Is technology edging ahead ?


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By ScoutScarShuffler on 17/03/18 at 8:16pm

An interesting article from T.G.O. http://www.tgomagazine.co.uk/skills/navigation-skills/digital-feature-the-future-of-mountain-navigation-and-mapping/ Map and compass still for me though


By Lancashire Lad on 18/03/18 at 3:19pm

I think that those of us who were brought up with map and compass will always see the inherent benefit of those tools over navigation aids that rely on battery power.

If you have the skills to properly use a map and compass, then (assuming you have them with you :D ), you will always be confident of finding the right way off the hill - regardless of weather conditions.

It has to be said that technological aids & navigational apps are getting better, as is battery life for the devices on which they are used. So they do, rightly, have a valid part to play in today's fell-walking situations.

After a lifetime of map and compass use, I finally got a GPS device a couple of years ago. - Primarily for ease of downloading GPX tracks of walks done, onto my computer. However, I have to admit, that since getting that device, I have found myself more and more, (rather than getting the map and compass out), simply taking a quick look at the GPS screen to see my exact location on a given walk. - It's faster!

That said, If the weather starts to get a bit iffy, I always take much more notice of my specific location at any given time. - Since, if the GPS were to fail, I would need a very good idea of my exact location to take valid bearings via map/compass.

I think that the problem with technology is the fact that we live in a time where people of adult age have lived with mobile phones & computers all of their lives. Those are the things they know, and they use them all the time without any thought to what happens if they stop working. - Might not be a big deal in everyday situations if a computer or a phone packs up - but could well be a very big deal if a phone being used with a navigational app on a mist shrouded mountain packs up.

Looking at a screen gives instant information, and needs practically no skills other than the ability to turn the thing on, and be able to read what is being shown. A map and compass does not give instant information, and requires the user to spend some time learning and practising the skills required. - Seemingly, (if the ever increasing numbers of avoidable call-outs that the mountain rescue teams get are anything to go by), something which fewer and fewer fell-walkers of today are prepared to do.

My verdict on navigational app technology would be: - Yes it has a very valid place, but it's not infallible. Use it as an everyday tool by all means, but have the old time skills and equipment as back-up, so that you can still navigate accurately when the technology fails.

Regards, Mike.


By YoungJason on 25/05/18 at 11:14am

Last month I watched this documentary called "Do you trust this computer?" Part of it expresses that we are now relying heavily on technologies in our everyday life. We would not realize until you are without them. I'm glad I was born when I was still taught to do stuff without technology like reading map and compass and I still use them now as default tool - and of course I get lost a lot but that way I learn. I specifically like the fact that I have more control over which way I go when I use the paper map :D I'd carry GPS anyhow and use it to crosscheck my location and overall landscape and direction, but that's it.



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