Archive | January, 2009

How to use a GPS


Tips for using a GPS

1.) This step may sound stupid but a lot of people tend to forget to even turn on the GPS, so turn on the GPS.

2.) When you buy your GPS in the box there should be an instruction manual, this is very important so don’t throw it away. Before going anywhere with your GPS you should thoroughly read through the manual and make sure you understand what your system can do. You don’t want to be in the middle of the woods and you don’t know what to do.

3.) Get familiar with your GPS, take it round your town or some where you know very well, this will get you used to what the GPS can do and how it tracks.

4.) When programming your GPS make sure you be precise as possible, the more precise you are the quicker the GPS will plot the correct directions, this can save you a lot of time.

5.) Saving the places where you may visit again, this can be a great way to remember where and how you got there. It also save you time from re plotting it again which is also a good thing.

6.) When saving locations into your GPS, there is no point naming them 1,2,3. They should be more memorable, for example, home, work and friends house.

7.) Sometimes you need to get somewhere quick but its rush hour, this is why your GPS is great, you can make it plot alternative routes which will lead you away from them busy roads.

8.) Check the manufactures website for software upgrades, a lot of manufactures often put out updates for their devices. It always a good thing to keep up to date with the software releases because it might be a very important update.

9.) Power is a very important thing when it comes to a GPS, without it, the device will not work. You don’t want to be stranded in the middle of no where and have no power, so always carry a separate pair of batteries or a car charger so you can re charge it.

10.) Ask the GPS for track-back routes, this is important so you can get back, you don’t want to go somewhere and not know the way back do you.

How to read a map


Scale

A map will always have a scale, especially if it is a navigational map, this scale can usually be found in one of the corners. This scale can then be used to give you a approximate distance for your journey. How you measure this is by getting a ruler or some sort of measuring device and placing it between the starting point of your journey and where you want to end your journey at. For example if you have a scale which says 1cm = 10km and you measure a 10cm road, that means you will be driving 100km. Maps can also be in inches but the same rule applies, if it says 1inch = 10km then you will still be driving for 100km.

Compass

Each map will have a compass on it, this will give you the directions for; north, south, east and west. All you have to do to find out what direction you are going in is find the end point of you journey. Then imagine putting your compass on your starting point of the map and looking at the direction the end point is from your starting position and that will roughly tell you the direction you will be going in. For example, if it looks slightly right from the north, that would be going north north-east.

Map Key

A lot of maps, especially road maps will have some sort of key on them, these keys are then used to tell you what type of road it might be or where a river and ocean is. Also they give you some of the major land marks, for example an air port will be marked with a plane and a hospital will be marked with a cross. An example of one of these keys can be seen below.

What is geocaching?


Geocaching is a new outdoor sport which the whole family can get involved in, its great for exercise and it can be a very good bonding experience. People all around the world have put little treasure chests (a container of some sort) all around the world, some are in easy places to get and some are in rough terrain where the more experience geocachers will go for. All you need to do is get a GPS and get the coordinates off a geocaching website, one i can recommend is http://www.geocaching.com.

Normally the cache will be a waterproof container which contains a pen or a pencil in, a piece of paper or a book, which is used for logging how many times it has been opened and it should have a trinket of some sort. Trinkets are something like a key-ring or something small, remember if you do take something from the container, it is always nice to replace it with something else so the next person who tries to find it has something for them to get.

Types of Caches

Traditional Caches: A traditional cache normally contains a log book and a few trinkets in.

Multi-Cache: A multi-cache has co-ordinates inside of them, they lead from 1 to another until you reach the end.

Offset Cache: These are normally a 2 stage cache, the first box will then lead you to the next one which should be the final cache.

Night Cache: These normally can only be found at night, they follow reflectors or some sort of light source to the next one.

Mystery Cache: A mystery cache is one that contains a puzzle inside, some might lead to a false cache but that is all part of the puzzle. You must solve it to find the treasure.

Traveling Cache: This is more like a traditional cache but when it is found the box is then moved to a different location.

How to geocache


1.) First of, you must have a GPS, you can purchase one, rent or borrow but you must have one.

2.) Find a geocaching waypoint site you like and subscribe to them, they can offer you cool  features such as cache waypoints. You then program them into your GPS.

3.) On each website it will have a search feature, it will then have a list of caches near you and some which require a bit of travel.

4.) Pick your cache carefully, the cache will have to interest you, make sure it is in a suitable terrain for you.

5.) Pick the coordinates you want to go to and store them in your GPS, when it comes time to hunt for the cache, just press it and get the map up on your GPS.

6.) Bring a small type of trinket with you, something not expensive but don’t just take the treasure out the cache without putting anything in. You don’t do this because the next person after you will not get any treasure.

7.) Using the arrow as a guide, make your way towards the cache.

8.) Once you find the cache, look at how it has been hidden. You will need to replace it in the same way.

9.) Open the cache and look at the trinkets and goodies which are within the cache. If you don’t like anything in there, then just leave it in there but normally you replace your trinket with one of the other ones within the cache, normally they are equal or greater value.  You are not required to take an item but if you feel the cache is poorly stocked, there is nothing wrong with leaving your trinket behind.

10.) When you open the cache, look for the logbook which is stored in there. Make a entry in the book, you put the: date, time and your caching username. It is also a nice feature to add in there how your journey was getting to the cache. Also log what you traded into the cache and what you took from the cache.

11.) Close the cache back up, make sure it is sealed correctly, then put it back in the same place you found it.

12.) That is the end of your journey, you can always go back home and log the cache and your experiences on your online account.

What GPS is right for you?

If you are one of these people that spend countless hours driving, but are not sure where you are going half the time. Well a GPS could really make your life that much easier, the only problem when buying a GPS is there are so many different brands and this can make choosing one very difficult. The first question you really need to ask your self is, how much are you really willing to spend? Once this has been answered your choices get narrowed down a lot.

Will the device be used outside of the vehicle?

There are some GPS’s out there which just happened to be designed for this exact use, they are normally very light and easy to walk with. These devices wouldn’t just have road maps stored on them, it would also have terrain stored on them, for example you can use your road map to get to the hiking trail, then use the GPS again to navigate through that trail. Rechargeable batteries would also have to be considered in this, if your sitting in a car for 5 hours, you might want to plug it into some sort of power supply.

Is the screen sufficient?

Obviously the screen will need to be big enough for you to see with out having to strain your eyes but at the same time, small enough to not block your view as you are driving. When buying make sure the screen is easy to see in all lighting conditions, its no good getting a GPS for the day but not being able to use it at night or in very bright sunlight. If it is a touch screen, is it big enough for you to be able to touch with out miss pressing the buttons. If you want to drive safely, make sure its a small screen but if the device has voice command, then it doesn’t draw your attention to the screen.

Is the device easy to use?

For many users a voice commanded GPS with a touch screen makes the GPS devices a lot easier to use. When you pick it up, make sure the menus are user friendly, make sure they are easy to touch and go through. Make sure the maps are pre installed, you get some GPS now days which don’t have them installed, unless you know how to install a map, i recommend to stay away from them.

How to buy a GPS


What GPS is right for you

If you are one of these people that spend countless hours driving but don’t know where they are going half the time. Well a GPS could really make your life that much easier, the only problem when buying a GPS there is so many different brands and this can make choosing one very difficult. The first question you really need to ask your self is, how much are you really willing to spend? Once this has been answered your choice get narrowed down a lot.

Will the GPS be used outside of the vehicle?

There are some GPS’s out there which just happened to be designed for this exact use, they are normally very light and easy to walk with. These devices wouldn’t just have road maps stored on them, it would also have terrain stored on them, for example you can use your road map to get to the hiking trail, then use the GPS again to navigate through that trail. Rechargeable batteries would also have to be considered in this, if your sitting in a car for 5 hours, you might want to plug it into some sort of power supply.

Is the screen sufficient?

Obviously the screen will need to be big enough for you to see with having to strain your eyes but at the same time, small enough for it not to be blocking your view as you are driving. When buying make sure the screen is easy to see in all lighting conditions, its no good getting a GPS for the day but not being able to use it at night or in very bright sunlight. If it is a touch screen, is it big enough for you to be able to touch with out miss pressing the buttons. If you want to drive safely, make sure its a small screen but if the device has voice command, then it doesn’t draw your attention to the screen.

Is the GPS easy to use?

For many users a voice commanded GPS with a touch screen makes the GPS devices a lot easier to use. When you pick it up, make sure the menus are user friendly, make sure they are easy to touch and go through. Make sure the maps are pre installed, you get some GPS now days which don’t have them installed, unless you know how to install a map, i recommend to stay away from them.

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