GPS or map and compass?
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over here JPB disagrees with me.
What do you think / use ?
However it doesn't have to be an either or, I think both complement each other. However I don't have a GPS unit yet but I am thinking of one. Battery life is the biggest issue I think.
A map-based GPS receiver is nice to have (especially if you can load it up with good topo-maps) if you're following a prepared route through an unfamiliar-but-civilized area. Saves a lot of arguments about whether it's this junction of paths where you are meant to turn left, or the next one. But might be less fun than trying to decide whether that is a waymark or a bit of random paint on that tree...
If you're making route choices as you go along, you might still find that you need a real map as well, because the screen only shows such a small area at once.
I must admit my fondness for aimless wandering.
Having said that, if you have a top-end GPSr, with good TOPO maps, and know how to really use it (to the level you know how to use map and compass to cross unmarked terrain) - if you meet those conditions, you will rarely, if ever, need to pull out that map or compass.
In my mind, the only Garmin receivers that meet this requirement are the GPSMAP 76CSx, GPSMAP 60CSx, and their new Colorado Series 400t.
I don't know Magellans enough to say.
This is similar to how more and more pilots are using GPS for 'reckoning' their location instead of the hassle of all the ground-based Nav aids - although all pilots still need to know how to use them
Plus I can plot our trek in Nepal on google earth :-D
That hasn't stopped me buying several maps of where we went in Nepal though. I love love love maps. I will happily spend hours and hours poring over them. Give me a map and compass over a GPS any day. But if I can have both, I very happily will ;-)
I like to go into the mountains to get away from technology, not to depend on it. If I'm camping for a few days, I might bring my iPod or a small radio, beyond that, I'm tech-free when hiking/camping.
And as thorold so eloquently put it, compasses never become outdated technology which need replacing. I can understand the appeal of a GPS, but it's not for me.
I'm ok with technology, and I like the concept of a nifty gadget that can tell me later exactly where I was and what I did, but I'd rather keep up my map and compass skills for when my nifty gadget doesn't work.
I do now own a GPS - SatMap's Active10 which allows you to load proper maps, full OS 1:25000 details. Having taken this on a few walks, I now completely see the benefits.
Although I think i'd always carry a map and compass just in case, I don't think I'd look at them. Battery life lasted for a full three day expedition, navigation was trivial everywhere. And best of all, you don't need to spend all day concentrating on the map, making sure you haven't missed a feature, because the GPS always knows where you are.
I agree - after about a year's use (NL, GB & CH) I'd say that the Satmap is the first GPS I've had that is really useful in practice as well as being a nice gadget. Doesn't take away the need for a fallback system if you're somewhere where navigation is safety-critical, of course, but so far it's been reliable enough for me to trust it as main navigation tool on walks in less remote areas.