Getting the most from a GPS

Walkhighlands often receives requests asking us about or offering opinions on the use of GPS devices as a navigation aid, so we’ve put together a series of brief articles covering the most basic points.

The article Using a GPS outlines our basic tips on some of the ways in which you can use a GPS to help with your navigation when out in the hills.

Many walkers simply carry a device so that they can always find their current position, and working from the OS grid reference given they can use their map and compass skills to work out which way to go. But if you take the time to put either individual waypoint or indeed complete route data into your GPS then it becomes even more useful – we outline how.

There is also some confusion about whether you’ll also need to buy digital mapping software to go with your GPS. The answer depends on how you plan to use it. If you want to simply find your position, or download and follow pre-prepared routes from Walkhighlands on your GPS (see how to do this) then the answer is no. But if you want to see OS maps on your home computer and plan and load your own routes onto your GPS then this is when you will need mapping software. After you’ve done your walk, this software will also let you load back up to your computer and review the actual route you took out on the hill.

Finally we outline why no amount of GPS wizardly removes the need for hillwalkers to understand how to read a map and traditional navigation techniques.

If you are ready to take the plunge into GPS and/or digital mapping software, you might want to check out these links:
GPS online shop
Mapyx Quo for the best value digital mapping software

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    Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.