Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

GPS and more GPS

All you GPS users out there... I'm looking to get some pointers on utilizing GPS to create tracks and display that track and associated data in a presentable fashion.  What is the latest/greatest information you have for doing so?  Are 3rd party softwares helpful?  What success stories do you have?  It's nice to shorten the learning curve and not reinvent the wheel.  Here's where I'm at currently...
So I'm starting to experiment more with GPS....  I've got a Garmin Oregon 450T which comes pre-loaded with the 1:100,000 USGS topos for the US.  I've used it primarily for saving waypoints of favorite locations and navigating to waypoints.  I've also used it for the altimeter functions, general compass navigation and for a little geocaching.  I'm now interested saving routes or tracks.  I'd like to determine hike distances, total elevation gain/lost etc. and then exporting routes into Google Earth or a topo map or terrain map, perhaps even tying images into the routes.  I have not had any luck connecting this unit to the computer to download or upload routes.  I must confess that I haven't yet done much research to figure out why this is not working.

I've also just purchased Backcountry Navigator Pro (an Android App) for my Verizon DroidX.  I just tried it out yesterday and am somewhat impressed by what I found.  I was able to create a trip file and save track files within the trip file.  I was also able to export a .gpx file that I could pull into Google Earth.  There are some pretty good statistics available for display including:  distance traveled, elev. gain/lost, max/min elevs.,  +/- slopes, time, max/min/avg. speed.  Elevation and speed information are also available in graph form.  Considering this app costs only $9.95, I think it is a great bargain!  The GPS screen view on my droid is much better than on my Garmin (much larger and brighter), however battery life is short when using this app on my droid.  I suspect I'd only get 3-4 hours use before my battery died.

I used the Backcountry Navigator Pro app last night on a one hour trail run.  As you can see in the image below (click to enlarge), I was able to get some nice results.

Google Earth screen shot of a .gpx file created using Backcountry Navigator Pro on a Verizon DroidX

Any tips that you have, or success stories that you are willing to share would be greatly appreciated!  I'll share mine once I have some more knowledge here... Thx!

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