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Fishing Articles by Colin D. Crawford

GPS and You
by Colin D. Crawford

Many anglers have heard and use some of the following terms to describe their electronic units. Terms such as fish finder, depth finder, sonar unit and Liquid Crystal Graph have been used for a number of years to tell the angler that they have eyes that see into the water.

Electronics unlock invisible doors to walleyes, bass and crappie fishing. They provide the angler with a vision of structure that may not be apparent to them especially when they leave the visual structure of the shoreline. Almost every angler today has an electronic unit in the boat that they use to locate fish, bait, bottom, and depth. But, they also use the electronic units to find other subtle things like temperature breaks, or side finding capabilities that until recently, hadn't been available to the angler. The latest to come along with the electronic units is GPS. What is GPS? How does GPS work? These are just a couple of questions that you will hear from many fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Global Positioning System is a constellation of satellites which orbit the earth twice a day, transmitting precise time and position (latitude, longitude and altitude) information. Something I could have used when I was sitting in those geography classes. I wished they could have broadcasted the understanding to me then. Seriously, with a GPS receiver, users can determine their location anywhere on earth.

When fully operational the complete system will consist of 24 satellites orbiting the earth and giving information back to receivers 24-hours-a-day. The basis of GPS technology is precise time and position information. Using atomic clocks ( accurate to within one second every 70,00 years) and location data, each satellite continuously broadcasts the time and its position. A GPS receiver receives these signals, listening to three or more satellites at once, to determine the user's position on earth.

Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation is not just for sportsmen anymore. For several years, hunters and anglers have used this satellite navigation system to guide them to their favorite haunts off the beaten path, but as the price of these electronic marvels has dropped, the variety of users has grown.

GPS receivers rely on signals transmitted by a constellation of 24 satellites orbiting the Earth twice a day at an altitude of 12,000 miles. GPS satellites transmit continuous time and position information 24 hours a day, enabling users to plot their positions anywhere on Earth. The cost of accessing this technology has been steadily dropping, and consumers can now find reliable, easy-to-use GPS receivers for as little at $99.

As a result, consumers are finding many new ways to incorporate satellite navigation into their lives. Here are just a few examples:
Entertainment - By pre-programming known locations into a GPS receiver, you can set up treasure hunts, plan road rallies or set up racecourses. With a punch of a button, the unit will tell you what direction to go, how far and how long it will take to arrive at your destination.
Physical fitness - GPS is as accurate as radar for monitoring speed and distance.
Canoers and kayakers can utilize this technology to keep track of the distance they've traveled on water as well as their speed and direction. Winter sports enthusiasts are taking GPS along on snowshoeing excursions and cross-country ski trips. Mountain bikers rely on GPS to guide them along established trails as well as unmapped single tracks and for finding their way back safely to the trailhead.
Travel - If you've ever traveled overseas it can be a challenge to find your way around a new city, particularly when the street signs are written in another language. With a GPS, you can record the location of your hotel and then follow the direction arrow on the receiver's screen to find your way home.
Instruction - Because we live in an electronic world, children are quick learners when it comes to GPS. In addition to having fun outdoors with GPS, they can learn about the power of satellite navigation, how to read maps and to use a compass. The same GPS technology is also used for surveying, exploration, conservation and transportation.
Environmental education - Mushroom hunters, bird watchers, rock hounds and amateur archeologists use GPS in their hobbies, too. Whether your interest is the study of plants, watching the behaviors of animals or finding historical sites, a GPS receiver will guide you to any favorite spot that's been saved in its memory, and then take you back home again.

Magellan Corp. has been the leader in bringing inexpensive, user-friendly GPS receivers to the market. One of the company's most popular hand-held GPS satellite receivers is the GPS 315 which retails for under $150.

The new GPS 315 is the ultimate outdoor guide. This pocket-sized unit will navigate Magellan's POI technology and let’s you customize your GPS to your individual needs and adventures. The DataSend CD has thousands of POIs with information on golf courses, campgrounds, ATMs, parks and highway exit services. Up to 20,000 of these points can be uploaded to the GPS at any one time. The GPS 315 is also designed to be compatible with other PC mapping software, making this unit truly a custom personal navigator.

DataSend also offers a complete database of marine navaids. Whether they're cruising the Intercoastal Waterway or trolling offshore, boaters will find it easy to locate and identify buoys, beacons, lighthouses and other fixed and floating navaids. Three different regional databases are available covering the Americas, Europe/Africa and Asia/Australia, making a comprehensive list of cities and navaids available.

If you enjoy spending time outdoors - whether for sports, recreation or travel - GPS can add a new dimension to your favorite pastime. For these and other GPS models stop by Guide’s Choice Pro Shop in Eagle River, WI 54521, and we will teach you how to use your unit.

This Fishing Article is brought to you by Colin D. Crawford

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