It wasn’t that long ago that people needed to rely upon compasses and cues from nature and geography to figure out where they were and in what direction they were headed. Now, however, navigating is a lot less complicated thanks to Global Positions Systems. Still, a GPS can take a little bit of getting used to, so if you’re not entirely comfortable with this small but handy gadget yet, you’ll want to check out Stephen W. Hinch’s “Outdoor Navigation With GPS: Hiking, Geocaching, Canoeing, Kayaking, Fishing, Outdoor Photography, Backpacking, Mountain Biking.”
What can you do with a GPS? It’s all right there in the subtitle. Hinch’s aim in “Outdoor Navigation With GPS” is to help readers turn the device into a useful tool for just about any outdoor activity. Hence, this instructor presents different ways of using the system, and he shares his information in a manner that is thoroughly practical and quickly applicable, covering a range of topics in basic language that a novice can clearly understand.
While the main purpose of “Outdoor Navigation With GPS” is to inform readers about how to use this electronic device, Hinch also gives a useful overview on older navigational methods, which will come in handy if the GPS breaks or is unavailable.
Additionally, Hinch stresses the importance of paying attention to your surroundings. In fact, he suggests that once you have plugged in your coordinates and gotten a general bearing, you stash your GPS in your pocket so you’re not so busy following its instructions that you ignore practical pitfalls like ruts in the trail or poison oak. This is a useful tip to keep in mind when driving as well, since it’s too easy to get lulled into a false sense of security with a computer telling you what to do. There are some hazards that a GPS cannot anticipate.
The book is divided into five sections. The first has to do with waystations and bearings. Part two focuses on latitude, longitude and the recent phenomenon of geocaching. In part three, you will learn how to read a topographic map, while part four will tell you how to avoid disaster if your GPS stops working. Finally, the fifth section has to do with all of the fun activities that you can do with the aid of a GPS.
This well-written 208-page guide book retails for about $17, though it’s not hard to find it online for less than that. If you’re just in the process of getting comfortable with your GPS, you can rely upon Hinch’s expertise to help you figure things out. Packed full of solid information, “Outdoor Navigation With GPS” really delivers.