTANCE to it. Using these values
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and the map in Figure 13-2 I can tell where I am. I put the cursor over REF2 so
that I also have a bearing and distance to it and can use Figure 13-3.


Figure 13-4
Note that I could have also navigated towards END. If addition to displaying the
BEARING and DISTANCE constantly by making a point the active waypoint such
as I have for REF or by placing the cursor over it as I have for REF2, it is usually
possible to get the BEARING and DISTANCE as you cursor through the list of
waypoints without actually selecting one.

Needless to say there are differences in implementation of many of these
features form model to model. For example, the basic eTrex series does not
have the cursor feature, Magellan receivers replace the data fields with the
BEARING and DISTANCE, and you must select ―Pan Map‖ from the menu on the
new eTrex series.

There are also additional ways to get the BEARING and DISTANCE to a
waypoint. As you move the cursor down the list of waypoints on the waypoints
page, most GPS receivers will give you the BEARING and DISTANCE to the
waypoint without having to actually select it. The Garmin Legend, Vista, and
Venture even have an option where you can add waypoints to a list of
―Favorites.‖ Thus, you can quickly see the bearing and distance to a few
waypoints rather than having to sort the whole list. Another feature on some
GPS receivers is that they allow you to sort alphabetically or by distance from the
GPS position. If you do not have either feature, you can rename the waypoints
so that they are alphabetically together and near the top of the list.

One thing not depicted in any of these GPS screens is the fact that the GPS will
create a breadcrumb trail or track. I used the simulator mode to get these GPS
screenshots, thus there is no real trail. Basically, the GPS will draw the river as
you travel along it. Thus, you can compare the shape of the track with the shape
of the river on the map as one more orientation tool. Additionally, if you wanted
to travel back to the origin, this track would be very useful.
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How well did the methods work?
I also printed a similar map using Microsoft Streets and Trips. The differences
were that the area covered took up almost the whole page and the scale was
about 7.65 cm for 2.5 miles instead of 1.43 cm for 1 mi. Assuming that both
scales were accurate, this much longer scale allowed me to measure the
distances much more accurately. Instead of END being 132° at 4.895 miles, I
got 131° at 4.64 miles.cm. For the UTM calculations I got 5.793 km east and
4817 km west.


Figure 13-5
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Figure 13-6
After calculating the waypoints in the different respective ways, I changed the
GPS back to a latitude and longitude layout and then plotted the waypoints on
Microsoft Streets and Trips to get an idea of how close the waypoints ended up
being. As you can see in Figure 13-5, all of the waypoints might be of some
value in the context of the example scenario and the required accuracy. Figure
13-6 shows a close view of the waypoints as plotted.

The distance from the MapQuest UTM to the ideal location of END is .5 miles.
Quite frankly, I was disappointed with the results using the UTM technique and
MapQuest. The closest point was the UTM technique using coordinates from
Streets and Trips converted to UTM with the GPS. Thus, the technique is fine. I
think that the weakness of the MapQuest results are a reflection of the size and
perhaps lack of accuracy of the distance scale.

I should also add that your direction of travel whether it is from the GPS track or
using a compass should give you an idea of where you are along the river. The
setup page on the GPS indicates that the compass variation is 5° W. Thus the
compass reads 5° west of true north. This is not significant, but this variation
could be significant at another location and using the GPS is a handy place to
find the magnetic variation.

Obviously the quality of the maps and accuracy of the scale make a big
difference for this technique. Whether or not this technique is sufficiently
accurate really has to be judged in the context of how much accuracy you need
in a given circumstance and what other options you might have.
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Chapter 14 Advance techniques for generic maps
In the previous chapter, I tried to give you some useful and relatively easy
methods to work with generic maps without a useful grid for measuring GPS
coordinates. The next couple of techniques are split off because they have a
high hassle to utility factor. Yet, there are some people that might find them
interesting and perhaps useful.
Bearing from two points method
It occurred to while playing with NavCalc for Palm (previously mentioned --
search for NavCalc at www.palmgear.com) that perhaps it would be useful to be
able to create a waypoint by referencing the bearings from two other points.

This method requires that you be able to create waypoints using the bearing and
distance method. It also requires that you are able to pan and make waypoints
from a map or plot screen. However, a mapping GPS is not required. For
example, the Garmin eTrex would not work because the plot page cannot be
panned, but the non-mapping Garmin eTrex Venture would work.

Figure 14-1 shows an example of this method. The method requires you to find
two reference waypoints. We will call them REF and REF2. Find the bearing on
the map from each reference point of the point that you want to create. Next
create two false points using the bearing and distance from a point except use a
distance that is obviously beyond the waypoint that you are trying to create. P1
is the point relative to REF and P2 is the point relative to REF2. Now, create a
route from REF to P1 to P2 to REF2. The leg from REF to P1 should cross the
leg from P2 to REF 2. Using the panning features of the map, zoom in and
create the point at the cross over point.



Figure 14-1
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This is a little bit of a kludge, but it eliminates the problem of measuring distances
accurately on the map and converting them into actual distance. Also note that
by comparing the route distance directly from REF to REF2 and comparing it to
the distance on the map you can potentially have a more accurate scale for the
map as well as a way of checking the north/south orientation.
User Grid Overview

If you want a couple of waypoints, making a new waypoint by using relative
position to a previous waypoint is relatively simple. If you are cartographically
adventurous, obsessed, or desperate, it is possible to create a user grid to use
with any map. If the map has a north-south grid, you can make the GPS use this
grid, even if it doesn‘t have a correlation with any recognizable grid. If there is no
pre-drawn grid, you can also create a grid or use measurements from the lower
left corner of the map.

As part of my experimentation with this technique, I have even folded maps to
create grids. The grids have to be square, so initially I folded the top edge to
each side edge to mark the square and then successively folded the paper in half
from the square reference. There is a limited number of times that you can fold
the paper, but I found if I folded the paper in half in alternate directions I was able
to fold an 8.5 by 11 sheet into squares approximately 1 inch square.

You can also use this technique to use measurements from the bottom left
corner of the map. This just becomes an invisible grid. I find that centimeters
work better than inches because centimeters are divided into tenths on most
rulers. Inches are divided into sixteenths, which is cumbersome.

This is considerably more work than just using the bearing and distance from a
reference point, but it is also more powerful. Although the calculations are
straight forward, I have posted a spreadsheet to help make the calculations in the
download section of www.smallboatgps.com. I use a version of this spreadsheet
on my Palm, which makes it very portable.

Magellan 310 notice: Sorry, you cannot use this technique. The 310 does not
have a user grid.
Map Requirements
For this technique to work you need the following:

- A reasonably small area map where projection differences between the
different corners are small. A city, regional, or perhaps even state road
map is an example of a suitable type of map. One of the discoveries that I
made when playing with this technique was that it works with maps printed
from Internet sites such as www.mapblast.com, www.mapquest.com, or a
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variety of mapping programs. This permits you to use a relatively detailed
map of a small area. For example, I had good results by printing out a 4
mile by 5 mile map which covers a chain of lakes in the local area.

- The map must have square grids oriented to the north. This technique will
not work with a rectangular grid or one that is not north oriented. If the
map doesn‘t have grids there are several work-arounds:
o Draw your own grid on the map.
o Fold the map and use the creases instead of drawing grids. If you
do this, start by alternately folding and unfolding the top edge over
to touch each side to mark the square are of the paper. Then
successively fold the map in half. I tried this with a map printed
from a free Internet mapping site and it worked reasonably well. I
ended up with a grid that was about 2.7 centimeters square.
Remember to make the creases sharp.
o Use measurements from the bottom left corner of the map. You
can define points as x units (inches, cm, whatever) east and y units
north. In effect, you have set up an imaginary grid.

- You have to be able to save a known point on the map as a waypoint in
the GPS. You can use one of the many methods in the previous chapter
to find the location of a point on the map, including and especially
physically standing at that point and using the GPS to measure it.
However, you might also find ticks marking latitude and longitude on a
road map. If you are using an Internet or mapping program you can mark
a point somewhere. This point would then be entered into the GPS as a
reference waypoint.

- You must be able to correlate the scale of the map with a known distance.
Usually there is a printed scale. However, you can use two reference
points. Find the actual distance between the two reference points using
the GPS as well as the measured distance on the map to create a scale.
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User Grid Preview

Figure 14-2
Figure 14-2 is a section of an ordinary street map. For the most part this is a
nice map, but there is no latitude and longitude or any apparent practical way of
using this with a GPS. As a preview, the whole point of this technique is it to
make the GPS give readouts in terms of this grid rather than latitude and
longitude, which is not of much use on this map. Once the GPS is set up, it will
give coordinates in terms of the map grid as shown in.


Figure 14-3
These coordinates are interpreted like UTM coordinates. The point is described
as the east coordinate and then the north coordinate. There is no decimal place
– you have to mentally put it three places to the left.

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In the example, I used the pre-existing grid. However, as I mentioned before,
you can use the distance from the lower left corner of the map. For example a
point 4.5 cm east and 7.3 cm north would have a grid coordinate of 4500 7300.
User Grid Technique
1. Renumber the grid if necessary
Figure 14-2 is a small area of an ordinary street map which is 45 inches by 36
inches. The grids were pre-drawn and labeled from 14 to 59 horizontally and CH
to Y vertically. I kept the horizontal numbering and renumbered vertically from 1
to 58 vertically. The numbering must increase left to right and bottom to top –
west to east and south to north.
2. Enter the reference point into the GPS
The ways to get the location of this reference point are essentially the same as
described in the previous chapter. All that matters is that you have a way to find
the location of the reference point on the map that you are going to use to
correlate the GPS with the map. Something to consider is that the error of this
method will increase with the distance from this point. So the closer you choose
the point to the area of the map you plan on using the better. I chose to go to a
location and mark the location with the GPS itself.
3. Measure the point on the map in grid terms
I find the human eye is usually good at estimating tenths of an increment.
However, if you want to more accurately measure the point, I you can measure
and interpolate. I estimated the grid coordinates to be 46.6 and 21.3. After
measuring more accurately, I found them to be accurate to the tenth, so I used
them.

length grid
grid beyond ce dis
grid whole coordinate grid
_
_ _ tan
_ _ + =
As an example, the north grid would be calculated as:

inches
inches
75 .
45 .
46 6 . 46 + =
4. Calculate meters per grid:

a. Scale method (map with line showing distance)
As long as you measure the grid in the same units as you measure the
scale, these units cancel out. You will have to convert for the units of
scale_distance. Those conversions are at the end of this step.
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conversion
length scale
ce dis scale
length grid grid per meters × × =
_
tan _
_ _ _

In this case, it was published on the map that there are .67 miles per
inch. Thus:

mile
meters
inch
miles
grid
inches
grid
meters 1609
1
67 . 75 . 696 . 808
× × =

b. Two point method (unknown map scale)
If you do not have a scale, you can use two reference points on the
map. Calculate the grid coordinates of the second point as you did the
first point. You can then create a route on the GPS between the two
points to calculate the distance.

( ) ( ) ( )
2 2
1 _ 2 _ 1 _ 2 _ tan _ north north east east ce dis grid ÷ + ÷ =

or

length grid
map on route of length
ce dis grid
_
_ _ _ _
tan _ =
where:
grid_distance is the length of the route on the map measured in grids
grid_length and length_of_route_on_map are measured directly from
the map. Their units will cancel out as long as they are the same.
conversion
ce dis grid
ce dis route
grid per meters × =
tan _
tan _
_ _

c. Scale factor (e.g. 1:15,000)
Unlike method a, the conversion factor is for how you measure the
length of the grid such as inches or centimeters.
conversion factor scale length grid grid per meters × × = _ _ _ _

Conversion factors:

Units Conversion factor to get meters
Centimeters .01
inches .0254
feet .3048
yards .9144
kilometers 1000
miles (statute) 1609.344
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161
nautical miles 1853.18

5. Calculate GPS scale:
This is different from the scale of the map. It helps to understand what the GPS
is doing to calculate the USER coordinates. The GPS calculates a distance east
of the reference longitude and north of the equator in meters. It then multiplies
both of these raw northing and easting values by the scale before adding it to the
False Easting and False Northing. The scale is calculated so that the GPS uses
a value of grids rather than meters.

One of the ways in that the user grid works is that it only uses whole numbers.
Therefore, a factor must be included in the scale to compensate for this. If a
factor of 10 is used, a grid value of 46.6 will display as 466. A factor of 100 will
display 4660 etc. I suggest that you try to use a value of 1000 or 10^3 to get
three decimal places. This is not to imply that the accuracy is this good, but this
makes interpreting the user grid similar to interpreting a UTM grid. The 4
th
and
5
th
digits from the right will be the grid number. In a UTM grid these would be
representative of kilometers, whereas in this case, it is just a number to locate
the point on the grid.

Magellan note: Magellan puts a dash between before the third digit from the left.
Thus a user coordinate of 46600 would read as 000-46-600. Thus, unless you
are unable, use 3 decimal places.

a. Choose number of decimal places
b.
grid per meters
scale gps
places decimal of number
_ _
10
_
_ _ _
=
In our example:

meters
grid
meter
grids
696 . 808
3 ^ 10
236559 . 1
× =

6. Setup User Grid:
Setup the user grid to the values below. On some Garmin units, you may have
to select USER from the Position Format page and then select the MENU button
to get to the Setup Grid option.

Longitude of Origin to longitude of the reference point

Scale to gps_scale calculated above
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162

False Easting to the grid reference with the number of decimal places. For
example, 46.6 using 3 decimal places would be 46600.

False Northing set this to 0 if the reference point is above the equator and
9876543 if it is below the equator. A cool trick with Garmin receivers is to try to
move the cursor beyond the left digit. This will clear the field.


Figure 14-4

Magellan note: Setup the Latitude of Origin to the latitude of the reference point
and the False North at Origin similarly to the False Easting. You are finished, no
need for the next two steps.

South of the equator explanation: One of the rules of UTM which the user grid is
base on is that the values are always positive. In UTM, northing is the distance
north of the equator in meters. The problem is that points south of the equator
have a negative value distance north of the equator. In the UTM coordinate
system, this problem is solved by adding 5,000,000 to the northing. Thus, a point
on the equator would have a northing of 0 and a point 1 meter south would have
a northing of 4999999.

In the context of this procedure, the False Northing is arbitrary at this point
because it will be subtracted out later. Ideally, I would but in the maximum value
of 9,999,999. I chose 9,876,543 because it is easy to make sure that you have
the proper number of digits and it is close to the maximum value. If you have a 9
for the first digit and a 3 for the last, you probably put in the proper amount if you
counted down correctly.

I should add that it is possible at a high scale value and a very south reference
point, this False Northing will be insufficient. The solution is to use one less
decimal point and adjust the scale accordingly.
7. Get Northing of the reference point.
Go to the waypoint page and get the false northing for the reference point. In this
case, it is 3926225
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Figure 14-5
8. Set User Grid False Northing to:
Calculate the false_northing and enter it into the User Grid Setup page of the
GPS.

If the reference point is north of the equator:

step this from northing reference northing reference northing false _ _ _ _ _ _ ÷ =

If the reference point is south of the equator:

9876543 _ _ _ _ _ _ ÷ ÷ = step this from northing reference northing reference northing false

Where:
The reference_northing is the value of the reference point from the map
corrected for decimal places as the False Easting was.
Reference_northing_from_this_step is the value found by looking at the Northing
of the reference point on the GPS with the false_northing set to zero.

In this case:

-3,904,925=21,300-3,926,225-


Figure 14-6
9. You are finished setting up the GPS.
Check that the reference point user grid coordinates are correct and write the
setup values on the map for future use.
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Figure 14-7
Advance techniques for generic maps
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165
User Grid Summary and worksheet
This is a summary of the technique:

1. Renumber the grid if necessary so that it increases from left to right and top to
bottom.
2. Enter the reference point into the GPS
3. Measure the point on the map in grid terms. If you want to interpolate:
length grid
grid beyond ce dis
grid whole coordinate grid
_
_ _ tan
_ _ + =
4. Calculate meters per grid:
a. Scale method (map with line showing distance)
As long as you measure the grid in the same units as you measure the
scale, these units cancel out. You will have to convert for the units of
scale_distance. Those conversions are at the end of this step.
conversion
length scale
ce dis scale
length grid grid per meters × × =
_
tan _
_ _ _
b. Two point method (unknown map scale)
If you do not have a scale, you can use two reference points on the
map. Calculate the grid coordinates of the second point as you did the
first point. You can then create a route on the GPS between the two
points to calculate the distance.
( ) ( ) ( )
2 2
1 _ 2 _ 1 _ 2 _ tan _ north north east east ce dis grid ÷ + ÷ =

or
length grid
map on route of length
ce dis grid
_
_ _ _ _
tan _ =
where:
grid_distance is the length of the route on the map measured in grids
grid_length and length_of_route_on_map are measured directly from
the map. Their units will cancel out as long as they are the same.
conversion
ce dis grid
ce dis route
grid per meters × =
tan _
tan _
_ _
c. Scale factor (e.g. 1:15,000)
Unlike method a, the conversion factor is for how you measure the
length of the grid.
conversion factor scale length grid grid per meters × × = _ _ _ _

Conversion factors:
Units Conversion factor to get meters
Centimeters .01
inches .0254
feet .3048
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166
yards .9144
kilometers 1000
miles (statute) 1609.344
nautical miles 1853.18

5. Calculate GPS scale:

Magellan note: Magellan puts a dash between before the third digit from the
left. Thus a user coordinate of 46600 would read as 000-46-600. Thus,
unless you are unable, use 3 decimal places.

d. Choose number of decimal places
e.
grid per meters
scale gps
places decimal of number
_ _
10
_
_ _ _
=
6. Setup User Grid:
Longitude of Origin to longitude of the reference point
Scale to gps_scale calculated above
False Easting to the grid reference with the number of decimal places. For
example, 46.6 using 3 decimal places would be 46600.
False Northing set this to 0 if the reference point is above the equator and
9876543 if it is below the equator.

Magellan note: Setup the Latitude of Origin to the latitude of the reference
point and the False North at Origin similarly to the False Easting. You are
finished, no need for the next two steps.

7. Get Northing of the reference point.

8. Set User Grid False Northing to:

If the reference point is north of the equator:
step this from northing reference northing reference northing false _ _ _ _ _ _ ÷ =

If the reference point is south of the equator:
9876543 _ _ _ _ _ _ ÷ ÷ = step this from northing reference northing reference northing false

Where:
The reference_northing is the value of the reference point from the map
corrected for decimal places as the False Easting was.
Reference_northing_from_this_step is the value found by looking at the
Northing of the reference point on the GPS with the false_northing set to zero.

9. You are finished setting up the GPS. Check that the reference point user grid
coordinates are correct and write the setup values on the map for future use.
Connecting your GPS to the computer
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Rowing, Kayaking, and Sailing
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Chapter 15 Rowing, Kayaking, and Sailing
Rowing
Rowing promotion
Most people think of rowing as being done as a team sport in schools, especially
the Ivy League. Usually, this is done in long, thin, and expensive boats on calm
rivers. Rowing is incorrectly perceived as being only slightly more accessible
than Polo. There are also people that row in open water, such as in San
Francisco bay and near Cape Cod.

Rowing is great exercise in that especially with a sliding seat, it involves the
whole body. With a sliding seat, much of the initial push is done by the legs with
the continuation of the stroke being done with the upper body. I have some more
information Links and Further Reading section.

Just as in bicycling, there is a whole spectrum from hard-core road racers to
mountain biking – there is a spectrum from the exclusive and expensive carbon
fiber equipped competitive rowing to the open water rowing in San Francisco
Bay. Somewhere in this spectrum are people who just enjoy going out at an
enjoyable but vigorous pace to enjoy the water and get some fitness. I am in this
last category.

GPS techniques
Following a GPS while rowing is simple. The pointer or turn field tells you which
direction to turn the stern.

The biggest point about using GPS is that the indications given by the TURN field
or by pointer type of screens work correctly even while sitting backwards. If the
GPS indicates a turn of L005, this means that the bow needs to come left 5
degrees. If the bow turns left by 5 degrees, the stern will turn left by 5 degrees
when looking backward. Thus, the GPS works fine while sitting backwards in a
boat.

The direction of OFF COURSE is reversed while when rowing. As I mention in
the Navigation Terminology section, I think that the sensing direction of OFF
COURSE is backwards anyway. While rowing, the direction indicated by OFF
COURSE is to the course line rather than from the course line. What has not
changed is how to correct towards the course described in the ―Navigating along
a line using bearing information‖ section on page 103. Still try to get the OFF
COURSE direction and the TURN direction to agree.

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I do not find the SPEED to be very useful while rowing. The speed of the boat
varies during the stroke and the GPS will reflect this by indicating a SPEED that
varies quite a bit. Not only does the thrust vary during the stroke, but the various
parts of the system vary in their relationship to each other. The ETA and TIME
TO functions have some averaging built in and tend to work well. I also found
that the SPEED display works much better with the GPS in battery saver mode.
Battery saver mode cuts down on the number of position samples per unit of time
to save batteries. This has the effect of averaging the speed.

I find that the mapping is a nice feature even while rowing. I set the map to
display North up to avoid confusion. I find that displaying the map with track up
is confusing. Looking backwards and having the map display features that are
behind you being in front of you is confusing. The optimum solution would be to
have a track down option on the map setup. Realistically, rowing is not a big
enough sport for GPS manufactures to add a track down option to the display.

The usefulness of GPS for rowing depends on what type of rowing you do.
Obviously, GPS is useful for navigation on open water. GPS would not be useful
for navigating between river banks. In between open water and navigating
between the banks are wide areas of the river. It would be possible to create a
virtual course. Even if the GPS is not needed for navigation, it might still be
useful for monitoring progress.

I like it on the lake because it permits me to keep a straight line. Instead of
being a distraction, the GPS allows me to devote more concentration on rowing
and looking for traffic.
Sailing

I must start out my discussion on sailing with the disclaimer already mentioned in
previous places that I am not an active sailor. I have sailed small boats in the
past and I feel fairly comfortable with the some of the theory. Therefore, take this
section as some things that I thought that you might find useful for your
consideration (and possible rejection) as a sailor, but not as advice from an
experienced sailor.
VMG, Velocity Made Good
A sailboat has an optimum angle to sail with respect to the wind. The problem is
that this angle may not be the direction that you want to go. If you turn to go
towards the waypoint, the speed of the boat decreases. However, the speed that
the boat is going is more towards the waypoint and is more useful. The GPS can
be used to optimize this angle.

Most handheld GPS receivers have a data field for Velocity Made Good, VMG.
VMG is the speed projected along the bearing line, which is the line between the
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boat and the active waypoint. Another way of saying this is VMG is the speed at
which you are going towards the waypoint. The formula for this is VMG= SPEED
* COS (TURN), where TURN= TRACK-BEARING. This is not the speed along
the course line. Figure 15-1 shows this speed at several points along a tack.
Look at the data fields for detail.



Point 1 Point 2 Point 3
Figure 15-1 (Garmin GPS MAP 76)

Figure 15-1 shows a tack that is a constant speed and track. All that changes is
the relationship of the boat to points A and B. In the second screen, the VMG
has been reduced to zero and in the third screen, the VMG is negative. This is
because if you maintain the same track beyond boat‘s location in the second
screen, you are actually getting further from waypoint B. If you were to draw a
circle around waypoint B, point 2 would be the tangent point.

In all three cases if you were to project the speed of the boat along the course
line it would be the same, 5 knots. The calculation is ( SPEED * cos ( COURSE
– TRACK), 10 knots * cos (60)). There is no data field for the projection of the
speed along the course. Even though the speed towards waypoint B is actually
negative at point 3, the boat is still progressing along the course from A to B.

The location of point A and the course is irrelevant to VMG. The only factors for
VMG are TRACK, BEARING, SPEED and TRACK. I have exaggerated my
example for illustration. In many cases, VMG will be reasonably close to the
speed projected along the course. The third screen of Figure 15-1 is useful for
understanding the concept of VMG. If you get to this region of negative VMG,
you have probably traveled too far on the tack.

My purpose was to explain what the VMG is actually telling you. If you agree to
take the disclaimer of my previously mentioned lack of sailing experience I will
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continue with further discussion of possible uses for VMG for your consideration
and possible rejection.

One thing that VMG will not tell you is how far to travel on a tack. What it can be
used for is to optimize the heading while on a tack. If you track directly to a
waypoint, VMG will stay steady and be equal to SPEED. However, unless you
are tracking directly to the waypoint, the VMG will decrease as you get closer to
the waypoint. This is usually a longer term and more constant effect than the
changes in VMG because of changes in heading. Not only will changing the
heading change TRACK, but it will also change SPEED. The change in SPEED
is a result of the change in relationship of the boat with the wind. Use trial and
error to find the heading that gives you the best VMG at any point. Generally,
the short term effects of the heading change will be easy to pick up relative to the
longer term effects of the natural decay of VMG due to the geometry of the
solution.

An interesting point is that VMG can be used in situations where a tack is not
necessary to go directly to the waypoint. Take going directly downwind as an
example. Any sailboat will sail downwind directly to a point. However, the speed
polar is such that tacking at a slight angle will often result in a faster time to the
point. In other words, the increase in speed more than compensates for the
increase in distance by not going direct. The VMG field can be used to find this
angle.

In case you were wondering how TIME TO NEXT is calculated, I have to admit
my ignorance. If you are tracking towards your active waypoint, it works well.
There appears to be some short term averaging in the solution. If you are not
tracking towards your waypoint, it is suspect. Obviously, there is more involved
than VMG as indicated by there being a value for TIME TO NEXT when the VMG
is zero or negative.
Hazards
With power boating it is possible to plot a route and follow it. Sailing is more
complicated in that it is often necessary to tack back and forth along the route.
There are ways of using a GPS to accomplish this task.

Again, keep in mind my disclaimer at the beginning of this section. Simply
enough, even though I understand the techniques that I explain, I am not an
active sailor.

All of the techniques require that you are familiar with and use a chart to plot
zones of safety. These techniques can be used with a very simple non-mapping
GPS. They can also be used in conjunction with a more expensive mapping
GPS.

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If you are sailing between hazards, the technique is to plot a route through the
middle of the hazards. Next plot a maximum distance that you can deviate from
the centerline of the route. Most GPS receivers can give you a value for OFF
COURSE, or XTK to let you know if you are within this safe area. The chart and
plot are depicted in Figure 15-2. You can tack back and forth as much as
necessary as long as you do not exceed the maximum OFF COURSE value that
defines the safety zone.


Figure 15-2

I would suggest using the map page with one of the data fields set to OFF
COURSE or XTK even in non-mapping GPS receivers where the depiction is
nothing more than a plot of the route. There are some map screens such as on
the Garmin GPS II and GPS 12, where it is not possible to display a value for
OFF COURSE. In such a case, a display such as the highway screen may be of
more use. On the older two dimensional highway depictions such as on the
Garmin GPS II and GPS 12, it is possible to set the zoom to change the ―edges‖
of the highway. There are a couple of very basic GPS receivers such as the
Garmin basic yellow eTrex and eMap that do not have the option of displaying a
digital value for OFF COURSE. In such a case, the map page can be used
although with considerably less precision.

Many GPS receivers allow you to set an alarm to warn you that you have
exceeded a user definable maximum OFF COURSE value.

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174

Figure 15-3
A similar technique can be used for navigating parallel to a shoreline. In Figure
15-3, a line has been drawn along the chart to represent a limit as to how close
to come to shore while tacking. The route A-B-C-D can be loaded in the GPS
and the GPS can be used to avoid crossing this line.

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Figure 15-4
Another technique allows you to plot a zone between intersecting lines. As long
as the boat is between the two danger bearings in Figure 16-1, the boat should
be in the clear zone.

Any GPS will give you a bearing to the active waypoint. Realize that the GPS will
display the bearing TO a point. In this example, the GPS will read 040° as
opposed to 220° on the left line and 350° as opposed to 170° along the right line.

There is a very simple trick to calculating reciprocal bearings in your head.
Instead of adding or subtracting 180°, add 200° and then subtract 20° or vice
versa. If the first digit is 0 or 1, increment the first digit by 2 and then decrement
the second digit by two. If the first digit is 2 or 3, decrement the first digit by 2
and increment the second digit by 2. You will still have to carry and borrow, such
as is the case with 280° and 100°, but it is still a little easier than adding and
subtracting 180°.

Another important point is that the GPS will indicate either magnetic or true
values depending on what you set it up to do. Make sure that you either set the
GPS to use true north as a reference or that you correct the values you measure
from the chart for magnetic variation and use the GPS set to magnetic north
reference.

I think that using true north is less prone to error with this technique. However,
the magnetic values also allow you to use your compass. The bearing is equal to
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the heading added to the relative bearing. For example, if WPT is an object that
you can sight, you can visually get a relative bearing. If you are heading 040°
and the object is 30° to the left of the bow, then the BEARING to the object is
010°.

Back to the example, as long as the position of the boat is between 040° and
350° true, the boat is in the safe area.

Some other tricks: If you have an isolated hazard, many GPS receivers allow
you to create a proximity alarm around a waypoint. This feature allows you to
draw a circle of a distance that you specify around a waypoint and it gives you a
warning of when your position is within the circle. In such a case, create a
waypoint at the center of the location of the hazard and set the proximity radius
to an appropriately conservative value. In the case of a GPS without proximity
waypoints, you can still create waypoints to represent hazards. Depending on
your GPS, you can put the cursor over the created waypoint to get a bearing and
distance to the waypoint in addition to the point that you are navigating to, or you
might consider creating a waypoint that is biased toward your route rather than in
the center of the hazard area.
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177
Chapter 16 Odds and Ends

This is section is for odd little tips that do not merit their own section and do not fit
anywhere else.

Man Overboard – MOB

You should know how to quickly mark a waypoint and navigate back to it. The
actual usefulness will depend on the visibility and your speed, but it could
potentially be a life saver.

Several of the Garmins that I am familiar with have a feature where you can hold
the GOTO or NAV button and then navigate directly back to the point that you
pressed the button. The new eTrex has this for all practical purposes. Hold the
click stick until you see a new auto-named waypoint -- GOTO will be highlighted.
Press enter and you will navigate directly back to the point.

The Magellan receivers require a several step process. Hold the GOTO/ mark
key to create a waypoint at the man overboard position, then navigate back to it
like any other waypoint.
Measuring with a map display
(Garmin and perhaps Lowrance, but not Magellan)


Figure 16-1
On most of the mapping Garmin units that I am familiar with—I don‘t know about
the other manufactures, the screen of the mapping display can be used as a
measuring tool without having to create a route or upset the navigation of the
route that you might be on. When you move the touchpad from within the map
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178
display, you get a cursor. The bearing and distance as well as the coordinates
are displayed to the cursor point. This is dynamic and will update as you travel.

If you press MENU and choose measure distance you will get an ENT REF
under the cursor. When you press ENTER, this will set that point as a reference
point. Now the cursor will give the bearing and distance relative to the point
where you pressed enter. In Figure 16-1, I pressed ENTER on the shore of
House Island. I then moved the curser to the route line to see that the route
along the buoys is 478 ft. from the shore. If I were to press ENTER again, I
would start measuring from this point. Notice that in the measuring mode the
map switched to North orientation. The first screen has a North pointer in the
upper left. The second screen does not show the pointer because the whole
screen is oriented to North.
Tracks

Most of this book has been concerned with navigation – how to find your way to
your destination. However, it is sometimes interesting to use the GPS to find out
where you have been. In addition to viewing the track on the GPS itself, it is
possible to download the track and superimpose it on a variety of maps including
aerial photographs.

Figure 16-2 is a track that I downloaded from a basic Garmin eTrex. I saved the
track as a .gpx file using G7toWin, http://www.gpsinformation.org/ronh/, and then
uploaded it to www.gpsvisualizer.com. This was a very simple process, but there
are many various programs with various capabilities that are beyond my interest
and expertise. I have also used USA Photo Maps, http://jdmcox.com, with good
results.

I have just played around with this capability. There are a plethora of programs
that allow you to download and view tracks. I would suggest the following
sources for further research:

- GPS for Dummies
Joel McNamara
Wiley Publishing, ISBN 0-7645-6933-3

GPS for Dummies has good coverage of the various software available to
interface a computer with the GPS.

- For PC shareware, try www.gpsinformation.net

I have referred to this multiple times, but this is a great place to look for
links to several other shareware programs. Look under the section for
Third Party Software.

Odds and Ends
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179


Figure 16-2

Links and Further Reading
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181
Chapter 17 Links and Further Reading

Most of the links are imbedded in the various sections of this text. However there
are a couple of sources that just do not fit any particular place that I wanted to
list.
Marine GPS use

- GPS Instant Navigation, 2
nd
edition
Kevin Monahan & Don Douglass
Fine Edge, 2000; ISBN 0-938665-76-6
www.FineEdge.com

Excellent text on using GPS for marine navigation. Few examples using
smaller handheld receivers, but there is still much good information from
two experienced skipper.
Aviation use

- Cockpit GPS
www.cockpitgps.com
At the present time this is unpublished. This is my book on using GPS for
aviation use.
GPS information

- A GPS User Manual, Working with Garmin Receivers
Dale DePriest
1
st
Books, ISBN 1-4033-9823-2 (e-book), ISBN 1-4033-9824-0
(Paperback)
http://users.cwnet.com/dalede/

This book has a lot of good information on the specifics operational tricks
of many of the Gamin handheld receivers.

- Joe Mehaffey and Jack Yeazel's GPS Information Website
www.gpsinformation.net
consider this to be a GPS portal. This is a good place to start your search
if you are looking for GPS information.

- GPS tracking of plate tectonics
http://sideshow.jpl.nasa.gov/mbh/series.html
This is a site run by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory showing plate tectonic
Links and Further Reading
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182
movement using GPS tracking. Obviously this is not being done with
consumer grade GPS receivers. This is a unique application of GPS
technology.

- GPS Guide for Beginners, www.garmin.com
This is a good overview of GPS. Go to the Garmin website, follow the
Support link, then select User Manuals; then choose Other, Other, and
GPS Guide for Beginners.

- Hunting and Fishing times, www.solunar.com
Many GPS receivers calculate best hunting and fishing times. I am
neither a hunter nor a fisherman, but I had been intrigued as to what the
GPS would base such a calculation on. This site will explain the theory.

- GPS for Dummies
Joel McNamara
Wiley Publishing, ISBN 0-7645-6933-3
This is a good source of information on PDA programs and third party
GPS programs for calibrating maps.

- GPS and Mathmatics, http://www.math.uncc.edu/~droyster
David Royster
This is a paper explaining GPS with some mathematics such as
simultaneous equations.
Map and Compass Information
- Finding Your Way with Map and Compass, U.S. Geological Survey
http://mac.usgs.gov/mac/isb/pubs/factsheets/fs03501.html#toc

- How to Use a Map and Compass, Kjetil Kjernsmo‘
http://www.learn-orienteering.org

- OA Guide to Map and Compass, Rick Curtis
http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/manual/mapcompass.shtml

- Traditional Mountaineering
http://www.traditionalmountaineering.org
On this site you will find a link to Robert Speik‘s class handout on using
GPS and compass for navigation.

- Maps 101, Natural Recourses Canada
http://maps.nrcan.gc.ca/maps101/index.html
This is a very extensive site on reading maps as well as some information
on using a compass
Links and Further Reading
Basic GPS Navigation
www.smallboatgps.com
183
Cartographic information

- Odden‘s Bookmarks, http://oddens.geog.uu.nl/index.html
Over 16,000 cartographic links.

- Using a Garmin GPS with Paper Land Maps, www.garmin.com
This is a good overview of basic cartography. Go to the Garmin website,
follow the Support link, then select User Manuals; then choose Other,
Other, and Using a Garmin GPS with Paper Land Maps.
Rowing

- Search for ―recreational rowing‖ in Internet search engines

- What is Open Water Rowing?
http://www.openwater.com/Stories/What_is_STORY.htm

- Alden Rowing Shells, www.rowalden.com

Maker of recreational rowing shells. I row the Alden 18 with one
Oarmaster. The Horizon, which is a polyethylene shell for less than $1000
(without oars), looks intriguing.

- Life in the Slow Lane
Arthur Martin
Peter Randall, 1990; ISBN 0914339303

This is the autobiography of the naval architect, Arthur Martin, who
created the Alden Ocean Shell.

- MAAS Shells, www.maasboats.com
These are well regarded recreational and open water shells.

- Recreation Rowing

http://www.adirondackrowing.com/
This is a dealer‘s website, Peter Gallo. If you are interested in recreational
rowing this is one possible place to start. I have talked to Peter a couple
of times when I was contemplating getting a boat and feel comfortable
recommending him based on this experience.
Links and Further Reading
Basic GPS Navigation
www.smallboatgps.com
184
Kayaking

- Folding Kayaks, http://www.foldingkayaks.org/

Rowing and kayaking are two very different sports. I enjoy them both, but
for different reasons. My kayaks fold and can be checked as luggage on
board an aircraft. These kayaks can portage at 500 m.p.h. Michael
Edelman has put together an excellent site on foldable kayaks with good
information including where to find more information.

- Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation, 3
rd
edition
David Burch
Globe Pequot Press, 1999; ISBN 0-7627-0473-X

The title sums it up, this is a book dedicated to kayak navigation. Issues
such as tides, currents, rules of the road, chart reading, and non-GPS
navigation are covered.
Geocaching and other different uses

- http://www.geocaching.com/
Geocaching is something like a GPS aided scavenger hunt.

- http://www.confluence.org/
The Degree Confluence project is an effort to take pictures at whole
degree latitude and longitude points.



Basic GPS Navigation


This book is a practical guide to using GPS, especially consumer handheld
models for a variety of navigational activities.

Topics covered:

- How GPS works
This is a purposefully oversimplified version. I have links to more in depth
explanations.

- Issues
A discussion of where I see the vulnerabilities of using GPS

- Choosing a GPS receiver
What you should look for in a receiver
I do have a couple of my favorite recommendations, but this is not
intended as a comprehensive review of the models on the market.

- Waypoints
In order to navigate to someplace, you need to have the coordinates of
that place. I have some sources of how to get those coordinates. As well
as some links to free computer software to save your favorite coordinates
from you GPS to your computer.

- Navigation
How to get to where you are going using the GPS

- Routes
How to setup routes

This is am Internet based home publishing project by an airline pilot, novice
rower, kayaker, and sailor who has a degree in engineering, but almost majored
in freshman English. No claims are made to the quality of the writing, but I think
that you will find the information useful.



Visit my website at www.smallboatgps.com for the latest updates.

Copyright
Authorized copying and distribution: It is my intent that individuals be able to print a reasonable number of copies for personal use. Unauthorized copying or distribution is prohibited. Copyright 2008 John Bell All rights reserved

Last revision 01/25/2008 Acknowledgement
In my research to find what kind of material was already available on the web, I came across a GPS for kayaking course taught in Boston by Adam Bolonsky. I sent an e-mail to Adam to ask his opinion. Adam has been kind enough to give me extensive feedback on this book. Note that this is an expression of thanks for his help rather than Adam‘s endorsement for the content. For that, I remain solely responsible. Adam teaches kayaking skills as well as being an outdoor writer. His e-mail is adambolonsky@yahoo.com . I used G7toWin, by Ron Henderson, extensively for screen captures. It is available at http://www.gpsinformation.org/ronh/. Thanks to Fred Simon and his many e-mails on tacking.

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These are cases where I was outright wrong or explained something in a manner that while being logical to me. Although I consider myself to be knowledgeable and I have tried to make this information accurate to the best of my knowledge. If this book proves to be sufficiently popular. John Bell handheldgps@hotmail. By doing so I will have to freeze the content and updates will be harder to make and fewer. I take no liability for any of the material. these are not my primary concern. I believe that it bears being said separately for emphasis. was actually confusing. Sincerely. I would also like to hear if this book helped you and if there are things that you wish that I had included but did not.Preface and Disclaimer Although I say essentially the same thing in the introduction. I may have it edited and published in a more formal manner. Although I am open to such corrections. Both the e-book and print on demand versions of this book are not professionally edited or published. Although I have hopefully provided accurate information that will increase your level of safety and effectiveness in navigating with GPS. Professional editing adds a layer of confidence in that the text is checked for both writing errors as well as factual errors. The grammatical and general stylistic errors will be the easiest to fix by hiring somebody with more writing skill. I would very much like to hear about substantive errors. Not that I will necessarily include them. this book has not been edited. but I do appreciate any ideas.com . there has to be some winnowing of subject matter.

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................. 14 Hazards not depicted .......................................................................Contents Chapter 1 Introduction ........... 5 Basic GPS............................................................................................................... 27 U.............................................................. 26 Unlock areas on CD-rom .......................................................... 17 Signal Availability ................................................. 24 Which map product? ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 17 Detecting Signal Loss ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 12 GPS dependence.............................................................. 11 Proficiency .................................................................................... 9 Chapter 3 Issues ....................................................... 30 Memory availability ...................... 20 GPS and Terror....................................................................................................................... 24 Mapping data...................................... 33 Processor Speed ................................................... 33 Available data fields ........................................................................................................ SA ................................................................. 28 Memory requirements for maps.......................................................................... 20 Chapter 4 Choosing a GPS receiver ...................................................................................................................................... 35 Aviation GPS Receivers ............ 11 How to become proficient....................................................................... 18 Channel marker collisions .................................................................................................................... 13 Accuracy ................................................................................................................................ 1 Which GPS receivers I address.....................................S............. 2 Synopsis ........................................................... 11 GPS fixation ....................................... 1 A brief history of this book .................................................................................. 8 What your GPS does when it starts up ...................................................................... 5 Selective Availability.................................................... 7 Differential GPS ..................................................... 7 WAAS ............................................................................... 39 .................................................................. 1 What I hope to accomplish in this book................................... 33 Marine vs. 35 Built in Altimeter and Compass ................................................... 1 My experiences and qualifications .............. 2 Nomenclature.................................................................................................... 19 Traffic in Low Visibility ........................................ Generic ........................................................................... GPS outside of the basemap area ........... 23 Total Cost............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 7 Basic GPS .......................................................................................... 33 Display Screen ................ 23 Mapping GPS........................................................................................... 12 Operator Error .. 35 Garmin Nuvi type receivers ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 3 Chapter 2 How GPS Works ..................................................................................................................................... .. 20 Using GPS to avoid collisions................................................ ...

........................................................... 43 Auto routing and pedestrian use ................... 40 Less than 12 channels .......... 61 Location Format ........... 66 From the Internet .............. 60 Understanding some mapping basics ............................................. 49 Garmin eTrex Vista.................... 73 Other software...... 60 A little extra background on datums ......................... 58 Marking on the map screen ............................ 56 Appropriateness of data.............. 49 Garmin GPS III Plus ....... 46 Multiple Uses ................................................................................................. and Venture ...............................................................Number of Channels ..... 60 Datums ................................................................................................................................ 51 Magellan .................................................................................................................. 45 Dead Reckoning ................................................................................................................................................................................... 54 Other Manufactures ................................................................................... 66 Mapping Programs ................................ 58 Projecting a point .................. 41 Antenna Location and Type ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 72 National Geocgraphic http://maps......................S......................................................................... 56 Mark Present Position.................................. 69 Delorme Map Print Pack (U................................................... 72 Ozi Explorer www..................................................... Universal Transverse Mercator ........................ 64 Various other Grids .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 41 Mounting ............................................................................................................................................................................... 73 .................................................................................................. 49 Garmin GPS 76 .................. 40 WAAS or non-WAAS ................................................................................................................................................................... 48 Specific Garmin Models ....... 51 Garmin GPS Map 176 ........................................... Legend.................. 48 eTrex (basic) and Geko .................................................................................................................... 50 GPS V ....................... 70 Microsoft Streets and Trips ......................................................... 66 Specialized Charts and Maps ......................................................................................... 52 Lowrance ............................................................................ Only) www................................................................................................................................ 47 Where to get more information ............................................................................. 42 Computer connection......................................................................... 51 Garmin 196 and 295 ....delorme....... 71 GPS Manufactures‘ Mapping and Data Software .... 54 Chapter 5 Waypoints ......................................................................... 63 UTM................................................................................................................com ...........................................................................................................nationalgeographic/top ........................ 49 Garmin GPS 72 .............. 63 Latitude and Longitude....................................................................................................... 47 Laptops and PDA‘s ............... 43 Automotive use ................................com .................. 40 More than 12 channels .....................................................................................oziexplorer................................

..................................................................................................................................Ordinary Road Maps ............................................................................................................................. 90 Highway Screen ................................... 98 Navigating to a point using BEARING and TRACK information .................................. 89 Bearing Pointer....... 97 When this chapter does not apply: .................................................................. 81 PC Programs ............ 88 Chapter 8 Navigation Displays .............................................. 98 Technique ........................................................................................................................................................................................................ XTK (cross track error) .............................. 73 Google Earth ................................ 80 Garmin POI Loader ..................................................................................................................................... 83 What is North? ................................................................................................. Track error ......................... 100 .................. 87 OFF COURSE.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 93 Detail ......................................................................................... 95 Chapter 9 Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation .............................................................................................................................................. or RMI ............................................................. 79 Lowrance Serial ............................... Compass........................ 74 GPS Babel........................................................................................... 82 Ozi Explorer http://www.................................... 93 The variations: ....... 79 Garmin Serial ........... 91 Which screen should you use? ... 93 Lines ..............................com ............................ 82 GPS software for the Mac ...........................org/ronh/ ................................................ 89 Map Display ............................................... COURSE TO STEER ........................................ 80 Lowrance ........ 83 Magnetic North ...... 92 Setting up the map display for navigation ....................................................................................... 93 Data Fields ......... 82 G7toWin http://www..................... 85 TRACK—synonym TRK or COG (Course over Ground) or HEADING .......................................................................................................................................................... 87 TKE................................................................................................gpsinformation........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 83 Grid North .............................................................. 79 Hardware ....................synonym DTK(desired track) ................................... 82 Chapter 7 Navigation Terminology ..................................................................... 80 Software .................... 99 Homing verses tracking .................................. 99 Steering .. 82 EasyGPS www................................................................................................................oziexplorer.................... 91 Other navigation screens ...... 86 BEARING ........................................................................ 77 Chapter 6 Connecting your GPS to the computer ...................................... 86 COURSE-....... 80 Garmin.................................. 89 HSI or Course Pointer ............................................. 87 Terminology Example ...........easygps................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 87 TO COURSE........................................... 86 TURN .....................................................................................................................................................com ..

..................... 123 What is a route?........................................... 122 Chapter 11 Routes ......................... 117 Triangulation ...................................................................................................... 109 Which activities does this chapter apply to? ............................................... Heading ............................................................... 102 Navigating along a line using bearing information .......................... 119 Finding Points of Interest ............................................................................................................................................... 122 More information on using a Map and Compass ................................................... 135 Using the computer to create the route.......................... 112 Which Screen to navigate with ....................................................... 121 Navigating ........... 118 Equipment ................... 103 Navigating along a line using COURSE information .................................. 127 Enroute GOTO . 109 Track vs.......................................................................... 127 Is the receiver capable of an enroute GOTO? ........................................................................................................... 125 Garmin ...................................................................................... 111 What data and displays are still useful without TRACK? ................................. 109 Warning .................. 118 Foot navigation for the urban tourist ............ 137 Magellan adaptive technique .. 128 Executing an enroute GOTO ...................................... 123 First leg uses the second waypoint ......................................................................................................................................................................... 111 Basic BEARING and a compass technique .............................................................................. 106 Chapter 10 Two Dimensional Navigation on foot ............................................................................................................. 116 Aligning the GPS screen ................................................................. 123 Warning: ....................................... 131 Chapter 12 Path navigation ................................................................................................................................................. 110 Track .......................................................................................................... 106 Great Circle .. 114 Other navigation clues ............................ 123 Evaluating routes .......................................................... 113 Magnetic North .................................................................... 128 Example: Setup of Manchester Channel ........................................................................................................................ 110 Heading ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 141 ........................................................................................................................................................... 125 Creating a route using the map display ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 115 More Tricks ......................Sighting ........ 138 Another example.......................................................... 119 Routes ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 101 TURN Sensitivity ........................................................................................... 130 Example: Route between a chain of lakes .......................................................... 125 Waypoint and leg sequencing ....................................................................... 126 Magellan ............. 104 Navigating to a point using course information ................................................................................................................... 116 Using True North ............................................................................ 138 Chapter 13 Using Maps with an unknown or no grid ............

.............. 177 Measuring with a map display ........................................................................................................................ Velocity Made Good ........................................A little math of conversion review................. Measure the point on the map in grid terms .......................... 155 Bearing from two points method ....................................................................................... 145 UTM method.................................... 150 Some Bearing and Distances ..................... 181 GPS information................................................ 159 4............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 158 User Grid Technique ................... Get Northing of the reference point....................... 149 END relative to reference points ...... 163 9......... 156 Map Requirements ....................................... 170 VMG................. 163 User Grid Summary and worksheet ...................................... 165 Chapter 15 Rowing.......................................................... 183 Rowing ................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 169 Sailing ..... 169 Rowing promotion ............................................................................................................................................................. 177 Tracks ...................................................................................................................... 148 Example using a reference point........... 177 Man Overboard – MOB ............................................................................................................................ 159 1................................................................................................................... 155 User Grid Overview ........................................................................... 162 8........................................................ 145 Bearing and Distance method ......... 156 User Grid Preview ......................................................................................................................................................... 143 Bearing reciprocal calculation technique ... Enter the reference point into the GPS....................... 172 Chapter 16 Odds and Ends ............................................... 159 2.............. 169 Rowing .................................... Renumber the grid if necessary ........... Kayaking....................................................... 178 Chapter 17 Links and Further Reading ......................................................................................................................... 183 Kayaking .............. 182 Cartographic information ... Calculate GPS scale: ..... ..................................... 184 ............... 170 Hazards ................... 184 Geocaching and other different uses ............................................................................................................................................... 181 Aviation use ............................... 144 Creating Waypoints from known Waypoints......................................................................... 169 GPS techniques ..................................................................................................................... 161 7............. .................................................................... Set User Grid False Northing to: .............................................................................. 181 Map and Compass Information ............................................... 153 Chapter 14 Advance techniques for generic maps . 159 3......................................................................................................................... 150 How well did the methods work? . You are finished setting up the GPS.................................................................................................... Calculate meters per grid: .. and Sailing ...... 159 5.............................................. 181 Marine GPS use.......................................................

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rowing. This is the realm of the owner‘s manual and simply playing with the GPS to get familiar with it.com 1 . Many of the people that have GPS receivers are using their GPS receivers to a fraction of their potential. I have used GPS for a variety of activities. Different receivers have different keystrokes and menu selections to accomplish certain tasks. many of the principles of navigation are similar. Even if the logic is not what you might try on the first guess. Even though my professional expertise is flying. or an integrated flight management system on an airliner. many people have no idea what they can do with one. It is fair that you know my expertise and experience relative to using GPS. My intent is to try to show you how to use a GPS for many recreational activities. I am an airline pilot for a major airline in the U. Whether you are using a very economical handheld GPS receiver. cross track error. but this is even true between different receivers made by the same manufacture. One thing that I am not is a writer. I use screen shots from several different GPS receivers. an expensive marine chart plotter. etc. personal watercraft riding. Generally. routes. track.S. Some of the uses of GPS that would get strange looks from my neighbors if they didn‘t know me as well as they do are when I have put a GPS into my hat to measure the linear distance mowing my lawn. However. a little trial and error will usually get you to the required menu or function. By profession. Although I may occasionally give advice relevant to a specific receiver. I have used GPS for aircraft navigation. Much of navigation is relating parameters such as bearing. kayaking. It is possible to go into a chain store and purchase a GPS receiver which will give more navigation capability than was available at any price just a couple of years ago. However. there is a logic to the menus and button presses. bicycling. Which GPS receivers I address. this book in no way is meant to be model specific. I occasionally mention a feature or trick that is applicable to a specific receiver. I commonly inline Basic GPS Navigation www. for the most part I do not tell you the button and menu sequences to accomplish a specific task.Introduction Chapter 1 Introduction What I hope to accomplish in this book. This is certainly true from manufacture to manufacture. and I commonly use GPS to find my way around unfamiliar cities. My experiences and qualifications The perspective of an author always influences a book.smallboatgps. I also have a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

and read several books. GPS became somewhat of a hobby and I would often talk to boaters about using GPS. Nomenclature 2 Basic GPS Navigation www. I found a shortage of knowledge and skill in using GPS. this handheld device would provide much of the navigation information that the boxes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the airliners that I was flying. Texas at the time. I became fascinated with GPS. Unfortunately. What started as an e-mail became a website which eventually became a downloadable book. I had to have one also. Instead she let me know that they could really use some camping gear. I was amazed that for a couple of hundred dollars.cockpitgps. Unfortunately. I played with the GPS before I gave it to her. I would also talk to salesman at local boating stores. I am confident in my knowledge of how to use GPS for navigation. I would occasionally read about someone being caught in a blizzard and being lost. so I also purchased a GPS for my little sister so that she and her new husband would be able to navigate their way through any surprise blizzard. but my advice does not extend beyond the GPS aspect of the activity. I realized that many pilots did not know how to use GPS to its fullest potential. Thus. Living in the Houston. Cockpit GPS (www. there are many subjects that I do not cover in much detail. Certainly Norway qualified as having blizzard potential. flying. this book is a re-editing and expansion of the scope of Small Boat GPS. In only one of these activities that I have used GPS. such as reading nautical charts or topographic maps because they are beyond the scope of the book and my expertise. Thus. and I think that my sister‘s GPS resides in a drawer in Norway. occasionally go to seminars for boaters. When I first started using GPS in airplanes. I also felt that many of the books on using GPS left out some crucial skills in using the GPS.smallboatgps. Thus. would I claim to be an expert or at least professional.Introduction skate around the neighborhood with a GPS strapped to the top of my helmet to tell me how far and fast I have skated. Much of what was in Small Boat GPS is generic to navigation using GPS and is applicable across a wide variety of activities.com . I wrote Small Boat GPS which was published on the Internet.com). A brief history of this book My little sister married a Norwegian. The good news is that there is much good material addressing these issues. She was kind enough to release me from the standard bridal registry of useless things such as fine china.

 Issues GPS is a wonderful technology. However. I feel that nothing is lost in this somewhat incorrect terminology and I often use the term ―GPS‖ in reference to the receiver. It is a system that includes satellites that are monitored and controlled by ground stations as well as receivers. you must have one to use. If you have a mapping GPS. It is usually contextually obvious when the receiver is being referenced and when the whole system is being referenced. Maps and charts are also useful for finding coordinates. you will not need advice on which GPS to buy. There is also much good information available on the web. There is information that some people will find irrelevant that others will find useful. Although I list my opinions on some specific models. but there are some caveats and limitations that you should understand. It is necessary to describe where you want to go to the GPS receiver. Synopsis I have tried to lay out this book in a logical manner. Using a road Basic GPS Navigation www. Referring to a GPS navigator while being technically incorrect is the common usage. my primary goal is to let you know what issues to consider in choosing a GPS. There are a variety of methods for getting these coordinates. sometimes called a GPS navigator.smallboatgps. GPS receivers are like any other piece of electronics in that new models are constantly replacing old models.Introduction GPS stands for Global Positioning System. There are also ways to get coordinates using a computer including Internet sites. you will not need to figure out how to get waypoints. For example. Thus.  How it works Every book has a description of how GPS works. if you already have a GPS. pick and choose what you find interesting and useful. a model-by-model buyer‘s guide quickly becomes obsolete. I have a brief oversimplified explanation that will hopefully give you the conceptual knowledge of how GPS works. The thing commonly referred to as a GPS is actually a receiver integrated with a navigation computer. Some are as easy as pointing and clicking on a mapping GPS.com 3 .  Where to get Waypoints Another issue is where to get waypoints. this is not a novel. Before you can navigate with a GPS.  Which GPS Before you can use a GPS.

there are some terms that you should know.com . One of the biggest advantages of GPS is that it provides information on the direction that you are traveling.smallboatgps. Thus. there is often a significant difference. there is a slight variation in using GPS for foot navigation. Path navigation is where the GPS is used to orient and provide progress along a route such as boating along a river or traveling along a road or trail. 4 Basic GPS Navigation www. a road map might be ideal for using with a basic GPS for a canoe trip. there is a difference in navigation technique. However. This is unique in that most systems in the past have only provided information on the direction that a vessel is pointing. the time and expense of acquiring such a map may be overkill when a road map or free map from the ranger station might be adequate. However. and path navigation. However. Furthermore. in path navigation the GPS is not actually used for steering guidance.Introduction map for flying would obviously be improper. foot navigation.  Navigation terminology Although it is possible to navigate with GPS in a rudimentary fashion without knowing basic GPS terminology. The sides of the road or banks of the river provide guidance. However. Two dimensional vehicle navigation applies to steering a vehicle such as an airplane or a boat where the GPS is used for a steering reference.  How to Navigate I divide GPS navigation into two-dimensional vehicle navigation.  Navigation Displays This chapter explains how the GPS displays the navigation information. often during foot navigation the GPS is unable to provide direction of travel. Due to currents and winds. A proper topographic map may be better in such a case.

com/gps/index. distances. There are also basic introductory explanations of elementary navigation terms.avweb. My explanation is meant as a brief summary.navtechgps. I have many sources in the links and reference section. There is no charge for use.com If you want a post graduate engineering text on GPS. If you want to have a slightly more detailed explanation.com/aboutGPS/manual.S.html This is a Garmin pamphlet that is good at explaining the basics of how GPS works. If you would like more information.html One of the best explanations that I have seen on how GPS works.com 5 . http://www.    Basic GPS The GPS system consists of 24 satellites.smallboatgps. Military. Navtech would be a source. GPS Guide for Beginners.garmin. Trimble GPS tutorial.How GPS Works Chapter 2 How GPS Works There is no shortage of information on how GPS works. If you want a more detailed explanation than I offer. The number may vary slightly as new ones are launched and old ones are retired. Paul Bertorelli of IFR magazine http://www. The receiver Basic GPS Navigation www. To start with. but it makes a good starting point. off course distances. http://www.000 mile orbit and transmits a very weak signal. The satellites only broadcast to the user and the user only receives. If the GPS knows where you are and you tell it where you want to go it is then able to calculate bearings. Each satellite transmits a coded signal. Navtech GPS Seminars and Supply. The system is monitored and maintained by the U.htm This is a Flash explanation of how GPS works. here are some sources:  GPS Explained. Each satellite is in an 11. Consider this signal to be like the peaks and ridges along the edge of a super long key.trimble. http://www. and your track. I have a slightly longer but still purposefully over simplified explanation in the next several pages. This code is generated as a function of time. This is not the case. Essentially GPS takes the range (distance) from a constellation of satellites to calculate your position. assume that all of the satellites and the receiver have a perfect internal clock. The receiver is also able to generate the same code.com/articles/gpsexpln.

Although no clock is perfect. If you know how far you are from two satellites. For each receiver to have its own cesium clock would make GPS technology prohibitively expensive and non-portable. This is known as an over determined solution. Light travels at 186. For three-dimensional navigation you need to receive four satellites. Your distance from the center of the earth is the radius of the earth plus your altitude. The receiver shifts the time calculation back and forth so that all of the imaginary spheres around the satellites intercept at one point. the satellites have atomic clocks—pretty close. For two-dimensional navigation you can scrape by with only receiving three satellites. The receiver measures how much it has had to shift the timing of its code to match the incoming code. which is a circle. it can then calculate the distance from the satellite. This is why aviation GPS models have barometric altimeter input and you may occasionally see a handheld GPS ask for your altitude during poor reception conditions.smallboatgps. Since the receiver knows how much time it took the signal to reach the receiver and the speed of travel of the signal. Think of it as one satellite for each dimension and one for the time. One of these points is where you are. then you are somewhere along the intersection of where these two spheres. then you are somewhere where this third sphere intercepts the circle created by the intersection of the other two spheres.com . Newer GPS receivers use the extra signals above the minimum that is required to further refine the position for increased accuracy.000 miles per second. If you add another satellite. 6 Basic GPS Navigation www. If the receiver time was off by 1/100 of a second the calculated distance would be off by 1. If you know your altitude. The sphere will most likely intercept the previous circle at two points. and the other is not a reasonable solution – somewhere in outer space.860 miles. If you know how far you are from one satellite then you know that you are somewhere along an imaginary sphere around that satellite. The clock in the GPS receiver is closer in technology to an inexpensive digital watch. What the GPS receiver does is to use a cheap clock similar to a digital watch and add one more satellite to the calculation to correct the time in the receiver.How GPS Works matches the incoming code to the internally generated code except that there is a delay caused by the signal‘s travel time between the satellite and the receiver. Thus by knowing where you are relative to these three satellites the receiver with a perfect clock can know where it is. the GPS can treat the center of the earth as a satellite reducing the number of required satellites by one.

and especially the ionosphere. GPS receivers so equipped can then use this known error in its position calculations. WAAS. For more information on differential GPS: Basic GPS Navigation www. you need a special differential receiver which then sends the signal to the the GPS. Since the location is known. Differential GPS technologies use a similar idea. if your watch was exactly 5 minutes fast. To prevent somebody else from doing this well. The signal from each satellite must pass through the atmosphere.com 7 . Thus a sophisticated enemy could negate the effects. The atmosphere. Basic GPS Basic GPS uses local receivers and local transmitters. The idea of differential GPS is to install a GPS receiver at a known point. Differential GPS is mainly a marine application and it is not widely used for recreational applications. this GPS compares the distance to each satellite and to what it should be and then rebroadcasts the error in digital format. then you know the correct value. selective availability was turned off. Thus. and LAAS take out much of the SA induced error. but know exactly how inaccurate the output is. SA no longer exists. Error correction technologies such as differential GPS. This added some inaccuracy to the calculated position. I mention it because you may see it in mentioned in literature on GPS.smallboatgps. SA SA is an intentional error introduced into the GPS signal to make it less accurate.How GPS Works Selective Availability. but it is good for guiding bombs and missiles. causes errors due to refraction. the military added a little random time shift to the satellite signal available for civilian use. you could look at your watch and subtract five minutes to know exactly what time it was. In fact. Although I suppose that the military could turn it on again. For example. In order to use differential GPS. but an even better way is to directly measure the errors. The GPS receiver has some internal models to calculate these effects. Not only is GPS good for flying airplanes. Differential GPS If you have an inaccurate piece of equipment. I have found most people who use this watch setting technique to prevent chronic tardiness also subconsciously perform this calculation every time they look at their watch.

the level of accuracy increase from using differential GPS is significantly less. WAAS Another differential technique is known as WAAS. Japans is developing MSAS. Multi-Function Satellite Augmentation System. This is called RAIM. Part of WAAS provides integrity checking which is faster than what is offered through the basic GPS system. WAAS was designed for aviation use. you can use the extra signal as a cross check.com . One of the goals of WAAS was to provide sufficient accuracy to allow GPS to be used to provide vertical guidance during an instrument approach. Currently aviation receivers use satellite signals beyond the minimum required to cross check the accuracy of the signal. European Geostationary Overlay Service.htm One of the biggest advantages of differential GPS is that it helped to eliminate the purposeful errors caused by Selective Availability. The other goal of WAAS is not so much accuracy as it is integrity. A mathematical model of the satellite errors is created based on the measurements and the error correction values are then sent to a geo synchronous satellite to be rebroadcast.gov/dgps/default. many smaller airports do not have this expensive navigational infrastructure.uscg. The technical difference between RAIM and the possibly proprietary 8 Basic GPS Navigation www. Hopefully. If a satellite is sending a bad signal.smallboatgps. GPS is more accurate in laterally than for altitude. use the extra signals above the minimum that is required to further refine the accuracy of the position solution. Most larger airports have something called an ILS (Instrument Landing System) which provides a ―radio beam‖ down to the runway. However. Europe is developing a system similar to WAAS called EGNOS. Wide Area Augmentation Service is common in most new GPS receivers. it takes a few minutes to detect and stop broadcasting the signal.How GPS Works http://www. Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring. WAAS has 25 receivers scattered around the United States. WAAS. Additionally. In fact. Wide Area Augmentation Service. The advantage of WAAS over conventional differential GPS is that it is available in small handheld receivers without needing a separate receiver. For example.navcen. WAAS is a differential type of technology. if you need 4 satellites to determine a position and you are receiving 5 satellites. Most newer inexpensive handheld GPS receivers. Now that Selective Availability has been turned off. but WAAS enabled GPS approaches with vertical guidance offer big safety improvements to runways without ILS equipment. There are many issues involved. any WAAS receiver should work with EGNOS or MSAS. almost every new GPS receiver is WAAS capable.

The almanac is used for deciding which satellites to ―look for. However. there are usually enough satellites that would be visible from both Europe and Florida and eventually the GPS will get a position and sort things out. However.smallboatgps. However. The second type of data is the fine data more technically referred to as the ephemeris data. the GPS will start looking for the satellites that it expects that it can receive based on it‘s current position and time using the almanac data. In fact. The GPS did not attempt to look for satellites that would be in view to the east because they would be invisible from Florida where the GPS was assuming that it was. It will take an especially long time to get an initial fix when you first start it and it will get a fix very quickly when you start it again after just shutting it down. What your GPS does when it starts up You may have noticed that the amount of time it takes for your GPS to calculate a position varies. whereas a consumer GPS and the aviation handheld receivers that they are based on them are not designed with this in mind. but it is a very good reason why you cannot use a handheld receiver as if it were a certified aviation receiver. No accuracy is required in this initial position. consumer handheld receivers are probably more designed to not give nuisance warnings than they are to give timely warnings of bad navigational data. I think that it is fair to say that an aviation receiver is optimized to give as quick of a warning as possible to bad or insufficient satellite data. This almanac data is good for a couple of months. Each satellite broadcasts the almanac which is applicable to all of the satellites. this is called initialization. Basic GPS Navigation www. I have shut down my GPS in Florida and turned it on in Europe and was able to get a position. For the most part. but only broadcasts its own ephemeris data. The ephemeris data takes 18 seconds to download and is good for a couple of hours. Likewise. you can change the position and time.How GPS Works algorithms that consumer handhelds use is well beyond the scope of this discussion or my knowledge. the GPS was attempting to download data from satellites that would be well over the western horizon from Europe that would be visible from Florida. this is not a big issue. If the GPS does not have a current almanac it will take about 15 minutes to download. This is not necessarily bad design as much as it is a reflection of differing design parameters for different uses. It is this ephemeris data that the GPS actually uses for deriving a position. The first is a rough idea of where each satellite is located and is called the almanac.com 9 .‖ For most 12 channel parallel receivers. The GPS has two types of data on the location of the satellites and their orbits. The GPS assumes that it is where it was last shut down and the clock is correct.

When it is a problem. the bars go solid as soon as the ephemeris data can be used to give a pseudorange to calculate a position. Thus none of the satellites that it was attempting to receive would be in view. In this second case. On some receivers you might see bars go solid with others following. or current almanac. The advantage of this mode is that it does not depend on a initialization position.com .smallboatgps. or just give up because you are indoors. Quite honestly. the GPS will not have the correct data to calculate which satellites to look for. The almanac data takes 12. Having more than 12-channels will make most of this discussion a non-issue. 10 Basic GPS Navigation www. there is no position fix and therefore an individual satellite is not being used for a position fix because there is none. it is simply dealt with by giving the GPS a new position or using the automatic mode. time. part of this calculation is the almanac data. getting an initial first fix usually is not a problem. Most receivers have a mode where they can just start searching cycling through the list of satellites searching in a trial and error manner. In the second case. enter a new position. In the first case. Most receivers will display a list of choices if it has trouble getting an initialization asking you if you want to use the automatic mode. accuracy is not important – anywhere within a couple of thousand miles is probably good enough. The point of this is that when you give the initial position during the initialization. If the Almanac data is grossly out of date. On other receivers you might not see any go solid until at least three go solid simultaneously. Obviously.How GPS Works I have been keep the GPS from getting a lock in the wide open outdoors by initializing it to the other side of the world. A ―D‖ for differential superimposed on the bar means that WAAS corrections are being applied. I would be surprised if other manufactures don‘t eventually follow. the solid bar indicates that the satellite is being used for a position fix. Cobra makes a handheld GPS with 18 channels at the time of this writing. you should leave the receiver on for at least 15 minutes to a half hour every couple of months to get a fresh almanac. continue trying with the same initialization. If at least three satellites are not being received with current ephemeris data. Once the GPS starts to receive data from a satellite.5 minutes to download. Thus. it will show a hollow bar on the satellite page.

You can also use the menu on the satellite page to select ―New Location‖ to locate the GPS wherever you want. GPS navigation can significantly improve your situational awareness and be an overall safety enhancement. However. A GPS is a powerful tool. Press the page button until you get to the compass page. press menu and select the simulator function. the best thing is to just get out and use the GPS. it can create complacency.smallboatgps. Most of the simulator modes allow you to set a speed and track as well as to allow the GPS to automatically track the navigation information. For most Garmin GPS receivers. I get into the details Basic GPS Navigation www. etc. sit down. However. this does not mean that you can go into a local chain store and buy a programmable scientific calculator. including the Legend series. especially in the aviation field. flying. Calculators are available at a modest price that would amaze an engineer working on the space program in the 1960‘s. and immediately be able to add. Human Factors Ph. In this respect. How to become proficient One of the biggest factors in becoming proficient is simply to use the GPS. go to the satellite page. or learning to use your new GPS when you live in cold climates and you just got a new GPS for Christmas are more suitable to using the simulator mode. read the owner‘s manual. GPS is similar to many other fields. Obviously. You do not need to know every function to get utility out of the calculator. and be able to design a rocket to the moon. HSI. GPS can be a distraction. when wisely and proficiently applied. Take the example of an engineer. theses have been written about the application and pitfalls of automation and advanced tools such as GPS. it can carry you down the road to the wrong destination. A known exception to this is the Garmin eTrex series. compass. some activities such as some forms of boating.com 11 . which allow you to only follow the navigation information at a set speed. buy the calculator. subtract. RMI.D. and multiply. On some GPS receivers this is called the pointer. Keeping with the same analogy. you can go to the chain store. GPS is often easy to use on one level. but it is also very sophisticated if you want to master it. It is up to the user as to whether it is used like a hammer in the hands of a two year old or in the hands of a craftsman. The specifics on how to use the simulator vary from model to model.Issues Chapter 3 Issues Proficiency I find that the biggest shortcoming with GPS is that users do not know how to use it. However.

the flight plan still has dead reckoning headings and times to fly should we loose all navigation data. Up and down controls speed and left and right steers. However. As you become proficient. A couple of extra details: On some GPS receivers. If you take away the GPS. it is often possible to visually follow another aircraft at a different altitude on the same track. then I do not think this will be a great problem.smallboatgps. the GPS will usually follow it. If you execute a route or a GOTO. then several people will be clueless. 12 Basic GPS Navigation www. but the rocker pad is usually easier. In other words. Many ―old hands‖ think that there people too dependent on GPS. The catch is that this depends on your proficiency at using GPS. It is still vitally important that you do not let it distract you from your other duties such as looking for hazards and traffic. how will I find my way?‖ GPS is not unique in this regard. When I fly over the ocean. You can also set in values in the setup menu. there are several options.flying. however. etc. Also.com . especially when you first start using it. Ask yourself. I would say don‘t get yourself into a situation where losing the GPS would leave you unable to find your way. ―If the GPS fails. boating. kayaking. but just get to the page with a compass card display. such as the Garmin 196 the zoom keys can be used to set the altitude. I think that this view has its merits. I think that ease of using GPS actually frees up brain computing power to be used else ware. GPS can be an eyeball magnet. you should be able to get the information that you need from the GPS by just including it in your scan. GPS dependence Name the activity -. if you learn to navigate with GPS as opposed to using GPS to avoid learning basic navigation. From this page you can use the rocker pad to control the speed and track. If there is a rule of thumb. you can manually override the track with left and right on the rocker pad. This is in addition to triple inertial navigation systems which are able to navigate with no external input.Issues of these displays later. The simulator function is a great way to ―play‖ with the GPS and learn the functions. Most of the screen shots in this book have been made using the simulator mode. GPS fixation Precise navigation using GPS is of no benefit as you run over something or somebody or get run over yourself.

gov/gpsnotices/. In fact. For the most part I consider this to be fairly unlikely – not that it is impossible and that you should not have a contingency. was shot down because the pilots input the wrong co-ordinates into the inertial navigation system. The most likely failure is from the failure of your receiver. In all cases. KAL 007. Just use common sense and think of various contingencies. when I go on a well-marked trail in the local state park. My point is that there are too many situations for me to give you some specific admonishment. this fear and is one of the reasons that Europe is implementing its own GPS system.uscg. If you ignore the conspiracy theorists. the most likely failure mode is power failure -. There is the possibility of the whole GPS system going down. you have at least eliminated the measurement error. the first and best cross check is your own reasonability filter. Accurately navigating to the wrong place is of no benefit. the GPS is not even necessary. A second way is to create the waypoints and route on the map display of a computer and transfer them into the GPS directly. For a handheld receiver. I see two independent courses of action to reduce operator error: identify the most likely sources of error and cross check the solution. The cross check will most likely be a method of navigation that you could rely on if appropriate. Is the distance and direction that the GPS is indicating reasonable? Mapping GPS receivers also add the cross check of looking at the route on the map display The two biggest potential sources of error are in measuring the coordinates and then in entering coordinates into the GPS. Coast Guard website at http://www. A good way to eliminate both of these errors is to have a mapping GPS and to enter the route or waypoint using the map display.S. with the proper precautions. I can follow the signs or just ask somebody. Galileo.navcen. If you merely measure the waypoints using an Internet site or a mapping program.Issues However. Part of the vulnerability of GPS is that it is too easy to blindly follow it. A relatively inexpensive battery powered handheld makes a great emergency backup whether the primary navigation is another handheld GPS or an expensive onboard navigation system that uses ship‘s power. GPS is one of the most dependable systems available. If you are measuring directly from a Basic GPS Navigation www. In spite of this. For areas of systems unavailability you can check the U.com 13 . You might also consider having a spare receiver.carry spare batteries.smallboatgps. do I carry a topographic map and a compass? No. Not that this is unique to GPS technology. a 747. Operator Error The biggest weakness of GPS is operator error. Obviously. If the GPS dies.

Accuracy Standard GPS is generally advertised to be accurate within about 15 meters (50 feet). This is usually on the satellite page. it would be dangerous to depend solely on un-augmented GPS without sighting the hazard or locating it on radar. It is very possible that the GPS is more accurate than the map. In actual practice you will probably find basic GPS to be more accurate. the map may actually be in error. However. and would be sufficient 99% of the time. A typical recreational receiver is phenomenally accurate in the perspective of price and intended use. For this reason. due to the small number of times that the GPS accuracy is insufficient. My point is that I think that the accuracy of GPS is very impressive. For an actual 14 Basic GPS Navigation www. The GPS will give an estimated position error. Differential GPS is accurate to within 3 to 5 meters (10 to 15 feet). the problem may be the map more than the GPS. EPE. Understand that this is not a guarantee. In such a case. Thus. An example where I can see this becoming a problem is for a boater trying to use GPS to navigate a narrow passage around a hazard or through a narrow channel. GPS is a great tool. How accurate is accurate enough is a matter of perspective. but this is not based on GPS. the GPS would get the airplane very close to the centerline of the runway. when you wonder why a landmark is a couple hundred feet from where it should be and the GPS is giving a position error significantly smaller. However. Just because you are probably within the circle this does not mean that you are absolutely in the circle. Ask yourself.com .Issues chart and then entering the coordinates into the GPS. this is just a calculation based on probable error. In addition to the actual accuracy of the GPS there is the issue of the accuracy of the surveys used to draw maps. I would not depend absolutely on it. Usually. ―what if I am really not where the GPS says that I am?‖ Even if your GPS shows an accuracy circle. a disagreement between the position indicated by the GPS and your location on the map. most airliners and some business jets can. For those of you who are pilots. However. For those of you who have read about airplanes making blind landings. you are doubly vulnerable. If you start talking about landing an aircraft traveling 150 miles per hour on a runway that is 150 feet wide. but every once in a while the airplane would be off in the grass. the pilot has to see the runway by a specified height before he continues. generally I don‘t think you will find these errors to be large. Although I have read of stories of islands being way off. The only protection is being careful and double-checking.smallboatgps. un-augmented GPS is insufficient. I apologize for the oversimplification.

but I have read estimates that the EPE means that there is a 50% estimated chance that you are within the given value of the position. this will give you an idea of GPS accuracy.com 15 . EPE and DOP are both useful to see how well the GPS is receiving satellites and will give a rough idea of the accuracy of the receiver. here is the main point. it isn‘t necessary to get wrapped up in the details of DOP and EPE. If it knew exactly where it was. Another point is that comparing two receivers by comparing EPE readings is not that useful. the dash of the car causes the signal reception to be less than ideal for satellites that are to the rear of the car. but might just be reflective of a different percentage used for the probability calculation. The EPE is an estimate of how accurate the position is based on a number of factors.Issues measurement of this error. I turned the WAAS off for dramatic effect. For most recreational use. If I have totally confused you. there is not much you can do about and while it is interesting. Many of the Garmin handheld GPS receivers will also draw a circle around the present position indicating the EPE. However. The percentage that the EPE is based on is not published and appears to vary from one model to another. So one receiver that shows an EPE of 10 feet may not be more accurate than a GPS that shows an EPE of 20 feet. then there would be no use of measuring the error since it would know exactly. Also. A 50% chance that you are within the EPE radius would also imply that there is a 50% chance that you are more than the EPE measurement from your position.smallboatgps. it not something to worked up about. Basic GPS Navigation www. the GPS would have to know exactly where it was and compare it to where it thought that it was. Figure 3-1 Figure 3-1 is the plot from a GPS V that I left on the dash of my car overnight. However. A lower DOP is better than a higher DOP. DOP. It is undocumented. This is a measurement of satellite geometry. This is an easy experiment to repeat yourself. Another accuracy measurement that you might see is Dilution of Precision.

There is also a slight error added from compressing the maps into digital format in a mapping GPS. 16 Basic GPS Navigation www. I marked a spot at the tip of my dock using my Garmin GPS MAP 76 which has WAAS. From my personal experience. The dotted line is the path that I actually traveled. However. the GPS and the maps are still more than sufficiently accurate in most cases to get you to the bridge or the mouth of the channel. The limitations of accuracy also apply to paper charts. Figure 3-2 Figure 3-2 shows several inaccuracies. Perspective on the issue is important. Here are some screen shots from a Garmin GPS III Plus to show you what I mean.S. Keep in mind that many of the hazards on the paper charts were surveyed before GPS. maps.com . the accuracy of the survey of the maps adds a possible error. In the first two. As a test. With a GPS you might be tempted to plot and navigate a tight course between depicted hazards. I never left my rowing shell to go on land. From what I have read. On the third one I stayed on the street and did not actually wander into the neighbor‘s yard. I went out on several different times over a couple of days. I am still amazed that they are as accurate as they are. I certainly would not use the maps on a recreational GPS for blind navigation in a tight space such as under a bridge or through a tight channel. Each time that I stood on the same point at the end of my dock it showed me within 7 feet and often closer to where I originally marked the waypoint. I have seen complaints on newsgroups about the accuracy of some of the GPS maps. Give these hazards appropriate leeway or verify their precise position by other means.Issues As I mentioned. this has put a couple of boats on the rocks. Mostly the complaints are about non-U.smallboatgps.

which I discuss in more detail in the Choosing a GPS receiver chapter. Given all of the various limitations of payload weight and size.com 17 . I would imagine that the designers of GPS would rather have had a stronger signal. For example in the middle of the lake I usually boat on. the map display is still valuable. putting your hand over the receiver will usually be enough to block it. Like any piece of equipment. you just have to be aware of its limitations and use it accordingly. Signal Availability The GPS satellite signal is very weak and easily blocked. The other factor is where you are trying to use the GPS. use common sense and prudence. I would imagine that the satellite transmitters are as powerful as possible given the various constraints of getting them into space. If the GPS does not indicate a hazard.Issues Hazards not depicted Figure 3-3 Also in the discussion of the accuracy of the mapping is what is and isn‘t displayed. Basic GPS Navigation www.smallboatgps. In coastal regions. there might be one there anyway. People have killed themselves without using GPS by hitting this area at high speed at night. several manufactures offer expensive loadable charting products which show the same hazards as the government charts. but you have to consider the problem of getting power to run a transmitter in space. The implication for the user is that signal availability can be an issue in a number of circumstances. If the GPS depicts a hazard. One factor is where you locate the antenna. Even if you do not use these more expensive charts. it is probably there. it is also not depicted on many paper maps. Once again. Unfortunately. I have taken the liberty of roughly drawing this in the right screen in Figure 3-3. there is what varies between a shallow area and an outright island depending on the water level. This is not depicted on any of the loadable GPS maps that I have seen.

Detecting Signal Loss The Garmin handhelds go into a dead reckoning mode when they lose the signal. Just before coming to an intersection cover the antenna with your hand.com . However.Issues If you are boating and flying. if you were to be pressing the limits of common sense such as navigating a tight channel with no backup and a poor antenna location. If the signal zig-zags around a little by bouncing off of things. this increases the distance and introduces and error.org. I found that when I was stopped. Where this becomes a factor is using the GPS in a city. the dead reckoning feature is not a problem. When I am at a street corner. I expect the signal to be spotty. When I would start moving the GPS would give a good position. the GPS position would float all over Manhattan and often into the East or Hudson rivers. The purpose of this feature is to avoid constant nuisance warnings during weak signal reception. www. I find that I am usually able to get a good position because the receivers view of the sky has been improved. The GPS will just assume that you are still traveling in the same direction and speed as when it lost the signal. I will find that walking down the street I often lose the satellite lock. I use GPS for finding my way around cites on layovers.smallboatgps. This happens for well under a minute before a message is displayed indicating that the GPS has lost satellite reception.bikenewyork. I have also found this to be true when using the GPS in my car. For most recreational purposes. A good way of demonstrating this is in an automobile. I was riding in a bicycle ride in New York. hiking in heavy tree cover. the GPS can be a useful tool. Added to the blocking of the signal is something called Multi Path error. signal reception is seldom a factor because you are generally out in the open. The GPS will show that you have gone straight through the intersection before it displays a warning that it has lost the signal. However. this might be a problem. It appeared that moving would allow a signal from one satellite to come into view as another one was blocked. Some more expensive automotive systems use a system that detects heading and vehicle speed such as a from speedometer input to estimate the position based on the last known position when satellites are blocked such as driving in a city. where the signal bounces off of buildings or rocks before reaching the receiver. 18 Basic GPS Navigation www. etc. The GPS works on the principle of calculating the distance the signal has traveled from the satellite. it is possible to find your location in a city without a GPS. Needless to say. Turn at the intersection.

He turns on the autopilot and goes below deck while the autopilot steers the boat exactly where he specified using the GPS – into the marker! With the type of boating that I do and my aviation experience.Issues The Magellan units that I am familiar with give no warning of signal loss unless you override the default setting and activate the loss of signal alarm. Here is the scenario-. If you use the location of a physical object.com 19 . Without this alarm set.smallboatgps. as a waypoint -. They more or less just freeze.remember not to hit it! Basic GPS Navigation www. Channel marker collisions Figure 3-4 A was discussing this booklet with a coworker who is a sailor. I recommend that you activate the loss of signal alarm. they will just display the last navigation information such as bearings and position before it lost the signal.a sailor programs the GPS to follow a route defined by markers. One of the GPS related problems that he had seen was that he was familiar with several markers with big dents where boats had hit them. this had never occurred to me. such as a marker. The default setting for this alarm is off.

especially in comparison to more traditional tools such as radar. These radios are short range and do not constantly broadcast. Even as a marine layman. However. Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast. I don‘t think that GPS significantly increases our risk from terror attacks. hikers. However. the GPS does nothing to deal with collision prevention. the principle is somewhat analogous to ADS-B in a relatively inexpensive consumer variant. The basic idea is that each aircraft constantly broadcasts its GPS based position and track and any aircraft in the area can then receive this position and track. 20 Basic GPS Navigation www. since I am on the topic of GPS and collisions. Using GPS to avoid collisions Interestingly enough and as an aside. I have already mentioned that accuracy and dependably issues make this a bad idea. The techniques for dealing with this are outside the scope of this book and beyond my personal experience. I can see many reasons why an ADS-B type of system for marine applications may never be practical.com . there is an experimental technology being developed for aviation called ADS-B. Garmin produces radios (Rhino) that broadcast their GPS position which can then be displayed on another corresponding unit. This ability to navigate in such conditions might lead to false security ending in a collision. There are many problems with ADS-B for marine use such as the fact that all vessels would have to have a transmitter for it to be useful and airplanes do not have to deal with airplanes floating around un-powered or otherwise anchored in the sky. However. I though that it made an interesting aside.Issues Traffic in Low Visibility GPS will allow you to navigate in zero visibility conditions. and maybe kayakers to find each other. which can then be displayed. The purpose is more for hunters. GPS and Terror Could GPS be used in a terror attack? Sure.smallboatgps. so could many ordinary devices that we use daily. Additionally.

The heated windshield of the 767 blocks the GPS signal making the operation of a handheld GPS receiver very difficult. Basic GPS Navigation www. GPS is a moot point.com 21 . back to using GPS. Anybody who credits the September 11th hijackers with a demonstration of skill is misinformed. Landing the airplane safely. Now. even in good whether requires skill. While I am here. The availability of economical portable GPS has nothing to do with the hijackers ability to execute their diabolical plan on September 11th. If you have suicidal terrorists who are able to guide a weapon visually to the target. let me also say that very little if any flying skill was demonstrated on September 11th. The New York Times published an article discussing the fact that the September 11th hijackers had purchased Garmin GPS III Pilot GPS‘s.smallboatgps.Issues I bring up the subject up as somewhat of a retort to what I have already seen in the press. I can say beyond a reasonable doubt that the final targeting on September 11 was flown visually.

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such as the Magellan 310. when I find one available for $50. I include these. I have to just be amazed at the price to performance ratio. power cable and mount. Not only must you include the cost of the GPS receiver itself. Without a doubt. There are receivers that I consider hard to use and primitive and would otherwise not recommend. There is always the issue of should you buy a GPS or wait for the next model which will offer more capability for the money. However. a computer interface cable. however. and maybe a couple of new bells and whistles. it is fair to say that these preferences are based on uses and parameters that may differ considerably from yours. Total Cost This is probably one of the bigger factors for most people. Specific advice on any piece of electronic gear quickly becomes obsolete. GPS is similar to many of the electronic products available. However. Some of these items are included with one brand or package and not included in others and some are not necessary. Basic GPS Navigation www. Although. Of course. because I think that it is worthwhile knowledge to pass along even if it is not my primary focus. For example. much of the basic functioning of the GPS will remain. In this respect. Hopefully.com 23 . if you continue to wait you will miss out on the utility available from the given product. the value and cost of such components must be looked at in the context of the intended use. I have my prejudices and preferences. Conversely. more data storage capacity. this little receiver will give you location and navigation information anywhere in the world. I think that you will continue seeing better screens. These additional costs must be factored in. I have some specific references to some specific receivers. if you buy a GPS for your car and must buy a mount and you will probably want to run it from the car‘s power instead of on battery. If you are comfortable with basic navigation. memory cartridges. Primarily.Choosing a GPS receiver Chapter 4 Choosing a GPS receiver This booklet is meant to be a guide to give you some techniques for using GPS. a package that includes a cigarette lighter power adapter is not much of a benefit to a kayaker. most GPS receivers give you certain fundamental navigation parameters and an electronically generated map on the mapping units. but include the cost of extra downloadable maps. There will certainly be increases in capability. However.smallboatgps. these are based on experience and with good reason. my ultimate goal is to explain the factors that you should consider in choosing a GPS. It is definitely not meant to be a buyer‘s guide.

I believe that you will be glad that you spent the money. you can use a mapping GPS with just the base map and purchase the improved maps for a mapping GPS later. However. Additionally you can download extra detailed maps for a much smaller region. However. where there is little coverage.Choosing a GPS receiver Something to consider when debating as to whether or not to purchase a mapping GPS is that even though the total cost may include the extra expense of the extra downloadable maps. A non-mapping receiver will still offer quite a bit of utility. A non-mapping GPS can never be upgraded to be a mapping GPS. the availability of mapping products for a given GPS is also a consideration. There are some minor exceptions in that some manufactures offer mapping products created by third party developers in the manufacture‘s proprietary format and some manufactures‘ GPS receivers are compatible with mapping products that are in the proprietary format of third party companies. Mapping GPS The implementation of mapping displays is an order of magnitude improvement to GPS. but most do not. I have seen many such programs offer GPS capability. Generally. it generally means that you can link you GPS to a computer so that 24 Basic GPS Navigation www. one consideration is the availability of downloadable maps for your region and purpose. The utility offered by mapping GPS varies on the quality of the maps. you will have to be much more proficient with maps and ways of getting coordinates to fully utilize a less expensive non-mapping GPS.com . Also some GPS packages include the extra maps. However. Although inexpensive non-mapping GPS receivers can be very useful. Mapping data When choosing a mapping GPS. the important thing to realize for the scope of my discussion is that you cannot buy a computerized mapping program such as Microsoft Streets and Trips or Delorme Street Atlas and hope to load the maps into a mapping GPS. I think that the issue and what will develop as far as data standards is an interesting business economics and intellectual property problem. you are restricted to maps in the manufacture‘s proprietary format. This is not false advertising. Thus. if you can afford a mapping GPS. they may be purchased later. Mapping receivers come with a built in base map that usually includes major roads and waterways within the given region and a world wide map consisting of the borders of countries around the rest of the world. There are some parts of the world.smallboatgps.

Intellectual property arguments‘ aside. Any cost savings are far outweighed by the time required.Choosing a GPS receiver the program can use the GPS data to navigate using your computer with position information from the GPS. The level of detail is fixed. you will not see more map detail. I just don‘t want you to think that they are an inexpensive way of getting detailed maps into a mapping GPS. making one‘s own maps is only for the technologically skilled and ambitious. it will not work in another. I have nothing against these programs. It is. if you have GPS mapping software one brand of GPS. It is important to realize the difference between a raster and a vector map. Each time that you zoom in.htm Information on using MapDekode  Basic GPS Navigation www. It is often useful to operate over-zoomed. By the way. For more information you can try:  http://gpsinformation.―OVER ZOOMED.smallboatgps. there are many fine uses for them. I have seen the issue raised as to why it is not possible to scan in maps to use with GPS.com 25 . I have a further discussion of this under Mapping Programs on page 69. There are has been some success at attempts to develop map data which can be used for Garmin mapping GPS receivers. Some of the programs also allow you to upload waypoints that you have created within the program to the GPS and download waypoints and tracks from the GPS into the computer. Imagine a globe or map of a large area. it might show countries. You will see the same detail. states. Similarly.gpstm.com/eng/dekode_eng. on most GPS receivers. but only on third party software running on computers or PDA‘s. just do not expect more detail to be revealed. just an indication that you have zoomed beyond the maximum level of detail for the data and subsequent zooming will not reveal new data. the possibility of making custom maps offers potential for areas with little map coverage or specific applications such as golf courses. Zoom out and you will see minimal detail over a large area. and major rivers. you will reach the zoom level where you will get a warning -. just larger. A raster map is like a paper map. I am somewhat ambivalent as to the intellectual property implications. On a utilitarian level.‖ This is not an error. Next look at it with a magnifying glass. http://www. both the GPS manufacture and software company may get the data from the same third party such as Navtech. you see more and more detail.htm This is a article with an example on how to use GPS Mapper to create maps.net/gpsmapper/gpsmapper. You are not seeing a map as much as you are seeing the presentation of coded geographic data. Interestingly enough. Even if you look at the map with a microscope. A vector map is like a computerized map display such as a GPS mapping display.

more data and features have been coded into the unloadable maps.com . Garmin even has a viewer where you can view samples of the maps online. even for the same area. Some older designs may not be able to use some of the newer maps.chrisb. that allows the creation of Garmin compatible maps. look for MapSource Map Viewer on the Garmin website.gpsinformation. Some of the products are more general such as Garmin‘s Metro Guide and Roads and Recreation and some are more specific such as topographical and nautical charts. As receiver capability has evolved.htm This is the program. So. make sure that the mapping product that you are considering is compatible with the GPS that you are considering. An important factor is checking the compatibility of the mapping product with the GPS receiver.net. To give you some perspective on different levels of detail.Choosing a GPS receiver  http://gps. Which map product? Some manufactures offer a variety of products. GPS Mapper. Basemap Roads and Recreation Waterways and Lights Figure 4-1 GPSMap 76 comparison for Orlando. One of the best sources of information is the manufacture‘s web site and third party reviews such as available at www.org/gps_mapper. FL 26 Basic GPS Navigation www. Roads and Recreation and Waterways and lights cd-roms. GPS development and mapping development are often intertwined.smallboatgps. Figure 4-1 and Figure 4-2 are some screens from my GPSMAP 76 comparing the base map.

heights. Even if you do have one of the more specialized mapping products loaded into your GPS. or an equivalent product for another GPS manufacture is still useful for a wide variety of activities. Roads and Recreation. you must realize that they just provide better situational awareness from increased detail and you will need a proper chart or map to indicate important data such as depths. but I want to make the point that often a general mapping product is useful if you do not have sufficient usage or budget to justify a more specialized product. To be able to look at a map display and instantly get a picture of where you are to help you mentally correlate your position is valuable. it is not necessary. It is ideal to have this data depicted on the GPS. such as Garmin‘s BlueChart. More general mapping products are missing important data such as marine hazards and terrain contours. However. I further discuss the issue of the appropriateness of using generic software on page 56. and terrain features as is relevant. However. hazards. MA Specialized products such as topographic or nautical maps are nice and can be worth the money. choosing and creating a route must be made in conjunction with the appropriate charts and maps if necessary. and City Navigator only include the ability to unlock some of the maps on the CD-rom. You can still get this from a generic mapping product.Choosing a GPS receiver Basemap Roads and Recreation Waterways and Lights Figure 4-2 GPSMap 76 comparison for Manchester. City Select. To use other regions on the CD. A general mapping product such as Garmin MetroGuide.smallboatgps. you will have to 27 Basic GPS Navigation www. In such a case. I would still keep an appropriate paper map handy.com . In no way do I want to discourage you from buying appropriate software for a given use. Unlock areas on CD-rom Something to consider is that some cartography products.

the issue is relevant to most brands and models. The problem is that the base map for an American GPS usually has very poor coverage of Europe.‖ over the scale – there is not more detail to be gained from zooming in further. Figure 4-3 shows an example of several separate regions for Garmin BlueCharts.com .S. 28 Basic GPS Navigation www. The first screen is as much detail as is available for Europe or other regions outside of the main Americas basemap area. Although I use the example of a Garmin GPS Map 76. There is logic to such a distribution method in that it saves the inventory issues of having separate media for each area while only having to pay for the data that you use. U.S. Some deluxe packages include unlock codes for all of the regions on the included CD. Figure 4-3 My point is not to criticize Garmin for only letting you have part of the data. ―overzoom. The second screen is with WorldMap loaded into memory which gives a basemap level of detail to other parts of the world outside of the main basemap. only one of which is unlocked at a time.Choosing a GPS receiver pay for extra unlock codes. Notice the caption.smallboatgps. Garmin makes this information explicit also. Figure 4-4 Garmin GPS Map 76 show the dilemma. The last screen is with European Roads and Recreation loaded. GPS outside of the basemap area I live in Florida and come across many foreign tourists looking to purchase a GPS in the U. but to point the issue out so that you know what you are buying. because prices are often significantly less expensive than in Europe.

More dense mapping such as European Roads and Recreation would require 8 Mb square area of about 90 miles (145 km.smallboatgps. Basic GPS Navigation www. it is possible to fit a large area into a given memory.Choosing a GPS receiver U.S. Figure 4-5 represents about 8 Mb of World Map data.) x 90 miles around Stuttgart. is not very dense. Basemap Garmin World Map European R and R Figure 4-4 Garmin GPS Map 76 Figure 4-5 Since the data in the Garmin World Map.com 29 .

if I were living in or traveling around Europe. Roads and Recreation which just includes streets. The first is the area itself. Memory requirements for maps The first part of the memory and map issue is how much memory an area of mapping will require. There are also more expensive versions of both of these receivers. My purpose is to give you a rough idea of the correspondence between an area of extra maps and a given amount of memory. there are parallels to various other manufactures cartography products. Although I use the Garmin MapSource products as an example. that offer more memory.Choosing a GPS receiver There is not necessarily a need for having detailed basemap. I find that I usually have enough memory in the 8 Mb of a Garmin eTrex Legend to load in two cities with an area much larger than I ever travel in. When I layover in Europe. New York City data is generally going to take up more memory per unit area than somewhere in the middle of west Texas. Since I just need the central city area. having the detailed Roads and Recreation maps for the city that I am in is fine. There are two main factors that influence the amount of memory needed for a given area.S. However. I would prefer a GPS with more memory such as the Vista or 76S so that I could load World Map over a large area and more detailed maps such as Roads and Recreation or MetroGuide for smaller areas. A mapping product such as Garmin MetroGuide includes much more detail such as address lookup than U.smallboatgps. I have used 8 megabytes as an example references because that is the amount of memory in the Garmin eTrex Legend and GPS Map 76. the Vista and 76S. A product with includes routing data takes even more memory. The other factor is what data is actually included.com . 30 Basic GPS Navigation www. This basemap issue is not limited to Garmin receivers.

Basic GPS Navigation www. adds about 50% to the memory requirements.50 Mb The shaded area in Figure 4-6 shows approximately an 8-megabyte area around Orlando.com 31 . FL.Choosing a GPS receiver Figure 4-6 Garmin MetroGuide 4 7. but not on version 5.smallboatgps. Auto-routing data which is available on version 4.

Garmin allows you to select ―chunks‖ of data. Figure 4-8 Garmin Waterways and Lights 7.96 Mb Figure 4-7 shows the coverage of Roads and Recreation for approximately 8 megabytes of data.smallboatgps.Choosing a GPS receiver Figure 4-7 Garmin Roads and Recreation 7. Other manufactures such as Magellan and Lowrance allow you to draw a 32 Basic GPS Navigation www. Waterways and Lights will cover a very large area as depicted in Figure 4-8.98 Mb As you can see in the examples.com . MetroGuide only covers the Atlantic Shore from Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale. Since the data is even less dense.

but they are sharp. 196.com 33 .smallboatgps. The eTrex Legend.Choosing a GPS receiver rectangular section. so publishing a specification would probably be useless. 2-D navigation is where you are free to travel in any direction such as a boat or airplane. The Magellan Meridian series and the Lowrance iFinder offer the ability to store maps onto SD memory cards. except the eMap. Memory availability Many of the handheld GPS receivers use internal memory and are therefore restricted to the amount of memory available. such as the eMap. but so is resolution. but the drawing rectangular section method allows you to select the are that you want to closer tolerances. At the time of this writing. A variety of Garmin receivers. Path navigation is when you are traveling along a road or river and are constrained to traveling along a Basic GPS Navigation www. 295. However. Unfortunately. I like the idea of having the ability to use non-proprietary memory cards such as SD memory. Bigger is not always better. this is not published and it is one of those ―how does it feel‖ type of items. SD memory is a common format used in many devices such as PDA‘s and digital cameras. use proprietary memory modules. and various marine units. The models that use memory cards give a virtually unlimited capacity for carrying extra detailed maps without needing to a computer to load them. Perhaps Garmin is moving away from proprietary memory. Available data fields Which data will the GPS display? Where and how will it display it? When I explain navigation. Display Screen Not only is size a factor. and foot navigation. They are widely available at a variety of electronics and chain stores. 2-D vessel navigation. all of the Garmin handheld receivers. You will have to play with the receiver and see if it is sluggish. I am sure that there are other factors beyond processor speed. Venture. Processor Speed The processor speed makes a big difference in how fast you can do things like zoom and pan the map screen. The new Garmin Street Pilot 2610 uses compact flash and the iQue uses SD memory. I see the problem as three separate cases. The ―chunk‖ method prevents overlap. path navigation. use internal memory. and Vista have small screens. I should add that many of my favorite receivers are made by Garmin and do not offer this ability.

Map displays give excellent situational awareness. I usually don‘t care about how far it is to the next waypoint. When I am navigating a vessel of any type. If the GPS will give BEARING and DISTANCE. 34 Basic GPS Navigation www. and how far it is to the waypoint. However. not the intermediate points. I find two data fields adequate. the case of 2-D vessel navigation being the most restrictive. but how far it is to the end of my journey. CROSS TRACK ERROR. I am usually most concerned about the distance to the end of the route. For foot navigation. For example. the arrow is pointer is useless unless you are moving. generally distance to the destination is all that I need. When a map display is combined with digital data fields. this changes the way in which you navigate. I prefer that the GPS give me a digital display so that I can best exploit the accuracy that the GPS has to offer. BEARING or COURSE. the directions that I need to go. unless the GPS offers a data field called TURN which is the difference between TRACK and BEARING. For foot navigation. I want to know the direction that I am going. When navigating a vessel. TRACK. map displays can be somewhat slow to update and are very poor at precisely showing how far off course you are when zoomed out. I have a personal prejudice that is no doubt caused by my aviation background in that I like to be as precise as possible. and one user selectable data field to a Garmin 76 which will display nine data fields. The data display capacity of handheld receivers vary from something like a Garmin original yellow eTrex that will give you the distance to a waypoint. for navigating a vessel in two dimensions. The GPS only knows your direction of movement and if there is no movement.Choosing a GPS receiver path. As I will discuss further in the Two Dimensional Navigation on foot on page 109. a pointer. Generally this requires a minimum of four data fields. Each form of navigation creates different data requirements. then I find the minimum to be three data fields. For path navigation. but it requires quite a bit of interpretation to translate into a mental picture of your location.com . it provides a very powerful combination. I really only care about bearing and distance. Thus.smallboatgps. I like to have the previous minimum three or four data fields displayed on the map. this is all I need for foot navigation. if I am canoeing along a river and create a route with several waypoints to define the shape of the river. Foot navigation is unique in that often you are stopped and have to get a bearing from a compass because the GPS can only tell you which way that you need to go. The Magellan mapping receivers do not have a data field for this. but I like more information such as ETA and speed. A digital presentation is very precise. how far off course I am. For path navigation.

I cover this in much more detail in my book. I demonstrate this override in Figure 4-2 on page 27. Lowrance XOG. Tom Tom ONE. look up an address and follow it. The maps are pre-loaded so there is not even a need to be technically proficient enough to load the maps.Choosing a GPS receiver Marine vs. these are made to be very simple. and Vista come with these waypoints preloaded. but they are very different from the general handheld receiver meant for a variety of navigational tasks. there is a whole new series of small GPS receivers that are very tempting such as the Garmin Nuvi. but they are optimized for simplicity and have very limited features. The two most common features that make a marine GPS a marine model are tide charts and preloaded waypoints such as lights and buoys. Generic For the most part there is not much difference between a generic GPS and a marine unit as far as navigation. but in many ways I consider an aviation receiver to be a bargain if you can justify the expense. so let me pass along my observations of a more general nature. These are not necessarily bad designs.com. it is possible to use a generic GPS for aircraft navigation. The idea is that you can put it in your car. etc. In fact some GPS receivers not primarily marketed for marine use such as the eTrex Legend. My bet is that Garmin got tired of the technical support issue of dealing with users that had their marine points overridden by other Map Source maps and just stopped preloading the points. These units are designed to require no more skill than using an internet mapping site such as Mapquest. Cockpit GPS available at www. In general. Many have MP3 player. Garmin Nuvi type receivers It used to be that automotive GPS units were big clunky things that would not even be of use discussing in the context of the activities discussed in this book. Venture. they did at one time and you can still go to the Garmin website under Updates and Downloads to load the files. However.smallboatgps. Aviation GPS Receivers Handheld aviation GPS receivers sell at a premium to the generic models that they are based on.com 35 . However. Basic GPS Navigation www. picture viewers. This a crowded category and there is no way that I can keep track of them all. These are not necessarily strictly automotive receivers. However.cockpitgps. I would like to see the differential smaller. and Vista still come with the preloaded marine waypoints. Venture. Note: It does not appear that the eTrex Legend. Mio DigiWalker.

let‘s say that you wanted to do some Geocaching. This is great until the battery is dead. these receivers are relatively inexpensive. I can also create custom points of interest as described on page 80. However. already installed detailed maps. With the Legend Cx. Additionally. you have to consider the total cost. CROSS TRACK ERROR. the ability to load multiple point routes. So for about $150 less for the total package.‖ but many are not set up for multiple point routes.smallboatgps. Most have built in rechargeable batteries. As an example. Every GPS in this class that I have played with allows you to go into the settings and go directly to a point as opposed to following the roads. etc. Some offer the ability to make multiple point routes using ―via points. There is not popping in a new couple of AA batteries and continuing.com . they will not show data fields giving BEARING. Let me give you some examples: 36 Basic GPS Navigation www. They are often sold at large retailers and the market is competitive. They are several limitations for outdoor use. However. and perhaps some boating on a local lake. some hiking in a relatively tame state park. voice prompts for auto navigation. Generally. the Nuvi would offer quite a bit of value for the money. Most GPS receivers in this category are not even water resistant. it does not allow me to upload routes. you will probably want to spend another $100 to $150 for installable maps and more memory to make it truly useful. TRACK. when you navigate. you get a very useful automotive GPS for everyday use. The Nuvi would be a poor choice. When the price of the pre-loaded maps are considered. What you are giving up is detailed navigation information. In this case. my Garmin Nuvi 270 does not allow me to download tracks to my computer of where I have been. However. Let‘s say you want to take a wilderness canoe trip into the back woulds. and a mount for your car. the ability to interface with the computer is much poorer. etc. at the time of this writing a Garmin Legend Cx. For example. outdoor robustness. However. the Nuvi 200 gives you a bigger brighter screen.Choosing a GPS receiver Why even discuss these in my book and why should you even consider one? As I mentioned on page 23. can be purchased for around $235 and a Garmin Nuvi 200 is about $200 on sale. which is a more traditional GPS. you could use one of those portable cell phone rechargers with a mini-USB end that use AA batteries. I can download waypoints which are referred to as favorites with a big heart icon in the menu. let alone waterproof.

What is my BEARING and COURSE? How far do I need to turn? How far off course am I? The answer is that If I were attempting to follow the course directly to the next waypoint. I would need to turn right a little until the bearing line is straight ahead. While there is not much navigation data here.Choosing a GPS receiver Figure 4-9 Figure 4-9 represents a 2-D navigation example.com 37 . Since. Figure 4-10 Basic GPS Navigation www.smallboatgps. this might be more than adequate. How precise would this be? Probably precise enough in many cases. I am on a lake I would really be looking out and using the bearing line to determine if I am generally going in the desired direction of the point that I marked as the channel to the next lake.

smallboatgps.Choosing a GPS receiver Figure 4-11 Figure 4-12 Let‘s say that I‘m hiking. Even though I am 38 Basic GPS Navigation www. I am navigating to the end of the trail in Figure 4-10. but in general the Nuvi is not set up for multiple waypoint routes. I could put in one via point.com . Figure 4-11 shows the trail in Google Earth.

Without an internal compass sensor. The GPS uses the input from the barometric sensor and from the GPS to calculate the altitude. Overtime the difference between the GPS altitude and the barometric altitude can be used to calibrate the readings from the barometric altitude to get a more accurate short-term reading of altitude. What is my magnetic BEARING? How far do I have to go along the path since I cannot walk straight to the end? All I can tell is that the end point is a little east of true north and that it is 2. One thing to consider is that at least in the Garmin line. An altimeter is nothing more than a barometer or atmospheric pressure gauge calculated to read altitude. something that you should carry anyway when you are in the woods. Is this adequate? Maybe – maybe not. If you went up the tower on a cold day.Choosing a GPS receiver not navigating to them. Of all the parameters. If it were a hot day. Basic GPS Navigation www. Starting on the ground. If you do not have this feature. Let‘s say that you had a giant tower with the height marked along it like a measuring tape. I have more detail on using a GPS while hiking in Two Dimensional Navigation on foot on page 109. TRACK. Built in Altimeter and Compass Several of the top of the line Garmin and Magellan GPS receivers have built in altimeters and compasses. Some GPS receivers have a built in barometric altimeter also. the GPS only knows the direction that you are traveling.smallboatgps. you would notice that the altimeter would indicate higher than the height on the tower because the cold air is more dense and the same amount of air is shorter if it is colder. altitude is the least accurate. you can simply use an economical compass. I have put in some other waypoints along the route that show up when I pan (drag the map) in Figure 4-12. Some handheld GPS receivers have a built in electronic compass that will orient the GPS when you are moving to slowly to get a useful value for TRACK . It has no idea of which way that you are pointing.com 39 . Where this is useful is while trolling or standing and reading a map while hiking.6 miles away and from Figure 4-12 that I have to go a little east before the trail curves up. The GPS calculates a three dimensional position. There is a user settable threshold speed that below the speed the GPS will orient with the compass and above that speed it will use the GPS track data. The point is that an barometric altimeter also has its share of errors. HEADING. you would first have to set the altimeter to read the altitude of the base of the tower to compensate for atmospheric pressure conditions. If you are not moving. the models with the compass often have more memory. then there is no direction of travel and no TRACK. the altimeter would read lower than the tower because the hot air is less dense.

However. nor would I suggest using a GPS with an altimeter for aviation type of use in general. but it does this by rapidly switching between satellites with one receiver. More channels than 12 is better. A 12 channel parallel receiver essentially has 12 receivers on chip and is able to dedicate a receiver to each satellite. Also. All of the receivers that I know of on the market are at least 12 channel parallel receivers. many of them will be too low on the horizon to be useful. More than 12 channels The idea of 12 channels is that if there are 24 satellites are in the GPS constellation.com . Thus.smallboatgps. An older receiver such as a Garmin 38 will monitor up to 8 satellites at a time. it would not be an enthusiastic recommendation. However. in a case where you may be able to receive more than 12 satellites. there are still many used GPS units that are not 12-channel available used such as on eBay. as I mentioned earlier. What your GPS does when it starts up. Number of Channels If you are looking at a new receiver. If you plan on using the GPS for anything other than on open water where the signal is not blocked. I discuss how the GPS searches for satellites. On page 9. Among the more common ones are the Garmin II and the Garmin 38. then the most you can expect to see at any given time would be 12. a GPS that was not a 12-channel parallel would have to be almost free for me to consider recommending the purchase. many of the Garmin units that have the compass and altimeter have more memory. Overall. but the additional accuracy is unlikely to be much and it is unlikely to be beneficial very often. There are some activities such as hiking in the mountains or for recording soaring flight paths where I could see some benefit. Having more channels would mean that having the correct initialization time and position as well as almanac data would be less 40 Basic GPS Navigation www. there may be some cases where having 12 channels adds to the accuracy. you do not even need to bother reading this section. but the manner in which it monitors the satellites. There are some brands that offer 14 or 18 channel receivers. Less than 12 channels The big advantage of a modern 12-channel receiver over an older 8 channel is not in the number of satellites it can monitor.Choosing a GPS receiver I cannot think of any aviation GPS that has a barometric sensor. The Garmin II Plus is a 12-channel. The biggest advantage to a 12channel receiver is the ease in which the receiver obtains and keeps a lock on the satellites. I would not even consider anything other than a 12-channel parallel receiver. I have heard it argued that this is not entirely correct. but not significantly so. Even then.

great. it may or may not be a factor. a GPS without an external antenna may work on the glare shield of a high wing metal aircraft. location within a wheelhouse or cockpit might make a difference. I use a GPS on the dashboard of my car and it is able to maintain a good lock. this usually isn‘t much of a problem. The lack of WAAS does not necessarily make a receiver obsolete. In addition to the manufacture‘s models.com 41 . the receiver has to have a clear view of the sky. a bimini top on a sailboat. If you need to add one they are relatively inexpensive. If you have some type of top. WAAS is probably not that important. For basic navigation. If you are in an open boat. However. However. buy a GPS that has a provision for an external antenna. For example. but not on the control yoke. I suspect that this is as much the design of the internal software and the speed of the processor as much as it is WAAS. this is not a problem. As an aside. If you plan on using a GPS where this might be a factor. More channels is better. I have found Basic GPS Navigation www. or a high wing metal airplane. it probably does not make that much of a difference. If the receiver works without the need for an external antenna. but not so much that I would give it much if any weigh when choosing between two receivers. Since I notice this even with WAAS selected off on the receiver. but the windshield does not. Essentially. including the moderate priced ones. What I have noticed kayaking is that both of my WAAS capable receivers react much quicker to course changes. metal coverings will block the signal. materials that have not effect when dry may impede the signal when wet. WAAS or non-WAAS Whether or not to buy a WAAS GPS is quickly becoming a moot point.S. In many cases. WAAS is only really effective in the U. If you want to find a spot again that is readily identifiable visually once you get reasonably close. A couple of examples come to mind where the top could be a problem. The metal of the body blocks the signal. materials such as fiberglass and fabric will have little or no effect on the signal. Most of the newer receivers. Antenna Location and Type The GPS signal is a very weak signal that is being broadcast from a minimum of 11.smallboatgps. a long metal canopy on a pontoon boat. If you are trying to locate something underwater such as a dive site.000 miles. In some cases cases. but eventually Europe and Japan will have their versions operational. which it probably will.Choosing a GPS receiver important and that initial fixes would often be easier to obtain. some coatings on some windshields do block the signal. have WAAS. Also. WAAS might be important.

Mounting Simply enough – where are you going to put the GPS on your boat. www. Test any material first. The helix antennas are generally the ones that stick out such as on the Magellan 3xx series and the Garmin II. The patch antennas are usually the ones that are internal such as on the Garmin 12 and the eTrex series. I have found that most receivers do surprisingly well when they are orientated the wrong way.gilsson.com or Gilsson Technologies. even on the textured surface. the more the better. It is easily removable. There are two types of antennas. One of my favorite mounts for the Garmin GPS V and III is the beanbag mount which works well on the dash of a car or the glare shield of an airplane. III. In addition to keeping the GPS from sliding around. another source of mounts is Ram Mounts.com. However. airplane. such as the Garmin II.com. the bead around the edge has a suction cup effect. the two factors added together might be enough to cause the GPS to lose the satellite lock. 196 and Street Pilot series. and is sufficient to hold a Garmin 196. and 176. I routinely use a GPS Map 76 with about a 30-degree tilt from horizontal and the performance is fine. and the rubber like material on the Garmin Legend. Try to use a helix antenna with at least a little tilt towards vertical. www. I would not use this in an open cockpit or a boat. helix and patch. fabrics. I have found Silly Putty or its generic equivalent to be useful.com . As a practical matter try to use a patch antenna with at least a little tilt towards horizontal—the more the better. 42 Basic GPS Navigation www. if you add this to another factor such as a cover of dense wet foliage.ram-mount. Another antenna factor is orientation. I put a small bead of silly putty around the circular base of the Garmin dash mount in my car.gilsson. However. Antennas on several of the Garmin receivers. the antenna orientation will usually not be enough to effect the GPS functioning. there are internal helix antennas such as on the Garmin 76 and the Magellan Meridian. V. I need this 30 degrees for viewing the screen anyway.smallboatgps. It will not keep objects from tipping. In addition to the manufacture‘s mounts. can be removed from the unit and mounted remotely with some inexpensive cable and fittings from Radio Shack. The helix antennas should ideally be orientated vertically like a flagpole. and 176. V. For example. III. For temporary mounting. Certainly. Silly Putty is not easily removed from all surfaces including carpet. www. However. or other vehicle? Most manufactures make a variety of mounts for different models. but you can often see a significant effect of the angle on signal strength. The patch antennas should be used horizontally. withstands the Florida sun.Choosing a GPS receiver generic antennas on eBay and from Gilsson Technologies. As a practical matter. but it will keep them from slipping.

However. will allow you to use the cursor to drag the map over roads and the route would ―rubber band‖ to the roads as opposed to a straight line between waypoints. This second Basic GPS Navigation www. and routes between the GPS can be very useful. Most outdoor and camping shops sell these dry bags. Certainly kayak shops do. Computer connection Being able to exchange tracks. I have used both the Voyegeur and the AquaPac dry bags and have been happy with them. Some of the older receivers such as the original Garmin Street Map. Notice the difference between the highlighted road in the first screen and the direct line in the second. I liked the Voyegeur or AquaPac because the plastic is softer and clearer making the GPS easier to operate and see. Most new computers no longer come with a serial port. While actually traveling along the route. waypoints. Newer GPS receivers with this feature allow you to put in a destination such as an address and the GPS will calculate a route along the roads. Although it looked like was a high quality product. Both cases are using a Garmin GPS V. Automotive use Most GPS receivers will only draw straight lines between waypoints. I had the GPS create an off road routing to the same address. In the first screen I had the GPS calculate the fastest time to an address. I just feel more comfortable carrying my GPS in a dry bag when I kayak. Most of the older GPS receivers use a serial interface. Garmin‘s specifications are IPX7 which is 30 minutes of submersion at 1 meter. Figure 4-13 Figure 4-13 shows the difference between an auto route and a direct route.smallboatgps. it is much more convenient to buy a GPS with a USB interface. In the second screen.com 43 . There are several that will follow roads and even choose the roads along the way. While there are USB to serial port adapters. messages pop up to alert you to the next turn.Choosing a GPS receiver Many of the GPS units are advertised as waterproof. I looked at the Seal Line bag. Whether or not you want to use your GPS in a dry bag depends on what kind of boating you do and your comfort with the manufacture‘s water resistance claims.

including built in units offered as an option on new cars. you can pull into a parking lot for a short time and wait for the GPS to recalculate. The couple of times that I have actually used auto routing for finding my way around Washington. that does not mean that it is useless in the car. However. I thought that auto routing was interesting. D. and load in MetroGuide 5 maps and then find that the 60C will not calculate a route. you can create a route from the origin of the trip to the destination. The Garmin 196 has a very fast processor and the auto routing works very well. The GPS V processor is a little over taxed and takes a while to find a route. which supports auto routing. However. where I live. On the Garmin GPS V the processor is a little over taxed in that by the time the new route is calculated. Among the choices is pedestrian.C. This is the same technique that I later describe for creating a route along a river in the 44 Basic GPS Navigation www. you could purchase a Garmin GPS 60C. and Boston as opposed to checking out the feature in familiar territory. whether purposefully or accidentally. but the mapping data loaded in the GPS must also support auto-routing. U-turns. If you are truly unfamiliar with an area. this is still a nice feature. You can then use the map editing features to drag the route to intersections where you have to turn along the way. Auto routing is slick technology. There is also a setting to choose the type of vehicle that you are driving. There are many GPS receivers that are built just for automotive navigation. Most of the streets in Orlando. I have used the feature on the Garmin GPS V which is somewhat of a generic receiver and the Garmin GPS 196 which is an aviation GPS. It is important to realize that not only must the GPS receiver be capable of calculating an autoroute. On a GPS with a faster processor. you may have already missed it. This causes an endless loop of recalculation until your route corresponds with the calculated routes. Even so. If you are really lost. etc. the GPS will recalculate a route from your present position to the destination. are laid out on a north-south and eastwest orientation.com . which I will address in the next section. FL. just because a GPS does not have auto routing. this works very well. It is relatively easy to find your way in a car. This is because MetroGuide 5 will not support auto routing in the GPS. this is becoming a more common feature offered on more general receivers. but personally not that useful.Choosing a GPS receiver screen is the way in which a wide variety of non-auto routing GPS receivers can be used in the car.smallboatgps. it was incredibly useful. One of the slicker features is the automatic recalculation feature. For example. but it does work. In the setup menu there are settings to avoid toll roads. Often just being able to know your position in relationship to the final destination is 90% of the utility. If you skip a turn.

In the past. you still might occasionally find it useful to find the coordinates of an address and using the GPS to help find the address. However. 76C. Auto routing and pedestrian use I use an eTrex Legend and Roads and Recreation Europe to find my way around European cities on layovers. For example. MetroGuide 5 will calculate a route on the computer. and iQue offer auto routing. For that matter. Even the Garmin GPS V is not really something that easily fits in a pocket. I find that this makes a good compromise considering factors such as total cost and size. You can then load this route into a non-autorouting GPS such as a Garmin GPS Map76 or an eTrex Legend as a route made up of a series of waypoints. even a bearing and distance can be useful. I like the idea. For GPS receivers without the ability to load extra street level maps.smallboatgps. There are also some third party applications such as Delorme Street Atlas that also offer this feature. with some of the newer small receivers such as the Garmin 60C. If I were to use an auto routing GPS. It I am ambitious. it would calculate turn by turn directions to get to my destination. Among the settings is ―pedestrian‖.Choosing a GPS receiver Routes and Path navigation chapters. While using a non-mapping GPS to find an address is not nearly as nice as using a mapping GPS. this has always seemed a little silly to me. It is also possible in some cases to create a route on the computer and load it onto the GPS. In creating a route. Although I personally do not use a GPS with auto routing capabilities for pedestrian navigation. or with no mapping ability at all. Although not perfect.com 45 . I routinely use a GPS while finding my way around European cities on foot. I load Roads and Recreation Europe maps into my eTrex Legend. you can load the route into a non-mapping GPS such as a standard eTrex. For example. I will drag the route to some of the turns that I will have to make. The waypoints will correspond with turns and intersections and the route legs will be straight lines between the corresponding waypoints. Basic GPS Navigation www. I have used a Garmin eTrex Legend very effectively in this way. Most auto routing GPS receivers have been a little large to carry around while walking. but also where you are in relationship to the next turn. I also usually grab one of the free tourist maps to help me find my way around. One of the settings on most auto routing GPS receivers is the type of vehicle that the GPS will calculate a route for. you will be reminded of not only where you are in relationship to the destination. I create a route from my hotel to my destination.

Acceleration is just the change in speed. 46 Basic GPS Navigation www. Garmin offers some versions of the Street Pilot series that use input from the car‘s speedometer.smallboatgps. one of the problems with GPS is that the signal is easily blocked. Thus. Dead reckoning is the calculation of your position based on the speed and track from your last known position. A special Garmin authorized dealer must install these versions. you would need to use the City Select maps instead of the much less expensive Metro Guide or Roads and Recreation maps. In fact airliners use an order of magnitude more accurate and more expensive version of this technology called inertial navigation. For example. Think of this as the amount that you are pushed back against your seat or forward against your seatbelt. However. a built in compass with a GPS that offered auto routing would be a slick combination. I use the eTrex Legend with Roads and Recreation Europe. or the amount that you are pulled from side to side. with the Garmin 60CS. the GPS has no way to orient its direction. MetroGuide would offer better information. On most handhelds.Choosing a GPS receiver I find that I am often only able to pick up a good satellite lock only at street corners where the GPS has two unblocked directions to receive satellite signals from. a unit such as a Vista with more memory and a compass sensor would be better. especially in a city with narrow streets or tall buildings. You can measure acceleration as the amount of force exerted on a mass. and a unit such as a Garmin 60CS with auto routing and the appropriate City Select maps would be ideal. Tom Tom is introducing a unit that uses accelerometers and rate sensors to dead reckon. The nature of the problem is such that I am often doing this while stopped.com . this involves just calculating the position based on the last know speed and track. As I mentioned. Dead Reckoning As I have mentioned. you can still get a lot of use from a simple non-mapping GPS using a street map and creating waypoints using a bearing and distance from a known point such as your hotel if you know the techniques to do so. some automotive GPS units use other techniques to navigate. However. on the opposite end of the spectrum. However. I find a cheap compass on my watch band is sufficient considering it is needed only to choose which street corresponds with the desired direction of travel rather than for a precise heading. Thus. Remember that it is necessary to have the maps which support auto routing and that these maps are more expensive. by measuring acceleration you can indirectly calculate speed and therefore position.

In this case. Take the Garmin 176. www.com Raymarine. If your other intended use is as an automotive GPS rather than hiking. For example. It will not have auto routing. I also find GPS interesting enough to write this booklet. Something to consider is that a marine GPS is perfectly usable in other applications. but it will still work well in the car. it is too big to be a good GPS for hiking.com Standard Horizon. www.com Magellan. a good compromise might be a GPS MAP 76. Click on the Product Comparison link from any individual receiver‘s page Lowrance. However.net for reviews. the tide table might be useful if you are driving on Daytona Beach (you are still allowed to drive on the beach).garmin.com 47 . now owned by Thales Navigation. www.com/      Basic GPS Navigation www.furuno. Even better than the information page about each receiver.  Garmin. www. You can buy extra memory and load Metro Guide maps into the unit and it will be a pretty good automotive GPS.lowrance. Where to get more information One of the best ways to get information is to go to the manufacture‘s web site.com The Garmin site has a feature where you can compare different units side by side in a chart.Choosing a GPS receiver Multiple Uses I have multiple GPS receivers for various uses. but even though it is portable.gpsinformation. you will want to use a GPS for multiple uses. For most people. most of the manufactures publish the owner‘s manual. The things that make the 176 a marine GPS will not detract from the secondary use. formerly Raytheon Marine.magellangps.smallboatgps.com Furuno. it would be great for both. http://www. www.standardhorizon. a Garmin GPS 176 might be great for your boat. but the screen size might be a little small for the boat. A Garmin eTrex Legend is great for hiking. In fact. You may or may not have to make some compromises for one use or the other. I would also suggest www. like the GPS V or the Street Pilot III.raymarine. The owner‘s manual is a good way to get details on the operation and specific capabilities of each receiver.

However.com Laptops and PDA’s You might be wondering why you could not use a laptop or a PDA as a GPS interface. In fact. I have comments later about my Garmin prejudice. eTrex Legend. a mapping GPS receiver is considerably more robust and cheaper. Among the possibilities is to purchase a relatively inexpensive GPS and hook it into the laptop or PDA. These are my personal opinions. www. II Plus.org/dale/ http://www.smallboatgps.cobra. there are certainly many uses and arguments for using a GPS with a PDA or laptop. www. All of the units are Garmin receivers. 76 color.c-map.tomtom. However. and Magellan 330. and GPS Map 76. Garmin has recently announced the 60.com .net Specific Garmin Models Just to reemphasize.palmflying. I have had at one time or another had a Garmin 38. My prejudice is towards a dedicated GPS receiver.gpsinformation. This is based on my personal use. Even though a PDA with a GPS receiver could be entered into used in a dry bag on my kayak. Magellan 315. www.com/ http://www.com Cobra.com Tom Tom.gpsinformation. this is not meant to be a full GPS review. You can use the GPS/computer combination or just the GPS separately for situations where the computer or PDA would not be appropriate.Choosing a GPS receiver    C-Map. A couple of sources of information on using the GPS with a computer or PDA:    http://www. this is a very popular option. I do not have specific comments on them other than they appear to be big improvements on 48 Basic GPS Navigation www. III Pilot. eTrex. III Plus. I have had some experience with several units and thought that I would pass them along. and 296 series. It is not an option that I have used except just to see how that it works while riding as an automobile passenger.

The eTrex and Geko 101 do not offer a field for OFF COURSE. Generally the lack of external antenna support should not be a problem. and the Vista is mapping with 24 megs. It has a lower resolution screen. eTrex (basic) and Geko I have mixed feelings about these models. however you can connect the GPS 72 to a computer for a couple of dollars in parts from the local electronic store. The Geko 201 offers TURN and OFF COURSE.Choosing a GPS receiver products that I am already a fan of. The extra expense of the cable is a factor. I started to list all of the GPS units that I know something about. there are newer models such as that offer more memory and better screens. Garmin GPS 72 This is the economy version of the non-mapping GPS 76.smallboatgps. Garmin GPS III Plus This is a good solid mapping GPS. For the price. Basic GPS Navigation www. automatic road routing.com 49 . On one hand. Since this is a non-mapping receiver. they are very inexpensive and can certainly be useful tools. and it has WAAS that I would at least jump this extra step in price.4 Megs of maps. The non-plus version is an earlier version without the capability to load Map Source maps. the Legend is mapping with 8 megs. The Venture is non-mapping. but the interface on the Venture is so much better. The limitations are that it is non-WAAS and it is only able to hold 1. and increased memory. I describe this in more detail on page Error! Bookmark not defined. or even a Lowrance iFinder. The biggest changes are colored screens. The original yellow eTrex is cute and inexpensive. it is still a solid handheld receiver. All of these are WAAS enabled. the GPS 72 has a lot to offer. lacks the ability to use and external antenna. the lower resolution is not a big problem. The Geko 101 does not even offer multiple point routes. and does not include the data cable. an electronic compass. My complaints are that these two models are just too basic. Garmin eTrex Vista. but they can only be displayed on the trip computer page. and Venture These are the second generation eTrex receivers. but instead I‘ll list some of my recommendations and opinions. Although. However. Legend. I think that you would be better served to spend a little more and look at the eTrex Venture. GPS 72. and an altimeter.. it comes with a computer interface cable.

If you want to use it for kayaking.com . If you do need a click stick function. I feel much more comfortable with the GPS in a dry bag. it is virtually impossible to operate the click stick inside a dry bag. One little trick that I have not seen documented is that there is a quick way to get to the active route. Even if you do not decide to spend the money on additional maps. The 76 is WAAS enabled. and a 24 meg altimeter and compass version. Most of the things that need to be done in the boat such as changing screens and zooming can be accomplished with the side buttons instead of the click stick. but they are thicker and the main compartment is smaller at 4 inches x 6 inches. Hold the bottom left button on the side for a couple of seconds until the active route appears. The Vista is even nicer. Worst case.Choosing a GPS receiver The Legend is one of my favorite GPS receivers for recreational use such as kayaking. The Legend series is not totally useless for kayaking though. and you will have the option of purchasing a MapSource CD later. the click stick can be operated through the plastic even if a little awkwardly. The screen is small. The eTrex doesn‘t float normally. The buttons are on the front making it easily operable in a dry bag or a mount. I found some parts bags similar to a Zip Loc sandwich bag. Among my favorite features is the ability to display up to 9 data fields on the map display. this is a lot. For a pocket sized GPS. The click stick is more necessary for setting up a route than it is for operating in the boat. Not only is the Legend a mapping GPS. it will perform at least as well as a non-mapping GPS. Even though the Legend is waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes. You might find these at a jewelry store. The GPS 76 is at the limit of being pocket sized. the Legend‘s base map is still useful. you could probably get by with a sandwich bag. One potential problem is the click stick. it has good resolution. mapping with 8 megs. There is a hole above the seal where a piece of shoelace or string can be used as a lanyard. but it includes the computer interface cable. 50 Basic GPS Navigation www. However. There is also a provision for an external antenna. This is also built to IPX 7 standards and will supposedly float although I have not tried it. but these bags trap enough air so that they float in the bag. I have at times seen the Legend sell for a similar price to the Venture when rebates are included. but is usually much more expensive. Often this is just a little more expensive than the basic eTrex.smallboatgps. but are going directly to a waypoint the active waypoint will appear. If you are not navigating on a route. Garmin GPS 76 The GPS 76 also comes in non-mapping.

Slow is a relative term to expectations. I like the GPS V. or re-calculate a route. battery life. the compact size. Garmin GPS Map 176 I have not actually used a 176 outside of the store.11b software which is available for download on the Garmin website. This is a disappointment for a receiver that is advertised as versatile and hopefully Garmin will fix this. the GPSV often is slow to calculate a route. However. price. However. Believe it or not. which may or may not be relevant to any secondary use. if you are a pilot. The auto-routing feature seems to be at the limits of the processor capability. There is definitely a price premium for an aviation GPS receiver. My only objection is that as of 2.com 51 . I like the Map 76 for its bigger screen. Unfortunately. If you execute a GOTO on a route. it will cancel the rest of the route. this allows you to load the 176 with up to 128 MB of data. Usually my argument is that a marine or generic GPS can be used for aviation. Garmin 196 and 295 There is no reason that you can‘t use an aviation GPS for boating. The GPS V will recalculate the route when it finds that you have not followed the original suggested route. For auto-routing. Considering.Choosing a GPS receiver I have both a Legend and a Map 76. ability to show more data fields. However. However. I still think that there is much to recommend it.11b there is no true enroute GOTO capability. The only real downside to the 176 is that it is no longer truly pocket sized. This has been fixed in the 2.smallboatgps. GPS V The GPS V has the capability of calculating road routings. but it is also more expensive and a little bigger. For off road routing the interface is very similar to the eTrex Legend. but it allows memory cartridges. often I will find that by the time it recalculates the route that I am often not on that route and it will start recalculating again. Overall. My biggest objection was the thick line for off road routes. Basic GPS Navigation www. I think that the GPS 76 is more versatile and is better for marine use. The 176 does not have any memory built in. It is more like a gray highlighter than a nice clean line. Battery life may be an issue with the color version. an aviation GPS might be able to serve dual duty. Garmin memory cartridges are proprietary and expensive per unit of storage. You definitely would not purchase an aviation GPS instead of a marine to save money. I like the Legend for it‘s pocket size and price. What it offers is a relatively large and very sharp screen with the option of color. and touchpad on the front. overall the GPS V is certainly feasible for generic and marine use.

Magellan Considering that cost is usually a factor.smallboatgps. and aviation GPS. but I find them disappointing for all but the most basic navigation functions. The operating system on the SporTrac and Meridian series appears to be very similar to the 330. The brief review is that the Garmin 196 earns its hype. I must give credit that I like the Meridian‘s ability to use non-proprietary SD memory cards in the Meridian is a very nice feature.com . I hope that Garmin brings out a non-aviation version of the 196 or a version of the 176 with the faster processor and auto-routing. Where this is most lacking is for 2-D navigation. The two data fields will allow you to display TURN and DISTANCE. I have occasionally seen packages including a Magellan GPS and MapSend CD for prices that I would definitely recommend a Magellan receiver for consideration for someone who needs a basic GPS. Although they are usable. However. I am not recommending that you not consider the Magellan products. Before I start complaining. However. You could set up the GPS to display TURN and XTE on the map page. but it is an extremely useful data field. I would suggest using TURN and DISTANCE while occasionally checking another page that has been so customized to get a value of XTE.. My point is not that it is impossible to navigate with the two data fields. XTE is also important. the deviation has to be large to be detectable from the map display itself. I find them less than ideal for more complicated tasks such as 2-D navigation along a route or even path navigation.Choosing a GPS receiver The 196 is advertised as a receiver for marine. Here are my specific complaints with regard to the Magellan mapping receivers as well as some perspective and adaptive techniques if you already own one. auto. 1. I must add the disclaimer that I have not extensively used one of the new Magellan Meridians and that my experience is based on using the 315 and 330 in actual use and experimenting with the Meridian and SporTrak series in stores. If you are following a route. There are many people who are satisfied with their Magellan GPS receivers. It is true that the map display itself will show a course deviation as indicated by the difference between the route line and the position icon. when the map display is zoomed far out. I do not use my 196 for boating because there is no way that I want to risk it on my kayak. All of the Magellan mapping receivers can only display two data fields on the map. This is adequate for foot navigation. the 196 is very impressive. but 52 Basic GPS Navigation www. DISTANCE is not required to actually follow a route. All of my complaints could be fixed with a software upgrade if Magellan were so inclined.

There is no easy way to get this information. the 330 is not among them and the models that I have seen in stores do not have the update. On the Magellan mapping receivers you can move the cursor to the position that you want. In this case. but the path along the river is over 10 miles. An example situation is on page 135 where the GPS is used to canoe around a hook in the river. A work around is to use the distance to the destination in the name of the waypoints.Choosing a GPS receiver that it is less than optimum and less than most other brands offer. However.smallboatgps. The Magellan GPS receivers do not offer a data field for distance to destination as opposed to distance to the next waypoint. This is significant for what I label as path navigation. or other map object such as a city. it lacks the elegance of being able to edit on the map. 4. 3. The distance to the intermediate waypoints is of no significant use. Selecting these waypoints is annoying slow on the Meridian and 330. 2.com 53 . If you know that you are 1. cursor. including on the route page. then you have 4. The trick is to first create a dummy route with any two waypoints. There are some useful features that allow you to find waypoints near the present position. a route is created to follow the river. About the only way to get this information is to add the distance to the current waypoint to the subsequent leg distances on the route page. create waypoints and then add them to a route. The entire list must be scrolled through line by line. The direct line distance is about 3 miles. The Magellans hold 500 user waypoints. Unfortunately. If you do not use all of the user waypoints. it is possible to move the cursor to points.2 miles from WPT 3. I have been informed that some models may now offer DISTANCE TO DESTINATION through a software update. The key to this is having a data field for DISTANCE TO DESTINATION.4 miles to go. this may not be a factor. The GPS can then be used to let you know how much further you have to travel. The 315 at least allows you to scroll one page at a time with the left and right movement of the rocker pad. create a waypoint by holding the ―Mark/ GOTO‖ button and then adding it to a pre-existing route. On the Magellans. I have an explanation of this on page 138. This find near feature is not unique to Magellan. It is possible to drag the route to where you want on the map.2. Being able to edit the route graphically from a map display is a powerful feature that the Garmin and Lowrance units have. You then add waypoints to this Basic GPS Navigation www.

If you find the features lacking. the screen on the color handhelds is brighter and sharper than most of the Garmin color handhelds. the AirMap 600c. What proportion of this perception is based on my familiarity with Garmin products verses actual design is hard to say. which is my area of familiarity.com .Choosing a GPS receiver pre-existing route as you create them. When you are finished. it is not as well thought out and easy to use as the Garmin interfaces. As I mentioned in the beginning of the 54 Basic GPS Navigation www. the Magellans can be made to create a route graphically. However. When price is considered. There is also a way of creating a horizontal route using the menu selections of Vertical Profile and Path Check. and route data as I describe on page 80. Other Manufactures In no way do I want to imply that Garmin. is a major European avionics company. Magellan. they represent the more popular choices in the handheld GPS market. The logic that I have heard from a sales representative is that for the savings in price buying a Lowrance handheld. Thus. Some models have an advance and easy setting. and Lowrance are the only options. I would not eliminate the Lowrance units from consideration. but the features are much less sophisticated than the Garmin and Lowrance receivers. make sure that you have the GPS in the advance mode. However. Now that Thales owns Magellan. track. I think they offer a lot of capability. The exception is that it appears that it is not possible to transfer data back and forth between the iFinder Go and a computer. However. you can afford to buy a separate automotive unit. I think that the Lowrance is capable but awkward. even discounting my personal bias. The user interface is quite capable. However. Lowrance I have not had the experience with Lowrance that I have with the Garmin products. One of the most frustrating things about several of these faults is that they could be fixed with software updates. I have had the chance to experiment with the basic iFinder and I own an Aviation version of the upper end iFinders. formerly named Thomson-CSF Sextant. None of the Lowrance handhelds offer automotive routing. Thales. you delete the two dummy waypoints. However. Additionally.smallboatgps. Exchanging data with a computer is more difficult on the Lowrance units than the Garmin units. it is possible to exchange waypoint. I am hoping that Magellan produces a more polished product in the future.

smallboatgps. Basic GPS Navigation www. my goal is to explain many of the factors in choosing a specific model rather than to create a review of all of the models available.com 55 .Choosing a GPS receiver chapter.

com . A generic road map. I am a professional pilot. for many recreational activities there are a variety of places to get coordinates without needing to resort to specialized. There is a slow flowing river near my house in a state park that rents canoes. Before you can navigate with GPS.smallboatgps. For experienced users of non-mapping GPS receivers who are used to specialized maps such as topographic maps and nautical charts. shore characteristics. If you have a non-mapping GPS. there are many cases that using such a generic mapping data is still very useful. finding the latitude and longitude of a place can be somewhat of a data scavenger hunt. There are simply too many variations and possibilities for me to give hard and fast rules. However. This can be as simple as moving the cursor to a point on a mapping GPS. or internet site will not replace a topographic map or a marine chart. visual navigation aids. I use specialized aeronautical charts when I fly and would not dream of replacing them with road maps. Specialized charts such as nautical charts and topographic maps give much more information than just the location of points. As I have previously disclaimed. getting coordinates is no problem. Mostly it comes down to common sense and prudence. you have to tell the GPS where you want to go. MetroGuide is a generic mapping product made more for automobile navigation than anything else. In some cases. but an amateur at many of the possible activities in which GPS navigation can be used. the more specific mapping is not necessary. Appropriateness of data Before I get to the subject of how to tell the GPS to navigate to where you want. which often implies expensive and hard to locate. hazards. currents. However. Considering that most people do not even use a 56 Basic GPS Navigation www. mapping program. They give information on depths. I think that it is important to discuss the issue of using the proper charts and data. etc. I use a mapping GPS such as Garmin GPS Map 76 with a MetroGuide maps loaded in. and in other cases. the generic mapping data is useful when used in conjunction with more specific mapping data.Waypoints Chapter 5 Waypoints WARNING: Do not interpret this chapter as a recommendation to throw away your nautical charts and topographic charts and replace them with a road map from the convenience store or some waypoints downloaded from an automapping program off of the Internet. maps and charts. heights of terrain.

or internet program to find the location of a couple of reference points for a generic GPS. Figure 5-1 GPS with generic software and nautical chart comparison (courtesy of Marineplanner. In this same scenario. Basic GPS Navigation www. mapping software.Waypoints map or GPS. I would think nothing of using an ordinary road map.smallboatgps. and all sorts of hazards as well as being miles from civilization. If this were a large park in the wilderness with cliffs. Figure 5-1 shows an example depicting the position indicated by the GPS on the left and the same position on a marine chart on the right. The chart shows it and the GPS does not. This position is on the rocks. I would highly recommend a good topographic map as well as a compass and the required proficiency to make use of it all. rapids.com) An example where generic mapping data would be insufficient alone is offshore boating.com 57 . I think that using such a generic mapping tool is more than sufficient.

The other point is that such generic mapping data is still useful. Marking on the map screen On mapping GPS receivers. The Magellans work similarly except that the key is MARK/GOTO. Usually this involves pressing the ENTER/MARK key. it is possible to move the cursor to a position on the map and navigate to that point or mark it as a waypoint for future use or 58 Basic GPS Navigation www. the speed of the mental correlation must be weighed against the lack of speed.Waypoints In fairness to Garmin. What such generic software offers is the ability to provide better correlate your position. BlueChart.smallboatgps. On all GPS receivers. you can see that this is a position that has numerous rocks. Even though the hazard of the rocks is not depicted on the GPS. a generic mapping product may be useful to correlate your position when used prudently. I feel that you are better served using a generic maps on a GPS to mentally correlate your position than you would be using a non-mapping GPS. especially if the maps are not meant for the purpose intended. In summary: It is important that you use appropriate data when it is needed.com . Often navigation is not about absolutes as much as it is about using the best information that you have in a prudent manner. and possible errors when transposing a raw latitude and longitude to a nautical chart. Specific Marine software. Mark Present Position One of the easiest ways to get the location of waypoint is to use the GPS itself. Even if you cannot justify the expense of the appropriate mapping product. I am a big advocate of still having a paper chart or backup even if you do have the latest GPS with the best software. distraction factor. The point that I would like to make is twofold. this example shows Metroguide data which is generic GPS mapping data. which should show data similar to the marine chart is available. However. you can look at the GPS and realize that you are just south of Baker‘s Island and southeast of the North and South Gooseberry Islands and quickly form a mental picture of your location. I still recommend that you know how to read the raw latitude and longitude and plot it on a marine chart. In this case. The first point is to show how the generic mapping software may be insufficient for many applications. hold for mark. If you then look at a nautical chart. You can then return to this position. Press for GOTO. I should add that if you are navigating in a situation where you need a specialized chart or map. it is possible to mark the present position and name it as a waypoint. Consider that the depiction of features on the GPS map display may be in error.

On the eTrex Legend. For example. There are Basic GPS Navigation www. and selected Go To. will result in you getting a GOTO that point. Even easier. ―Little Lake Conway‖ will be displayed. This is the easiest way of creating waypoints provided that you have a mapping GPS with detailed maps loaded in. but most mapping receivers work in a similar manner. The Magellan receivers are similar in operation except that you use the MARK/GOTO key and want to hold it until the create waypoint menu is displayed. In such a case. pressed the NAV key. and Venture. On many of the Garmin mapping receivers. place the cursor on the map and press GOTO or NAV. you must select ―Pan Map‖ from the menu box in the upper right corner and press in on the click stick instead of pressing the ENTER/MARK key. On most Garmin receivers you can press the ENTER/MARK key to create a waypoint at the cursor location. many of the Garmin receivers will have a GOTO menu button. Just pressing the key instead of holding it. There is a caveat in that if you hold the ENTER/MARK button too long on many Garmin receivers.com 59 . you can usually press MENU and select SAVE AS WAYPOINT. I should add that the Garmin receivers also allow you to go to a point on the map. Vista. on the Garmin receivers with a NAV or GOTO button. the name of the geographic feature will come up when you press ENTER at the point that you want to create a waypoint. Figure 5-2 Garmin GPS Map 76 In Figure 5-2 I moved the cursor to a point on the map. the button is labeled GOTO.Waypoints incorporation into a route. On most receivers. you will end up marking present position instead of the cursor point. if you are trying to create a waypoint at the cursor location in Figure 5-2.smallboatgps. When you get the waypoint creation menu.

WGS 84. you should treat the 60 Basic GPS Navigation www. I discuss this in more detail in the Using Maps with an unknown or no grid on page 141. Datums have evolved from those describing a spherical earth to ellipsoidal models derived from years of satellite measurements.html):  The default datum for GPS is World Geodetic System 1984. it is often not enough to know the coordinates such a latitude and longitude that define a waypoint. Modern geodetic datums range from flat-earth models used for plane surveying to complex models used for international applications which completely describe the size.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/datum/datum. If you can‘t find the datum. Understanding some mapping basics Before you get coordinates from an external source such as a map or even an electronic source. There are still many charts. Hundreds of different datums have been used to frame position descriptions since the first estimates of the earth's size were made by Aristotle. and angular velocity of the earth. I found that I could not improve on Peter Dana‘s definition of the term datum:  Geodetic datums define the size and shape of the earth and the origin and orientation of the coordinate systems used to map the earth. and mis-entered coordinates. Projecting a point Most GPS receivers allow you to create a new point based on a bearing and distance from a previous point.com . mis-measured coordinates. you should look in the legend or documentation. Unless you know that data uses WGS 84. This is a significant help in working with generic maps with no grid. and geographic information that are not based on WGS 84. orientation. it is important that the GPS and the map are referencing the same thing. gravity field.colorado. It is also necessary to know the datum. The advantage of using the GPS in this way is that it avoids a variety of errors including. shape. maps.Waypoints variations on exactly how this is implemented on each model. (http://www. You can either play with it and probably figure it out or refer to the manual for more specific information.smallboatgps. Datums Just to add a little confusion. incorrect datums.

The abstraction of the shape of the earth that is an ellipse rotated around the earth‘s axis is known as the ellipsoid. so also has the ability to more precisely locate these known reference points. especially longitude. As the ability to coordinate the time in Greenwich improved with such inventions as transatlantic cables and shortwave radio so did the accuracy of latitude measurements. In Florida. the measuring of longitude across oceans has historically depended on comparing the positions of stars and planets with relationship to the time in Greenwich. England. the fact that one chart may be mapped relative to a datum which is slightly inaccurate in the context of a world system was not important. In this case. Thus maps have been surveyed relative to a ―known‖ point within the landmass.Waypoints accuracy of any points derived from the source as possibly inaccurate until you have had the chance to see how the waypoints correlate with actual locations. Depending on what you are doing this may or may not be even noticeable. a more accurate version of GPS than is available in the average consumer GPS is used for surveying. Eventually such tools as bouncing laser beams from the moon and satellite radar images were used to more accurately locate reference points and to measure the shape of the earth. the numbers displayed for the coordinates will change. If you then change the GPS to WGS 84. ―known‖ is a relative term. a little fatter around the middle (by approximately 1/298) but with some irregularities. It is more like a piece of spherical fruit like an orange -. our ability to accurately measure and model the shape of the earth has improved. A little extra background on datums Because the earth rotates. Until global navigation systems such as GPS or perhaps Loran. An additional factor is that the earth is not round. These coordinates are converted and stored in the GPS as WGS 84. entering a waypoint with NAD 27 instead of WGS 84 will result in an error of around 100 feet. If you find the coordinates for a waypoint in another datum. in an absolute sense. it is usually possible to change the setup menu of the GPS to accept the coordinates in this datum.smallboatgps. but it will still define the same point.fairly round.com 61 . As technology has increased. If you enter a point in a non WGS 84 datum. The technology for accurately measuring distances within a landmass relative to some fixed reference point has historically been a step ahead of the ability to measure coordinates. Most GPS receivers offer a large number of datum options. The earth is not perfectly spherical. Currently. What was important was that everything on a given map was accurately surveyed relative to other things on Basic GPS Navigation www. As our level of technology has changed. the GPS will indicate the coordinates that you entered.

roads. For navigation use. etc. This aircraft will eventually follow a radio beam called an Instrument Landing System. especially the radar return generating features. it is once again able to use radio navigation aids to update the inertial position. When over land. newer aircraft use GPS to update the inertial systems. The fact that a property line in the United States might be off several feet relative to Greenwich. Here are a couple of references for more information on Datums: 62 Basic GPS Navigation www.smallboatgps. different regions being surveyed relative to different datums has not been a problem. If you are familiar with calculus. The accuracy of this property line being mapped with regard to other property lines. To use the ILS it does not matter that the ILS is charted correctly relative to some worldwide reference. rather than correct relative to a worldwide grid. The accuracy of GPS also allows it to be used for things that previous long-range navigation systems would never be used for. Inertial navigation measures the effects of acceleration over time to get velocity. It is important that the features on the chart be correct relative to each other. which can be measured with an accelerometer. As the aircraft approaches the shore. It measures the effect of velocity over time to calculate a position. the inaccuracies of long range navigation systems was greater than errors caused by different datums. so a couple of miles of inaccuracy is not a safety hazard.com . is critical. to the runway. the system can drift up to several miles with no correction. Yes. A similar situation exists with a boat navigating using the radar returns from the land. After being out of radio contact for a couple of hours. the inertial position drifts. There are still many airplanes that navigate across the ocean with only inertial navigation. However. There are 60 miles between the tracks across the Atlantic. It matters that the transmitter is physically placed beside the runway. England is not important. Let‘s say that an aircraft was flying from Europe to the New York. Thus. Over time. ILS. the point is that until GPS and perhaps Loran. Being able to correlate the position indicated by the GPS with the position of points on the earth make it important that the data or map and the GPS use the same datum. This is a gross oversimplification to make a point.Waypoints that map. the aircraft navigation system corrects this drift with radio navigation input. long-range navigation was insufficiently accurate for it to make any difference and short-range navigation has been done relative to the navigational aids located at a physical location on the earth rather than by reference to a worldwide system. inertial navigation double integrates acceleration. The accuracy of GPS has made the errors from using different datums noticeable. to get position.

Waypoints   http://gpsinformation.net/main/maps.txt Jack Yeazel‘s explanation of datums. http://www.nima.mil/GandG/geolay/toc.htm This is Geodesy for Laymen by NIMA, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/datum/datum.html Peter Dana‘s Geodetic Datum Overview Longitude Longitude is the story of John Harrison‘s development of the sea going chronometer. I have seen the A and E movie version which is based on the book by Dava Sobel. Although I have read that there is some literary license, it is still an excellent story.

 

Location Format
There is a multitude of ways of defining a location. All GPS receivers allow you to input a latitude and longitude. However, this is just one of many ways of defining a location. To locate a point on a surface, you need two coordinates. Latitude and longitude is just one potential format. My Garmin GPSMap 76 lists 28 possible ways of entering a position. Most of these represent various official grid systems for maps. Even beyond latitude and longitude and any number of grid systems there are other ways of defining a point. Think about an address -- this is usually a street and a number along the street. Another example is an intersection of two streets. Although these are not coordinates in the traditional numerical sense, they are coordinates in the sense of being two complimentary specifications to locate a point. Many mapping GPS receivers, assuming the proper map data is loaded, allow you to specify an address or intersection to specify a point. It is also possible to define a location with respect to other known waypoints. Many GPS receiver allow you to specify a new waypoint as being a bearing and distance from a previously known waypoint. Although it takes a little trickery for most GPS receivers, it is also possible to define a point as separate bearings from two separate points. I have only seen panel mounted aviation receivers that explicitly support this feature. Latitude and Longitude The GPS has three ways of being setup to enter latitude and longitude. The difference is when you stop dividing into units of 60 and just use the decimal Basic GPS Navigation
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Waypoints portion. Minutes and seconds work just like in time with each degree being divided into 60 minutes and each minute being divided into 60 seconds. The format is a ‗ behind the number to designate minutes and ― to designate seconds. Here is the same coordinate all three formats. Hddd mm.mmmm‘ N38 51.418 W094 47.941 Hddd.ddddd N38.85697 W094.79902 Hddd mm‘ ss.s‖ N38 51‘ 25.1‖ W094 47‘ 56.5‖ If you want to convert the decimal portion of a degrees to minutes, just multiply the decimal portion by 60. From the above example, to convert the .85697 in N 38.85697, multiply it by 60 to get 51.418‘. Conversely, to convert minutes to a decimal portion of a degree, just divide by 60. From the same example, 51.418‘ / 60 = .85967. Some inexpensive scientific calculators have a special button to do this conversion more automatically. Some more information on latitude while I am on the subject: Latitude is commonly thought of as the angle formed between two lines, one from the point to the center of the earth and the other being from the equator to the center of the earth. This is close and would be true if the earth was a sphere. However, the longitude is actually based on the line perpendicular to the ellipsoid at the point in question and the surface of the equatorial plane. This line does not quite intercept the earth at the center. While I am on the subject of latitude and longitude, a nautical mile is approximately 1 minute of latitude. My memory trick is that the normal highway speed (I learned to drive when the national speed limit was 55 miles per hour) used to be approximately 60 miles per hour, which is on mile per minute. A nautical mile is one nautical mile per minute. The approximation of a nautical mile being equal to 1 minute of latitude is now just an approximation. It used to be the definition, but such a definition meant that the value of the nautical mile kept changing as the shape of the earth was further refined. The nautical mile is now defined as 1852 meters, which converts to approximately 1.15078 statute miles or 6076.1 feet. Lastly, if you need a way to remember which direction is latitude and which is longitude I like to remember the Jimmy Buffet song, ―Changes in Latitude – Changes in Attitude.‖ My son‘s teacher taught him to think that latitude sounds like ladder and that the latitudes are like rungs. UTM, Universal Transverse Mercator

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Waypoints This is a very light coverage of UTM because there are several very good sources of information on the Web. Four good sources of information on UTM on the web are:  http://www.nps.gov/prwi/readutm.htm  www.dbartlett.com  www.maptools.com/UsingUTM On this site, follow the ―Datums‖ link for some good information on the measurement difference between NAD 27 and WGS 84 maps.  Using a Garmin GPS with Paper Land Maps Go to the Garmin web site, www.garmin.com. Select Support ->User Manuals. There will be three pull down menus to select the category and type of receiver that you want the manual. Select, other and other, then select the title. Some maps do not use latitude and longitude. If you are using a topographical map for, there is a good chance that you might run into the Universal Transverse Mercator, UTM, coordinate system. It is interesting, but initially confusing to read the full details about what each UTM coordinate means. However, using UTM in practice is simple.

Figure 5-3 UTM Grid (from www.NIMA.mil website)

UTM divides the world into 60 zones. The coordinates consist of the zone number then an east number referred to as an easting and a north reference referred to as a northing. The easting is listed before the northing, just the opposite of latitude and longitude, but the same as Cartesian coordinates. The eastings and northings are in meters. Often on a map the three right digits, which are meters, are omitted or printed in smaller font. The grids are usually labeled in kilometers; therefore, each grid square is 1 kilometer or 1000 meters Basic GPS Navigation
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Waypoints on each side. It doesn‘t matter whether you are in the southern or western hemispheres, the coordinates always increase from west to east and south to north. Point P in Figure 5-3 has coordinates of East 357,800 North 4,276,750. This is not specific enough for GPS use. The GPS would have also have to be told which sector the map itself was in. If the zone is not printed on the map, you can get it directly from the position of your GPS by actually being somewhere on the map and reading the position or creating a waypoint for a place somewhere on the map using a latitude and longitude and then changing the GPS position format to UTM. The same waypoint that I had previously used to illustrate the different latitude longitude formats is 15S 0343898 4302285. If you were looking at a topographic map, this point would be 898 meters east and 285 meters north of the grid marked 43 on the east axis and 02 on the north axis. Various other Grids There are numerous other grids. I went into an English bookstore and found a rack of maps that all had grids that could be used with GPS. One of the biggest caveats is that it is not enough to specify the grid, but you must also specify the datum. For example, if I select British Grid as the position format using my Garmin Legend C, the Map Datum automatically changes to Ord Srvy GB. On the basic eTrex, I have to make sure that I select the map datum manually. Another example is the Swiss grid works with the CH-1903 datum. For more information on the Ordinance Survey maps and grid, the website is: http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk.

Specialized Charts and Maps
Needless to say specialized maps such as marine charts and topographic maps that have a standard grid are an excellent source of getting data. I have even seen specialized maps for local chains of lakes in my local Wal-Mart which include latitude and longitude marks for using with GPS. By the way, even if you have a mapping GPS with specialized marine or topographic data, it is still wise to carry a physical map or chart. Chart and map reading is a separate subject altogether. There are many books that cover this subject well.

From the Internet
Google Earth is one of the most incredible sites available and warrants its own section starting on page 74. The only real downside is that it requires that you 66

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Waypoints install a program. This is only a drawback in that you may not be able to use it at a library or internet café. There are many Internet mapping sites. Each varies in its coverage and ability to use some sort of coordinate system. Some of these can be used to find coordinates of a point. The other task that you might want to accomplish is to map coordinates that you already know from another source such as marking a point with your GPS so that you can see where they are. Although I may give you some specifics for a given site, my intent in this section is to give you some tricks as to where to look for coordinate information. There are many non-U.S. sites that I do not cover, but odds are you might be able to use some of the techniques listed in this section to extract coordinates. Be warned that interfaces and features constantly change. For example, www.mapquest.com and www.mapblast.com both used to be able to give latitude and longitude information but have been redesigned so that they are no longer useful for getting coordinates. Sites vary in their coverage of Non-U.S. locations. For example, Google maps allow you to look up Buenos Aires, Argentina and get very clear images. However, there is no ability to overlay a street map. Microsoft‘s maps.live.com will get you both. This is not to slam Google, just to make the point that you may have to search around to get non-U.S. information. If you find a site not mentioned below, some of the techniques may apply.  Yahoo maps, maps.yahoo.com, is relatively easy to get the latitude and longitude for a given location. As you drag the map around with your cursor, the latitude and longitude of the center of the map is very easy to make out in the address bar and will update as you drag the map. The center of the map is marked with cross hairs. For example: The latitude and longitude for the map with the center at N28.557154 W081.333336 is pretty easy to find from the following URL which automatically updates as you drag the map: http://maps.yahoo.com/#mvt=h&lat=28.557154&lon=81.333336&mag=1&q1=Orlando%20FL Working the opposite direction, if you had marked a point and wanted to see that point on the map, you could simply search for it in the following formats N28.557154 W081.333336 or 28.557154 -81.333336  Google maps, http://maps.google.com. While not nearly as useful as Google earth, it is quickly accessible from almost any computer. Finding the location of a point is a little more hidden. Double clicking on a Basic GPS Navigation
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Waypoints point will cause the map to center and zoom on the point. To find that point that you centered and zoomed, use the Link to this page or Send feature. The latitude and longitude will be embedded in the URL. For example: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype =&q=Orlando,+FL&ie=UTF8&ll=28.55715,81.33334&spn=0.000545,0.001247&t=h&z=20&om=1 The coordinates of N28.55715 W081.33334 are evident in the URL . If you want to search for this point, you can simply search for N28.55715 W081.33334 or 28.55715 -8133334.  Microsoft Live search, maps.live.com. Live has some nice maps, but I know of no easy way to map already known coordinates. Finding the coordinates for a point works similarly to Google and Yahoo maps. Double click on the desired point to zoom and center on that point. To find the coordinates for that point, use the Share feature. The URL will look like this: http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=28.55715~81.333364&style=h&lvl=18&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=1000&scene=3890034&encType=1 It is easy to pick out the coordinates N28.55715 W081.333364.  Multimap, www.multimap.com. I did not find a way to look for known coordinates. The interface seems a little slow, but it is a U.K. site and I tried it from the U.S. The latitude and longitude of the center of the map are shown in the information area below the map. I found the latitude and longitude would sometimes stop updating. The trick is to reload the web page to get a fresh location. You can right click to zoom in on a point. You can also use the shit key and mouse to draw a zoom area. Maporama, www.maporama.com, The latitude and longitude is the bottom and to the left of the map under ―Information.‖ To measure a latitude and longitude, select ―re-center‖ or ―re-center and zoom in‖ from the options icons in the upper left corner. There is no aerial photo view – just maps. There is also no way to map coordinates that you already have. However, finding coordinates is easy and worldwide coverage is good.  Marine Planner, www.marineplanner.com, good site with marine charts.

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but it is relatively inexpensive. I am sure that there are many people who find the first type of compatibility quite advantageous. this type of GPS compatibility usually is not of much use.topozone.com (U.com The initial TerraServer project was by Microsoft and Compaq and was meant to demonstrate Microsoft‘s data management software.com/ TerraServer allows you to view aerial or satellite images and find the latitude and longitude of a point on the image or find an image of a latitude and longitude. There are various subscription and download options. the data is limited to the USA.terraserver-usa. a salesman who is driving to new unfamiliar places would likely find this very useful. However. but when you select and download a map.mapcard.streetmap. TerraServer.K.com. Many programs offer GPS compatibility.Waypoints  MapCard. http://www. www. has topographic maps of the United States.co.co. http://www. www. Note that many of the maps are Nad 27 datum. The ability to upload points on the map into the GPS so that you can use the GPS independently of the computer. for recreation use. It has tools to mark coordinates at points. 2. Topozone. I can‘t see taking my laptop kayaking or inline skating. Only) MapCard is not free.     Mapping Programs The PC or a PDA can be useful for finding waypoints. but this is also a source of finding the latitude and longitude of a place or finding and aerial or satellite image of a point.S. If you intend on using the GPS with the computer as Basic GPS Navigation www. This can mean one of two things: 1. Click on the ―Info‖ icon at the top of the page for the latitude and longitude. TerraServer USA. You can click on the map to re-center and zoom as well as use the controls to the right of the map.terraserver. I have hooked up my laptop with a mapping program and it was pretty impressive.uk/ . As the name implies. Most of the programs that advertise GPS compatibility are advertising this first type.uk . I am not well versed in the details of the split. The ability to use the computer such as a laptop to display your position on the map using GPS. For example. However. you will need to click on the ―Info‖ icon again to get the latitude and longitude. the position of the cursor is indicated to the left of the map. streetmaps of the U.com http://www.smallboatgps.com 69 . Streetmap.

Most likely the latter will be the case. For example. It is somewhat stripped down from the other DeLorme products.rammount.com to mount the laptop. For more information on using a PDA I would recommend Dale DePriest‘s information at: http://www. but at a different point on the continuum. you can pay an extra $40 and download an optional GPS interface for the program. the display is not as big as a laptop.org/dale/.delorme. However. 70 Basic GPS Navigation www. The second type of GPS compatibility is obviously useful for many recreational activities in that it eliminates incorrect measurement and entry of data. The factors for the feasibility of using a PDA with GPS are the same as using a computer with GPS except that the magnitudes have changed. I was impressed with Map Print Pack USA for the money. there are many more. If you want to spend the money. but a PDA is not nearly as bulky. Examples of this are Figure 5-4 and Figure 5-5. For many lakes and inland waterways these are what you need. This will give you both types of GPS compatibility. Also some of these programs are only applicable to United States use. The more recent the program and the data. Using a GPS with a PDA is similar to using a GPS with a computer. Even though many programs do not offer this second type of GPS compatibility or any GPS compatibility at all. The tradeoffs are similar. You can then manually enter these into the GPS. Many programs can give you a latitude and longitude of a point of the cursor.smallboatgps. I have even used some of the inexpensive atlas programs in the discount software rack. Although I list a couple of programs in the next few pages. the more likely it is to be based on the WGS-84 datum. Some of the more expensive products have the ability to create routes and waypoints and then upload them into the GPS. this is not necessarily the case. but for the price it is great for recreational use.gpsinformation. Delorme Map Print Pack (U. they can still be very useful.com . Often you can print a map and mark points along with the latitude and longitude that you measured at waypoints. My purpose is to find some of the more readily available concrete examples. Be weary or the program unless it states the datum or until you have had the chance to use a couple of measurements and see how well they work.com Delorme does not sell marine charts. Only) www.Waypoints an interface in this manner. Map Print Pack retails for $20 and is the least expensive DeLorme product line. but they do have topographic maps.S. This is a simple and inexpensive solution. you might want to check www.

I then right clicked on the map note and edited it to add the name. Map Print Pack comes with a vinyl 3 x 3 holder to slip the maps into. I think that this is an excellent program. If you mark a point. This program also lacks address lookup. Roads will be shown. you have to manually input the coordinates into the flag or Push Pin as it is called in this program. Each sheet is printed separately and becomes part of a mosaic covering a large area. Microsoft Streets and Trips This is a program mainly aimed at finding routes and address for automotive use. 2 x 2. I have found the maps to be very good. For the price. Basic GPS Navigation www. You also have the option of overlaying the maps with a latitude/longitude or a UTM grid. or 3 x 3.Waypoints An interesting feature of Delorme Map Print Pack and several of the other Delorme products is that they let you print a large map by separating the map into separate sheets.smallboatgps. However. You can set up a map with tags like this and then enter them into the GPS. The downside of Map Print Pack is that it has limited use as a road map. but will be disappointments if you are looking for this program to be something that it is not. the naming coverage is not complete. It actually showed the island in the middle of the lake that I describe in Figure 3-3 on page 17. Figure 5-4 Delorme Map Print Pack In Figure 3-2.com 71 . I right clicked on the mouse and selected label with coordinate map note. There is a distance tool where you can draw a free form line along a curved path such as a river. Maps can be printed as single sheet. The nice thing is that you can put the cursor over the point and see the coordinates using the location tool as you are doing this. These are not failures of the program. but street names are only displayed at the closest range. Even then.

Waypoints Figure 5-5 Microsoft Streets and Trips 2001 Other non GPS use benefits are that if you use the program as it was intended. you would be paying for this unusable capability. For example. Both the PC and PDA versions advertise the ability to upload route and waypoint information to the GPS. this is a purposeful delay put in as a licensing issue between Microsoft and Navtech.com . If you zoom out far enough. It is not possible to print large area maps using DeLorme‘s mosaic method. What you would not be able to do is upload the maps themselves. you would have the software should you later buy a mapping GPS receiver. you might consider purchasing the extra mapping or cartographic software from the same manufacture. Thus. I have a more detailed discussion of the various mapping software on page 24 under my discussion of whether to by a mapping of non-mapping GPS. You will have to check the compatibility of the software and your GPS. The GPS capability advertised on the box requires you to plug the GPS into a laptop computer and it will display the GPS data. National Geocgraphic http://maps. there is no way to measure new points on the printed map without using the computer. Unfortunately. you will see a globe. From my understanding. GPS Manufactures’ Mapping and Data Software Even if you do not have a mapping GPS. The mapping for the rest of the world consists of major cities and national boundaries. The catch is there is a delay of up to 15 seconds.smallboatgps. if you had a non-mapping Garmin GPS you could buy the Waterways and Lights or Roads and Recreation CD and still be able to upload routes and waypoints that you had created on the PC. Things I did not like were that there is no way to print a grid on the map. These are topographic maps available by state. you can get driving directions from point to point. However. They also offer a PDA (both Palm and Pocket PC) version.nationalgeographic/top I have not had the chance to try this software. 72 Basic GPS Navigation www.

uk. ISBN 0-7645-6933-3 GPS for Dummies has good coverage of the various software available to interface a computer with the GPS.com (Palm.ordnancesurvey. I have also seen some Michelin road maps with latitude and longitude. More information on the grid can be found at www. In the U. let me send you to some sources where you can find this software.net I have referred to this multiple times. calibrate points on the map with known coordinates of the points. try www. Pocket PC / Windows CE) Search on keywords ―map‖ or ―GPS‖ Ordinary Road Maps Most ordinary road maps have grids that are of little use with GPS.  GPS for Dummies Joel McNamara Wiley Publishing.tucows.gpsinformation.  For PDA software http://www.org/dale/ www. In addition Basic GPS Navigation www. Ordinance Survey maps of Great Britain have grids that can be used. and then measure other points on the map and print it out with a grid overlay.com 73 .Waypoints Ozi Explorer www.smallboatgps. Recently.com (palm) www.com I have not used Ozi Explorer. There are even programs where you can scan in maps with your computer. but it is a very popular program that among other capabilities allows you to import and calibrate scanned maps.palmgear.co. Delorme has been good about putting latitude and longitude on their map products.handango. Pocket PC / Windows CE) www. Look under the section for Third Party Software. you can find some maps that can be used easily with a GPS.S.gpsinformation. Rand McNally has started updating their maps with latitude and longitude grids. . Other software There are many other programs on the market that I have not mentioned. This includes their state Atlas and Gazetteer series.oziexplorer. but this is a great place to look for links to several other shareware programs. but if you hunt around. Instead of trying to list them.  For PC shareware..com (Palm.

com. it is possible to use the free version to create waypoints and routes for use in your GPS.com . While not difficult.smallboatgps. This section is dedicated to some tricks to use Google Earth with GPS. waypoints. and altitude at the cursor is shown in the bottom left corner of the image as shown in Figure 5-6. However.google. Figure 5-6 Within Google Earth.gpsvisualizer. that may suite your needs. It also offers some of the data conversion functionality offered by GPS Babel. If you use Garmin Map Source. you may find the View in Google Earth option to be all you need. These functions are well documented in the help files as well as numerous other places. Google Earth Google Earth is a free program available at earth. It will show your GPS data on a Google map. According to the Google documentation the GPS features do not support exchange of routes. It is also possible to view data downloaded from your GPS such as tracks using the free version. There is also an internet site. GPS Visualize http://www.com.. and tracks – just the present position and direction. the latitude. also make sure that you change the datum to Ordinance Survey Great Britain if your GPS does not automatically do so when you select the grid. There is a $20 per year version that allows you to use your GPS with Google Earth. There are numerous other features in Google Earth including a flight simulator feature. The simplest way of using Google earth is to note this location and enter it enter your GPS. the techniques in this section do involve a little tinkering. 74 Basic GPS Navigation www.Waypoints to selecting the grid. longitude.

use View -> Toolbar. Basic GPS Navigation www. This is described in the help files. Selecting the pushpin allows you to click on the image and create a place mark.. but the simple explanation is that you can select the route tool and click along the points to describe the route as shown in Figure 5-8. If it is not there.Waypoints In the upper left corner of the screen is a toolbar as shown in Error! Reference source not found. Figure 5-7 Google also offers a tool where you can graphically create a route.com 75 .smallboatgps.

smallboatgps. 76 Basic GPS Navigation www.Waypoints Figure 5-8 These routes and place marks are saved in My Places as shown in Figure 5-9. Driving directions are not automatically placed into My Places. but you can right click and save a set of directions to My Places or simply drag and drop.com .

but using the convert waypoints to route filter would create a route using these waypoints.kml format to a multitude of formats.gpx. Once the data is in a recognizable format it can then be uploaded into a GPS using a variety of GPS software described in Chapter 6 Connecting your GPS to the computer. However. but can be useful for an automatic route.org. including Garmin‘s MapSource. You can then save these objects or whole folders as . that will convert the data from .gpsbabel. can use GPX. GPS Babel http://www. you can create folders to organize your objects.Waypoints Figure 5-9 Within My Places.kml file in Google Earth. These objects can then be dragged and dropped as appropriate. For example if you had Google Earth create a road route from address a to address b. This process also works in reverse. there is a shareware program. the converted file would have waypoints for each turn. There is a little quirk in that the translation does not take place when you hit save from the file selection dialogue.gpsvisualizer. The possible exception to this process is that Garmin Map Source has a simple option to view data in Google Earth by using View -> View In Google Earth. but when you click on the ―let‘s go‖ button. and finally open the .kml files.com. One of the most convenient formats is . This isn‘t necessary with a manually drawn route. You can download tracks and waypoints from your GPS into your computer.smallboatgps.kml files.com 77 . GPS Babel The problem is that most GPS software does not directly recognize these . Another option in addition to GPS Babel is to use one of the forms on http://www. then convert the data into Google Earth format using GPS Babel. Basic GPS Navigation www. Many programs. The filter option in GPS Babel allows you to do things like converting the waypoints from an automotive route into a route.

Waypoints Figure 5-10 78 Basic GPS Navigation www.smallboatgps.com .

Certainly not elegant and it might be too frustrating.radioshack. GPS receivers with the old serial interfaces generally have proprietary cables.jsp?faq=68). I had to hold the wires against the contacts with my finger to keep the connection.garmin. it is possible to rig a connection. Hardware Many of the newer GPS receivers use USB. You can enter this part number at www. You will want to somehow mark the wires for future references. but often the cable must be purchased separately. Garmin Serial For the Garmin receivers such as the 12. The other ends will clip onto the pins on the GPS with the fittings. If you have installed the manufacture‘s software. A GPS that is still being sold that uses a serial connector is the basic yellow Garmin eTrex. the USB drivers are most likely available on the manufacture‘s website.Connecting your GPS to the computer Chapter 6 Connecting your GPS to the computer Linking the GPS to your computer allows you to transfer waypoints. the drivers are probably installed automatically. purchasing a serial cable represents a high percentage of the value of the GPS itself.com to see better what it is. pin 3 – transmit (R on the GPS). The wires should connect to the GPS as follows: pin 2 – receive (T on the GPS). However. with the round plug it is fairly easy to connect the GPS to a serial port for $2 worth of parts at an electronics store such as Radio Shack. Unfortunately. and routes. Strip about 3/8 inches off of each end and crimp the metal fittings onto each end of each wire.on the GPS). You will need 3 wires about 1 foot long. II.smallboatgps. Some receivers may come with the cable. I bent the wires over the end of a small piece of note card which slid into the slot on the back of the GPS. 9-Position Female D-Sub Connector. The easiest solution is to spend a little more and purchase the eTrex Legend which comes with a cable. The source for this information is: http://www. The holes of the connector are numbered. III. and pin 5 ground (. The manufactures cables can be a little pricey. but I did get it to work. tracks. you will need to stuff the metal ends into the housing on the end that will attach to the computer. If not.com 79 . The part from Radio Shack is 276-1428. Basic GPS Navigation www. you might be able to find some springs and a small piece of plastic to do some minor recreational engineering. With a little work and some scrounging. 72.com/support/faqs/faq.

You can‘t change the POI.gpx. the risk is relatively low. 1000. You might also search the internet and find databases that people of have already compiled for things like trail locations.smallboatgps. you could mark a spot on the trail and save it as a waypoint. POI. or some similar order of magnitude number of waypoints. . These . the serial connection is used to send present position and direction data back and forth.Connecting your GPS to the computer Although there is the possibility that you could do some damage. radio control flying fields. or as described in the section on Google Earth. but it didn‘t harm the GPS or the computer. are looking for some functionality not present in the Garmin software. This is done by transferring data to and from an SD memory card. Software Garmin If you have a Garmin GPS. speed cameras. The Garmin software is good and easy to use. The serial interface is not used to transfer waypoint. 80 Basic GPS Navigation www. but it is possible to use simple comma separated values. etc. It didn‘t work until I switched the wires. The best format is . For example.com . and track information. you may be limited to 500. All you need is a file with points in a suitable format and POI Loader will load the custom POI‘s into your GPS. Lowrance Serial Most of the newer Lowrance GPS receivers offer a serial connection. If you looked up the location of a restaurant in the database it would be a POI. is relatively easy to use and freely downloadable from Garmin‘s website.csv also. the easiest software to use is Garmin‘s software – either Map Source or Garmin Trip and Waypoint manager. I initially connected the transmit and receive wires backwards. and you do not mind a little tinkering. However. Garmin POI Loader There is a slight difference in a waypoint and a Point of Interest.gpx files can be created using the programs listed in this chapter. WiFi hotspots. Depending on your GPS. airports. Check on your specific model. route. The software. but in many ways you can use it similarly to a waypoint. POI Loader. Waypoints are user defined and POI‘s are loaded into your GPS and cannot be edited on your GPS. but many of the newer models allow you to create custom POI‘s. but the number of POI‘s is usually just limited by system memory. but you may want to look at some of the other programs in this section if you do not have the Garmin software.

Connecting your GPS to the computer

POI loader differs from loading waypoints in that the custom POI data will replace any POI data that you previously had loaded. When you run POI Loader it will ask you for the folder containing the POI data. If you have multiple data files put them all into the same folder and they will show as separate POI databases.

Figure 6-1

Figure 6-1 is a screenshot from a Garmin Nuvi 270 showing multiple POI databases. Each one was a separate .gpx file in the same folder that I told POI to load from. There is not progress indicator on POI loader. The U.S. Airports database has over 15,000 points and it appeared to cause POI loader to lock up. However, POI Loader was not locked up, it was just loading a large data file. I left it and came back a while later and the load was successful. As an aside, I created the U.S. Airports database from data at a Paul Tomblin‘s excellent http://navaid.com. Lowrance Lowrance offers Map Create software. MapCreate is necessary to load more detailed maps. MapCreate allows you to create routes and waypoints using the computer interface and load them onto an SD card for use in the GPS. If you do not own MapCreate, Lowrance offers GPS Data Manager, DGM, for free download on their website. GDM is an unimpressive piece of software. GDM may be useful if all you want to do is to save your data onto your computer for backup. For use with other programs or Google earth a little tinkering is required. The problem is that MapCreate and GDM only recognize the Lowrance data format. In contrast, the Garmin format is much more common and the Garmin software Basic GPS Navigation
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Connecting your GPS to the computer allows you to use a more standard format like .gpx in loading and saving data to MapSource and Trip and Waypoint manager. If you have a Lowrance, you can use several of the GPS programs such as those listed in this chapter. The catch is that most of them do not recognize the Lowrance format, .usr. However, you can use the .gpx format and use GPS Babel, https://www.gpsbabel.org to translate the files back and forth between .gpx and the Lowrance .usr format. To save data to or load data from the SD card in the GPS use Menu ->Menu -> System Setup -> Transfer My Data. PC Programs G7toWin http://www.gpsinformation.org/ronh/ This is one of the more powerful freeware programs. I highly recommend this program. EasyGPS www.easygps.com Perhaps the simplest program of my suggestions. It works with several different brands of GPS. EasyGPS is simple and free. Although, I have not had time to explore the programs in any depth, TopoGrafix also sells some other programs including ExpertGPS, which allows you to view waypoints overlaid on satellite photos. Ozi Explorer http://www.oziexplorer.com GPS Track Maker http://www.gpstm.com

GPS software for the Mac GPSy http://www.gpsy.com MacGPS Pro http://www.macgpspro.com

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Navigation Terminology

Chapter 7 Navigation Terminology
This is not meant to be a discussion of all of the data fields that your GPS can display—just the more relevant ones to navigation.
BEARING

TURN TRACK COURSE

OFF COURSE

Current

Figure 7-1

Figure 7-1 is a schematic showing the various GPS data field values together. I present all of them together so that you can compare the fields to each other. In the next several pages, I will explain each one of them separately.

What is North?
Magnetic North Before, I explain what the GPS is capable of indicating, it is important to realize that the compass does not necessarily point to north. The earth‘s magnetic field and its rotational axis are not the same. The compass aligns itself with the magnetic field of the earth. Maps are usually drawn to true north. The GPS can use either. This difference between magnetic north and true north is called variation or declination. It varies with location and even slowly with time. Special use maps such as marine or aviation maps have this compass variation displayed, whereas ordinary generic maps do not. There are algorithms to calculate variation that Basic GPS Navigation
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Choose Models Charts Movies -> Movies and choose one of the Declination movies.geolab. 84 Basic GPS Navigation www. GPS receivers use this calculated value of variations at a given location to convert true values to magnetic values.nrcan.com .shtml If you really find this interesting and want to dig a little deeper.usgs.geolab.gc.nrcan.shtml http://geomag.gov On this site look under Intro to Geomag. Figure 7-2 shows the change in the magnetic North Pole from 1831 to 2001.Navigation Terminology the GPS receiver uses. Figure 7-2 http://www. two interesting sites are:   http://www. the magnetic field has flipped several times over the life of the earth.ca/geomag/northpole_e.ca/geomag/long_mvt_nmp_e. Interestingly enough.smallboatgps. I have seen manifestations of this in seeing charted magnetic heading for familiar runways change a couple of degrees over several years even though I know the concrete has not rotated. This is on a geological time scale – you are not going to wake up one morning and find that your compass reads backwards. Also check out the movies showing the change in declination over time.gc.

if the GPS indicates a TRACK of 085 and a BEARING of 090. It doesn‘t matter if both values are magnetic or true. a memory aid is ―east is least and west is best. For example. you would actually need to steer a compass heading of 106. Grid North Every map projection warps something when trying to represent a threedimensional curved surface on a flat piece of paper. To steer a heading of 090 on the map. UTM causes the grid to not be exactly north south except at the central meridian. Basic GPS Navigation www. it is best to compare the GPS generated TRACK with the GPS calculated value for BEARING or COURSE. you are more concerned with the difference between the values whether they are both magnetic or both true.smallboatgps. any magnetic variation cancels out.com 85 . but where the issue of magnetic verses true headings becomes especially important is when the GPS does not indicate a useful value for TRACK such as when hiking. If you setup your GPS to use magnetic values. MA the variation is 16W.‖ This means to add the west variation and subtract an east variation. the GPS data will correspond to your compass with no conversion. This is an entirely different issue and involves adjusting your compass or displaying a correction card. It is important that you understand the difference between magnetic and true values. the effect is only one or two degrees. If you set up the GPS to use true values. Just remember. In trying to represent square areas on the map.Navigation Terminology Other things such as metal structures and electronics can also affect the compass. then the GPS data will correspond to your map without conversion. if you thought that you were heading east because your compass indicated 090. I address this in more detail in the Two Dimensional Navigation on foot chapter on page 109. Usually. that the opposite is true if you need to convert a magnetic value to a true value. To convert a true heading to a magnetic heading. This is referred to as deviation. you are tracking 5 left of going directly to the waypoint. Back to variation… In Boston. you would actually be headed 074 with respect to true north. Similarly. This is something that is impossible to map or for the GPS to calculate. There are advantages and disadvantages to either one. In such a case. Grid north is measured relative to the grid lines rather than true north. For navigating a vessel with GPS.

and start walking sideways like a crab. or kilometers per hour. This electronic compass works like a regular compass in that it gets its alignment from the information from the earth‘s magnetic field. Put down the book or the computer. The ability of the GPS to use the actual track of the boats is one of the significant benefits of the system. Turn is the difference between the TRACK and the BEARING already calculated by the GPS. TURN Most handhelds have a TURN field which tells you how far you need to turn the boat to go directly to the active waypoint. but it is really TRACK with the exception of units that have electronic compass functions when they are below the transition speed discussed in the previous paragraph. BEARING should be compared to TRACK rather than the heading. It is both easier to 86 Basic GPS Navigation www. For sighting. This feature is designed to give a heading reference when you are not moving or practically still. With a couple of exceptions. It is not uncommon for an airliner to have a TRACK that is 20 degrees different from the heading. but I would suggest that if you are kayaking or rowing that you might even consider setting this threshold as low as 1 or 2 knots. The direction that you are traveling is your TRACK. BEARING This is the answer to the question ―Which way do you need to go in order to go directly to the waypoint?‖ BEARING is the direction to the next waypoint relative to North. that you set the speed at which the GPS switches from referencing this internal compass to referencing the GPS satellite system to an appropriate value. For actually guiding the boat.com . HEADING and TRACK are sometimes very different. They are very different.smallboatgps. The direction that you are pointing is your HEADING. the Garmin eTrex series uses the term HEADING. It is important that if you have one of these GPS receivers. The exception is that some more expensive GPS receivers have an electronic compass built in which will actually tell you which way that you are pointed. When you are still. the GPS has no idea which way you are pointed or your speed through the water.Navigation Terminology TRACK—synonym TRK or COG (Course over Ground) or HEADING This is the answer to the question ―which way am I going. Several GPS receivers throw the term heading around loosely. For example. I have not used one of these receivers. BEARING is useful relative to heading. stand up. there is no track. mph. Imagine paddling a kayak at 3 knots across a current that is 4 knots.‖ This is the direction the boat is actually moving relative to the earth.

If a GOTO has been executed. Basic GPS Navigation www.2 nm. COURSE-. I do not like and do not use TO COURSE for navigation. XTK (cross track error) This is just how far you are off the line defined in the definition of COURSE. you need to go to the left to get on course. If you want to go directly to a point. but is used slightly differently from TURN. TO COURSE.2 nm. The other end is the waypoint being navigated from. L 1. COURSE TO STEER Quite simply. The TRACK correction for a given OFF COURSE value is usually what I consider to be more than necessary. If an aircraft‘s navigation needle is to the left. Even the TURN field functions this way. the position at which it was executed becomes the waypoint being navigated from.smallboatgps. What I find is that TO COURSE is too sensitive for manual steering. The sensing of the OFF COURSE fields is one of my pet peeves. The direction indicated is the direction of the error. Most navigation devices tell you which direction to go to get to the course.com 87 . It is important to distinguish that BEARING is relative to the active waypoint from the present position and COURSE is relative to the line between two waypoints.Navigation Terminology read and takes up one less data field than using BEARING and TRACK separately. COURSE is really just short for desired course. You are only likely to see this data field on panel mounted aviation GPS receivers.2 nm to the left of course not that you need to go 1. COURSE in the context of GPS data fields means the TRACK necessary to parallel a route leg. you could steer so that your TRACK match TO COURSE. The waypoint being navigated to makes one end of the line. Theoretically. TKE. means that you are 1. not that you are drifting 5 degrees to the left. OFF COURSE. Desired track is a bit of a nomenclature problem in that the Desired Track may not be the TRACK that you desire. It is useful. A TURN of L005 would mean that you have to turn 5 degrees to the left to go direct to the waypoint. then the TRACK that you should desire is BEARING not DTK.synonym DTK(desired track) The term COURSE is somewhat confusing in that many of us are used to using course for the thing that is TRACK in GPS nomenclature. to the left. Track error This is analogous to the TURN field except that it is the difference between TRACK and DTK rather than the difference in between TRACK and BEARING.

Navigation Terminology I explain a technique for dealing with a GPS that only gives a magnitude without a direction in the discussion of ―Navigating along a line using bearing information‖ section. COURSE references the line formed between the two waypoints and BEARING references the line from the receiver to the waypoint. this reference point becomes the point at which the GOTO was executed. the track line is labeled as ―heading line‖ in the map set up window. for purposes of this illustration. However.smallboatgps. This is a bit of a misnomer since this is based on TRACK rather than heading. Incidentally. and COURSE. The Garmin 76 has the ability to show lines for all of these fields.com . If a GOTO is executed. Notice that TURN is just the difference between TRACK and BEARING. the ability to show all of these fields graphically is very useful. 88 Basic GPS Navigation www. which is very sufficient. BEARING. Terminology Example Figure 7-3 Garmin GPS 76 showing different fields Figure 7-3 shows the difference between TRACK. Many receivers can only display a course line.

TRACK.smallboatgps. With the exception of some of the models with built in compasses. The map and the data compliment each other. The map itself provides context and the data fields provide precision. The data fields tell you that you need to turn 24 and that you are . In this case.com 89 . but you have to understand what the GPS is indicating. only the direction that it is traveling. Several times I refer to a value for TRACK.2 miles right of course. This is a common misnomer that many models of GPS use that I discuss in more detail on page 86. the GPS has no idea what direction it is pointed.Navigation Displays Chapter 8 Navigation Displays Not only must you understand the basic navigation terminology. or RMI Figure 8-2 GPS V Bearing Pointer Basic GPS Navigation www. HEADING. Compass. you can see from the map that you are right of course and you need to come left to get to the next waypoint. Map Display Figure 8-1 Garmin GPS V Map I am a fan of the map display as a primary interface. but the GPS displays a value for HEADING. Bearing Pointer. I have placed Figure 8-1 through Figure 8-3 at the same location so that you can compare and contrast some of the displays. You can tell in a quick glance where you are from the map and the data fields give you precision.

com . Some receivers such as the 276C and many of the aviation receivers have an extra little symbol called a bug around the edge of the compass card. CDI. When this is set to indicate BEARING. HSI or Course Pointer Figure 8-3 Garmin GPS V Course Pointer The new eTrex series. The amount the pointer is deflected from the 12 o‘clock position the depiction of TURN (24L). the course pointer works like a compass pointer combined with a course pointer. I have read newsgroup postings and corresponded with users who were frustrated in that they followed the needle and it did not take them to the waypoint. if the GPS displays one. The 12 o‘clock position is the TRACK (347). the bug works like the head of the bearing pointer needle.2 miles). points forward if you are navigating to the waypoint and backwards if you are navigating from the waypoint.Navigation Displays The bearing pointer screen is one of the most popular displays and almost every GPS offers some variation even though it might be called something slightly different such as a compass or RMI. The middle part of the needle called a D-bar or course deviation indicator. deflects proportionally to the OFF COURSE value (R . 90 Basic GPS Navigation www. and most aviation receivers have a course pointer or HSI. The needle points to the COURSE or DTK (346) rather than BEARING. The scale is adjustable with the in/out zoom buttons. in Figure 8-2 I have selected the data fields that the bearing pointer represents in a graphic representation. It is important to realize that following the needle will only get you parallel to the course rather than steering you to the next waypoint. With the bearing bug. it is just that it is different from the bearing pointer and the pointer must be used in conjunction with the D-bar or CDI. The 12 o‘clock position is the TRACK (347). GPS V. With the exception of distance. The needle on the pointer screen points to the direction that you need to track to go directly to the active waypoint. The value at which the needle overlays the compass card is the BEARING (322). The little triangle in the middle.smallboatgps. This is not that the course pointer is a bad display.

but it works similarly and may be better because it is calibrated. There are also many receivers that have a more two dimensional version of the highway page. The difference is that the GPS version is based on TRACK rather than heading and the needle or D-bar deflects proportional to OFF COURSE rather than the difference between COURSE and BEARING. Other navigation screens There are still other screens or depictions. Basic GPS Navigation www. Sometimes this is called the CDI page. Highway Screen Figure 8-4 Garmin GPSMAP 76 Figure 8-4 shows another location with another GPS to demonstrate the Highway screen available on many GPS receivers. and 196 offer a horizontal tape track indicator. With the exception of the Garmin III Pilot. As I have mentioned. The Magellans. The point is that all of the various screens and displays are just abstractions for certain fundamental navigational values. The course pointer is similar to a very expensive aircraft instrument known as an HSI or Horizontal Situation Indicator.smallboatgps. you can go to the HSI page and set this to indicate BEARING.Navigation Displays It is important to realize that the default for what the bug indicates may or may not be BEARING. This works like the compass display except that it is depicted from a different perspective. The left screen is the highway screen and the other two are the bearing pointer and map respectively for comparison. the bug is set to indicate TO COURSE. The highway display is basically a simple route plot drawn in perspective. I do not have much use for TO COURSE. Garmin 195. By default on many of the Garmin aviation receivers.com 91 .

Unfortunately. I still prefer the numerical precision of the data fields. The map portion of the map screen has some drawbacks. With most of the GPS receivers that I am familiar with the data fields are user selectable. I‘ll leave this to personal style. If you buy a mapping GPS. Some of you might be surprised to know that the mapping display on a modern airliner is much closer to the mapping display on a non-mapping GPS such as an eTrex Venture or GPS Map 76. but neither have a way of displaying OFF COURSE on the map page. The data fields displayed on the map page compensate for shortcomings of the map display itself. If you map is just a plot such as on a non-mapping GPS or a mapping GPS in a region without much mapping data. The Magellan line of handhelds fits into this category.smallboatgps. It can sometimes be slow to update and it will not indicate with precisely how much you need to turn or how far off course you are. the default data displayed on the map page is usually not the best data for navigating.Navigation Displays Which screen should you use? I have a very strong opinion on choosing a navigation screen that I have not seen expressed in other literature on using GPS. it is possible to set the map display to include a simultaneous display of a course or bearing pointer. There are some receivers such as the Garmin eTrex (basic yellow one) and Geko where there is inadequate data displayed on the map or plot screen to recommend it as a primary interface. learn to use the map display to navigate unless your receiver displays too few data fields for it to be useful. I still think that it is useful. The data fields provide the precision that the map display lacks and the map portion provides the situational awareness that the raw numbers of the data field are unable to provide.com . The map display used in conjunction with properly selected data is the best way to navigate with the GPS. My point is that if you have to choose between a map display and the course or bearing pointer. The GPS 12 and II series both display BEARING and TRACK on the map page. I will get to this shortly. Compare the depictions from Figure 8-2 to Figure 8-4. With only two selectable fields this may or may not be sufficient for the navigational task at hand. the map display combined with data fields is generally better. I think that you will find the map screen is the easiest to interpret. but there is a fair argument for using the course or bearing pointer. On many GPS receivers. In such a case you often have the option of various combinations of pointer displays and data fields. The bearing and course pointers are very useful abstractions of navigational data. There are other cases where I would recommend the map screen conditionally. Just the route and waypoints are normally displayed along with 92 Basic GPS Navigation www.

Navigation Displays the compass arc at the top of the screen. the map is still of enormous use. However.smallboatgps. this is not foolhardy. displaying every line option can be more cluttered than beneficial.com 93 . be inappropriate in many cases not to use the appropriate marine chart for more information on hazards. It would however. Of course. if are boating and using Metro Guide or Roads and Recreation data instead of BlueChart maps. More detail is not always better. Your preferences will develop with experience. There is a tradeoff between a screen being detailed and cluttered. In fact. This is something that you will have to experiment and decide what you like. Some more data such as airports and navaids can also be displayed. If you have a mapping GPS and do not have the appropriate maps loaded for the activity. the default is the course line. Similar logic applies for many other activities. airspace restrictions. then you know where you are. Non-aviation GPS receivers do not show pertinent aeronautical information and aviation GPS receivers show this for reference only. and bearing. It depends on the use and user. In Figure 7-3 on page 88 I depict an example of the various lines that can be displayed – course. Setting up the map display for navigation Lines Depending on the GPS there are several different options for setting up the map display. There is no map display similar to the detail of the average consumer mapping GPS. The depiction of shoreline and various features are still enormously helpful for situational awareness. Generally. but these are just symbols—similar to other waypoints being displayed on the GPS screen. Data Fields Basic GPS Navigation www. it also demonstrates the possible map setup options. you can be reassured that this is generally quite adequate. In fact most aviation receivers have a ―declutter‖ button that can be used to reduce the level of detail. If flying along you see that the GPS shows you next to a big lake and the chart shows that your course runs beside a big lake. My intent at that point was to illustrate the corresponding navigational terms. For example. Not all GPS receivers are capable of displaying each type of line. Some receivers allow you to select whether or at what zooms to display certain mapping features. Detail Some receivers allow you to select a level general level of detail. you would use the proper aeronautical chart for information such as obstructions. If this is all that your GPS is capable of displaying. etc. heading.

but to along a route line also. Ideally. 94 Basic GPS Navigation www.com . Practically every GPS receiver has a slightly different way of selecting the data fields. then you might eventually also consider displaying TRACK. Let me start with the baseline of a Garmin GPS III which allows the display of four data fields. DISTANCE to NEXT. How to actually change the data fields I will leave to the owner‘s manual and your experimentation. If you are able to display many data fields. and which way that you want to go. The reason that I cannot simply state which data fields to choose is that the capability varies quite a bit between the various receivers. but the ability to display fewer might still be usable. I will try to give you some initial guidance that you will probably update as you get more familiar with the navigation techniques that I will describe later. I recommend displaying TURN. How far off course you are. you will track directly to the next waypoint. The ability to display more fields is better. OFF COURSE. BEARING or COURSE. 3. That you are actually navigating to the next waypoint. Figure 8-5 TURN: The two most fundamental pieces of data are which way that you are going. Furthermore. 4. By steering so that TURN is zero. Which way that you need to go. TURN combines the which way that you are going and the which way that you need to go data into one easy to interpret field. especially with how many fields can be displayed. For most handheld GPS receivers I suggest that you display TURN. BEARING or COURSE. BEARING. and NEXT WAYPOINT as depicted in Figure 8-5. How far to the next waypoint. 5. TRACK 2. and DISTANCE separately.Navigation Displays Choosing the proper data fields for your primary navigation screen which I hope that I have convinced you is the map screen is key. Which way that you are going. you want to know: 1. many GPS receivers have options to set up how many fields may be displayed. OFF COURSE allows you to not just navigate directly to the next point.smallboatgps. TRACK.

such as the Magellan handheld receivers.Navigation Displays DISTANCE to NEXT: Obviously your distance to the next point is a useful bit of data.com 95 . I am used to the data fields and like the precision. HSI or RMI when used in conjunction with the map display instead of in lieu of is still a very powerful navigational interface. then you will not want to spend 50% of your data fields on this information. this is a baseline configuration. Some of the Garmin aviation GPS receivers such as the 295 and 196 allow you to choose between more data fields or an HSI or RMI. Just change the bug to use BEARING rather than TO COURSE! The eTrex Legend. If you have sufficient data fields. and COURSE separately in lieu of or in addition to TURN. If you have a GPS that only allows you to display two data fields. NEXT WAYPOINT: Accurately navigating to the wrong waypoint is considered a navigational faux pas. However. and Vista only display two user selectable navigation screens. you may decide to display TRACK. You must verify that you are indeed navigating to the point you intend. It is critical that you have a way of verifying that you are navigating to the correct waypoint. you have five data fields on the map display. Basic GPS Navigation www. by displaying NAV Status you get the name of the next waypoint along with the distance and time along the top of the screen. Just make sure that you have the map zoomed out far enough to see the waypoint that you are navigating to. However. but offer TKE. In effect. Personally. I would just substitute TKE for TURN. The variations: As I said. Some aviation receivers do not have a TURN field. then you might choose to only display TURN and DIST depending on your needs. When you display Data Fields. two of which are user selectable. This is data that you will want often. Steering so that TURN is equal to zero should keep you on course. BEARING. There are some slight technique differences in that the TKE only directs you to parallel the course rather than going directly to the next point.smallboatgps. Given four data fields such as on the Garmin GPS 400 series. Venture. There are many other useful things that the GPS can tell you in addition to the primary data fields that I have suggested. then you also get two user selectable fields that can be set to TURN and OFF COURSE. If you are using a Magellan. Some GPS receivers such as the Garmin 76 series do not allow you to select a data field to display the name of the active waypoint.

etc. Next. However. but my point is that it helps having a logic to the arrangement. Since I consider TURN to be most important.com . the Garmin 76 can display nine data fields in small font. these fields are of secondary importance and to not need to be on your primary navigation screen. However. it can also be set to display a maximum of two data fields in very large font. 96 Basic GPS Navigation www.smallboatgps. It is the first field that I come to when reading the data fields. Perhaps a good tradeoff between leftover map size not taken by data fields and readability would be four fields of medium text. This is my preference. For example. Set up one of the other screens to display your favorite secondary data so that you can switch to and back from this screen quickly rather than having to change data fields on your primary screen. ETA at NEXT. A point to consider with a GPS that can display many fields is that too much data may be confusing and the font size suffers. Another consideration is that you should try to order the data fields in some layout that seems logical. I like OFF COURSE.Navigation Displays such as SPEED. I like this high as possible and left is possible as appropriate. ETA at DEST.

Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation

Chapter 9 Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation
The best way of navigating with GPS depends on what you are trying to do with it. I have chosen to divide GPS navigation into three different classes: Two dimensional vehicle navigation, two dimensional foot navigation, and path navigation. I have devoted a chapter to each. Path navigation is where you use the GPS to navigate along a predetermined path. Examples of this are navigating along a river, road, or trail. In this case the GPS is not used for steering, but for orientation. Two-dimensional navigation is where there is freedom to steer and the GPS is used for guidance. I further divide this into vehicle and foot navigation. Although I could think of some overlaps, let me explain the difference. What makes GPS unique is that it will give a value for the direction you are traveling, TRACK, as opposed to the direction you are pointing, HEADING. While GPS is not the first navigation equipment to give TRACK, it is the first technology to do so at a price that makes it readily available for a wide variety of users. Boats and airplanes are the primary examples of vehicle navigation in two dimensions as opposed to being confined to a path. In both cases, the direction that the vehicle is pointed may be very different from the direction of travel. Winds and currents cause the vehicle to travel a different direction from the direction that it is pointed. Most navigation techniques have been designed to work around the fact that it has been difficult to directly measure TRACK. While it is possible to use many of these techniques with your GPS, using TRACK is fundamental to fully exploiting GPS to its full potential. For review and emphasis: TRACK is the direction you are moving and HEADING is the direction that you are pointing. Due to winds or water currents, these can be very different. In general, the GPS has no idea what your HEADING is. It is only able to detect your movement, which is TRACK. There is a slight issue in that if you are not moving the GPS has no directional reference. Some GPS receivers compensate for this by including an electronic compass, which is an internal magnetic sensor. Thus, below a certain speed the GPS gives HEADING from the magnetic sensor and above the threshold speed it gives TRACK from the GPS. I don‘t dislike built in electronic compasses, it can be a very useful feature. However, if you have one of these GPS receivers, it is very important that you Basic GPS Navigation
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Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation know whether you GPS is giving you TRACK or HEADING. The way this usually works is that if the GPS is below a threshold speed for a given amount of time, the GPS starts using the heading from the internal magnetic sensor instead of TRACK from the GPS receiver as the directional reference. This speed threshold can be set in the setup menu. At the time of this writing, 10 miles per hour seems to be a common default setting. I find that TRACK information is useful at much slower speeds such as kayaking speeds. At slower speeds such as kayaking speeds, the effects of current and wind are increased and exploiting TRACK for navigation is even more useful. In such a case I recommend that you lower this threshold speed. There is also a nomenclature issue. TRACK is labeled different things on different receivers. On some receivers it is referred to as COG for Course over Ground. On many receivers, such as the Garmin eTrex series, the data field is labeled HEADING even though the information is actually TRACK. On models with the internal compass feature, the label for the data does not change when the reference switches between HEADING and TRACK although some receivers display a small icon to indicate that the directional information is from the compass sensor rather than the GPS.

When this chapter does not apply:
Even if the issue of cross currents and winds is not an issue, there are activities that I would imagine that using GPS navigational techniques base on TRACK are still useful. Although I have never done either, driving across an open desert or snowmobiling across a featureless terrain come to mind. However, there are many times where it is not possible to get a useful value of TRACK. One of the biggest examples that I can think of is hiking. Although it is often possible to use the TRACK as you walk along at a reasonable speed in an area of good satellite reception, it is often the case that TRACK is not useful while hiking. Often the navigating is done while standing still for obvious reasons or hiking is often done in environments where the GPS coverage is intermittent due to blockage by terrain, forests, or buildings. Thus, I have a separate discussion of using GPS for hiking in the Two Dimensional Navigation on foot chapter on page 109.

Technique
All of the examples in this chapter use a mapping GPS. The mapping GPS screenshots provide a much better illustration of what is behind the in this book as well as in real life. However, these techniques are certainly not limited to mapping GPS receivers.

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Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation

Navigating to a point using BEARING and TRACK information Most navigation tasks can be divided into navigating to a point and navigating along a line. Navigating to a point with a GPS is very simple. Just turn the vehicle so that the TRACK matches the BEARING. If you have a GPS that will display a data field for TURN, navigating so the TURN is equal to zero is the same thing as matching the BEARING to TRACK except that it is easier to interpret and takes up only one data field. Following the pointer is also the same thing, except that the pointer is not as precise as the digital values. On some non-mapping GPS receivers, the pointer, displayed in Figure 9-1 as a data field, may be the best thing that you can get. For example on the basic Garmin eTrex, there is no data field for TURN and it is impossible to display TRACK (labeled as HEADING) and BEARING simultaneously.

Figure 9-1

In Figure 9-1 I have set the display to show three separate ways of navigating so that you can compare them. The screen depicts TURN, a pointer, and the pairing of BEARING displayed with TRACK separately. Steering The important thing is to find the best way to steer a straight course. For aviation use, I consider the GPS to be a navigation instrument rather than a flight instrument. The amount of the turn is determined by referencing the GPS, but the actual turn is made by referencing the heading indicator. The gyro gives immediate and stable feedback, whereas there is often a slight lag in the GPS. Small boats do not have heading gyros. For marine use, you will have to experiment as to find the best way to actually steer using GPS information. There are too many variables for me to give you a rule such as the existence or Basic GPS Navigation
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You will eventually reach your destination. This is a common problem with pilots flying to a non-directional beacon if the pilot is not proficient in crosswind correction techniques. Other GPS receivers such as my Magellan 310 and Garmin GPS III Plus have more of a lag. The roll is not bad. I pick out an aim point on the shore and then shift this to reflect what the GPS indicates. there were no bridge tours to satisfy my curiosity. which model GPS you have. this roll results in a slight lateral motion. It took me a couple of seconds to figure out why. I found it interesting that the track of the Disney Wonder would wander around within a several degree range. As a relevance to this discussion. the calmness of the water and whether or not you can see the shore. The ship rolls slightly. you try to steer a compass heading that matches the bearing then you may end up following a curved path. On the top deck where I was standing with the GPS. but it is considered bad form and potentially dangerous depending on what is beside the route. This lateral motion added to the forward speed results in a slight zig-zag. If however.smallboatgps. Figure 9-2 The symbols are my generic craft. Post September 11th.com . the motion of the boat in rough water may cause you to have to do some mental averaging of track information. 100 Basic GPS Navigation www. Homing verses tracking If you just turn so that TURN is zero. The Garmin GPS Map76 updates very quickly and I could almost steer by it. Another example that can also occur in boating is if you just aim towards a point visually with a cross current. I can only assume that there is a gyro mounted somewhere near the meta center of the ship that is used to stabilize the bridge indications. For my situation rowing or kayaking within site of land. A bit of an aside: I took my GPS on a cruise ship. This is called homing and is depicted in Figure 9-2. then you will go directly to the point—very simple.Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation quality of the compass. not the navigation needles. but enough to be perceptible.

but you will make it across.‖ One of the implications of the fact that GPS does not suffer from homing when using the technique of matching TRACK to BEARING is that if you get off course either accidentally or purposefully.com 101 . If attempt to track straight across the current. The trick is to not fight the rip tide. but to swim out of the influence laterally. If there is no hazard between you and the waypoint – just go direct. Let‘s say that you are trying to cross a 5 knot current in a boat that is only capable of 5 knots due to wind or muscle power.Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation In kayaking. let me at least give you a description of the problem. waypoint B (the lighthouse) appears 20 degrees to the left of the bow. Sighting The fact that the GPS uses and displays track rather than heading will cause objects not to be where you might think they should be if you do not consider this difference and just looked at the GPS. If you head (as opposed to track) straight across. is that for all but the strongest cross currents in the slowest boats. I was talking to a sailor friend who was saying that many people sailing from Florida to the Bahamas for the first time get caught making very little progress crossing the Gulf Stream. steering with a correction for the cross current as depicted in the GPS path is referred to as ―ferry gliding. Basic GPS Navigation www. but the heading is 20 degrees to the right to counteract the current and/or wind.smallboatgps. There is a caveat to this technique. This is the same problem as a swimmer in a rip-tide. that tracking directly to the waypoint is the most efficient path. you will want to choose your own intercept path rather than blindly following the TO COURSE field. However. If there is a hazard. The boat is tracking on a straight line towards B. The GPS map display shows waypoint B straight ahead. Let‘s take the problem to its limits for illustration. However. the shortest distance to the next waypoint is to go directly to the waypoint rather than to re-intercept the original route leg. I will defer detailed explanations of how to deal with this problem to appropriate books on boating technique. This is one of the reasons that I do not recommend using the TO COURSE field. open to further analysis and argument. you will only end up pointing into the current and remaining still – you will never get to the other side. Figure 9-3 is a depiction of the same scenario as Figure 9-2 from the perspective of what you would see looking straight towards the bow of the boat. My initial instinct. you will drift down stream.

Look at the distance to the waypoint as well as the off course distance and you will see that a right turn of 69 degrees is not desired. In fact. Figure 9-4 shows the phenomenon. BEARING should be compared to HEADING for sighting. the GPS will indicate 90 degrees before it sequences to the next waypoint. TURN Sensitivity As you approach the waypoint.com . Working the other way. Just look a little to the left or right as appropriate rather than straight ahead. since precision is often not important. The ability to recognize this rapidly increasing TURN value as sensitivity rather than a rapid divergence from course will come with a little experience. just knowing about this phenomenon with a rough idea of drift angle is sufficient.smallboatgps. Hints will be that the next waypoint is very close and that the OFF COURSE is not increasing.Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation Figure 9-3 Properly. 102 Basic GPS Navigation www. you will get an idea of the drift angle. However. In fact. a slight left turn instead of the indicated right turn to intercept the next leg is probably appropriate – unless your goal is to actually hit the buoy. if you sight the waypoint and compare it with the track. the TURN field will get more sensitive.

Comparing directions of OFF COURSE and TURN is instantaneous as opposed to having to observe OFF COURSE for a trend. Navigating along a line still involves steering. If they match. is either the previous waypoint in the route or the last place that you executed a GOTO. you are correcting. An example might be if you define a route to go between two hazards or if you are following a channel. It is a little hokey. Your track and the line will converge at the next waypoint. everything is working in my favor. This works well if you are close enough to your course already. Don‘t try to remember Table 1. It is important to know which waypoints define the line. Not only is the OFF COURSE information important but TURN is also important. The other waypoint.com 103 . you should manage the value of OFF COURSE.smallboatgps. but it helps keep it straight for me. Basic GPS Navigation www. A more advanced technique is to compare the direction of the TURN field to the direction of the OFF COURSE field. To do this. I remember it as if the TURN and OFF COURSE match. just remember that you need to correct the TURN if its direction does not match the OFF COURSE direction. which I will refer to as the reference waypoint. The key is to know whether the TURN is indicating a further drift from course that must be corrected or an angling in towards the course that can be left uncorrected until you are centerline of the course. if they are different you are drifting and you must correct for the TURN value. One of the points will be the next waypoint.Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation Figure 9-4 Navigating along a line using bearing information There are times when you are going to want to travel relative to a line defined by two points. The simplest technique is to just navigate towards the next waypoint keeping the TURN at zero.

COURSE or DTK (desired track) on some receivers. If you have a TURN of zero and you are not correcting towards course fast enough. I realize that you would be navigating along the markers visually with the GPS as a reference. Turn a couple of degrees and use the above technique. you can see that the R004 was indicating that I was diverging from the increase in OFF COURSE from the first screen. Navigating along a line using COURSE information Just as OFF COURSE references the line between two points. 104 Basic GPS Navigation www. Figure 9-5 Figure 9-5 demonstrates the technique with three sequential screen captures from a GPS III Plus which does not have a direction to the OFF COURSE field. use trial and error. I turned 9 degrees to the right and as you can see in the third screen the OFF COURSE is decreasing.smallboatgps. If OFF COURSE is decreasing.K. In actuality. Diverging – correct TURN Diverging – correct TURN Converging – TURN is O. then TURN should be corrected. you can use the trend of the OFF COURSE field. It also allows you to navigate parallel to the course line. This ability to navigate parallel to the course might be useful for things such as navigating with a slight offset to the GPS route such as along a channel where your goal is to stay in the channel but to not hit each channel marker. The L005 in the third screen is indicating that I am correcting towards the course at 5 degrees more than going direct.K If the GPS does not display a direction for OFF COURSE and the display that you are viewing does not make the direction of the correction clear. TURN is an indication of how much more of an angle than direct to the next waypoint you are correcting by.com . Using COURSE instead of bearing information eliminates the sensitivity of bearing information such as TURN as you get close to the waypoint. there is a direction that also references this same line. If OFF COURSE is increasing.Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation TURN L L R R OFF COURSE L and decreasing R and increasing L and increasing R and decreasing Table 1 Converging – TURN is O. In the second screen.

I included the bearing information for comparison. You could travel beyond the waypoint and it would still indicate that you are on course. pilots have over flown their destination airport because of this behavior. I could follow this all the way around the world and end up at the reference waypoint again. The dark area is the land – not a good thing to drive into in with a boat. Figure 9-7 in the first screen demonstrates this phenomenon. Also notice that the bearing information such as TURN is self-correcting. I had to erase the legs beyond the red nun just passed in the second screen from the route. Basic GPS Navigation www. Theoretically. This is shown in the second screen.smallboatgps. In practice. In this case. Usually. this is not a problem if you are navigating along a route unless you are navigating to your destination as the next waypoint because the route will usually sequence to the next waypoint. the fact that the TRACK matches the COURSE indicates that we are navigating parallel to the course. The line defined by the active and reference waypoints circles the earth. To contrive this behavior. Since the airport is the final waypoint with no point to sequence to after passing. TKE is the difference between the TRACK and COURSE – the course based equivalent of TURN.Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation Figure 9-6 Figure 9-6 shows the difference between using bearing and course information. I wish that manufactures would include this field in handheld GPS receivers and call it something like PARALLEL to avoid confusion. if you are using a route. There is a catch to using course information.com 105 . the GPS will sequence to the next leg of the route. Notice the TRACK and COURSE indicate that I am on course. Many aviation receivers have a field called TRACK ANGLE ERROR. TKE.

great circle. Simply enough.smallboatgps. I discuss this more in detail in my book. this is of no consequence. On most maps this would show up as a curved path. TKE. This curve comes from the fact that when cartographers draw large maps. which is the difference between TRACK and DTK (synonym COURSE) as compared to TURN which is the difference between BEARING and COURSE. For most recreational uses. Clean up with another GOTO and navigate this new line using TKE and XTK error (OFF COURSE). 106 Basic GPS Navigation www. it is easiest to use TURN or BEARING compared with TRACK to navigate to a point. However. Cockpit GPS. Some aviation receivers even offer a data field called track angle error.com. The name.cockpitgps. has nothing to with the curved route on the map. if you put a string from one point to another on a globe this is the great circle routing. there are some receivers which due to the availability of data fields on the display it is better to compare the TRACK to COURSE (DTK) rather than to the BEARING.Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation Figure 9-7 Ashore Navigating to a point using course information For the most part.com . but comes from the fact that the route has the same radius as the radius of the earth. The essence of the technique is that you create a leg by using the GOTO function and navigate the resulting line or route leg. Great Circle The GPS uses great circle navigation. The basic technique is to execute a GOTO to the point and turn so that you are at least parallel to the course and perhaps just a little beyond. there is distortion caused by representing a three dimensional portion of a sphere on a flat piece of paper. available at www.

I used this method for Figure 9-9. Basic GPS Navigation www. However. If you want to play with the concept.com 107 . the initial course from Tokyo to New York is 25. The initial course from New York to Tokyo is 333. it would appear from looking at most world maps that a course slightly south of west would be ideal. the course is actually northwest out of New York and southwest into Tokyo. Figure 9-8 shows the route on a global view.Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation If an airplane where to fly from New York to Tokyo. the line becomes a route line and will show the great circle route. When you press enter to add a waypoint. the GPS draws a straight dashed line on the map from the last waypoint to the cursor position. Before a point is added. The Garmin mapping GPS receivers have a great feature that allows you to edit a route graphically on the map display. you may see a button or may have to press the MENU key depending on the model to allow you to edit the route with the map. However. From within a route. you can always find a globe and a piece of string. Figure 9-8 Figure 9-9 Another aspect of Great Circle navigation is that the course from one point to another is not 180 degrees different from going the opposite direction from the other point. but there is a higher tech method.smallboatgps.

smallboatgps.com . etc. but the map is distorted.Two Dimensional Vehicle Navigation Where I have seen the route line curved is at higher latitudes. Alaska. 108 Basic GPS Navigation www. The route is straight. you might occasionally notice this behavior. If you are in Norway. upper Canada.

As long as the speed is consistent and above a certain threshold. Considering that currents and winds have even a greater effect on a kayak than a faster moving boat. In such a case. Even when walking in good GPS coverage. There are borderline activities such as canoeing along a wooded creek or river. The actual determination of which way to steer is determined by the banks of the river. especially in wooded areas. it is good to know how to use the GPS without regard to TRACK. TRACK is determined by the path of the receiver rather than the hiker. Therefore. TRACK is just the relatively instantaneous direction of movement. but instead it is an irritant in that the ability of the GPS to provide orientation is not constant. Basic GPS Navigation www. As with any other activities where you use GPS for navigation. With the elimination of the errors created by selective availability (page 7) and with a modern 12-channel receiver the speed at which TRACK becomes useful is very low. I find that even at kayaking speeds. this is not a problem in terms of navigating. It is possible to hold the GPS steady while walking in an area of good satellite reception and follow the guidance directly. the use of TRACK is a tremendous benefit. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that often foot navigation takes place in places where GPS signal coverage is marginal such as in heavily wooded areas or cities. Which activities does this chapter apply to? A basic GPS orients itself using TRACK. About the only boating example that I could think of where track might be useless is poling in a skiff through a heavily wooded swamp – an activity that I have not tried. The problem with foot navigation is that one is often not moving at a sufficient speed or consistency to use TRACK. the GPS information based on TRACK is useful. the techniques in the previous chapter are much more useful. if you are going to use the GPS for hiking in general.Two Dimensional Navigation on foot Chapter 10 Two Dimensional Navigation on foot Warning In no way do I want to give you the impression that a GPS is a replacement for map and compass skills. you need to be able to find your way without the GPS. This means using a compass or having a GPS with a built in electronic compass. the basic GPS has no directional orientation. In areas of heavy tree cover. the techniques that exploit TRACK in the previous chapter are recommended. However. the need to determine the direction to steer is moot.com 109 . the satellite signal may be blocked. Generally.smallboatgps. A modern GPS is even sensitive enough pick up the motions of arm swing. Without TRACK.

Sometimes a change in TRACK is induced through actual motion such as taking a step or moving your arm (assuming you are holding the GPS). Heading Track Figure 10-1 GPS direction in track mode It is important to understand the difference between the behavior of a GPS in track mode and the behavior of a GPS with an internal compass mode operating below the threshold at which the GPS uses TRACK data. I actually find it nice that the GPS is independent of the direction that you are holding it.com . As the GPS perceives a change in position.Two Dimensional Navigation on foot Track vs. may create a value of TRACK. With the elimination of SA (page 7). Pretend that you are using the GPS as oriented in Figure 10-1 on a moving open boat. the digital values do not change. Figure 10-1 shows what happens if a GPS is rotated while operating in track mode. Although the GPS will often stay steady on the last track. it usually uses the last value of TRACK. When the GPS stops. but it still happens. the TRACK can be very useful. As long as the GPS is moving. Although this may seem like strange behavior if you are used to a compass. Sometimes this is due to perceived change in position. The track is still at twelve o‘clock on the screen no matter which way the receiver is rotated and everything is still referenced to the track. Likewise. this is reflected in the TRACK value. there are things that induce a random or at least unwanted track.smallboatgps. 110 Basic GPS Navigation www. this is usually not much of a problem.

this is reflected by the change in orientation of the compass card depiction. Notice that the arrow still points to the direction that we want to go rather than relative to the twelve o‘clock position of the case. Below a user definable speed. which is a default of 10 miles per hour. When we rotate the GPS in the second screen.Two Dimensional Navigation on foot Heading There are a couple of ways of dealing with lack of TRACK. it can still tell you which way you need to go. One way is that some of the more expensive models of GPS have an internal compass.smallboatgps. the GPS reverts to orientating itself using an internal electronic compass. but can be set to a slow crawl. Figure 10-2 GPS in heading mode Let‘s change the scenario. Even if the GPS does not have any idea of which way that it is going or pointed towards. The other way of dealing with the situation is to simply use a magnetic compass for orientation. What data and displays are still useful without TRACK? Useful Useless BEARING TRACK COURSE TURN DISTANCES POINTER ELEVATION ETA LOCATION ETE OFF COURSE SPEED Figure 10-3 Summary of data without TRACK Basic GPS Navigation www. Now the boat has stopped and we have a GPS that has a built in compass function.com 111 .

If you have it set to TRACK. We next dial 297 on the compass plate or simply place it at 12 o‘clock to our person if the compass does not have a base plate. The GPS says that the magnetic BEARING to LAKE is 297. With the exception of GPS receivers with an electronic compass. it will orient to true north even if the GPS is set to use magnetic north for navigation values. when you set the map to orient to north. 112 Basic GPS Navigation www. the orientation of the map will jump around as the TRACK jumps around. Basic BEARING and a compass technique The key to navigation with a GPS and a compass is the BEARING field. GPS. If you have the GPS set to use magnetic values. Figure 10-4 Here is the scenario for Figure 10-4: We are hiking in the woods and we have stopped to look at the map. the only navigational display that is directly useful is the map display. We then rotate our body so that the compass needle aligns with north. and compass to determine which way to go.com . BEARING is the direction that you need to go. Notice the little ―M‖ beside the BEARING indicating that this value is magnetic. Other pages may still be useful in the sense that the data fields on those pages can be used to display digital values that are still useful. I suggest that you set the map on a mapping GPS to orient towards North or maybe COURSE. There is a little bit of an exception in that ETE (Estimated Time Enroute) and ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) have some averaging and may still be of value even when stopped depending on the GPS design. then you can use the GPS to tell you the direction that you need to go. We are now pointed the right direction. At least on the Garmin GPS receivers.Two Dimensional Navigation on foot Figure 10-3 shows some of the values and whether or not they are useful without the GPS moving.smallboatgps. but use the compass to point in the correct direction.

Even if this were not the case. notice that the needle still points to the proper bearing of 297. If I am on a winding street or a little lost.com 113 . and compare it to the inexpensive compass on my watchband. If you had previously strayed a little off course. the pointer is useless unless you have an internal compass. This is a GPS without an internal compass. 76. the GPS will give you a new BEARING to the waypoint from this position.Two Dimensional Navigation on foot Notice that the needle on the GPS is not pointing the correct direction. The nice thing about navigating with BEARING and a compass is that it is a selfcorrecting situation. However. while walking I am looking at things other than the GPS. that you re-examine the BEARING to the active waypoint. So what is it referring to? Who knows. Which Screen to navigate with Figure 10-5 Which screen you use as the primary navigation interface depends on the capabilities of your GPS. This even applies to such non-mapping GPS receivers such as the Garmin 72. look at the GPS for a BEARING. I get a quick signal at a street corner. In the case of a GPS without an internal compass. I personally like a map display as long as you can display a sufficient amount of data. Each time. where the map is nothing more than a plot of waypoints and course lines. and eTrex Venture. Basic GPS Navigation www. Also. The GPS will usually only get a usable signal at street corners. The point is that unless you are walking. there is still good navigation information that can be used with an economical compass. maybe it is a track created by me taking a step back to sit on a log while I sort out the navigation. holding the GPS steady.smallboatgps. this means being able to display BEARING and DISTANCE. the GPS will reflect your present position. I commonly use the GPS to navigate around unfamiliar cities. and in good satellite coverage.

Two Dimensional Navigation on foot Examples where the map display is not useful as the primary interface are the basic Garmin eTrex models and the Geko series. it is not as critical to have the map set to north. TURN is especially useful on the Magellan mapping GPS receivers with an internal compass in that they only offer two data fields on the map display.ngdc. which is the graphic equivalent of TURN. TURN and DISTANCE are sufficient for navigation. You need a page that will display BEARING and hopefully DISTANCE. Magnetic North Figure 10-6 http://www. Also on models with a built in compass.noaa. However.gif 114 Basic GPS Navigation www.smallboatgps.com . the pointer page may offer you the most information even though the pointer display itself may not always be relevant. you might also want to display HEADING. TURN. The Geko 201‘s most useful page may be the trip computer in that it will display four user selectable data fields. you can combine the HEADING data and BEARING data into one field. You may also have the option of a little pointer.gov/seg/potfld/image/WMM-00D. but is not as precise. If you have a GPS receiver with a built in compass. With these models.

The GPS will give the value for navigational data already corrected for magnetic variation as long is you have the receiver set up to do so. there are still some other useful navigation clues. There are parts of the world due to heavy iron ore Basic GPS Navigation www.Two Dimensional Navigation on foot When navigating with TRACK data. However. you can use things such as BEARING directly with the compass. it may be useful for orientation for parts of the journey where a consistent course and speed can be maintained in an area of good satellite coverage. A topographic map should have a magnetic variation printed on it. Although TRACK is often unusable. magnetic variation or declination is not critical. there are still reasons that you will want to know the magnetic variation. it is possible to go to the setup page and select ―Magnetic‖ for the north reference and have the GPS display the value for magnetic variation as in shown in Figure 10-7. However. This is because BEARING and TRACK are compared to each other and as long as they are both either magnetic or both true. In addition to setting the GPS to use magnetic values.com 115 . the magnetic variation cancels out. A good example of where I could see you wanting to know the variation is so that you can align the map with true north. Figure 10-7 Other navigation clues Although the main method of navigation is to use the BEARING in conjunction with the compass. when using the GPS and compass together this is critical. you may be using a map that does not have the variation. Thus. Although the GPS will correct for magnetic variation.smallboatgps. The GPS has a mathematical model of the magnetic variation that it uses for correction.

it is possible to turn so that the needle is 116 Basic GPS Navigation www. This is the same sense as the compass card or even a clock face – clockwise is an increase and counterclockwise is a decrease. In such a case. then you are moving counter-clockwise or to the right. If the BEARING is decreasing. then you are not going straight towards the active waypoint. In such a case. It is possible to have a decreasing OFF COURSE value. the value of OFF COURSE would not decrease as quickly as going directly. As you move clockwise to the active waypoint. Another navigational clue is the change in BEARING. Figure 10-8 More Tricks Using True North Many of the techniques that can be used with a map and compass can be adapted for GPS use.com . Instead of using the compass to read magnetic values by orienting the compass needle to north. the BEARING will decrease. Some GPS receivers even have a page that can show the relative position of the Sun and Moon for navigation such as in Figure 10-8. a GOTO would reset the OFF COURSE to zero and provide a new reference. then you are moving clockwise or to the left.smallboatgps. but still not be going directly to the next waypoint.Two Dimensional Navigation on foot content or proximity to the poles where GPS TRACK may be more reliable than a compass heading – or at least I have read so. If OFF COURSE is increasing. As you move counterclockwise. OFF COURSE is useful. the BEARING will increase. This information can be used as a crude heading reference. If the BEARING is increasing.

The technique is to line up the north south line of the compass with the screen of the GPS. if the variation is 8 W.smallboatgps. turn so the needle is on 352 instead of north. Next. Align north on the compass and rotate the map so that the needle points to north adjusted for magnetic variation.com 117 . Basic GPS Navigation www. rotate the map and compass until the needle is on 352. The GPS is an electronic device that effects the needle a little. A base plate compass such as the one pictured makes this easy.Two Dimensional Navigation on foot aligned to adjust for magnetic variation and use true headings. you could put the compass and GPS on either end of a clipboard and rotate the whole clipboard. Figure 10-9 Figure 10-9 shows this technique used on a Garmin GPSMap 76. With the compass now orientated as such. it would be better to separate them in real life. just rotate the bezel to N and align the screen with the edge of the plate. The technique is simple. if the magnetic variation is W 8. If you wanted. Aligning the GPS screen There is a technique of using the compass to align the map with the terrain. For example. The idea is to use the compass to rotate the map so that north on the map aligns with true north. A couple of inches using eyeball alignment is probably sufficient. For example. Although I have the compass and GPS next to each other for illustration purposes. 352 is 8 west of north. true headings can be used. which does not have an internal compass. I have exaggerated the variation to 20 W to make it obvious for the photo. rotate the GPS and the compass together until the needle is pointed to north adjusted for magnetic variation.

com . the GPS is not limited to objects you can see. in spite of its limitations. I refer to a compass to orient my direction. You will probably be able to get a satellite fix as you walk down a wide boulevard. However. I leave the GPS on and when I come to a reasonable large street corner I am usually able to get a satellite position. This is often true even if you program a more detailed route into your GPS beyond a simple GOTO the destination. the angle of sky view is still small. Thus. I still find the GPS to be tremendously useful while I tour an unfamiliar city on foot. I find that the key to finding the GPS useful for navigation around a city is low expectations. forget about picking up a satellite fix while walking down those quaint side streets of Europe. It is usually much easier to initially plan a route on the map than to use the small screen of the GPS. The problem with GPS is that the signal is easily blocked by buildings. The streets are usually labeled and I do not need to find a precise heading. The GPS will give positions in a variety of coordinate systems. I still use a map. I use a very inexpensive watchband compass. but the buildings are tall. The maps that I usually use are either the inexpensive ones from tourist offices or the free ones from the hotel. For that matter. This is useful only as long as you have a map with a grid. The GPS can also be used for triangulation so that you can locate yourself on maps with no grid. I cover this in more detail in the Using Maps with an unknown or no grid chapter on page 141.smallboatgps. but for the most part I can walk along without looking like as much of a tourist as I might otherwise appear. Overall. Foot navigation for the urban tourist I make no claims of being a great outdoorsman. but to make the proper choice between opposite directions. Since I use a GPS that does not have a built in compass. However. the GPS looks like a cell phone. Unlike the compass. I often use the techniques in this chapter for navigating around European cities on layovers. 118 Basic GPS Navigation www. satellite reception is also a problem in a place like New York City where the streets may be wide. However. I still have to stop and look at a map occasionally. a compass heading within 90 degrees is theoretically sufficient. Thus. To most people. The compass and map are still the most valuable navigation tools for finding your way around a city.Two Dimensional Navigation on foot Triangulation A common application of the compass is in triangulating a position.

Two Dimensional Navigation on foot Equipment I use the Garmin eTrex Legend with European Roads and Recreation maps. their is no unlock code keyed to the specific GPS. If you are using one of these newer receivers. Not that it is not worth it. compass sensor. Sacre Coeur in Paris is Basilique Du Sacre-Coeur. However. However the discussion in various degrees applies to other models and manufactures. One of the interesting solutions that I have come across are the Lonely Planet travel guides from www. ruggedness.de. size. using some of the sources I discuss in the Waypoints chapter or the Using Maps with an unknown or no grid chapter it is possible to use an inexpensive non-mapping GPS. but I find that the Legend and European Roads and recreation is sufficient in the context of my personal needs and budget. this is a very nice fix to the next issue. If I get the Legend stolen such as through pick pocketing. The problem with this it is more difficult to get the location of the desired destination. However. This is the best match of my parameters to my budget. Many of the newer Garmin GPS receivers allow you to search for points of interest containing a term in addition to searching by name. there are many other solutions. It is not as simple to look up on the GPS as you might think. The 8MB of the Legend is plenty to load two cities worth of Roads and Recreation maps into. Also a novel solution is the idea of city guides loaded into a PDA with GPS support.gate5. I wanted see Saint Peter‘s Basilica (where I was denied entrance for wearing shorts). I will be able to replace it for $150 and can upload the Roads and Recreation maps into the new GPS because unlike City Select. It is also possible to go to the lower end of the spectrum and use a non-mapping GPS. but is under ―B‖ for ―Basilica Di San Pietro‖. I think that the Garmin 76 CS or 60 CS with the European City Select would probably be the ideal GPS solution for foot navigation in the European cities that I lay over. Basic GPS Navigation www. color screen. addendum: Since I initially wrote this. Finding Points of Interest I will use the Garmin GPS Map 76 with European Roads and Recreation software. Every choice of a GPS model is a compromise. I purchased a Garmin Vista C.smallboatgps. this combination is about $700. This is considering memory capacity. Laying over in Rome. Trevi fountain is Fountana Di Trevi. The name is not found by looking up ―Saint Peter‖.com 119 . At the time of this writing. etc. and battery life.

Let‘s take the example of looking for Notre Dame. It turns out that none of the Notre-Dames shown are correct. Another trick is to move the courser near the location and look for all of the attractions near the location. It is difficult if not impossible to know which of these Notre-Dames is the correct one. but that the correct one can be found by scrolling down below the options shown. Figure 10-11 120 Basic GPS Navigation www. the main one in the middle of the Seine where Quasimodo used to hang out.Two Dimensional Navigation on foot There are a couple of tricks to finding these points. You will generally be able to find the place that you are looking for.com . Figure 10-10 The GPS is positioned near the Arc de Triumph in simulator mode. Figure 10-10 shows what happens if we search for Notre-Dame by spelling. Let‘s say that we want to go to Notre-Dame so we search for Notre-Dame.smallboatgps. Often the labels on the local tourist maps are what you need to look for if you look up a point of interest by spelling.

Basic GPS Navigation www. To find the location near the cursor with the Garmin eTrex Legend or Vista: Use the Click Stick to move to and select the second box from the upper right corner of the screen. Routes Usually a simple GOTO is sufficient. Move the cursor to the route until it becomes a dash line. You can then access your favorites by pressing the FIND key and selecting Favorites instead of Points of Interest. Using a tourist map or some general knowledge it is possible to move the cursor to the general location of Notre Dame.smallboatgps.com 121 .Two Dimensional Navigation on foot One of the best tricks that I have found is to move the cursor to the approximate area where the landmark is supposed to be and search for landmarks near the cursor. A GPS loaded with the appropriate maps that supports auto routing would be ideal. The route will consist of straight lines between the intersections rather than conforming to the road. Select Pan Map -> move the cursor to the approximate location -> Press the FIND button (bottom button on the left of the case -> Points of Interest -> Near Map Pointer -> Attractions -> All Types. Figure 10-11 shows the search for Notre-Dame using this technique. press ENTER or click on the Click Stick. but this may still be useful. When I have a satellite lock. Certainly. I then select ―edit on map‖ and drag the route to significant intersections along the way. It is pretty easy to locate being on an island in the middle of the Seine. However. This is one of those features that is more complicated to explain than it is to use after playing with it for a few minutes. To find a location near the cursor with the Garmin GPS Map 76: First move the cursor to the desired location with the touch pad to the desired location -> NAV button -> Go To Point -> Points of Interest -> Attractions -> All Types -> if necessary: (MENU button -> Find Nearest). on the Garmin mapping receivers it is possible to drag and drop the route to intersections along the way. There is a nice feature of the Legend series in that if you select the local menu (second from upper right box) you can add this point to your favorites. I can still refer to a paper map and even ask directions. now drag the route to an intermediate point and press ENTER or click on the Click Stick again. The GPS is one more tool. I can use the bearing and distance along with a simple compass to know that I am still going the right direction and that I have not passed the destination. The easiest method that I have found is to create a route consisting of two points which can be looked up such as the name of a hotel and the name of the destination.

Although sometimes pulling out the map is best. The position indicator should line up roughly with the street. If I am walking along a wide street. If I get disoriented. this process takes a couple of moments. my best disinterested look.Two Dimensional Navigation on foot With other brands of GPS. but this is rare. More information on using a Map and Compass The map and compass have been around for a long time and a good-sized body of literature has been created on navigating with a map and compass.smallboatgps.. Usually. I can usually get a good position fix at an intersection. 122 Basic GPS Navigation www. I put on my sunglasses. it is more discreet than pulling out a big map. However. The GPS can orient itself as well as calculating which street to take – taking into account all of the turns along subsequent streets to get to the destination. I will even admit that I have even asked directions. I can set out. Since there are many times that I will not be able to keep a satellite lock. it is usually possible to use the map display to mark waypoints and incorporate them into a route. I look at my watchband compass and can usually decide whether to turn or go straight or in some cases. Navigating So now that I have found and selected a GOTO the proper Point of Interest. which of the intersecting streets to take. and some cash into my travel wallet which I keep in an undisclosed location. ATM card. There are several books available and I have several internet links in the Links and Further Reading chapter under Map and Compass Information on page 182. which should match the BEARING line. Most of the auto-routing Garmin receivers that I am familiar with have an option for choosing the type of automatic route calculations.D. I can look at the GPS to see my progress. and stuff the minimum I. This is where I think that an auto-routing GPS with the compass sensor would be ideal. I keep the map display oriented to North and display the BEARING data field. pedestrian being one of the options.com .

What is a route? Routes are just a sequence of waypoints. that the mapping GPS or mapping software lacks. Once you are past one waypoint. B is the waypoint being navigated to and A is the anchor point that defines the first leg of the route. you only care about navigating as directly as possible to the entry to the next lake rather than how far you are laterally from the route. For example. the first waypoint being navigated to will actually be the second waypoint in the route. if you are navigating a channel. Whether you navigate each leg as a line or navigate directly to the next waypoint is a matter of circumstance. Essentially. in many such cases the amount of information available is insufficient and you should use the proper nautical chart for trip planning. However. and etc. I have already discussed at length the issue of the appropriateness of different data sources including the GPS itself in the Waypoints chapter on page 56. hazards. When you first activate the route. This is logical after you understand what the GPS is doing. I feel that the GPS itself or mapping software is a good way of reducing measurement and input errors and provides excellent situational awareness even if it is not application specific such as being a marine cartography product.Routes Chapter 11 Routes Warning: Since routes consist of waypoints. On some Basic GPS Navigation www.com 123 .smallboatgps. Either include the origin or some other reference point in the route or execute a GOTO to the first waypoint. There are two simple ways around this. The nautical charts will offer the data on depths. the OFF COURSE value will be important. After getting into the next lake. If you are navigating a river. currents. the GPS will assume that the first leg is A to B. there are several tricks and caveats. the next waypoint will be navigated to. If you are navigating from a point on one lake to a point a couple of lakes away in a chain you will want to navigate directly from point to point. Let‘s say that you are navigating on a route from A to B to C to D. bearing and track information might not even be important because the navigating will essentially be one-dimensional. I address this as Path Navigation on page135. Routes are reasonably straightforward conceptually. First leg uses the second waypoint Another important thing to note is that when you activate a route. You can mark a point at the mouth of each canal or creek connecting the lakes. However.

smallboatgps.Routes GPS receivers. Notice if you are navigating this first leg as a line between TR On Spindle and Red Nun. The second screen in Figure 11-2 is analogous to putting in an origin to anchor the first leg. and OFF COURSE your error will be obvious. 124 Basic GPS Navigation www. Figure 11-2 Solution Figure 11-2 shows two ways of fixing the solution. COURSE. using TRACK.com . I activated the route. you can also display a course line to at least alert you to the problem. In the first screen I just executed a GOTO to Tr On Spindle. navigating directly to the Red Nun will take you straight to House Island if you don‘t run aground on Ram Island. As you can see. In the second screen I put a waypoint to better reflect what I really want for the first leg. In the second screen I displayed the bearing line to show the error of following the bearing information. Figure 11-1 Problem Figure 11-1 shows the problem.

If the route is activated. Many mapping GPS receivers offer the capability to create a route using the map display. Waypoint and leg sequencing Usually the GPS will sequence to the next waypoint and leg with no problem. distances will be based on the present position of the GPS rather than from the first point of the route.smallboatgps. Most of the Garmin units seem to calculate which leg is closer. you might have to de-activate the route before you can reactivate it. Garmin Legend. even then I find that it usually works. I have found this feature to be poorly documented. This is an unpublished shortcut that is much easier than drilling down through the menus. Now the button will say NAVIGATE— click again.‖ Garmin GPS 76: Press the NAV button and then select NAVIGATE ROUTE and re-choose the route. I really do not know how the GPS sequences to the next leg. On most receivers you will have to go through the route list and reactivate it. I have read that some older GPS receivers require you to pass within a certain distance of the active waypoint in order for it to sequence. If the GPS does not sequence properly. However. As you pass each waypoint. However. Vista. Basic GPS Navigation www. Creating a route using the map display On any GPS. and Venture: Hold the bottom left key until you get to the active route. You will notice the STOP button is highlighted – click on the click stick. Here are some examples of how this is done. the easiest thing is to do is to reactivate the route. This usually seems to happen when a route is intercepted at a point beyond the first leg. make sure that the route is not activated. the GPS should sequence to the next waypoint and leg. This varies from receiver to receiver.    Garmin GPS III: Press the MENU button from within the active route and select ―Re-evaluate. but it is easy to learn with just a little playing around.com 125 . you can create waypoints and then create a route by listing the waypoints textually in order. On some receivers. I have seen it occasionally not do so.Routes Evaluating routes When you evaluate the route for things like distances and courses along each waypoint.

and GPS 72 that are the non-mapping versions of mapping receivers also offer this capability.Routes Garmin First of all get to a route. On some receivers. Vista. In this case. such as out in the middle of a body of water. Vista. you may have to go back over the point and then add it to the route – a two step process on some receivers. When you select edit on map. and GPS V have a MAP button on the route. now you can drag the route to an interim point as I described above. you can do the same thing with an existing route. After you have created this new waypoint. ―add turns‖. MAP. Using the cursor you can point and click and edit the route. Also note that many receivers such as the eTrex Venture. but I find that it is reasonably intuitive. GPS 76. Press QUIT one more time to get back to the textual route. but you can do the same thing for existing waypoints or tracks. Venture. 60C and 76C: When you get to the menu to create a new waypoint while creating a route on the map. you will get a menu to create a new waypoint at this point. but if for some reason you want to save the point as a waypoint. If the cursor position is already defined. you may be able to press MENU and select SHOW TEXT to get out of the map editing mode. but a single route. From within the route on some GPS receivers. Note for Garmin Legend C. press the MENU key and there should be an option such as EDIT ON MAP. or GOTO buttons at the bottom of the screen. such as a road intersection or city name.com . If there is no point at the point that you press. you will see that the cursor has ―INS‖ in small text for insert.smallboatgps. use the QUIT (upper right button on Legend and Vista) key to jump back to the route rather than selecting the DELETE. there is no map to reference. press the QUIT button -. Go to the route. and press ENTER. On most other Garmins. Usually this is not a problem. The Garmin Legend. you can now add to the route at the beginning or end. Move the cursor to a point that you want to add to the route and press ENTER or click on the click stick as appropriate. Press ENTER (or click). select the point. Vista C. You can also click on the first or last point of the route and you should get a menu asking you if you want to add turns or review the waypoint. and Venture press the side upper right button. not the list of routes. the GPS will save it as such and will not offer the create waypoint screen. You can name this waypoint 126 Basic GPS Navigation www. To exit this mode on the Legend. it is possible. It can be a new route or you can modify an existing route. There are slight variations from receiver to receiver. If you want to modify a route. Press MENU and select SAVE AS WAYPOINT. Move the cursor over the route line until it is a dashed line.this will still leave you on the map page so that you can do more editing. If you choose.

com 127 . This will allow you to create a waypoint at this point. However. yet continue to operate along the rest of the route. This ability to edit on the screen is also useful to review and check a route. By selecting this. just Technique 2 Press the menu key and select ―Vert. erase the two dummy waypoints that you had used to first establish the route. Technique 1 On the map screen. When you are done creating the route with the map display.smallboatgps. I have a Magellan 330 and often check on specific functions at the local boating store. you can create a point by pressing MARK at the cursor location. you can then pan the map to make sure that the route really is what you want. The caveat is that you must have a route to add it to. This is a very common scenario in aviation where a Basic GPS Navigation www. This can be solved by first creating a route with two dummy waypoints. The Magellan software appears to be very similar from model to model when compared to the Garmin receivers. Vista. You can also do this ahead of time by pointing and clicking on a point in the map display. you can add the new waypoint to a route. and Venture function similarly except the menu is selected at the top of the screen with the click stick. NEXT. I would be happy to explain the logic of creating a horizontal route from a vertical profile if I understood it. I can still offer some techniques. This allows you to jump to the next point. With this disclaimer in mind. The Legend.‖ Using the cursor. select ―Path Check. By successively doing this. you can graphically review the route. By going to the map screen. pressing MENU and saving this point as a waypoint. You should see a ROUTE button on the page.The waypoints do not matter.Routes and change the symbol. When you are done press Save to Rte to create the route. You will then have to change the route to go over this waypoint that is located at the same point as the previous point. On some receivers. press the MARK button at each point that you want to add to the route. if you cursor over the first point and press ENTER you will see a menu option. Magellan The Magellan receivers do not offer nearly the same capability to edit the route with the map display. but I don‘t.‖ From the next menu. I am not nearly as familiar with Magellans. Hold the MARK/GOTO button until you get the new waypoint page. Profile. Enroute GOTO Often you will want to skip a waypoint along a route.

press MENU. Is the receiver capable of an enroute GOTO? Not all receivers are capable of doing an enroute GOTO.com . Receivers that I know lack this capability are the basic eTrex and the Garmin GPS V on off road routes as of Software 2. However.Routes controller is often able to provide shortcuts along the route if traffic permits or often the pilot will be re-cleared to a down line waypoint after a vector for traffic or a weather avoidance routing. The Magellan series will also terminate the navigation along the rest of the route if you attempt to GOTO an intermediate point. However. Executing an enroute GOTO Figure 11-3 128 Basic GPS Navigation www. I am hoping that Garmin updates the GPS V firmware to support this. Got to the route list. highlight the active route. you can select a route leg. XTE and the course line on the map will reflect the selected leg rather than a GOTO and can be ignored. many receivers terminate the route rather than continuing to navigate beyond the now active waypoint. After executing a GOTO to a down line waypoint.‖ The active waypoint will now be the waypoint defining the front of the leg.smallboatgps. BEARING and TURN will allow you to navigate to the active waypoint. and select ―Select Leg. Knowing how to do an enroute GOTO is what I consider to be a basic navigational skill and not just applicable to aviation.11.

In Figure 11-4. you can pan the cursor to the map to execute a GOTO. I often find that moving the cursor to the point while actually navigating is more trouble that it‘s worth. Figure 11-4 shows an updated routing after an enroute GOTO was executed to CHS. Next move the cursor to the desired waypoint. After you have moved the cursor to the desired point point:  Receivers such as the Garmin GPS III and aviation receivers with a GOTO or direct (D with an arrow through it) key: Press the GOTO key. if you are executing an enroute GOTO. but also the leg into the waypoint. but from the previous point in the route to the selected waypoint. The waypoint is selected and you can press ENTER. VIYAP. Vista. On most of the Garmin mapping receivers. and Venture: Hold the bottom left key until the active route is displayed. Basic GPS Navigation www. In this case.smallboatgps. the line is not from the point of execution of the GOTO. and SAV are being skipped. In Figure 11-3 the OFF COURSE value references the line (Great Circle) from ORL to CRG. OFF COURSE references the line starting at the point that the GOTO was executed to CHS. There is a trick to getting the active route on the Garmin Legend. I suggest that you page over to the active route.com 129 .Routes Figure 11-4 Figure 11-3 shows the original routing on an Garmin eTrex Legend. This is the easiest way of selecting the waypoint to go to. In this example CRG. Some aviation receivers allow you to not only select the waypoint. Although I think that editing a route on the map is great.

Garmin Legend. Venture.  In addition to knowing how to execute a GOTO. You will still want to reference an appropriate chart to make sure that your routing is safe. click on the route line. The STOP button should be highlighted. If you miss a point.smallboatgps. select REVIEW and then select the GOTO soft button. First go to the routes page. then select new route. Just point and press ENTER on successive points. As I mentioned in the Waypoints section. Hold the bottom left button until the active route is displayed. Press the NAV button and select NAVIGATE ROUTE. and drag it to an intermediate waypoint. Garmin Legend. Click on the STOP. which should change to NAVIGATE. there are several ways to get waypoints. Inputting a route in the manner introduces the possibility of errors and inaccuracies of the GPS maps.   Receivers with a GOTO: Press GOTO and then press MENU and select CANCEL GOTO. From within the new route screen press MENU and select ―Use Map. you should know how to cancel the GOTO. press MENU and look for a CANCEL GOTO or CANCEL DIRECT.com . 130 Basic GPS Navigation www.   Example: Setup of Manchester Channel This example uses the Garmin GPS 76 map with Roads and Recreation maps loaded to create a route. If not. Now click the NAVIGATE button – two clicks on the default selection. but it reduces the threat of you incorrectly measuring or entering the waypoints. you can go back.‖ The cursor arrow will now have INS for insert below it. and Venture. the easiest way to do this is to point and click on a map display. As I also mentioned. or Vista: Click on the point. Vista.Routes  Receivers with a NAV key such as the Garmin GPS 76: Press the NAV button and select GOTO the point or press ENTER and select the soft GOTO button on the waypoint page that is displayed. Aviation receivers with a direct button: Press the direct button and there should be a soft button to resume the route. Receivers with a NAV button.

If I had wanted to.com 131 . There is an old pontoon boat with ―Larkin‖ painted on the canopy. In the second screen. Larkin‘s.smallboatgps. then drag the route line to the Red Nun and press enter and it will be inserted into the route. Needless to say. I could have gone on the Internet to Map Quest and found the address and gone to Map Blast to get the coordinates. but I know about where it is by looking on the map. If you are selecting a point rather than making a new point. I don‘t know the exact coordinates for Larkin‘s. It is a simple matter to fix. press ENTER again to add the point to the route. After making the waypoint. I drag the route line to the entrance of the channel for each lake. On the GPS Map 76 the procedure is to put the cursor on the point where you want to make the waypoint and press ENTER. There is a great little sandwich shop with a dock. I skipped a realized that I skipped a Red Nun. Put the cursor on the route line and press ENTER. If I get close.Routes Figure 11-5 Route into Manchester Harbor Figure 11-5 demonstrates making the route into Manchester harbor. Example: Route between a chain of lakes This example is also made with a Garmin GPS Map 76 with Roads and Recreation maps loaded. you will only have to press ENTER once. Basic GPS Navigation www. I don‘t need a GPS to find my way. Figure 11-6 shows the process: I start by making the route between the origin and destination. two lakes away that makes a good paddling destination. that is sufficient. But it does make a handy if slightly contrived example. I have used the GPS kayaking in that it is hard to see the bridge from the middle to the bottom lake from the north end of the middle lake. In real life. After I have the route from origin to destination made.

I would go through the channel and then when I got to the next lake. I would navigate directly to point 3 as shown in Figure 11-6. I could add more points as shown in the second screen of Figure 11-7. I can get an idea of how far the route is and how long it will take as depicted in Figure 11-8.com . The route plan accepts values of speed. Having waypoint 2 marked would make sure that I got the correct cove for the entrance to the channel. After putting in my speed of 3 knots. Essentially from waypoint 1 to the north end of the next lake would be one dimensional navigation along the shore and through the channel. This is not a problem.smallboatgps. These would become the entrances going home. What might be useful is to add a waypoint for the exit of each lake. fuel flow. I would just follow the shore around from waypoint 1 to 2. departure time. 132 Basic GPS Navigation www. If I wanted to engage in a little overkill. I can go to the text display of the route and then press MENU and select Plan Route. the routing takes me right across land. and departure date.Routes Figure 11-6 Figure 11-7 As shown in the first screen of Figure 11-7.

com 133 .smallboatgps.Routes Figure 11-8 Basic GPS Navigation www.

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A GPS route can be very useful to gauge progress along the route even if it is not needed for steering. The distance in Figure 12-1 is obviously useless at 3.smallboatgps. this is a significant distance. Figure 12-1 Figure 12-1 shows the route directly from start to finish. or road. or roads. Using the drawing tool on Microsoft Streets and Trips the distance should be about 10.04 miles.com 135 . there is a similarity to the navigation problem in that the GPS is not needed to steer along the route. trail. An example that comes to mind is a long canoe trip.Path navigation Chapter 12 Path navigation Whether navigating along a river. There are times that path navigation may be used in combination with twodimensional navigation. You paddle down a river using path navigation. then come to a lake and use twodimensional navigation to cross the lake. Figure 12-1 through Figure 12-3 shows an example of boating along a river. but is a considerably longer distance along the river. Actual navigation along the path is done by reference to the river banks. The put in point to the destination is a very short distance ―as the crow flies‖. trail.3 miles. Basic GPS Navigation www. If you are paddling this in a canoe or kayak.

com . I highly recommend that you learn to edit the route using the map page. If you have a Garmin mapping GPS. However. Figure 12-3 Figure 12-3 shows what the display would look at two different zooms while navigating. The data that is useful are things such as ETA‘s. 136 Basic GPS Navigation www. As you can see. this could be done without too much difficulty with a non-mapping GPS using one of the many techniques in the Waypoints chapter.smallboatgps. Putting these waypoints in was very fast using the graphic route editing features of the Garmin GPS Map 76 and therefore totally practical.Path navigation Figure 12-2 Figure 12-2 shows the resulting distance after putting in seven intermediate waypoints. I set up the data fields to display different data from the two dimensional navigation. I have more information on page 125. There is really no need for a course or a bearing line. and distances. so I shut them off. Using the map display to edit the route made the task much easier.

but using the computer offers a bigger map view as well as the ability to use a map to create a route with a non-mapping GPS. Once uploaded into the GPS. I could not create an auto route on the GPS itself because the Metro Guide does not support auto route on the GPS.com 137 .smallboatgps. Editing the route on the GPS offers independence from the computer. or trail has forks or intersections. MapSource is the interface which works with a variety of products such as MetroGuide. road. I use this technique on a regular basis when navigating on foot around cities on layovers.Path navigation An added factor is when the river. DeLorme Street Atlas and some newer versions of Garmin‘s MetroGuide will do this. The waypoints defining the route can be created along these forks and intersections to mark where a decision as to which fork to take must be decided. or even a basic eTrex for that matter. However. If I had an auto routing GPS such as a 60C and loaded the map data into the GPS from the same MetroGuide software. City Select. The waypoints will correspond to intersections and turns. Not all of the MetroGuide versions will do this. I will leave the details to the individual program documentation. The difference is in that the computer would be used to edit the route instead of the GPS. I would need the more expensive City Select maps for this feature. the route will consist of a series of line segments between the waypoints as opposed to a curved path following the roads. The loaded route would be direct lines between the uploaded waypoints in the route rather than following the road exactly. etc. For example. I simply create a route from origin to destination and then edit the route using the map display to drag the route line to intersections where I have to turn. Using the computer to create the route It is worth noting that a route can be created with a variety of computer programs and then uploaded into the GPS. but even some of the versions that do not support auto routing on GPS receivers that have auto routing will facilitate this ability on a computer. Depending on the software it is possible to create an automatically created route along roads and then load the route into the GPS even if the GPS is not capable of auto-routing. I do want to point out roughly how this is done using Garmin MapSource. I could create an auto route using MetroGuide 5 and then upload it into a non-auto routing GPS such as an eTrex Legend or Garmin GPS Map 76. It is also possible to create and edit a non-auto routing route such as along a river as in the example in the beginning of this chapter. Basic GPS Navigation www.

If you were . it is possible to get leg distances. etc. Rename the waypoints to reflect the distance from the end of the route. By going to the route page.8 miles from R20. I thought that it might be interesting to follow the water to Fort Frederica. Now move the cursor over the route and right click and select ―insert route section.8 miles left to paddle. then you would have 2.com and check for an software update in hopes that this feature has been added. R50. My first recommendation is that you go to the Magellan website. www.smallboatgps. R31. You can use the find function (binocular icon) to find something first.‖ Select the route creation icon from the tool bar. R11. Georgia.‖ Successive clicking on the route with the route creation icon selected will allow you to drag the route to intermediate points. 138 Basic GPS Navigation www. For example. The intercoastal waterway and Frederica River are set in a large grassy moss. The GPS was immensely helpful in providing orientation and making sure that I traveled up the correct fork among the many little creeks in the marsh. you can use the route tool and press the escape key when you have created a route from origin to destination.com . Another example I borrowed my brother in law‘s personal watercraft in Saint Simon‘s Island.‖ Go to View and select ―GPS map detail.  Magellan adaptive technique One of the keys to this technique being useful is to be able to display a distance to destination as opposed to the next waypoint. If you want to create a route from origin to destination and then drag the route to follow a contour such as in the river example.magellangps. It is the icon with the black squares connected by magenta lines. My second recommendation is that you use the name of the waypoints as an indirect indicator of distance to go. R38. R20. You can click successive waypoints or you can just create a route from origin to destination and modify it. Many Magellan receivers do not offer this data.Path navigation     From the main menu. go to Edit -> Preferences -> Routing tab and choose ―Use Direct Routes. the waypoints in Figure 12-2 could be renamed something like END. Now go to the map and click where you want to the route to go.

to make sure that I made the turn. to Fort Frederica. the line from FORK to FORT was plenty to orient me considering that I also had a map display and that I was steering between the river banks rather than steering from the GPS guidance. RAMP. If I were kayaking. All that I found necessary was to include a point at the fork.smallboatgps. I probably would have added some interim waypoints so that I had a more accurate distance to the destination as I paddled. FORT. This was a short distance sitting on a personal watercraft – a low effort trip.com 139 . Figure 12-4 Basic GPS Navigation www. However. FORK.Path navigation Figure 12-4 depicts the route from the boat ramp.

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entrances to parks. tourist information services. Every map is distorted because the earth is spherical and paper is flat. Even though GPS is becoming more popular and more map publishers are printing maps with such information. Common sense is important. Additionally. I can‘t see using these techniques for areas much larger than a city. However. the distortion should be minimal. However. and printed out from mapping programs.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid Chapter 13 Using Maps with an unknown or no grid This chapter describes some techniques of using a GPS with ordinary maps. the new point would be off by 2 miles. For example. the ideal situation is to have a mapping GPS with extra detailed maps loaded in. For each degree of error in a bearing a point would be off by one unit for each 60 units of distance from the point. Basic GPS Navigation www. You have to be able to measure bearings or distances accurately.com 141 . within this category are satellite and aerial photos. these techniques might be of great use if you use a simple inexpensive non-mapping GPS to keep track of your journey on a couple of hour canoe trip in a state park where most people do not even use a map. Where do you get these maps? I have seen maps in the back of phonebooks. The catch to the wide availability of maps is that most often these maps do not have latitudes or longitudes or other grids such as UTM that can directly be used with GPS. on the internet. However. Nobody would have much sympathy for you if you drug the keel of an expensive sailboat across some submerged rocks because you were navigating with a road map from a convenience store. Another factor is precision. rental car counters. For the size of areas that I see these applications being applicable. Thus. Certainly. with some simple techniques. if you mis-measured the point by 1 degree. Specialized and expensive maps such as marine charts and topographic maps have a lot of important information in addition to where things are. there are a wide variety of maps that can be used with reasonable common sense with even the most basic GPS. these maps can be used with an inexpensive GPS. if you tried to create a point that was 120 miles away.smallboatgps. there are still a large number of otherwise good maps that do not include this information. precision in measurement is more of a limitation than map projection. The next best thing is to have a detailed paper map with a grid that is usable for inputting coordinates into a GPS. The requirement for a map is that it is proportional and accurate. guidebooks.

For example taking the paddle along the river in a rented canoe.smallboatgps.gpsinformation. However. some of these techniques might be of some use when using a map with a grid. they are worth checking out if this subject interests you. the book GPS for Dummies. Although the GPS is similar to compass triangulation. Additionally. calculator. the techniques in this chapter are potentially the least accurate and most hassle. and printer. but the methods that I give only require a GPS. The GPS will give a distance to a waypoint. Also. My intent is to not so much explain every possible way to use every possible map. being able to use the least expensive GPS with cheap or free maps offers much flexibility and capability. scanner. I use an example with angle drawn with a protractor. My only objection to them is that they require a computer. Not only will these computer programs work with scanned maps. often a simple. and perhaps a protractor or base plate compass. For example. but they will work with aerial photographs. For an excellent list of computer software that will calibrate maps. but can be used with several other techniques to help locate yourself.com . If you are familiar with such techniques as getting a fix from such things as non-directional beacons or compass sightings. there are some important advantages that the GPS offers.net. However. I would refer you to the Third Party Software section of www. Although. you might use the GPS bearing from the start point and the fact that you are on a portion of the river that goes a certain direction as indicated you either the GPS or the compass to get an approximate position. using scanned maps with a calibration program. The accuracy of GPS is addictive. sometimes precision just isn‘t that important.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid The techniques for working with generic maps are often similar to more traditional navigation and position fixing techniques. The computer offers more accuracy. then many of these techniques are conceptually similar. Perhaps you see a landmark 142 Basic GPS Navigation www. or Mapping Programs section on page 69. consider that the GPS does not have to be used in isolation. There are some clever and popular computer programs that allow you to scan in maps and calibrate them for GPS. There is a multitude of ways that you can use these maps. using a computer program or Internet source to get waypoint coordinates. you correlate the position on a map with the coordinates or location of a known point. and you can use bearings relative to true north rather than having to convert magnetic values to true values. Essentially. ―I‘m about here‖ on the map is more than sufficient. Certainly. but to give you an idea of how you might use a generic map. you do not have to actually have the landmark in sight if you have it saved as a waypoint. Between using a mapping GPS with extra maps loaded in. ruler. often a simple mental bearing is all that is required.

let me say that this technique does not work with Celsius to Fahrenheit conversions because they are not equal to each other when both are zero. Just go back and do the opposite – in this case. The application of these principals involves using the units with the numbers expressed as fractions when you multiply and divide.793 kilometers 1 mile Basic GPS Navigation www. This is not the most rigorous method. but it is a good common sense method and makes a good check for the next method.6 miles is canceled by the miles in the denominator of the fraction leaving kilometers. The problem is whether you divide or multiply by the conversion factor.60934 kilometers. This flunks the common sense test that you should end up having more kilometers than miles. this fraction is equal to 1. The first method for figuring whether you want to divide or multiply is to figure out whether the converted value is larger or smaller than the original value. Conversions are easy once you learn a couple of tricks.793 km.6 is multiplied by 1. Zero miles is equal to zero kilometers. The key to this next method is to multiply or divide by 1. you will often have to convert things like measurements on maps to distances in the real world. When the units are multiplied and divided the miles from the 2.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid that you think that you might recognize.6 miles to kilometers. 5. Before I get started. The conversion is 1 mile = 1. One is that any number multiplied or divided by 1 is the same as itself. then you would have ended up with 2.smallboatgps. Thus.60934 kilometers. but 0C does not equal 0F. Take as an example converting 3. we can multiply the 2.60934 kilometers/1 mile. Since the numerator and the denominator are the same quantity. There are two principals involved.60934. even if they are expressed in different units.6 miles to kilometers.6 miles x 1. the 2. If you know that a kilometer is shorter than a mile. Since 1 mile = 1. multiply.6 miles we are not changing the actual distance. If we multiply this fraction by 2. Navigation is sometimes like a mystery and you use as many clues as you can get.2 kilometers being equal to the 3.69034 kilometers = 5. When the numbers are multiplied.60934 so that you end up with a larger number.6 miles. A rough bearing from a GPS landmark can be used to confirm or reject the identity of the landmark. it is obvious that you multiply the 3.com 143 .6 miles by the fraction of 1. The second is that any number divided by itself is one. there are going to be more kilometers after you convert miles to kilometers. but the form. A little math of conversion review When using maps. Let‘s use the example of converting 2.6 miles by 1. 2. If you were to have divided instead of multiplied. These techniques will also be useful to you in many other situations in addition to using your GPS.

Decide whether to add or subtract so that the first digit remains between 0 and 3. Add or subtract 2 from the first digit. There is a simple trick that makes this calculation much easier.6 miles x 1 mile___________ = 1.53815 miles2/kilometer 1. You would use the fraction 1 map inch/2. 144 Basic GPS Navigation www.5 actual miles as appropriate.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid There are several neat things about this technique. 1. Bearing reciprocal calculation technique Often the GPS will give the bearing to a point and you want the bearing from a point.smallboatgps.1875. in most cases.5 miles. For example. However. Let‘s say that 1 inch on a map is equal to 2. Subtract or add 2 to the second digit.9687 actual miles 1 map inch Using the units in calculations like this is common in many disciplines and is not a bad idea for many calculations beyond conversions. multiply it by the conversion factor. 2. lets say that you wanted to convert 700 feet per minute to miles per hour: 700 feet minute x 60 minutes x mile____ = 7. you will get something that is technically correct. 3. but obviously useless. I have discussed great circle navigation on page 106. Next. For example if you had a distance that was 33/16 on the map.8545 miles 1 hour 5280 feet hour For map reading. then add 2 to the second digit and vice versa. If you subtracted 2 to the first digit. the first step would be to convert 33/16 to decimal by 3/16 + 3 = 3.1875 map inches x 2. this is useful. 2. the reciprocal is a matter of adding or subtracting 180.69034 kilometers Another nice thing is that you can calculate multiple conversions. If you accidentally inverted the conversion fraction. One is that it is selfchecking.5 actual miles = 7. This is sometimes also referred to as a back bearing.com .

The Magellan receivers that I am familiar with do not offer this feature. so I will refer you to the manual for details. most scales on generic maps will be close enough. The reason that this works is that it is the same as adding 200 and subtracting 20 or subtracting 200 and then adding 20. One of the easiest methods is to physically be at the spot and use the GPS to create a waypoint at the position. you will need to have a waypoint in the GPS and correlate it with a point on the map. If you always keep the units in the calculation like this. Basic GPS Navigation www.0 _ cm  1. the reciprocal of 123 is 303. I have found that one of the bigger weaknesses is the accuracy of the scale.9 _ miles  7.43 cm and represents 1. Also.0 _ miles 4. if the scale mark was 1. you must find a point on the map and enter its location into the GPS to correlate the map with the GPS. it will keep my excellent high school chemistry teacher. from yelling at you. including the basic eTrex are capable of creating waypoint as a bearing and distance from a known waypoint. If there is a scale on the map then: dis tan ce  length _ on _ map  dis tan ce _ represented _ by _ scale length _ of _ scale For example. Cliff Foster. Some generic maps may have a couple of latitude and longitude tick marks along the side. cancel out leaving miles.0 miles and the distance between waypoints as measured on the map is 7. As long as you realize that this is a limitation and keep your expectations reasonable.43 _ cm Notice that by keeping the units in the calculation. If you do this. you can also get a more accurate north reference by finding the course between the points. If you need something more accurate. If you are printing the map from the Internet or mapping program. it will help you to make sure that you have multiplied or divided correctly. you might be able to mark the coordinates for a point to use as a reference. Add 2 to the 1 and subtract 2 from the 2. First of all. The techniques vary from model to model. that the cm. Creating Waypoints from known Waypoints Bearing and Distance method All of the Garmin receivers of which I am familiar. you can create two reference waypoints and compare the distance along the map with the route distance between them in the GPS.com 145 .smallboatgps.0 cm then the distance is: 1.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid For example. In order to use this feature with a map.

6993 miles/cm in the memory of your calculator and write it on the map by the scale.43 cm which is . Sometimes you may be given a scale such as 1:50.8 cm and you are using a 1:50000 map.smallboatgps. click on the right box and then select ―Project Waypoint. The BEARING and DISTANCE fields are editable and are based on the previous point.1 miles which is 528 ft. you can only specify the distance within . GOTO. there is a bearing.068map _ meters  50. distance. This means that each unit of measurement on the map represents 50. When creating a waypoint. Using the click stick. you will be given an option of Delete. When you select the waypoint. Select Project and a new waypoint menu will be created that will allow you to reference the previous waypoint.0 miles divided by 1. From the edit waypoint page press MENU and select ―Project Waypoint. present position.com . You can change the GPS back to whatever system you had before after you had have entered the distance and bearing.000actual _ meters  3400meters  3. There are two navigation boxes in the top right corner. and point selection field on the waypoint creation menu itself. Take as an example that the distance on the map is 6. Garmin eTrex Legend: Pick a reference waypoint by pressing the bottom left side button and then going through the menu to view it. Also. Map. or Project. you can also store the 1.    146 Basic GPS Navigation www. Garmin GPS III and 196.4km 1map _ meter Here is a some typical examples of how to create a new waypoint using the bearing and distance from an old waypoint:  Garmin GPS 76: Press and hold the ENTER MARK button.000 of the same unit over the ground. the name is editable.‖ This menu will then give you the chance to base the waypoint being edited on the bearing and distance from the map cursor. Measure the distance in metric distances and multiply and set your GPS to metric.‖ A new waypoint will be created based on the waypoint that you had originally selected. if you are using statute units. For example. or another waypoint. The distance is: .Using Maps with an unknown or no grid In this example. You could measure the map with and convert inches to miles and then multiply by the scale.000 instead of scale as a mark and represented distance. The eTrex is limited in that the distance is only 1/10th of a unit. Garmin eTrex: Select the reference waypoint from the waypoint menu. but I don‘t recommend it.

If yours is not listed.net/. Go to www.com and search for NavCalc. Basic GPS Navigation www. also available at PalmGear. Here are some tricks and caveats:  Go to the setup page and change the north reference to true rather than magnetic north so that the map and the GPS are referencing the same thing.vwh. play with it and/or read the owner‘s manual.best.com 147 . at http://williams. If you want to use this reference point for orientating yourself on the map as opposed to creating and navigating to a new point.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid I have not listed every Garmin GPS.smallboatgps. If you need the conversion: There are 5280 feet in a stature mile.  Ed Williams‘s Aviation page. this is close enough to still have practical value. search for ―Converter. you are not without options:  NavCalc for Palm OS is a $10 utility that allows you to get coordinates by using radial and distance from a known point. Before. If you are using the GPS with a compass make sure that you go back and return the setting to magnetic when you are finished. but most likely it works something like one of these. offers an online javascript calculator as well as formulas if you want to write your own program. for my calculator and am very pleased with it.     If your GPS does not support creating a waypoint by referencing a third point or if you want more accuracy. 6078 feet in a nautical mile. It is fantastic. if you are using miles. you can only define a distance to the reference point within . Optionally on some GPS units you can place the cursor on the reference point and get a bearing and distance to the point from your present position using the plotting or map page. you can GOTO the waypoint and use the BEARING and DISTANCE to the point.palmgear. In many cases. I leave this aside.‖ It is a free application for unit conversion. you can crease or draw a line on the map to make a north – south and an eastwest line through the reference point. or bearings from two separate points. Many GPS receivers only allow distances to be defined to the first decimal point.1 miles or 528 feet. To help with measuring the angle on the map with the protractor. I use APCalc. While you are at PalmGear.com. For example.

You can still put in a UTM coordinate and have the GPS indicate distances and speeds in miles or nautical miles and miles per hour or knots.smallboatgps. The new easing is 450771 + 5700 = 456. The new northing is 3. the new point is 17R 456471 3176409. If you the reference waypoint in your GPS.176. There is the caveat that if you are at the edge of a zone and the new waypoint is in the next zone over this technique will not work. You might look around www. You can then measure how many meters east and north the new point is from the reference point.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid  There are probably several other places to get this information.000 = 3.com . 148 Basic GPS Navigation www. The zone of 17R remains the same.182.409.471. north and east are positive and south and west are negative. UTM method If you recall. you can change the GPS setup to UTM.7 km east and 6 km south as measured on the map.gpsinformation. For example. it is not required that you use or set up your GPS to use metric values. your reference point is 17R 450771 3182409 and the point that you want to go to is 5. When adding distances. Thus. UTM coordinates are based on meters east and north.net for other sources.409 – 6. It is worth noting that although the UTM grid is based on the metric system.

I need a way of correlating the map with the GPS. there are numerous techniques for finding the coordinates of the intersection that I mention in the Waypoints chapter.com 149 . I have a mapping GPS and loadable maps that will show the Wekiva river. In this case. Although. I pick a couple of intersections on the map that I will pass through along the way. Most people don‘t bother with any kind of navigational device or map. At the end.smallboatgps.com as depicted in Figure 13-1.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid Example using a reference point Figure 13-1 Here is the scenario: I have decided to go to King‘s Landing to rent a canoe to go down the Wekiva river. www. I will simply mark the intersections using the GPS as I go to King‘s landing.mapquest. let‘s pretend that I just have a basic non-mapping GPS. I am trying to keep this scenario computerless. I could go on line and download satellite imagery or maps and calibrate them with a computer. Although. I cannot set up Basic GPS Navigation www. Unfortunately. Even from this set of limitations. Any navigational information is better than what most people use. I can think of several ways to handle this situation. the takeout point is not on my way. for the sake of demonstration let‘s just use a basic map such as a street map available from a convenience store. For reference points. However. King‘s landing will pick you up at Wekiva Marina and take you back to your car. The Wekiva is just north of Orlando. FL and it is a very slow moving and often very shallow river. I print out a map from an Internet source. so navigational accuracy is not critical.

com . I just want to know about where I am without an unreasonable effort. I could measure that END is 6.smallboatgps.9 miles from REF. The result is Figure 13-2. but I can do some preliminary work before I leave the house. Since the GPS gives bearing to the waypoint from the GPS. I make one more copy of the map and mark bearings from two reference points that I will mark with the GPS on the way to King‘s landing as an alternate form or orientation. Figure 13-2 Just for amusement. I label the map accordingly. In other words. If I had a GPS that did not support waypoint creation with bearing and distance. the reference that I draw on the map reflects this. The advantage of this technique is that there is no need to worry about the accuracy or proper measurement of distance from the 150 Basic GPS Navigation www. Some Bearing and Distances My use for GPS in this case is not precise navigation.118 km east and 5. I pull out a protractor and ruler and find that END is 132 true and 4.647 km south of REF. Thus.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid much with the GPS until I have the location for the intersections. I print another copy of the map and draw some bearing and distances from REF. I decide that if I know the bearing and distance from any point that I will be able to know where I am. I then use a compass (drawing kind) and ruler to draw some range arcs. a 10 bearing from REF is actually a 190 bearing from the GPS to REF. END relative to reference points Before I leave.

remember that a creak. I could calculate the UTM coordinates for END based on my previous measurement that 6. To some degree. The GPS is actually navigating to REF so that it gives me a BEARING and DISTANCE to it. Usually. that knowing that a reasonable estimate of orientation could still be made ―eyeballing‖ the bearing and distance from REF and/or REF2 without having to take the time to mark the map. road. However. or two bearings is more information than I need. I should note that if I had not taken the time to draw the range and bearing marks. However.9 miles from REF. Figure 13-3 is the result. After I get out of the car. This yields a UTM for END at 17R 456845 N3175560. a little deductive reasoning will let you select the proper intersection. I can quickly create the END point as being 132 true and 4. So.647 km south of REF. bearing and distance. If I had a GPS that did not support this feature. Figure 13-4 shows what the GPS display might look like. but I wanted to show you the two bearings or bearing and a distance also.com 151 . The intersection of one bearing and the river is usually sufficient to fix my position. I create a waypoint for REF and REF2 by marking present position on the GPS. By using the bearings from two points.smallboatgps.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid scale. I can locate myself at the intersection of the bearing lines. or trail can be used in conjunction with a single bearing. I can now use the GPS to orient myself. there are a couple of bearings that intercept the river in two places. Using these values Basic GPS Navigation www. Figure 13-3 Figure 13-2 and Figure 13-3 demonstrate the point that I am trying to make about using the GPS for orientation. On the way to King‘s Landing. The east displacement is added to REF‘s easting and the south displacement is subtracted from REF‘s northing. REF is 17R 0450727 3181207.118 km east and 5. As I paddle along the river.

Needless to say there are differences in implementation of many of these features form model to model. Vista. most GPS receivers will give you the BEARING and DISTANCE to the waypoint without having to actually select it.smallboatgps. it is usually possible to get the BEARING and DISTANCE as you cursor through the list of waypoints without actually selecting one. thus there is no real trail. Figure 13-4 Note that I could have also navigated towards END. For example. If addition to displaying the BEARING and DISTANCE constantly by making a point the active waypoint such as I have for REF or by placing the cursor over it as I have for REF2. and you must select ―Pan Map‖ from the menu on the new eTrex series. Another feature on some GPS receivers is that they allow you to sort alphabetically or by distance from the GPS position. the basic eTrex series does not have the cursor feature. Thus. The Garmin Legend. Additionally. 152 Basic GPS Navigation www. I put the cursor over REF2 so that I also have a bearing and distance to it and can use Figure 13-3. One thing not depicted in any of these GPS screens is the fact that the GPS will create a breadcrumb trail or track.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid and the map in Figure 13-2 I can tell where I am. this track would be very useful.com . and Venture even have an option where you can add waypoints to a list of ―Favorites. you can quickly see the bearing and distance to a few waypoints rather than having to sort the whole list. if you wanted to travel back to the origin. There are also additional ways to get the BEARING and DISTANCE to a waypoint. you can rename the waypoints so that they are alphabetically together and near the top of the list. Basically.‖ Thus. As you move the cursor down the list of waypoints on the waypoints page. Magellan receivers replace the data fields with the BEARING and DISTANCE. you can compare the shape of the track with the shape of the river on the map as one more orientation tool. I used the simulator mode to get these GPS screenshots. If you do not have either feature. the GPS will draw the river as you travel along it.

this much longer scale allowed me to measure the distances much more accurately.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid How well did the methods work? I also printed a similar map using Microsoft Streets and Trips.793 km east and 4817 km west.64 miles. Figure 13-5 Basic GPS Navigation www.smallboatgps. Assuming that both scales were accurate.895 miles. Instead of END being 132 at 4.43 cm for 1 mi. For the UTM calculations I got 5.com 153 .cm.5 miles instead of 1. I got 131 at 4.65 cm for 2. The differences were that the area covered took up almost the whole page and the scale was about 7.

As you can see in Figure 13-5. I was disappointed with the results using the UTM technique and MapQuest.Using Maps with an unknown or no grid Figure 13-6 After calculating the waypoints in the different respective ways. Obviously the quality of the maps and accuracy of the scale make a big difference for this technique.com . I should also add that your direction of travel whether it is from the GPS track or using a compass should give you an idea of where you are along the river. the technique is fine. Quite frankly. The distance from the MapQuest UTM to the ideal location of END is . This is not significant. Figure 13-6 shows a close view of the waypoints as plotted. I think that the weakness of the MapQuest results are a reflection of the size and perhaps lack of accuracy of the distance scale.smallboatgps. 154 Basic GPS Navigation www. I changed the GPS back to a latitude and longitude layout and then plotted the waypoints on Microsoft Streets and Trips to get an idea of how close the waypoints ended up being. Whether or not this technique is sufficiently accurate really has to be judged in the context of how much accuracy you need in a given circumstance and what other options you might have.5 miles. The closest point was the UTM technique using coordinates from Streets and Trips converted to UTM with the GPS. but this variation could be significant at another location and using the GPS is a handy place to find the magnetic variation. The setup page on the GPS indicates that the compass variation is 5 W. Thus the compass reads 5 west of true north. all of the waypoints might be of some value in the context of the example scenario and the required accuracy. Thus.

create a route from REF to P1 to P2 to REF2.com 155 . The method requires you to find two reference waypoints. It also requires that you are able to pan and make waypoints from a map or plot screen. The next couple of techniques are split off because they have a high hassle to utility factor. This method requires that you be able to create waypoints using the bearing and distance method. Yet. However. I tried to give you some useful and relatively easy methods to work with generic maps without a useful grid for measuring GPS coordinates. zoom in and create the point at the cross over point. The leg from REF to P1 should cross the leg from P2 to REF 2. Using the panning features of the map. P1 is the point relative to REF and P2 is the point relative to REF2. For example.Advance techniques for generic maps Chapter 14 Advance techniques for generic maps In the previous chapter. We will call them REF and REF2.com) that perhaps it would be useful to be able to create a waypoint by referencing the bearings from two other points. the Garmin eTrex would not work because the plot page cannot be panned. Figure 14-1 Basic GPS Navigation www. Bearing from two points method It occurred to while playing with NavCalc for Palm (previously mentioned -search for NavCalc at www. Now. a mapping GPS is not required.palmgear. there are some people that might find them interesting and perhaps useful. Find the bearing on the map from each reference point of the point that you want to create. but the non-mapping Garmin eTrex Venture would work. Figure 14-1 shows an example of this method. Next create two false points using the bearing and distance from a point except use a distance that is obviously beyond the waypoint that you are trying to create.smallboatgps.

Inches are divided into sixteenths. There is a limited number of times that you can fold the paper.mapquest. but it is also more powerful.smallboatgps. regional.5 by 11 sheet into squares approximately 1 inch square. This is considerably more work than just using the bearing and distance from a reference point.com. User Grid Overview If you want a couple of waypoints. obsessed. A city.mapblast. or desperate. I have even folded maps to create grids. making a new waypoint by using relative position to a previous waypoint is relatively simple. The 310 does not have a user grid. which is cumbersome. Also note that by comparing the route distance directly from REF to REF2 and comparing it to the distance on the map you can potentially have a more accurate scale for the map as well as a way of checking the north/south orientation. You can also use this technique to use measurements from the bottom left corner of the map. This just becomes an invisible grid. but it eliminates the problem of measuring distances accurately on the map and converting them into actual distance. I have posted a spreadsheet to help make the calculations in the download section of www. Map Requirements For this technique to work you need the following:  A reasonably small area map where projection differences between the different corners are small. but I found if I folded the paper in half in alternate directions I was able to fold an 8. As part of my experimentation with this technique. you can make the GPS use this grid.smallboatgps. If there is no pre-drawn grid. The grids have to be square. I use a version of this spreadsheet on my Palm. so initially I folded the top edge to each side edge to mark the square and then successively folded the paper in half from the square reference.Advance techniques for generic maps This is a little bit of a kludge. which makes it very portable. or perhaps even state road map is an example of a suitable type of map. www. Magellan 310 notice: Sorry. I find that centimeters work better than inches because centimeters are divided into tenths on most rulers. One of the discoveries that I made when playing with this technique was that it works with maps printed from Internet sites such as www. you cannot use this technique. or a Basic GPS Navigation www. even if it doesn‘t have a correlation with any recognizable grid. you can also create a grid or use measurements from the lower left corner of the map. it is possible to create a user grid to use with any map.com 156 .com. If you are cartographically adventurous. If the map has a north-south grid. Although the calculations are straight forward.com.

start by alternately folding and unfolding the top edge over to touch each side to mark the square are of the paper. I had good results by printing out a 4 mile by 5 mile map which covers a chain of lakes in the local area.7 centimeters square. If the map doesn‘t have grids there are several work-arounds: o Draw your own grid on the map. Find the actual distance between the two reference points using the GPS as well as the measured distance on the map to create a scale. This technique will not work with a rectangular grid or one that is not north oriented. I ended up with a grid that was about 2. Usually there is a printed scale. If you are using an Internet or mapping program you can mark a point somewhere.Advance techniques for generic maps variety of mapping programs.   Basic GPS Navigation www. This point would then be entered into the GPS as a reference waypoint. whatever) east and y units north. you have set up an imaginary grid. you can use two reference points. This permits you to use a relatively detailed map of a small area.smallboatgps. However.com 157 . You can use one of the many methods in the previous chapter to find the location of a point on the map.  The map must have square grids oriented to the north. Remember to make the creases sharp. o Fold the map and use the creases instead of drawing grids. You must be able to correlate the scale of the map with a known distance. you might also find ticks marking latitude and longitude on a road map. o Use measurements from the bottom left corner of the map. However. I tried this with a map printed from a free Internet mapping site and it worked reasonably well. You have to be able to save a known point on the map as a waypoint in the GPS. In effect. Then successively fold the map in half. You can define points as x units (inches. If you do this. cm. including and especially physically standing at that point and using the GPS to measure it. For example.

As a preview.com .Advance techniques for generic maps User Grid Preview Figure 14-2 Figure 14-2 is a section of an ordinary street map. Figure 14-3 These coordinates are interpreted like UTM coordinates. The point is described as the east coordinate and then the north coordinate. There is no decimal place – you have to mentally put it three places to the left. the whole point of this technique is it to make the GPS give readouts in terms of this grid rather than latitude and longitude. which is not of much use on this map.smallboatgps. but there is no latitude and longitude or any apparent practical way of using this with a GPS. Once the GPS is set up. 158 Basic GPS Navigation www. it will give coordinates in terms of the map grid as shown in. For the most part this is a nice map.

Calculate meters per grid: a. I found them to be accurate to the tenth.3. Renumber the grid if necessary Figure 14-2 is a small area of an ordinary street map which is 45 inches by 36 inches.Advance techniques for generic maps In the example. the north grid would be calculated as: grid _ coordinate  whole _ grid  46. you can use the distance from the lower left corner of the map.75inches 4.45inches .5 cm east and 7. dis tan ce _ beyond _ grid grid _ length As an example. User Grid Technique 1.3 cm north would have a grid coordinate of 4500 7300. I kept the horizontal numbering and renumbered vertically from 1 to 58 vertically. However. Measure the point on the map in grid terms I find the human eye is usually good at estimating tenths of an increment. However.6  46  . so I used them. if you want to more accurately measure the point. Basic GPS Navigation www. The numbering must increase left to right and bottom to top – west to east and south to north. these units cancel out.6 and 21. I used the pre-existing grid. All that matters is that you have a way to find the location of the reference point on the map that you are going to use to correlate the GPS with the map. I chose to go to a location and mark the location with the GPS itself. I you can measure and interpolate. Something to consider is that the error of this method will increase with the distance from this point. The grids were pre-drawn and labeled from 14 to 59 horizontally and CH to Y vertically. Scale method (map with line showing distance) As long as you measure the grid in the same units as you measure the scale. Enter the reference point into the GPS The ways to get the location of this reference point are essentially the same as described in the previous chapter. For example a point 4. I estimated the grid coordinates to be 46. So the closer you choose the point to the area of the map you plan on using the better.smallboatgps. 3.com 159 . as I mentioned before. 2. Those conversions are at the end of this step. After measuring more accurately. You will have to convert for the units of scale_distance.

000) Unlike method a.01 .67 miles per inch.g. 1:15.Advance techniques for generic maps meters _ per _ grid  grid _ length  scale _ dis tan ce  conversion scale _ length In this case. it was published on the map that there are . route _ dis tan ce meters _ per _ grid   conversion grid _ dis tan ce c.smallboatgps.3048 .com . meters _ per _ grid  grid _ length  scale _ factor  conversion Conversion factors: Units Centimeters inches feet yards kilometers miles (statute) 160 Conversion factor to get meters .9144 1000 1609.344 Basic GPS Navigation www.67miles 1609meters    grid grid 1inch mile b.696meters . the conversion factor is for how you measure the length of the grid such as inches or centimeters. Two point method (unknown map scale) If you do not have a scale. you can use two reference points on the map. Thus: 808. Their units will cancel out as long as they are the same. grid _ dis tan ce  east _ 2  east _1 2  north _ 2  north _ 1 2  or grid _ dis tan ce  length _ of _ route _ on _ map grid _ length where: grid_distance is the length of the route on the map measured in grids grid_length and length_of_route_on_map are measured directly from the map. Calculate the grid coordinates of the second point as you did the first point.75inches . You can then create a route on the GPS between the two points to calculate the distance.0254 . Scale factor (e.

696meters 6.smallboatgps. gps _ scale  meters _ per _ grid In our example: 1. The 4th and 5th digits from the right will be the grid number.Advance techniques for generic maps nautical miles 1853. it is just a number to locate the point on the grid. Magellan note: Magellan puts a dash between before the third digit from the left. Choose number of decimal places 10number _ of _ decimal _ places b. unless you are unable. The GPS calculates a distance east of the reference longitude and north of the equator in meters. use 3 decimal places. It helps to understand what the GPS is doing to calculate the USER coordinates. Longitude of Origin to longitude of the reference point Scale to gps_scale calculated above Basic GPS Navigation www.6 will display as 466. Calculate GPS scale: This is different from the scale of the map.18 5. a grid value of 46. Thus. Therefore. a factor must be included in the scale to compensate for this. This is not to imply that the accuracy is this good. I suggest that you try to use a value of 1000 or 10^3 to get three decimal places. In a UTM grid these would be representative of kilometers. but this makes interpreting the user grid similar to interpreting a UTM grid. Setup User Grid: Setup the user grid to the values below. you may have to select USER from the Position Format page and then select the MENU button to get to the Setup Grid option.236559 grids grid  10^3  meter 808. A factor of 100 will display 4660 etc. On some Garmin units. The scale is calculated so that the GPS uses a value of grids rather than meters. whereas in this case. a. One of the ways in that the user grid works is that it only uses whole numbers. If a factor of 10 is used.com 161 . It then multiplies both of these raw northing and easting values by the scale before adding it to the False Easting and False Northing. Thus a user coordinate of 46600 would read as 000-46-600.

this problem is solved by adding 5.Advance techniques for generic maps False Easting to the grid reference with the number of decimal places. 7. 46.999. I would but in the maximum value of 9. Thus. you probably put in the proper amount if you counted down correctly. Go to the waypoint page and get the false northing for the reference point. a point on the equator would have a northing of 0 and a point 1 meter south would have a northing of 4999999.999.000 to the northing. In the context of this procedure. the False Northing is arbitrary at this point because it will be subtracted out later.smallboatgps. You are finished. Get Northing of the reference point. no need for the next two steps. If you have a 9 for the first digit and a 3 for the last. this False Northing will be insufficient.000. northing is the distance north of the equator in meters. In UTM. This will clear the field.543 because it is easy to make sure that you have the proper number of digits and it is close to the maximum value. The problem is that points south of the equator have a negative value distance north of the equator. False Northing set this to 0 if the reference point is above the equator and 9876543 if it is below the equator. For example.6 using 3 decimal places would be 46600.876. it is 3926225 162 Basic GPS Navigation www. In this case. The solution is to use one less decimal point and adjust the scale accordingly. Ideally. I chose 9.com . I should add that it is possible at a high scale value and a very south reference point. Figure 14-4 Magellan note: Setup the Latitude of Origin to the latitude of the reference point and the False North at Origin similarly to the False Easting. A cool trick with Garmin receivers is to try to move the cursor beyond the left digit. South of the equator explanation: One of the rules of UTM which the user grid is base on is that the values are always positive. In the UTM coordinate system.

Basic GPS Navigation www.925=21.com 163 .926.904. If the reference point is north of the equator: false _ northing  reference _ northing  reference _ northing _ from _ this _ step If the reference point is south of the equator: false _ northing  reference _ northing  reference _ northing _ from _ this _ step  9876543 Where: The reference_northing is the value of the reference point from the map corrected for decimal places as the False Easting was. Reference_northing_from_this_step is the value found by looking at the Northing of the reference point on the GPS with the false_northing set to zero. Check that the reference point user grid coordinates are correct and write the setup values on the map for future use.300-3.smallboatgps. You are finished setting up the GPS.225- Figure 14-6 9.Advance techniques for generic maps Figure 14-5 8. In this case: -3. Set User Grid False Northing to: Calculate the false_northing and enter it into the User Grid Setup page of the GPS.

com .smallboatgps.Advance techniques for generic maps Figure 14-7 164 Basic GPS Navigation www.

the conversion factor is for how you measure the length of the grid. meters _ per _ grid  grid _ length  scale _ factor  conversion Conversion factors: Units Centimeters inches feet Conversion factor to get meters . route _ dis tan ce meters _ per _ grid   conversion grid _ dis tan ce c. Renumber the grid if necessary so that it increases from left to right and top to bottom. Two point method (unknown map scale) If you do not have a scale. 1:15.01 .smallboatgps. scale _ dis tan ce meters _ per _ grid  grid _ length   conversion scale _ length b. 2. Calculate the grid coordinates of the second point as you did the first point. If you want to interpolate: dis tan ce _ beyond _ grid grid _ coordinate  whole _ grid  grid _ length 4.g. You will have to convert for the units of scale_distance. You can then create a route on the GPS between the two points to calculate the distance. these units cancel out.000) Unlike method a. grid _ dis tan ce  or east _ 2  east _1 2  north _ 2  north _ 1 2  grid _ dis tan ce  length _ of _ route _ on _ map grid _ length where: grid_distance is the length of the route on the map measured in grids grid_length and length_of_route_on_map are measured directly from the map.3048 Basic GPS Navigation www. you can use two reference points on the map. Calculate meters per grid: a.0254 . Scale factor (e. Enter the reference point into the GPS 3. Their units will cancel out as long as they are the same.Advance techniques for generic maps User Grid Summary and worksheet This is a summary of the technique: 1. Those conversions are at the end of this step. Scale method (map with line showing distance) As long as you measure the grid in the same units as you measure the scale. Measure the point on the map in grid terms.com 165 .

d. False Northing set this to 0 if the reference point is above the equator and 9876543 if it is below the equator. 8. For example. Calculate GPS scale: Magellan note: Magellan puts a dash between before the third digit from the left. You are finished.18 . use 3 decimal places.9144 1000 1609. Magellan note: Setup the Latitude of Origin to the latitude of the reference point and the False North at Origin similarly to the False Easting. Reference_northing_from_this_step is the value found by looking at the Northing of the reference point on the GPS with the false_northing set to zero. Set User Grid False Northing to: If the reference point is north of the equator: false _ northing  reference _ northing  reference _ northing _ from _ this _ step If the reference point is south of the equator: false _ northing  reference _ northing  reference _ northing _ from _ this _ step  9876543 Where: The reference_northing is the value of the reference point from the map corrected for decimal places as the False Easting was. You are finished setting up the GPS.Advance techniques for generic maps yards kilometers miles (statute) nautical miles 5. Choose number of decimal places 10number _ of _ decimal _ places e. Thus a user coordinate of 46600 would read as 000-46-600.smallboatgps. no need for the next two steps. 7. Setup User Grid: Longitude of Origin to longitude of the reference point Scale to gps_scale calculated above False Easting to the grid reference with the number of decimal places. unless you are unable. 166 Basic GPS Navigation www. Thus. Check that the reference point user grid coordinates are correct and write the setup values on the map for future use.com . 9. gps _ scale  meters _ per _ grid 6.344 1853. 46. Get Northing of the reference point.6 using 3 decimal places would be 46600.

Connecting your GPS to the computer Basic GPS Navigation www.smallboatgps.com 167 .

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Rowing is incorrectly perceived as being only slightly more accessible than Polo. While rowing. GPS techniques Following a GPS while rowing is simple. Kayaking. Just as in bicycling. Still try to get the OFF COURSE direction and the TURN direction to agree. If the bow turns left by 5 degrees. The direction of OFF COURSE is reversed while when rowing. there is a whole spectrum from hard-core road racers to mountain biking – there is a spectrum from the exclusive and expensive carbon fiber equipped competitive rowing to the open water rowing in San Francisco Bay. this is done in long. Somewhere in this spectrum are people who just enjoy going out at an enjoyable but vigorous pace to enjoy the water and get some fitness. What has not changed is how to correct towards the course described in the ―Navigating along a line using bearing information‖ section on page 103.smallboatgps. Usually. and expensive boats on calm rivers. The pointer or turn field tells you which direction to turn the stern. especially the Ivy League. Kayaking. it involves the whole body. and Sailing Chapter 15 Rowing. Rowing is great exercise in that especially with a sliding seat. There are also people that row in open water. such as in San Francisco bay and near Cape Cod. the stern will turn left by 5 degrees when looking backward. and Sailing Rowing Rowing promotion Most people think of rowing as being done as a team sport in schools. I have some more information Links and Further Reading section. I am in this last category. the direction indicated by OFF COURSE is to the course line rather than from the course line. much of the initial push is done by the legs with the continuation of the stroke being done with the upper body. I think that the sensing direction of OFF COURSE is backwards anyway. With a sliding seat. The biggest point about using GPS is that the indications given by the TURN field or by pointer type of screens work correctly even while sitting backwards. the GPS works fine while sitting backwards in a boat.Rowing. Thus. If the GPS indicates a turn of L005. this means that the bow needs to come left 5 degrees. As I mention in the Navigation Terminology section. Basic GPS Navigation www. thin.com 169 .

Sailing I must start out my discussion on sailing with the disclaimer already mentioned in previous places that I am not an active sailor. It would be possible to create a virtual course. GPS would not be useful for navigating between river banks. This has the effect of averaging the speed.com . I have sailed small boats in the past and I feel fairly comfortable with the some of the theory. Velocity Made Good A sailboat has an optimum angle to sail with respect to the wind. The optimum solution would be to have a track down option on the map setup. Obviously. The problem is that this angle may not be the direction that you want to go. Not only does the thrust vary during the stroke. I find that the mapping is a nice feature even while rowing. Kayaking.Rowing. take this section as some things that I thought that you might find useful for your consideration (and possible rejection) as a sailor. rowing is not a big enough sport for GPS manufactures to add a track down option to the display. but not as advice from an experienced sailor. However. which is the line between the 170 Basic GPS Navigation www. Looking backwards and having the map display features that are behind you being in front of you is confusing. Most handheld GPS receivers have a data field for Velocity Made Good. GPS is useful for navigation on open water. the GPS allows me to devote more concentration on rowing and looking for traffic. The speed of the boat varies during the stroke and the GPS will reflect this by indicating a SPEED that varies quite a bit. VMG is the speed projected along the bearing line. Battery saver mode cuts down on the number of position samples per unit of time to save batteries. I also found that the SPEED display works much better with the GPS in battery saver mode. VMG. VMG. I set the map to display North up to avoid confusion. Therefore. The usefulness of GPS for rowing depends on what type of rowing you do. it might still be useful for monitoring progress. The ETA and TIME TO functions have some averaging built in and tend to work well. I find that displaying the map with track up is confusing. I like it on the lake because it permits me to keep a straight line. In between open water and navigating between the banks are wide areas of the river. but the various parts of the system vary in their relationship to each other. the speed of the boat decreases. Even if the GPS is not needed for navigation. Instead of being a distraction. and Sailing I do not find the SPEED to be very useful while rowing. If you turn to go towards the waypoint.smallboatgps. the speed that the boat is going is more towards the waypoint and is more useful. Realistically. The GPS can be used to optimize this angle.

If you get to this region of negative VMG. VMG will be reasonably close to the speed projected along the course. There is no data field for the projection of the speed along the course. the VMG is negative. All that changes is the relationship of the boat to points A and B. you have probably traveled too far on the tack. Even though the speed towards waypoint B is actually negative at point 3. BEARING. Point 1 Point 2 Figure 15-1 (Garmin GPS MAP 76) Point 3 Figure 15-1 shows a tack that is a constant speed and track. Look at the data fields for detail. If you were to draw a circle around waypoint B. Kayaking. you are actually getting further from waypoint B. and Sailing boat and the active waypoint. This is not the speed along the course line. The only factors for VMG are TRACK. Figure 15-1 shows this speed at several points along a tack. In all three cases if you were to project the speed of the boat along the course line it would be the same.com . In many cases. the VMG has been reduced to zero and in the third screen. 5 knots.smallboatgps. The third screen of Figure 15-1 is useful for understanding the concept of VMG. where TURN= TRACK-BEARING. My purpose was to explain what the VMG is actually telling you. the boat is still progressing along the course from A to B. Another way of saying this is VMG is the speed at which you are going towards the waypoint. 10 knots * cos (60)). The location of point A and the course is irrelevant to VMG. If you agree to take the disclaimer of my previously mentioned lack of sailing experience I will 171 Basic GPS Navigation www. In the second screen. The calculation is ( SPEED * cos ( COURSE – TRACK). The formula for this is VMG= SPEED * COS (TURN). point 2 would be the tangent point. I have exaggerated my example for illustration. SPEED and TRACK. This is because if you maintain the same track beyond boat‘s location in the second screen.Rowing.

There appears to be some short term averaging in the solution. In case you were wondering how TIME TO NEXT is calculated. Sailing is more complicated in that it is often necessary to tack back and forth along the route. VMG will stay steady and be equal to SPEED. there is more involved than VMG as indicated by there being a value for TIME TO NEXT when the VMG is zero or negative. and Sailing continue with further discussion of possible uses for VMG for your consideration and possible rejection. the short term effects of the heading change will be easy to pick up relative to the longer term effects of the natural decay of VMG due to the geometry of the solution. Any sailboat will sail downwind directly to a point. it works well. the VMG will decrease as you get closer to the waypoint. The VMG field can be used to find this angle. Take going directly downwind as an example. An interesting point is that VMG can be used in situations where a tack is not necessary to go directly to the waypoint. They can also be used in conjunction with a more expensive mapping GPS. If you track directly to a waypoint. 172 Basic GPS Navigation www. Use trial and error to find the heading that gives you the best VMG at any point. If you are not tracking towards your waypoint. but it will also change SPEED. There are ways of using a GPS to accomplish this task. even though I understand the techniques that I explain. Not only will changing the heading change TRACK. These techniques can be used with a very simple non-mapping GPS. This is usually a longer term and more constant effect than the changes in VMG because of changes in heading.com . Again. What it can be used for is to optimize the heading while on a tack. the increase in speed more than compensates for the increase in distance by not going direct. Hazards With power boating it is possible to plot a route and follow it. it is suspect. One thing that VMG will not tell you is how far to travel on a tack. Generally. Simply enough.Rowing.smallboatgps. I am not an active sailor. However. I have to admit my ignorance. If you are tracking towards your active waypoint. Kayaking. keep in mind my disclaimer at the beginning of this section. In other words. However. unless you are tracking directly to the waypoint. the speed polar is such that tacking at a slight angle will often result in a faster time to the point. The change in SPEED is a result of the change in relationship of the boat with the wind. Obviously. All of the techniques require that you are familiar with and use a chart to plot zones of safety.

Next plot a maximum distance that you can deviate from the centerline of the route. the technique is to plot a route through the middle of the hazards. or XTK to let you know if you are within this safe area. Most GPS receivers can give you a value for OFF COURSE.smallboatgps. The chart and plot are depicted in Figure 15-2. You can tack back and forth as much as necessary as long as you do not exceed the maximum OFF COURSE value that defines the safety zone. the map page can be used although with considerably less precision.Rowing. On the older two dimensional highway depictions such as on the Garmin GPS II and GPS 12. Kayaking. it is possible to set the zoom to change the ―edges‖ of the highway. There are a couple of very basic GPS receivers such as the Garmin basic yellow eTrex and eMap that do not have the option of displaying a digital value for OFF COURSE. There are some map screens such as on the Garmin GPS II and GPS 12. Basic GPS Navigation www.com 173 . Figure 15-2 I would suggest using the map page with one of the data fields set to OFF COURSE or XTK even in non-mapping GPS receivers where the depiction is nothing more than a plot of the route. In such a case. a display such as the highway screen may be of more use. where it is not possible to display a value for OFF COURSE. In such a case. and Sailing If you are sailing between hazards. Many GPS receivers allow you to set an alarm to warn you that you have exceeded a user definable maximum OFF COURSE value.

Kayaking. In Figure 15-3. a line has been drawn along the chart to represent a limit as to how close to come to shore while tacking.smallboatgps. 174 Basic GPS Navigation www. and Sailing Figure 15-3 A similar technique can be used for navigating parallel to a shoreline.Rowing.com . The route A-B-C-D can be loaded in the GPS and the GPS can be used to avoid crossing this line.

Any GPS will give you a bearing to the active waypoint. I think that using true north is less prone to error with this technique. add 200 and then subtract 20 or vice versa. In this example. Realize that the GPS will display the bearing TO a point. Kayaking. the boat should be in the clear zone. The bearing is equal to Basic GPS Navigation www. If the first digit is 0 or 1.smallboatgps. As long as the boat is between the two danger bearings in Figure 16-1. such as is the case with 280 and 100. decrement the first digit by 2 and increment the second digit by 2. There is a very simple trick to calculating reciprocal bearings in your head. and Sailing Figure 15-4 Another technique allows you to plot a zone between intersecting lines. If the first digit is 2 or 3. However. Instead of adding or subtracting 180. Make sure that you either set the GPS to use true north as a reference or that you correct the values you measure from the chart for magnetic variation and use the GPS set to magnetic north reference. the magnetic values also allow you to use your compass. increment the first digit by 2 and then decrement the second digit by two.Rowing. but it is still a little easier than adding and subtracting 180. You will still have to carry and borrow.com 175 . the GPS will read 040 as opposed to 220 on the left line and 350 as opposed to 170 along the right line. Another important point is that the GPS will indicate either magnetic or true values depending on what you set it up to do.

you can visually get a relative bearing. or you might consider creating a waypoint that is biased toward your route rather than in the center of the hazard area. For example. if WPT is an object that you can sight. In such a case. many GPS receivers allow you to create a proximity alarm around a waypoint. the boat is in the safe area.com . Depending on your GPS. you can put the cursor over the created waypoint to get a bearing and distance to the waypoint in addition to the point that you are navigating to. 176 Basic GPS Navigation www. Kayaking. Back to the example. create a waypoint at the center of the location of the hazard and set the proximity radius to an appropriately conservative value.Rowing. If you are heading 040 and the object is 30 to the left of the bow. Some other tricks: If you have an isolated hazard.smallboatgps. In the case of a GPS without proximity waypoints. This feature allows you to draw a circle of a distance that you specify around a waypoint and it gives you a warning of when your position is within the circle. you can still create waypoints to represent hazards. as long as the position of the boat is between 040 and 350 true. then the BEARING to the object is 010. and Sailing the heading added to the relative bearing.

Odds and Ends Chapter 16 Odds and Ends This is section is for odd little tips that do not merit their own section and do not fit anywhere else. The actual usefulness will depend on the visibility and your speed. but not Magellan) Figure 16-1 On most of the mapping Garmin units that I am familiar with—I don‘t know about the other manufactures. Measuring with a map display (Garmin and perhaps Lowrance. Man Overboard – MOB You should know how to quickly mark a waypoint and navigate back to it. When you move the touchpad from within the map Basic GPS Navigation www.smallboatgps. Hold the click stick until you see a new auto-named waypoint -. The Magellan receivers require a several step process.com 177 . The new eTrex has this for all practical purposes. Several of the Garmins that I am familiar with have a feature where you can hold the GOTO or NAV button and then navigate directly back to the point that you pressed the button. Hold the GOTO/ mark key to create a waypoint at the man overboard position. the screen of the mapping display can be used as a measuring tool without having to create a route or upset the navigation of the route that you might be on. but it could potentially be a life saver. then navigate back to it like any other waypoint.GOTO will be highlighted. Press enter and you will navigate directly back to the point.

 For PC shareware.org/ronh/. I have also used USA Photo Maps. If I were to press ENTER again.smallboatgps. The bearing and distance as well as the coordinates are displayed to the cursor point. The first screen has a North pointer in the upper left.gpsinformation. In addition to viewing the track on the GPS itself. Notice that in the measuring mode the map switched to North orientation. try www. I saved the track as a . but there are many various programs with various capabilities that are beyond my interest and expertise. ISBN 0-7645-6933-3 GPS for Dummies has good coverage of the various software available to interface a computer with the GPS.Odds and Ends display. I pressed ENTER on the shore of House Island. The second screen does not show the pointer because the whole screen is oriented to North. I have just played around with this capability. Figure 16-2 is a track that I downloaded from a basic Garmin eTrex. this will set that point as a reference point. http://www. This is dynamic and will update as you travel. If you press MENU and choose measure distance you will get an ENT REF under the cursor. it is possible to download the track and superimpose it on a variety of maps including aerial photographs.gpsvisualizer. However. This was a very simple process. and then uploaded it to www. Tracks Most of this book has been concerned with navigation – how to find your way to your destination. 178 Basic GPS Navigation www.gpsinformation. you get a cursor. When you press ENTER. I would start measuring from this point. Now the cursor will give the bearing and distance relative to the point where you pressed enter. I would suggest the following sources for further research:  GPS for Dummies Joel McNamara Wiley Publishing.com .com.gpx file using G7toWin. I then moved the curser to the route line to see that the route along the buoys is 478 ft.com. it is sometimes interesting to use the GPS to find out where you have been. from the shore.net I have referred to this multiple times. with good results. In Figure 16-1. http://jdmcox. but this is a great place to look for links to several other shareware programs. There are a plethora of programs that allow you to download and view tracks. Look under the section for Third Party Software.

Odds and Ends Figure 16-2 Basic GPS Navigation www.com 179 .smallboatgps.

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Few examples using smaller handheld receivers. Working with Garmin Receivers Dale DePriest 1st Books. ISBN 0-938665-76-6 www.com At the present time this is unpublished.Links and Further Reading Chapter 17 Links and Further Reading Most of the links are imbedded in the various sections of this text. This is a good place to start your search if you are looking for GPS information.com Excellent text on using GPS for marine navigation. GPS tracking of plate tectonics http://sideshow.jpl.smallboatgps.nasa.  Joe Mehaffey and Jack Yeazel's GPS Information Website www.com  181 .com/dalede/ This book has a lot of good information on the specifics operational tricks of many of the Gamin handheld receivers. ISBN 1-4033-9824-0 (Paperback) http://users.FineEdge.cwnet. 2nd edition Kevin Monahan & Don Douglass Fine Edge. Marine GPS use  GPS Instant Navigation.gpsinformation. Aviation use  Cockpit GPS www.net consider this to be a GPS portal. 2000. GPS information  A GPS User Manual.gov/mbh/series. However there are a couple of sources that just do not fit any particular place that I wanted to list. ISBN 1-4033-9823-2 (e-book).cockpitgps.html This is a site run by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory showing plate tectonic Basic GPS Navigation www. This is my book on using GPS for aviation use. but there is still much good information from two experienced skipper.

com .smallboatgps. http://www.garmin.ca/maps101/index.edu/~oa/manual/mapcompass. Go to the Garmin website. This site will explain the theory.solunar.learn-orienteering.gc. Natural Recourses Canada http://maps. This is a unique application of GPS technology. GPS and Mathmatics. Kjetil Kjernsmo‘ http://www. Geological Survey http://mac.org On this site you will find a link to Robert Speik‘s class handout on using GPS and compass for navigation. follow the Support link. Rick Curtis http://www.math. Other.html This is a very extensive site on reading maps as well as some information on using a compass  182 Basic GPS Navigation www.html#toc How to Use a Map and Compass. then choose Other.shtml Traditional Mountaineering http://www.Links and Further Reading movement using GPS tracking.org OA Guide to Map and Compass.gov/mac/isb/pubs/factsheets/fs03501. but I had been intrigued as to what the GPS would base such a calculation on.    Map and Compass Information     Finding Your Way with Map and Compass. Obviously this is not being done with consumer grade GPS receivers. www. GPS for Dummies Joel McNamara Wiley Publishing.princeton. Hunting and Fishing times. www.traditionalmountaineering. and GPS Guide for Beginners.uncc.com Many GPS receivers calculate best hunting and fishing times.S.usgs.com This is a good overview of GPS. U.nrcan. I am neither a hunter nor a fisherman. then select User Manuals. ISBN 0-7645-6933-3 This is a good source of information on PDA programs and third party GPS programs for calibrating maps. Maps 101.edu/~droyster David Royster This is a paper explaining GPS with some mathematics such as simultaneous equations.  GPS Guide for Beginners.

follow the Support link. ISBN 0914339303 This is the autobiography of the naval architect. www.uu. which is a polyethylene shell for less than $1000 (without oars). Basic GPS Navigation www.000 cartographic links. and Using a Garmin GPS with Paper Land Maps. http://oddens. 1990.com These are well regarded recreational and open water shells. Arthur Martin. I row the Alden 18 with one Oarmaster.Links and Further Reading Cartographic information   Odden‘s Bookmarks.adirondackrowing.   MAAS Shells. Rowing    Search for ―recreational rowing‖ in Internet search engines What is Open Water Rowing? http://www.geog.  Life in the Slow Lane Arthur Martin Peter Randall. looks intriguing.maasboats. www.com 183 . www.com/ This is a dealer‘s website. If you are interested in recreational rowing this is one possible place to start. I have talked to Peter a couple of times when I was contemplating getting a boat and feel comfortable recommending him based on this experience. Go to the Garmin website.com/Stories/What_is_STORY. who created the Alden Ocean Shell. Peter Gallo.rowalden.garmin.nl/index. Using a Garmin GPS with Paper Land Maps. then select User Manuals.openwater.com This is a good overview of basic cartography.smallboatgps. Recreation Rowing http://www. The Horizon. then choose Other.htm Alden Rowing Shells. Other.com Maker of recreational rowing shells.html Over 16.

My kayaks fold and can be checked as luggage on board an aircraft. and non-GPS navigation are covered. 184 Basic GPS Navigation www. 1999.org/ The Degree Confluence project is an effort to take pictures at whole degree latitude and longitude points. These kayaks can portage at 500 m.geocaching. currents. Michael Edelman has put together an excellent site on foldable kayaks with good information including where to find more information. ISBN 0-7627-0473-X The title sums it up. Issues such as tides.foldingkayaks.Links and Further Reading Kayaking  Folding Kayaks. this is a book dedicated to kayak navigation. Geocaching and other different uses   http://www.com . http://www.org/ Rowing and kayaking are two very different sports. chart reading. 3rd edition David Burch Globe Pequot Press. I enjoy them both. rules of the road. but for different reasons.smallboatgps.  Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation. http://www.com/ Geocaching is something like a GPS aided scavenger hunt.h.p.confluence.

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but this is not intended as a comprehensive review of the models on the market. Visit my website at www. you need to have the coordinates of that place. I have links to more in depth explanations.smallboatgps. . but almost majored in freshman English. I have some sources of how to get those coordinates. Navigation How to get to where you are going using the GPS Routes How to setup routes      This is am Internet based home publishing project by an airline pilot. and sailor who has a degree in engineering. especially consumer handheld models for a variety of navigational activities.com for the latest updates. Waypoints In order to navigate to someplace. Issues A discussion of where I see the vulnerabilities of using GPS Choosing a GPS receiver What you should look for in a receiver I do have a couple of my favorite recommendations.Basic GPS Navigation This book is a practical guide to using GPS. kayaker. novice rower. No claims are made to the quality of the writing. As well as some links to free computer software to save your favorite coordinates from you GPS to your computer. Topics covered:  How GPS works This is a purposefully oversimplified version. but I think that you will find the information useful.

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