Top Tips for using GPS
1. Optimise receiving satellite information
A GPS (global positioning system) receiver can't function if it can't see the satellite, so position it as carefully as possible to get a clear view to the sky. This can be difficult if the unit is carried in your pocket. If carried in the top pocket of your rucksack, or better still mounted in some fashion on your shoulder strap, the receiver has a clear view of the sky allowing it to track your position accurately.
2. Learn before you go
If you intend to rely on your GPS
unit, learn how to use
it before you actually need it. Take time initially to make yourself really aware of all the functions of your GPS. This will save you time on the hill and prevent you from loading incorrect information or deleting valuable information by mistake. It’s worth getting the manual out, work with setting waypoints and determining position, and if your GPS device has a simulator mode, work with a simulated navigation situation in the comfort of your home before even stepping outside and locking onto the satellite system.
5. Use trackback function
Your GPS device will have a trackback mode that you can enable when you want the device to track where you've been, and therefore, of course, help you get back. It’s a good idea to clear the track log at the start of each walk. This will make it easier to use the track back function and retrace your steps back to the start of your walk. It will also mean you have plenty of memory available to hold your track information. This is especially true if you plan on a long walk or a short expedition. Use your preferences or options menu to choose a less memory-hungry means of recording trackback, such as lower resolution or fewer locations, saving the most available memory for the most crucial trackback operations.
6. Efficient tracking
Once you've set up specific routes, your GPS device
typically guides you according to the waypoints you've established along each route. Often, however, you can save time and distance by choosing a particular waypoint and directing the unit, via its interface, to skip the waypoints in between and guide you directly to your target. This is particularly true with longer trips that you've memorized because, once established, they use the same route over and over again.
7. UTM markings
The most accurate mapping available is Universal Transverse Mercator, known by its initials UTM. Maps designed for use with GPS devices typically have UTM markings in place, helping you locate your position more easily and accurately than standard angular coordinates. UTM lets you measure according to area, distance, and even shape, and this system is recommended by GPS advocates for most mapping activities. If your maps offer UTM markings enable your GPS device to offer a UTM feature.