Does anyone use GPS for trail mapping and finding your way home?
Do those things come with any sort of feature that lets someone 'ping' it to find your location (like if you got lost or went missing)?
Just curious, mostly. I think they're out of my budget for the now.
The OnStar type systems you see in cars rely on the cellular telephone system to send the car's GPS position to the operators on the phone. GPS, by itself, can't tell anyone anything.
What you may want is called a personal locator beacon. Some of them have a GPS receiver built in, and will encode that position and send it up to the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system which then sends it down to SAR orgs like the USCG and NORAD. Others work without GPS and their position is derived by the COSPAS-SARSAT satellites through triangulation.
Hi. I have a Garmin hand held unit for geo caching and that I use for hiking and now have transferred it over to riding. It won't exactly tell you HOW to get home but here is what I do.
when I first got my horses, I set a pin in the GPS device and called it BARN. Then I start my ride. As I go, I put in little "pins" as I pass certain points so that I have an idea of when I start to turn and what not. I can then follow those "pins" home to the BARN or if I am feeling really adventurous, I keep going on trials but watch the GPS and follow it toward the BARN pin. Does that make sense? Then once I get back to the barn, I can download that trip in to my computer or name it a trip name and have it for future reference.
I sure hope I made myself clear...some times I am not the best explainer.
LOL. I will look at my Garmin and get the name from it for you. It was about 100 dollars. Best investment I think. :)
I have a Garmin eTrex Venture HC. I LOVE it. I set waypoints so that I could track back to them. I upload my completed trails to make maps, etc or just to track how far I went. They are a fun tool and I certainly am no expert but I am enjoying learning as I go.
I think that is what mine is called too an Etrex. And way points! I couldn't for the life of me remember what they called them! LOL
So glad you could clear up my rambleing.
I also use the eTrex. Fun stuff.
I use a Garmin 60CSx model that I like a lot. The stub antenna really helps lock in satellites when the sky is obscured by trees or terrain. Cost for these is around $300 or so for a similar model.
I also use a Trimble device that is even more accurate (under a meter) but at close to $5k I don't recommend it for the average trail rider.
In regards to a device that would allow family or friends to know your location. You might try:
SPOT - These have been out for a few years now and can send an emergency signal to an orbiting satellite to summon emergency services if needed. I personally know a rider that had and used a SPOT device after she was kicked in the head when putting hobbles on about 20 miles into the backcountry. Life Flight flew her out and she's fine now. The SPOTis essentially one way communications. You can send messages out but not receive any. Costs for the SPOT are "I think" in the $150 range with a $10 per month plan expense.
InReach - This is a new product that has 2 way communications and I think is way cool. The InReach does everything that the SPOT does but also allows people at home to contact you (an example would be an emergency at home while you're camping far into the back country). The device and the plans for these are somewhat more expensive than the SPOT, but then you also get to receive msgs.
Another nifty and very low cost option that I've been playing with recently are apps for your smart phone. If you have an Iphone or android phone you have a GPS chip inside that can operate without a cell signal. There are numerous apps available that will let you use this bit of technology.
I've been pretty pleased with the ViewRanger app so far over some of the others. Before you leave the barn you can download topo maps of the area you plan on riding in and then refer back to that while on the trail. Of course you can also save the tracks, enter waypoints, ect. just like with a regular GPS unit. The accuracy seems to be quite good. I haven't been more than a few meters off during my tests to date. At only $8 dollars it's worth a look if you already have a smart phone.
Of course, I would be remiss without saying that the very best tool is a traditional map and compass and the knowledge to use them. High tech is cool but certainly not a replacement for piece of paper and a magnet on a stick :-)
Hope this helps.
Google Latitude can track your smartphone and it is free. My husband drives longhaul and I can watch him move across the country. While it doesn't give a perfect location it does get in the ballpark.
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