Global Positioning System (GPS)

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Post  gray.nomad on Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:33 pm

Hi guys,
Today I would have loved the benefit of having a GPS in my hand. Would have saved me lots of unnecessary
walking thru very thick scrub. (Besides admitting to my mate, that I got lost, well almost.)
So, my question is: Do any of you use a GPS in your prospecting? And if so, what type/brand and maps do you use?
I think I am in the market for one very soon Embarassed
BTW, did'nt find any yeller, but a great day out in the bush.

Regards
Frank
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Post  Guest on Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:41 pm

Hi Frank, I just use little Etrex. Just the standard map on it as I only use it to back track to my camp or vehicle plus mark waypoints etc.

For backtracking they are ideal. Probably too small a screen for decent map work and for that I'd much rather use a proper paper map and a compass.

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Post  Greg on Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:59 pm

Hi All.
I use a garmin gps 76 when hunting, I punch in when I catch a pig & I have all the good spots that I hunt but they are useless unless you punch in the position of your vehicle especially on a dark night on a new property. ( I was geographically embarrased for about 2 hours.) But there is a small cheap garmin that seems to be ok.
Greg

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Post  rc62burke on Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:28 pm

Hi Frank
I use a garmin 12x hand held GPS (11 years old ) very reliable unit has no map capability, I started out using mine for hunting prior to GPS i relied on map and compass, still do. I believe it is most important to have a good understanding on the use of map and compass for navigation & I never venture into the bush without mine, I make it a habit to regularly check my position on the GPS and locate it on the map so that I have a good idea where i am just in case ( gps fails ) I subcociously formulate a plan to find my way out.
I have been lost on 2 occasions both over 16 years ago before learning to read & use a map, ( not a feeling i care to re- live )
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Post  Inhere on Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:30 pm

I use a little Etrex too!
Cheap to buy and does the job well.
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Post  Ayounomad on Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:37 pm

Evening all ,,For prospecting , the simple cheap hand held units are are perfect....Just follow these tips and you will never get lost ...1, let your GPS set an accurate position by warming up and locking on to the satellites ..2, after setting the position of camp or car , turn GPS off , and before getting out of sight of your landmark , turn gps on and check your position ..GPS is NEVER inaccurate in my experience , but the person setting it up can make mistakes...This will test the gps is set correctly and locked in memory ...If you carry two small gps units and set them correctly , the chance of getting lost due to battery or gps failure is just about nil....Cheap , simple to operate , and reliable , it,s almost foolhardy to go bush without one these days ....especially if you go solo...cheers
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Post  Guest on Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:34 am

Hey All,
I also carry a little Garmin Etrex... nice and light..easy to use... no base map thou but I only use mine to find my way back to the truck as I have a Garmin 276C mounted and maps. Just make sure that after you take your position of your truck/car that u turn it off as it plays havoc with the detector.

Cheers
Ray

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Post  alchemist on Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:53 am

I use the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx
Beaut little unit.
Runs for many hours on rechargeables.
Has an altimeter that helps me follow unconformities, faults, benches etc., across country even through thick bush.
I get a lock even in deep gorges without WAAS (disabled since its not available downunder) as it has the latest generation high sensitivity chipset at a reasonable price.
Small size and has colour screen.
Micro SD memory.
Dropped it on rocks a couple of times no worries.
I use a local topo.
Lots of shareware and free software is available to make your own maps. I use a GIS program to generate geological shape files of areas of interest and then use GPSMapedit and cgpsmapper to make Garmin map files to overlay the topo. I’m then able to follow the rock interfaces and other features I’ve added across country. This is all possible because the Garmin map system was hacked, otherwise it would have been real hard to add these extra features.

Cheers
Grey
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Post  Guest on Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:28 am

Gday

I see a gps a being a necessity rather than a luxury, even if you only use it to mark your camp or vehicle so that you dont have to walk in circles to find it again.

The other thing is that I think it is really poor form to expect others to have to come and look for you if you do get lost, just because you have not taken any precautions to look after yourself.

I have both the garmin extrex and the ghecko, the ghecko is a bit smaller and lighter than the etrex but similar features, both cost me less than $200 each and I have had them for years so you will get plenty of use from them.

If you detect alone in remote areas and dont use a gps to back you up then you are foolish and eventually you will get caught out, dont end up a statistic.

cheers

stayyerAU

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Post  gray.nomad on Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:48 pm

Hi guys,
Thansk for the good help and advise.
I am now the proud owner of a Garmin-etrex H from "Dick Smith" stores.
$140.00 cheap.

See you up them thar hills. Very Happy
Best regards
Frank
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Post  shelby23 on Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:24 pm

Hi my garmin 72 effects my gold detector I wouldnt be with out it though
Neale from Monto

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Post  forester01 on Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:47 pm

G'day Fellas,
I've read over the previous posts and agree mostly with what each bloke has to say. However the old maxim of KISS (keep it simple stupid) is probably the most useful piece of advice I can give. I've been using various GPS receivers for years since the very basic and still very reliable and useful Magellan 2000. And regardless of the mapping facilities built into the latest units which incorporate colourful maps etc downloadable from the internet, my own preferance in the interests of simplicity (which is what we need in the bush) is to use the GPS receiver in conjunction with a magnetic compass and a topographical map. Furthermore, learn how to set up your GPS with UTM and a land map grid system which ties in with the year your map was drafted, such as ADS66. WGS84 is the default setting for most modern GPS units, but it's often the incorrect setting for use with the local topo maps. Basic stuff, fellas. But it's all you need - truly. Keep it simple. GPS is a navigational aid and works well with map and compass. Without - be prepared for trouble.

Mike Wellington
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Post  mulgadansa on Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:48 pm

Gday Frank
I use a tiny Magellan Explorist - briliant little machine.
I've got one of those elcheapo mobile phone cradles fixed to the dash in the car. I upload coords of any places I want to go to, navigate there then take the unit out of the cradle, chuck it in the backpack and I'm off detecting, works for me.
ALWAYS mark your vehicle as a waypoint before you leave it.
You'll have a heap of fun with the new toy too and it will save you a bundle of fuel as well, looking for places.
My brother always told me a particular alluvial patch was a rubbish site but I talked him into going back there one day and lo and behold my little gps told me we were 1.3km from the actual patch. Went there and it was brilliant - found some yellow too. He has now bought himself a unit.
It's very hard sometimes to tell if you're actually in the right spot without the use of a gps.
cheers
Brett
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Post  Guest on Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:43 am

forester01 wrote:G'day Fellas,
I've read over the previous posts and agree mostly with what each bloke has to say. However the old maxim of KISS (keep it simple stupid) is probably the most useful piece of advice I can give. I've been using various GPS receivers for years since the very basic and still very reliable and useful Magellan 2000. And regardless of the mapping facilities built into the latest units which incorporate colourful maps etc downloadable from the internet, my own preferance in the interests of simplicity (which is what we need in the bush) is to use the GPS receiver in conjunction with a magnetic compass and a topographical map. Furthermore, learn how to set up your GPS with UTM and a land map grid system which ties in with the year your map was drafted, such as ADS66. WGS84 is the default setting for most modern GPS units, but it's often the incorrect setting for use with the local topo maps. Basic stuff, fellas. But it's all you need - truly. Keep it simple. GPS is a navigational aid and works well with map and compass. Without - be prepared for trouble.

Mike Wellington

Understand that Mike.... but what is MGA94 and do u know why new GPS's dont have it.. Garmin anyway...

Cheers
Ray

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Post  ShootingStars5 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:52 pm

Hi Folks

Just a little handy hint for using your GPS. Always make sure that you have the correct time on your GPS. Maybe you can use the great machines for your own waypoints etc but if you ever had to give your position in an emergency the reading that you give for your position may be somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean if you have not got the correct time. Could take a while to find you bounce

Cheers
Lyn
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Post  Guest on Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:02 pm

The GPS timebase is derived from the GPS satellite 50bit/sec packet frame transmission itself. Each satellite carries an onboard high accuracy time source. Receiver clock errors are fixed using mathematics (called trilateration) on received signals from the satellites so your position will be correct based on the satellite almanac and the signals received, regardless of how you set your local clock.

cheers - trashdigger

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Post  Ayounomad on Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:56 pm

Yes , the time is of NO consequence { sets time automatically on most }..AND , the GPS does NOT have to be kept turned on to figure out your position as some people I know seem to think ...


Last edited by Ayounomad on Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Guest on Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:43 am

Gday

I usually will mark my camp or vehicle with the gps and then turn it off to conserve battery life, I started doing this after one time leaving it on for some time and then finding it had switched off because the batteries were flat.

This was on the Garmin Ghecko, it uses 2x aaa batteries, when you first turn it on and look at the battery level gauge on the screen it shows it to be fairly high, after a few minutes of operation and its warmed up the battery indicator level will drop, so you need to wait and see what the correct level is before you head off.

The other thing is to carry a spare set of batteries just in case, I will leave them in the sealed section of the packaging but cut away all the excess cardboard, so that it is small enough to stash somewhere in your kit, at least if you do leave it on and forget you can fit the spares and your back in business, as long as you marked your camp/veh or whatever it will still be in the gps's memory.

I have also found that I get a better run out of re-chargeable batteries as the off the shelf ones are sometimes RS when you open the pack, and I have been caught out with those as well, there are quite a few good chargers that you can get to charge these batteries in you vehicle, if you use a small uhf radio you probably need the same batteries for that as well, some chargers will do the aaa and aa batteries.

I also use a small solar battery charger that will do aa's and I fit some small wads of ali foil in it so that it will take the aaa's as well, as I have several sets I just leave them on the bonnet of the car during the day and I always have charged batteries on hand, easy as, most of the prospecting shops carry them in stock, about $20 by memory.

cheers

stayyerAU

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Post  mulgadansa on Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:15 pm

Gday Stayer
I use recharge AA for my digi camera and the gps, there's always some pugged into the 12v charger on solar.
I should have said in an earlier post, to always switch the gps off after you've logged your vehicle/camp location. They chew the juice up pretty quick and are only a lump of plastic without it. Always carry two charged batts in the backpack.
Double check all waypoints you enter by manual input of coords as it is super easy to make a one digit error and find yourself miles from where you should be. I'll manually input many points of interest before I leave home, derived from Google earth and Tengraph. Wish these had been around thirty years ago.
cheers
Brett
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Post  forester01 on Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:47 pm

G'day Ray,
I just spent twenty minutes sending a message which was probably more concise than this one, Ray. But it disappeared apparently into the ether when I tried to include a 'quote'. No matter mate, here goes again.

With regard to GDA94, this is an Australian refinement (Geocentric Datum of Australia, supposedly perfected in 1994 but introduced apparently in January 2000) which is supposed to be the bees' knees as far as map making and surveying in Australia is concerned. So unless you're one of those hugely qualified blokes who stand alongside the road with a theodolite and a chain man about a hundred metres down the road, and you need to worry about your GPS giving you dodgy readings to the extent of a centimetre or two - don't worry about it.

In the event, as far as maritime navigation and land navigation is concerned (apply naturally to both topographical maps and navigational charts) GDA94 is probably not worth worrying about. Most of the reading I've done on the topic over the last couple of days since viewing your message indicates that the difference as far as Australia's land mass is concerned between WGS84 and GDA94 with regard to the prospector and bush traveller in Oz is minimal and not worth bothering with.

Regards
Mike Wellington
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Post  forester01 on Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:53 pm

Sorry mate,
forget to include that the main probable reason why GDA94 is not a feature of the latest Garmin - and indeed other GPS units - is because the GDA94 system is Australian whereas the Garmin GPS plant is located in Kansas, USA. Another GPS 'giant' - Magellan- is also American based. In keeping with the hundreds of European, Canadian etc datum systems already included on most modern GPS receivers, the Australian GDA94 will certainly be part of the system before long - as other Australian grid systems already have been.

Mike Wellington
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Post  Guest on Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:29 pm

Thanks Mike for an interesting and informative post...much appreciated.

Ray

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Post  Greg on Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:22 pm

Shelby, All.
Neale, after you mark your camp/car why don't you turn your GPS. off as you don't need it on when you detect & then it won't affect your detector.
Greg

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Post  Detrackozi on Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:03 pm

Good to read how others use the GPS.

I use my GPS with my Mapping programs for tracking movement as I walk around Global Positioning System (GPS) 4wd and plotting my finds Global Positioning System (GPS) Goldnight as I use this info lay back on my map for my own research as you do come across thinks as you walk that are good to lay back over your maps to form a patten for you search.

I also use recharge AA for my digi camera and the GPS so my GPS is on all day.

The GPS will get you as close as it can to the area you want to work and after that you never stand in that location you off walking all over the place.

Here is a little movie clip on the change over from WGS-84 to GDA-94

Global Positioning System (GPS) Th_GEOCTRICGDADatumMovie


In over 10 year of using my GPS and laptop in the field it has never let me down and the hundards of paper maps whick I still have and will alway keep as It's still good to veiw over the loction on paper around a camp fire.

David
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Post  forester01 on Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:47 pm

Goodonya David,

looks like you've got the system well worked out. But I have to ask, with the 'paper maps' you carry and your GPS unit, where does the laptop come into it? Why would you need a laptop? I would presume that you're downloading map graphics, which is what any good quality topographical map will describe in detail anyway.

Just a question, David. I'm always learning and prepared to learn.

MikeWellington
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Post  Detrackozi on Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:51 pm

Mike it's a fair Q:

I only take sum maps on each of the road trips I do as it's alot easyer to lay them down when you have a few mate with you to go over only to point the place's of interest were we will be going and that is done around the camp fire at night and with out the GPS as all my GPS is done on my laptop and the maps are not all Topo most are Geo by the DPI or created by me with the aid of the large Database of Data overlay ( Geo feature's) over them and in that is were the GPS come into it's own to track me in to were I want to be.

Like you have posted reading maps and compass is a skill that shouldn't be forgotten and for many that can't get the heads around a GPS it should be a must to learn before they venture to far into the bush.

For those that like to use a GPS with there paper maps your GPS must be set as Primary UTM and (Map Datum) Aus66 to read any of your paper maps all the old paper Topo and Geo maps put out by the mine's Dept were Aus66 with only a couple as WGS84 and any of the new map to be released will now be in GDA94 so you must check them.

There is many books out there to learn about map reading but I will alway help anyone that is with me and want to learn hands on how to read maps with the aid of a GPS or Compass as it just may save there life one day.

David
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Post  geof_junk on Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:51 pm

During 2008 WA trip a friend got lost. Why might you ask? He had learnt from two previous trips that people get lost, and had a radio a spare set of battery just in case. To cut the story short he lost his GPS. We managed to get him back to the car by radio directions. He was lucky that the sun was out and told him to put it at 2 o'clock and headed him to a "hand-rail" that is he would eventually hit the main road or the fence line we had came in on. This is where a map comes in handy. He never did find the GPS. My wife has her spare batteries and a tied down GPS. A week later, he heard how a guy got lost north of Laverton for 5 days.
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Post  Bandito on Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:39 pm

Hi All,

I'm a newbie here.......

Just thought I'd share an example of what I use my GPS for when detecting. I know it's beach detecting with a Exp II, but it would be the same principle in the bush looking for gold too.

The GPS data:
I tracked my 2 or so hours detecting with my Garmin GPS and then uploaded the track info to my PC (direct to Google Earth), it seems a bit all over the shop, the data, but I think thats because I had my GPS hanging off my hip and my T-shirt was hanging over it a lot, so it probably upset the signal a few times.

Global Positioning System (GPS) Warilla08feb092

This is the GPS I use: Garmin (GPSmap 60CSx) There about $450 now.
Global Positioning System (GPS) 60cs_small

Any questions, just ask.

Cheers,
Steve
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Post  Bushed-Tracker on Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:54 am

To answer Mike's question............. pretty useful to have a laptop. I have Natmaps Premium edition 1/250 000 covers the whole of Oz on the laptop. Also show great detail including many mines, tracks boreholes etc. It is possible to down load waypoints etc to the handheld GPS and print of the map you are working on to take with youi for the day. As we travel fulltime (Grey Gomads) this saves a fortune on paper maps. Plus the laptop does all the other useful stuff, for us anyway, email, Skype and word processor.

Cheers B-T
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Post  forester01 on Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:07 pm

G'day B-T,

mate the more I read about the use of a lap-top (with compatible GPS & the necessary software) the more interested I become.

I've used the GPS (varying models) for over a decade now strictly confined to the necessary business of finding my way to a pre-entered waypoint, and naturally finding my way back to whichever destination is already programmed into the gadget - and the best ways of doing this. There are undoubtedly ways this apparently simple process can go wrong - and this is reason why I push GPS with a map & compass back up.

I'm 67 - I think - though past the age of 60 it all became a bit academic. (Now I occasionally find myself checking out a well formed women sashaying down the road in front of me and wondering what she's like in the kitchen - rattling the pots and pans I mean). However, I'm straying off the subject yet again - I'm told this is a symptom of aspidestras disease. I believe that the more GPS knowledge we have the better off and safer we are - regardless of whether we use a lap top with it. I own a lap top which I use fairly regularly even in the bush when I should be detecting but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't lend itself to programming with the latest nav downloading. No matter! I'll do some exploring on this topic. I was pretty impressed by the diagram one of our members posted which portrayed the tracking he'd done on the beach. This would have to be a top means of checking whether one's search technique is full bottle. This ability would go hand in hand with 'chaining'.

Enough from me.

Mike Wellington


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