[Cdt-l] GPS thoughts

david booth david.booth at internode.on.net
Fri Dec 11 15:48:14 CST 2009

I used the 24k maps on DVD this year to hike from Chama to Grand  
Lake. Yes the maps are excellent. There is also a lot of other data  
(I think it comes from Google Maps) about nearest restaurants,  
accommodation, stores,gas stations etc etc.
I used Jonathans Google Earth trail map to get the trackpoints for my  
hike (about 6000 points) then I loaded the points as a series of  
saved tracks (each 500 points) to a blank SD memory card.
As others have said it saves hours per day. I used to GPS  
continuously leaving it on all day. I managed to get 3-4 days for a  
set of lithium batteries.
At the end of each day I had the actual track and data on altitudes  
and distance hiked, I recorded (wrote) these in my journal.
The advantage of leaving the GPS on is that I could check immediately  
if in doubt so my location was always visible against the 24k base  
map.  This was great at unmarked junctions. (not many were sign posted).
I didnt have to wait for the GPS to warm up and zoom in. I was saved  
from errors many times. Jonathan's track is quite accurate mostly. I  
rarely used his paper maps except to get a larger overview each day  
of what is ahead, this is not easy o the small screen
The Vista Screen is easy to see even in daylight. I think the  
Colorado is not so good (according to some reviews).
I use a Macintosh and Garmin Basecamp works very well on the Mac. I  
use a web based program called GPS visualiser to convert Google Earth  
kmz files to Garmin gpx. http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/ This site  
allso allows you to compress tracks into a fixed number of points  
(very useful). I didnt use the Wolf Guides, except before the hike I  
did mark water locations and some distances on Jonathan's maps.
The DVD allows you to select just those maps you want on your GPS and  
it provides a place (Basecamp) to upload and download your waypoints.
The problem with Garmin is that the manual is a bit sketchy and does  
not give examples and ways to use the GPS.
I am hoping to return in 2010 to hike more of the CDT, possibly New  
Mexico. I will again use my GPS.
best regards
Aussie Dave
Canberra Australia.

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