What use is a GPS or even compass without a map ???. The ability to read a map is critical... and with sufficient experience, you will never need either. GPS's are gucci items that are subject loss of reception, power requirements and unless they are attached to a spatial tool (a laptop or PDA with the correct loaded software.....more cash :'() are almost useless without a map.
Save your money...stick to the map!.... unless you are an officer, in which case give the map to an OR before you become responsible for laying a bty of M109's on the Hohne roundhouse (so 1980's...but still applicable)
Maybe I didn't explain myself very well, I will of course have a map, but I heard you can load waypoints into a GPS and follow that, instead of getting the map out all the time (I need to travel over large areas and long distances and usually need more than one map sheet).
Unless you are willing to pay astonomical rates a GPS will only allow insertion of waypoints that you have previously visited..(good to find you way back). If you are willing to pay the cash, get an Compaq iPAQ 3950 PDA with GPS receiver....but that depends what mapping is avail and what you will require (Central London Brill!!!....Deserts, BATUS and everywhere else we train...Mr Babage says Uh Uhhhhhhh)... If you really want one, I sell you one almost completely unused for the last 7 years
I have a Garmin 110 (i think the number is). Its the rectangular black thing you see around.
Its a good piece of kit if you use it properly, it will guide you through a route you enter into it by waypoints. The waypoints can be grids or long/lat refs connected by bearings and distances. It has data on most maps in the world including the british grids.
It is accurate to about 10-20meters if you've configured it correctly. Saying that, reading the manual is a must and being taught by someone who uses one helped me get a lot out of it.
One very useful feature I found was that it will tell you speeds when your on a long tab.
Wibble is right tho. The basic skills won't be replaced by it at all. The thing eats batteries and latly its been turning itself off annoyingly. Now days i use it as a back up and/or confirmation if things go a bit pete tong. And for the little extra bits of info it gives u like speed.
If anything basic map skills get better since you place a priority on practicing them incase the thing goes down, it also gives you something else to think about navigation wise when walking a route.
It was around about £100 + on the street, but there r a few second hands around and failing that use the forces discount to get some money off if u want one.
Best ones are megellan or garmin its generaly accepted. Garmin do a budget one thats quite good for £30 the 'etrex'. I wouldn't bother buying an expensive one.
If you're driving you can only really consider models with a good colour moving map display or linking it to a PDA with something like pocket streetmap loaded. www.pocketstreetmap.co.uk Both are very expensive when compared to a paper road map and providing you plan your journeys before you hit 90mph, it is very hard to justify the cost. But I bought one anyway! :
As for walking, it's really easy to add waypoints based on map routes www.gpstm.com but note that if you are using this method based on scanned maps or even any grid reference there will be a potential error introduced. i.e. a 6 fig. grid ref will only get you into a box 100m x 100m !! And if that wasn't enough, 'normal' GPS has a maximum accuracy of around 5m. In short DO NOT navigate soley off a GPS waypoint track.
Having said all that, I do use my GPS. A Garmin Summit. If left on in my pack it's good for keeping stats about how fast I've walked or ran. With GPS off I use the barometric altimeter to help with navigation. Note BAROMETRIC altimeter, the GPS one is accurate only to about +-40m! Only if I'm really lost in a whiteout or something simillar do I refer to the GPS location and then just so I can refer back to my map.
It is usefull if you use it right and my cheap(ish) Garmin Summit is just as good as the fancy ones for walking.
I have been using a Magellan 310 for 5/6 years. It's cheap (?) and cheerful, runs continuously for 24hr of 2 AA batteries and produces an 8 figure grid a lot quicker than you can do a resection.
Yes I can read a map (and intruct map-reading) but it's b useful when the crabs drop you at the grid you asked to be dropped at and (suprisingly) you have a suspision that you are not even in the right grid square!
Very good point there about the big beach. I was involved in a search for two missing squaddies on SS2, and my cheapo GPS was a big bonus. There's not exactly always a lot of handy map features out there - in fact a lot of it's just a completely featureless sea of sand - and GPS was the only way to navigate fast enough to carry out a search in vehicles.
It's not something you need in Western Europe, but in the desert you'd be daft not to.
I used my etex on Telic, an it was a god send in sand storms. You can add way points that you want to go to, or do the mark position option and make up a route card the old fashioned way. Conserve batteries by turning it off when you dont need it.
Think ive mentioned this before Garmin E-Trex , value for money (Â£100ish) and very practical, ive got the yellow e-trex and im a numbty, but i can still work it, idiot proof is an understatement, u can mark way points as you move to create a route, or put co-ordinates in off a map or route card to create "routes" in my eyes for money and practicality it is the dog danglies, i admit it isnt the best on the shelf, but the best on the shelf is roughly Â£350. choice is yours.
I do a lot of driving up country in Germany and I find that I always forget where all the different barracks are - I've now got Tom Tom Nav 5 on my PDA and I don't know how I managed up until now. I just have to tell it to navigate to PRB and it takes me there. Obviously it is an extravagance rather than a necessity but when it's three in the morning and you've got a long night drive ahead, it can take away a bit of the stress involved.
Garmin XL12 is the older issued one, and comes complete with an external ae, very handy under armour/SNATCH and to get the RX away from ECM ae.
There is a part number speak to your G4 blokes the only reason a lot of units haven't got them is because they have not asked for them.
For mil use - a cheap Garmin GPS will be all you need. Look at any eTrex, 12XL or 72. Mose units these days have a program called 'Mapource' by Garmin and they can load the major waypoints for most training areas into it for you. If they haven't, PM me, I have quite a collection... A GPS enabled palm top won't run on the batteries that the CQMS gives you.
I have to back up the others though - you need to know how to read a map well, a GPS helps (and quite a bit, sometimes) but if you're being paid to command, map reading is part of the job description...