GPS in the field

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by djklmnop, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

    Messages:
    230
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Does anyone here use a GPS on their travels or outings?

    I usually mark a waypoint on my GPS when I take a photo. Then write down the coordinates in reference to the image so I can always go back if I ever need to. Mapquest and a few other map sites offers a, "search by Long/Latitude" so I can always plug in the coordinates to pull up a map of where I was at.

    I was talking to Kev (kjsphoto) the other evening and he told me he went on a 4 hour drive and found a hot hot spot, and decided to return to it the following day to photograph it. The next day, he could not find that hot hot spot! So he's picking up a GPS now :smile:


    If you don't have a GPS, I would highly recommend one.. It is literally a lifesaver!

    I think the two most essential tool to have is a GPS and a 2-way FRS/GMRS walkie talkie (aside from cell phones which most people already have).

    Any thoughts? Experiences?

    Andy
     
  2. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

    Messages:
    4,518
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    Ipswich, Mas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've just received a GPS - a Garmin eTrex Legend.
    Now, all I have to do is learn how to use it ...
     
  3. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,047
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    Lehi, Utah
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I've used a GPS for some time now. I usually have it hooked up to my laptop and some Delorme mapping software. I have tracks of all my photo excursions. Since my cameras are not always carriable over long distances, I find I can find the spot being as close as the gps took me the first time.

    There are may resources on the web, like off road books, geocaching web sites, and locals and their map points that make the use of a gps, well, very useful.
     
  4. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,494
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Bath, OH 442
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Andy,

    Sounds like a good idea. Thanks. Could you say what brand and model of both tools you have, why you chose them over others and what you would recommend after some experience?

    Thanks,

    John Powers
     
  5. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

    Messages:
    1,267
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Hasselt, Bel
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I plan to do the following:
    I have a topological map (also loaded into my GPS). Then I plan a trip/hike with interesting viewpoints to photograph. I register the track while walking with the GPS.
    The idea is to upload that trackfile to my webpage, so other people can download it and redo the trip.

    M.
    PS: Writing this @
    UTM:
    31 U 0665663
    5644452
     
  6. Peter Rockstroh

    Peter Rockstroh Member

    Messages:
    159
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Guatemala
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use a GPS whenever I travel. The Garmin eTrex is a great choice. You can mark waypoints and routes. I use it routinely when I collect plants and animals to mark collecting spots, obscure dirt tracks in the middle of nowhere, restaurants, hotels et cetera. Unless you are planning to use the information for cartographic work, the eTrex is more than enough. Just check it periodically (against known coordenates), because I´ve seen at least two of their smallest models (forgot the name) that occasionally go bananas and display readings that are totally off (not good when you are in the middle of nowhere). Otherwise, a great tool.
     
  7. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

    Messages:
    230
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I own(ed) the Garmin Legend (monochrome) but it was taken when my home was burglarized. So now I am picking up a Garmin 60C. It is about $315 on amazon.com. You may want to pick up the Garmin 60CS instead, for about $30 more. The CS model has an Altimeter and a built in compass which will still work even if you don't have a lock on the satellites. This is valuable for those deep deep hikers :smile:. Also check out the Garmin etrex Legend Color, as it is more compact and affordable. The older Garmin Legend Monochrome works well, but is slow at redrawing the maps. Although still very useful for marking waypoints and simple navigation. I would not recommend it if you have bad eyes, you'll hate squinting at the small screen.

    As for FRS/GMRS radios. I have the Midland GXT-400 which "supposively" has a 12 mile range (4 watts), providing its over water or a clear view. It is good for keeping in touch with the group if you decide to split up. If you're alone, the radio is pretty much useless unless someone nearby is using the same channel. Just be sure to buy the ones that takes AA batteries. AAA batteries don't last very long. And use rechargable NIMH batteries.


    LINKS:

    Garmin 60C Review
    http://gpsinformation.us/gps60c/g60review.html

    Garmin Legend / Vista Review
    http://gpsinformation.us/vistacolor/etrexvistacolor.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2005
  8. Helen B

    Helen B Member

    Messages:
    1,557
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Hell's Kitch
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use an eTrex if on foot and a Garmin GPS III Plus on the handlebars of my bike. Both are extremely useful as an addition to, but not a replacement for, traditional navigation - I still want to know that I am not relying on GPS to get me to safety. The only real problems I have had are in jungle or forest when continuous signals are not available, and in places where I'm either not supposed to have GPS or the local police/military decide that I shouldn't have GPS.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  9. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

    Messages:
    808
    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    Redmond, WA
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    True story. I took my GPS (Garmin) to Garapata Beach in Big Sur to mark the exact location where Brett Weston took his famous photo. The surf was a little rough, but the waves were far enough away that I wasn't too worried. I took out my GPS and topo map, looked down and started to mark the exact spot and the next thing I knew I was in salt water and foam up over my head - rogue wave! The water receeded, somehow not pulling me out into the ocean. I was totally drenched and every pocket and cavity was filled with sand. It almost pulled all the clothes off of me. The walk back to the car thru all the onlookers was not nice. My GPS, topo and (sadly) Pentax Digital spot meter were ruined. Garmin replaced the GPS for a modest fee but it cost a little for the spot meter to be fixed.

    -Mike
     
  10. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

    Messages:
    696
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    Location:
    Fremantle, W
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Yep, I use my GPS for the very things you are mentioning. I also use it when I'm scouting for shots and find a good one for later. In my notebook, I make all sorts of notation, including the coordinates.
     
  11. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

    Messages:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've been using GPS units for many years. My current personal GPS unit is the Garmin eTrex. It goes everywhere with me.
     
  12. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,133
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have one originally purchased for fishing (boat) then used for geocaching but it went haywire and I never got around to replacing it due to getting a quote to get it fixed which was as much as to buy a new one. Recently read a post on a geocaching site about one with similar problem... turns out there was an internal battery that had gone flat! $3 for a new battery and $5 for a set of special screwdrivers needed to open it up. I haven't used it for remembering photo spots but may do now it is working again.
     
  13. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

    Messages:
    696
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2004
    Location:
    Fremantle, W
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Alright Nige, I'll bite: What's geocaching?
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. hortense

    hortense Member

    Messages:
    612
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Location:
    Riverside, C
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I use a Garmin GPS V along with DeLorme Maps. These maps show most back roads and contours as well map coordinates (Long/Lat and WGS84 datum). In the few case were more detail was needed I have used BLM maps.
     
  16. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,133
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :smile:

    It's like a treasure hunt (except the 'treasure' is usually a nice place to visit). People hide caches (tupperware, ammo boxes) and upload the co-ordinates to a site (http://www.geocaching.com/ is the biggest) then everyone tries to find the cache using their GPS. There's many variations from simple to hard (can be the location is hard to get at, need to work out clues along the way, etc). When you find a cache you sign the log book to say you've been there, maybe trade an item in the cache and once home you can log it on the website (if you care about numbers and also to let other know the cache is still there).

    That's a rough idea... go to the site for a full run down and to see the size of it, and see if you've got some caches nearby!

    Just checked.. you've got a few near you!
     
  17. Lee L

    Lee L Member

    Messages:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use a Garmin GPSIII+ that I bought used for navigation (car, bicycle, and hiking) and recording good spots, and for locating potential good spots with mapping software from Oziexplorer and Delorme, and with imported aerial photos and topo maps. I have nature photographer friends who mark their spots with GPS as well, and have been guided to good spots by using their coordinates.

    If you want both FRS/GMRS radio and GPS in one package, look at the Garmin Rhino series. If you're in a group, these also have the capacity to transmit current coordinates to others in your group who have a Rhino radio/GPS, with compass bearing and distance calculated and displayed.

    Lee
     
  18. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

    Messages:
    474
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I recently purchased a Magellan Sport Trak Pro a little over a year ago. I decided to go with Magellan over Garmin's comparable model for one reason, its water proof. The Garmin's are great but as Mike said, you need to take special precautions if there is any chance of complete submersion. I had my Magellan stuffed in the cargo pocket of my trousers while wading through chest deep water in the Peruvian rainforest and the thing still functioned perfectly. After using it for over a year I haven't had any problems and recommend it highly. Garmin may make a waterproof model as well and if so it would be something to consider as well.
     
  19. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

    Messages:
    230
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hmm.. I thought they all employed the standard water submission standard:

    Garmin's website for 60CS: Waterproof to IEC 60529 IPX7 standards (can be submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes)

    SportsTrak Color:
    SporTrak Color is sealed (to IEC-529 IPX7 specifications) – and it floats!
     
  20. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

    Messages:
    4,518
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    Ipswich, Mas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    From the Garmin Manual:

    "The eTrex Legend is waterproof to IC Standard 529 IPX7. The internal electronics case can withstand immersion in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes although water will enter the battery compartment. Prolonged submergence can cause water damage to the unit. After submergence, be certain to remove the batteries and dry out the battery compartment before reuse."
     
  21. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Scarsdale, N
    I would suggest getting a ham radio (amateur radio) license. In the back woods, a small amateur portable walkie-talkie type radio uses a repeater system that is more likely to get you a signal when you are deep in the woods. GMRS radios have very short range in hilly areas.

    Getting a ham license is easy. its a 27 question (out of 35) test and the training materials are on the web and in book stores.

    Its the way to go from this ham/photographer. I have a Kenwood TD-7A that has a GPS input (Garmin GPS III is what I use) and using a technology called APRS, I can send my coordinates to a website that anyone can see.

    Check this out (this is my car broadcasting):

    http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?call=k2mit-9

    I suggest this for anyone going alone (not suggested) or in a small group hike. You can easily broadcast your position should you get hurt and other APRS-compatible radios can see a text message with your position. or the website is available with your last known broadcast.

    --jeffrey, K2MIT
     
  22. BruceN

    BruceN Member

    Messages:
    585
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    Location:
    Wyoming
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I also use a Garmin Etrex Legend. I've fallen in or dropped it in the water numerous times while backpacking, geocaching and photo-trekking and it's never even hiccupped. Geocaching is pretty neat - it's gotten me to dozens of great photo sites that I never would have known existed otherwise.

    Bruce
     
  23. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2003
    Location:
    Århus, Denma
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hello guys and girls!

    This is an ANALOG site...dig out your compass and ol' maps :smile:
     
  24. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Scarsdale, N
    this coming from a guy who's avatar is a digital-reading light meter!

    ;-)

    Its an analog photo group, anything else can be digital in my humbe opinion.

    Sorry, couldn't resist those two comments.
     
  25. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2003
    Location:
    Århus, Denma
    Shooter:
    Medium Format

    :rolleyes:

    You got me there :D

    Yes, anything can be digital (I like GPS, too)...
     
  26. photomc

    photomc Member

    Messages:
    3,575
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, I was thinking the same thing...still love maps and compass..but also think the GPS are nice too! Just can't figure out a reason to drop the $$ on one..after all that could a be a lot of film there... :smile:

    But if I everyone keeps posting, maybe I will find a Good reason to get one :D