Tuesday, January 6, 2009

GPS Tech

So how many GPS devices do Zack and I needed? Umm… tough question to answer since we both seem to love them. As much as I like having a GPS with me at all times Zack seems to love it even more. Whenever we go on a hike he is continuously clamoring to “look at the GPS”. On recent hikes I have given him my older wrist worn GPS just so that he can follow along and see where we have gone. Why are we both such GPS fanatics? Well – I can’t entirely speak for Zack, but I can offer my own opinion on the issue. I think it is just so interesting to see where I have been once I return home and upload the GPS track to my computer. I have a complete set of topo maps of the entire state of Colorado on my computer. Used in conjunction with my GPS device, I can see exactly where I have gone, how much elevation I have gained and how far I have walked (or rode my bike). Of course there is also the safety feature of the GPS – it really makes it hard for you to get lost.
We currently have 5 GPS units. The first is a Garmin GPS II Plus. I received this as a Christmas gift 11 years ago. It was my first and only GPS unit for over 7 years. It saw a lot of duty as I hiked and biked my way across parts of Colorado. About 4 years ago I got my second GPS a Foretrex 101. This unit came with a strap and could be worn around my wrist. When I got this unit, my GPS use began to increase dramatically. It was so easy to just strap it to my wrist and go. I didn’t have to hold it in my hand – it was basically like wearing a big wrist watch. This is now the unit that Zack uses whenever we go hiking. Over the last 2 years I have acquired 3 more GPS devices. Two of these devices, the Edge 305 and Edge 705, are specifically made for bicycling and serve as GPS enabled bike computers. They are slick and work very well. The last dedicated GPS unit that I purchased was the Forerunner 305 and it is now my most heavily used GPS. It is pretty much always with me in case I decide to go out for a spur of the moment hike or a long distance walk. It provides me with real time data on how many calories I am burning, my heart rate (if I am wearing the heart monitor), distance, elapsed time and many other items. Our newest GPS is the iPhone that I got as a belated Christmas present for myself. It has many GPS features in it, but I doubt that I will really use many of them. The iPhone is really cool in terms of what it can do. One of my favorite features is that you can add an application to Facebook that allows you to track where you are in the world via the GPS that is in your iPhone. That is pretty darn cool if you ask me! Everyone who is reading this probably now thinks I am the ultimate geek – and I probably am. However, the GPS units have added a lot of adventure to the activities that Zack and I do outdoors. We definitely feel like we will never get lost if we have our trust GPS’s in hand! If anyone would like any information about GPS devices for hiking, camping or bicycling drop me a line. I tend to know just a little bit about them. Thanks for reading my ramblings of the day. Peace!

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