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A look at Outdoor GPS Navigation, how does it work?

A look at Outdoor GPS Navigation, how does it work?

Thu 14th June 2018

Hey, it's Jon here from GPS Training, which is part of Shepherds Walks.

What we're going to do in this short video is look at how an outdoor GPS is going to improve your walking experience. Before you go out walking, if you want the GPS to actually navigate you around the route, you just physically plug it into your computer. I've got a Garmin GPS device here, I've just plugged it into my laptop via a USB cable, and what that does it pull all the ordinance survey maps off your GPS device and you now see it on your computer screen. Here we are, the Simonside Hills, which is where we're going to go walking this afternoon. Once it pulls it all off, you literally just click on the map and create that route.

We're going to start at the car park here and I'm just going to click my way along the walking routes. Everywhere, it's a big corner on the footpath. I'm just going to create what we call a wait point. You can see it's starting to create my walking route behind. It's as straight forward as that. You just click, click, click, click, click and I create my walking routes to wherever I want to be. Okay. The end, there's my walking route. Now because this is your walking route planning process, I also plan my escape route. Now that's my walk I'm going to do.

If I get to this point here and there's a problem I can plan my escape route down. I'm going to come back down via this track. There's my escape route one. Okay. If I get here and there's a problem, I'm just going to go escape route two and I'm planning my escape routes back down off the hill. The reason for doing that is I'm going to also print a copy off this and leave it at home, leave it with my wife. Of course she's never going to look at it, but if I didn't come back she's got, this is my route planning thought, my escape route. Escape route one, escape route two and the walk I'm actually going to go and walk.

All I need to do is send these three routes to my GPS unit. I literally just right click on my routes, send it to and I'm going to send it to my Garmin GPS unit. Here it is, send it there. You can see it's sending it up here and it's sending it to my GPS unit. All my route planning, which has taken me literally a couple of minutes, is now on my Garmin GPS. Now what we need to do is go out and walk that route.

We're near here now at the start of the day's walking. We've planned out routes on our computer and it's been transferred onto the outdoor GPS device. We just switch on the GPS device, it gets a satellite fix in 15, 20 seconds and we're now ready to get the GPS up and running. What do we do? We literally just press a magnifying glass on the main screen, which is what we call where to. Then we select route, because we planned the route on the computer before we left. Because the GPS knows exactly where we are, it puts the route at the top, the one that's nearest to us, so it's clever.

You just press on the route at the top, which is the route that we planned on the computer, overlaid on the ordinance survey map, so we can just confirm it's the right route, which it is, we just press the gold button. Then our GPS will then navigate you along that walk. What you'll see, it's overlaid on the ordinance survey map, the route. We've got a little compass rose at the top with a green arrow on it and we can follow that green arrow.

I actually wear reading glasses and sometimes that's a little bit small, so I actually navigate on what's called the compass page. A compass page has a big green arrow in it and it tells us how far it is to the next wait point and how long does it take us to get to the end of the day's walking. It's just that simple. What do we do? We're just going to follow that green arrow.

The great thing about walking with an outdoor GPS unit, it changes the way you walk. Traditionally when you reach a sign or a route going off in a different direction, you get your ordinance survey map and study which direction you need to go with. Because you're just following this arrow on the screen, it just takes you through that junction and therefore you can stop at good vantage points, good viewpoints and it takes that navigational hassle away from your walk. Let's get on with it.

It's got me here, hasn't it? GPS has navigated me along that walk, up on top of the Simonside Hills and then back down into what we call the Simonside Picnic Area. Been fantastic. All I've done is follow the arrow, both on the compass page and also on the map page. Then as I get to the end, I can save what we call that track, which is the breadcrumb trail our GPS is leaving behind us. That's a record of our trip. I can then share that with other people and share it with friends and family who want to go on that walk again. I also have a trip computer that tells me how far I've walked, so I've just walked six miles today.

It's not been the longest of walks. My average speed has been 2.9 miles an hour, with me stopping and doing a little bit of filming. Tells me how long I've been stopped for and lots of other data. It's a really nice record of my trip. I think the key thing though, is actually I've been able to stop where I wanted to stop, because actually, the GPS has been navigating me along the route, I've stopped and seen the nice viewpoints, I've stopped where I wanted to rather than getting my map out on the summit, which was a little bit windy, and working out exactly which way to go. It's given me that total confidence when out in the hills.

Those are the basics on how you can plan that route on the computer, transfer it to your GPS device and then it takes you for a day's walking in the hills. If you have any thoughts or you need any other information about using your GPS unit or about purchasing your first ever GPS unit, please do get in touch with us here at GPS Training.

You can look at all the Garmin Outdoor GPS units online here.

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