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Monday, July 13, 2009

GeoSnippits Electronic Bread Crumbs and GPS Tracking

I love making GeoSnippits videos and this one highlights all the reasons I enjoy them so much.
First of all I get to walk around in all sorts of nature. Granted in my neck of the woods it is just that forests and woodlands. Swamps, fields and hills are my norm yet the Oceans and Mountains call to me as well. I consider myself very blessed.

Then top it off by taking hikes with my daughter Miss Geoness who is also our lead photographer and film crew. She loves geocaching as much as I do and even though that usually entails carrying the bulk of the equipment I usually do not get much of a gripe, again blessed.

This adventure we went into the back trails of a nearby park at Benson Lake in Garner, North Carolina. The idea was simple, one of out GeoSnippits viewers had sent in a suggestion to discuss tracking on a couple of GPS units. I decided to use a Garmin 60CSx and a Delorme PN-40. I always used Tracback and other electronic bread crumbs so no problemo. So we packed everything up and headed off into the woods. Though I should note that GeoPuppy Emily was quite upset because she stomps those trails on a weekly basis. Sorry puppy thems the breaks.

Filming went quite smoothly and then a very fortunate bit of luck happened. A biker happened to hear and spot a pair of large barn owls calling to each other. He saw us and showed where they were. I still have not looked up the specifics of this particular owl but I do know they were BIG and only a few feet off of the trails. Just beautiful to watch.

So oh yeah, lets talk video. It goes into detail about how GPS units have what is known as tracking or electronic bread crumbs that do what they sound like. Allow you to walk all over the place and when it is time to go back. Just follow the route on the GPS screen back to where you started. Believe you me it will save you a lot of headache the next time you decide to venture too far fro the parking lot. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did making it.

See you out on the trails,


If the video does not show above you can see it by clicking the link below:

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only downside to the trackback feature is the accuracy of your signal. If the signal's accuracy drops, either partially or completely, it can affect the track being built in the GPSr. On most occasions of hiking in the woods, I find that the track has distortions or gaps in it. I may be following the exact same trail but the track occasionally jumps around even if I'm on a straight section. On one recent trip, even though I was out in the open the GPSr signal got so bad that the track began drawing a path across other paths up to .12 miles from where I was actually at, then it crawled back to where it should be. Screwed up the map of the trails.

This is all subjective to the GPSr unit being used and the quality of the signal. Mine is only an eTrex Legend, but I've seen this happen on newer and more sophisticated models too.

The trackback feature can be very useful, as long as users remember that it isn't always 100% accurate in the woods. Definitely pay attention to the trails your on and use that with the trackback feature, alongside a waypoint for the trailhead.

Good post and really cool that you got to see some owls.