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GPS v Map and Compass?

Always handy to check your navigation and useful when 'geographically challenged', but certainly no replacement for the map and compass.

A useful aid in some cases perhaps but i'll stick to my trusty map and compass ta very much.

It should not and i hope it never will replace basic navigational skills.
Civi GPS is inaccurate by upto 15 Mtrs (or 46' if you like) and all GPS recievers sold in the UK have this built-in.

Issue GPS however is accurate to I think 3 Mtrs dependant on signal.

This is due to U.S. Department of Defence restrictions.
It will get down to single units i.e. metres, but that’s not what the company quotes. With a differential system you can obtain even better results. Always remember we don’t own NAVSTAR, and there are plenty of places who are selling ‘jammers’ these days. SA was switched off a few years ago, so a civi receivers will give good results too. But on the other hand I wouldn’t want to use a civi receiver in a hostile environment.
This topic is too narrow, technology is rapidly heading towards

map AND compass AND gps

in one package.

Sony have started selling an electronic book


resolution is not quite laser quality (display is only 170 dpi), but its heading in the right direction.
If the power fails the display shows the last image, so it could display the map required for the current area before the battery dies. Only additional item the user would need is a spare mechanical compass (in case battery dies).
I was involved in a navex seven years ago. Bloke had a GPS and swore blind that we were in X position. We had a map and compass and said "b@llocks, X position is over that hill." We were right.

What is worrying is that the element of human interpretation can be removed, as well as the reliability and fragility issues.
cdo_gunner said:
A useful aid in some cases perhaps but i'll stick to my trusty map and compass ta very much.

It should not and i hope it never will replace basic navigational skills.
I hope not but I suspect it will rather like the Calculater has replace basic arthmatic and spell check has replaced people learning to spell and write correctly.

However had had my GPS for just under a year and am still to use it to check, waste of money that was, but its the reassureance that when visibility goes to rat or the map is old I can check
Pebble_Monkey said:
As i have always been told:

"What is the most dangerous thing in the field?

An officer with a map and a compass" :oops:
"Whats square and fcuk's officers??"

MAPS......... :lol: :lol:

Thank you I'm here till the weekend. I'm also availible for weddings, baptisums etc
The old Magellen trail blazer sold as a civvy item is as accurate as a military one as some of them were sold with mil spec bits. A civvi one is very accurate though and much closer than the figures quoted here. I have various MoD and civvi GPS over the last few years and as has been said they are useful but I always teach that they are a toll to aid in map reading like the compass, not a replacement.

Hate to spoil the fun but I have seen more geographical embarrassment from SNCOs than I ever have from orficers (and I spent two and a half years training them) -- and it was invariably the same SNCOs who were too dull to realise that for the joke to work, the teller's own map reading skills must be beyond reproach.

GPS is fine as a check-nav system but must never be relied upon. The principle that I use is that a piece of command kit should not be allowed to become indispensable unless it can be replaced either through the normal channels or locally.

It is usually junior commanders (commissioned or otherwise) who need this explaining for they are apt to kit themselves out with high-speed pre-printed notebooks, GPS, glow-in-the-dark gadgets etc. These are all well and good and show bags of initiative...but what if they get broken/lost/separated from you?

Johnny_Ludlow's bullet hole post is hugely funny but when I think about where I carry a map, the readability of it 'post-strike' is likely to be the least of my worries!

Does anyone use the semi-translucent plastic pieces from the 200rd 7.62mm link boxes? Excellent night route cards (unless it darker than a nun's knickers) but best of all...they're replaceable! I digress.

That said, if any bloke turns up with a GPS on my watch, he will be allowed to use it if he can demonstrate that he is the master of it. That includes knowing what effect datum points can have on accuracy (MrPVRd's post about giving a more accurate grid with his map than the guy with the GPS -- he almost certainly had the wrong map datum set) to more mundane bits like how to turn the sound off and knowing how to control the backlight so that they avoid becoming a sniper's notch.

Teach a patrol commander how to use it properly and you will see an increase in efficiency eg feed in the route for a night recce patrol and set the GPS to its 'road' setting. A quick 1-second blip on the backlight while still on the march will be enough for the patrol commander to tell to what degree he is off-track. If it is negligible, crack on with a bit of left or right; if out by miles then its time for a map huddle.

boringbastard switch to 'safe'.
Standing by for a long ring!
I have to agree with Sticky. Too many people see the GPS as a 'lazy' way to navigate without spending a lot of time 'reading the book' and 'getting in some practice'. You have to know what you are doing with it as much as you do with a map & compass. If you don't have the datum set for the map you are using you might as well throw the thing away.

To those who think that using a GPS means that basic map reading skills will be lost, I have to say that it doesn't have to be the case. If the GPS is used correctly, in conjunction with maps, basic mapreading skills can be kept up to scratch. The GPS can be used to confirm measuring distances by pacing and illiminate errors due to variations in load carried and terrain. Bearings can only be guessed at with GPS, so a compass is also still a requirement.

I don't go with the 'Old is good, new is bad' idea... but if it's there and it can be used as an aid, that's fine... as long as the user trains with it and doesn't forget the basics.
I got very fed up on Telic with people sending in 12, 14, 16 grid refs for their location. Probably very good if one doesn't want to be shelled but for all other practical purposes a bit sad. Try asking someone the grid of their location cos you want to get there. They give you a 48 grid of their desk/pit/kharzi which is a k away from the entrance to their unit.

GPS are good things, it's just the users who need the odd reality check.
I've got woodys one as he did'nt take it on camp and going hill walking in the lakes next week last time up a mountain in a white out are wouldbe mountain leader lost his map and compass to a gust of wind compass attached to mapcase :(
nothing like blundering around in a whiteout with someone muttering theres a 250foot vertical drop around here somewhere. :cry:
I think the quote civvi GPS is 15 metres out is outdated, apparently the GPs network was offset by this much during gulf war 1, so only military GPs which is encoded would remain accurate. But I doubt very much that they would of left the GPS like this, 15 metres can be a HELL of a lot in mapwork, leading to all sorts of risks for civvis using this kit & not knowing this so claled 'fact'. They're quite safe in this aspect, but no way should we take the easy option of GPs over owd fashioned map work, that would be a loss of one of the fundamentals of soldiering & close the gap between us and the yanks a bit more!

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