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Thread: GPS or Maps

  1. #1

    Default GPS or Maps

    Id like to know which people prefer, and why. GPS or maps? Id like to canoe the Yukon river and wish to know every advantage for our travels.

    Also, any information on the furthest pick up point or road closest to the Bearing sea on the Yukon river, which we could drop off a vehicle.

    I appreciate any information.
    Thanks,
    Erick Kranz

  2. #2
    Member AK DUCKMAN's Avatar
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    Default

    Both. The map to get there the gps to get back. I wouldn't count on just one. Sure I could do with just a map but why.

  3. #3
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Always have a map

    I always have a map. GPS is an amazing tool, and I have the good maps of Alaska down loaded and they are great, , but I keep a good map and mark it up with a pen,, like where I camped, and where I found game, or a cool sight.. They are great to lay out on the table after the trip and share the trip with family and friends.
    If the GPS fails,, the map won't..
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  4. #4
    Member Buck Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Yup, both GPS and map

    Overall the GPS is most useful, but I had a GPS fail on me this summer in the middle of nowhere.

    A GPS will help you pinpoint where you are when you are in a sea of black spruce, in a whiteout or if you are confused when reading the map. (The latter might be a problem on the Yukon with all its many channels and islands!) It's also a fun tool for keeping track of where you camped, how fast you are going, and how far it is to a given point.

    A map is useful for planning, seeing the big picture, and as a backup in case of GPS or battery failure.

  5. #5
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    Default Drop off a rig

    The prudent mariner does not rely on one type of navigational aid...I recall reading that more than once and less than a million times on your basic NOAA chart.

    I take that to heart, as proof I carry not one GPS but a second loaded with all the same waypoints and background maps, a Silva Ranger type hand compass w/ adjustable declination and paper maps when we head out for a day of carbon footprinting in the swamps and hills.

    It amazes me the number of folks I've met on the trails out in the Big Lake-Willow swamps that have not clue as to where they area nor a single means of determining their current location...at 1600hrs with the sun sitting low on the horizon...if the sun wasn't obscured by the clouds that rolled in over the last hour.

    All man made navigational aids have errors...things are miss plotted all the time. Platted roads in subdivisions "exist" on GPS mapping databases but don't exist in the real world. South Birch Creek Drive off Talkeetna Spur is miss plotted to the north 0.37 miles for example...and it's on a section line easement.

    Chernobyl, Challenger, Three Mile Island...any technology can fail. I've had my handheld fail to fix standing in the middle of a muskeg a 747 could've landed in. Just last weekend with the AK-ATV club up Boulder Creek way, the constellation of satellites was such that only 4 where visible and they were aligned in a row east to west. That equals no solution.

    Then there is the unseen, unnoticed, unrealized hidden piece of ferrous metal buggering the compass. One degree is 92 ft error over a mile...do the math. A good hand compass has a 2 degree card! Do you know the declination for the area you'll be in? http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomagmodels/Declination.jsp

    According to the maps I've scanned the mouth of the Yukon lies 850+/- river miles from the closest road. That being the bridge on the Haul Road. I suppose one could canoe to the village of Tanana (700+/- from the mouth at Sheldon Point) and head upstream on the Tanana River to the village of Manley Hot Springs and drive the Elliot Highway back.

    Happy floating
    Natural Selection begins with you!

  6. #6
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    Both. No question about it. I like the Garmin Etrex Legend C units. On our yearly float trips, I take two (one as a back up). All things fail in time. I use the topo maps marked with UTM grids. You can order some with UTM grids from mytopo website. Very nice maps. With this system, you can set the gps to give UTM coordinates and plot that bearing on a map (that has UTM grids) and determine your exact location. You just need a simple and cheap clear UTM overlay that matches the scale of the map. Check out www.maptools.com for more info. There is a tuturial on the site and they sell everything you need. Very cheap. Buy the $5 book, "How to use UTM" or similar, and you will see how easy this system is. Very simple to use. Just a great system.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Default two gps and maps

    GPS is so valuable, so small, and so cheap, that I carry two now. Maps are a given.

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    Default

    I think it's pretty much unanimous -- you want both. Of course you need to know how to use both too, and quite a few river trippers never how to read a map. Why should they? Water only flows downhill. How can you get lost? -- Riiiiight.

    On river float trips I use a GPS to figure out how far I've gone, and how much longer I will have to go before camping to keep on schedule. But maps tell you so much more about where you really are, and what the best way out is if you have to bail in the middle of your trip. The little screens on a GPS have maps that only tell you so much. They are handy though, and I'm glad I have mine.

  9. #9
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by partychief360 View Post
    Then there is the unseen, unnoticed, unrealized hidden piece of ferrous metal buggering the compass. One degree is 92 ft error over a mile...do the math. A good hand compass has a 2 degree card! Do you know the declination for the area you'll be in? http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomagmodels/Declination.jsp
    This looks like a very useful tool. I use to have to try to figure it out from the legend and the year of the map.

    As to the map of gps, i agree with the answer of both. I also have 2 GPS's that I take.

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