It should first be understood that while GPS recievers are an incredibly valuable tool for the hunter, they in no way should be relied upon as the sole navigation tool. Hunter should have a sound understanding of navigational tools and knowledge of how to use them.
The GPS receiver becomes valuable to the hunter in the documenting of locational information of animals, food lots, bedding areas, trails, etc.
Of course this data gathering can be saved on a PDA or other device, but the GPS saves it with the locational data in a form that can easily be uploaded to a mapping software program such as National Geographic’s “Topo!” program.
A PDA or would require the manual transfer of the data.
The Garmin Legend to the right has the added ability to store the Garmin topographical maps. Although they are not as detailed as the USGS topo maps they are of value in giving the hunter an idea of how steep the terrain might be, and prevent accidentally taking an unneccessarily steep route.
For an understanding of the Global Positioning Satellite system check here.
Newer GPS receivers now have color screens, which are easier to see and comprehend in any lighting.
Additionally, they have become equipped with better antenneas that minimize the loss of reception while under heavy cover, which has always been a problem with “line of site” receivers like cell phones and GPS devices. The earlier series GPS’s like the eTrex devices lose recption quite frequently when under heavy cover, meaning in a heavily forested area.
All GPS devices will still lose sight of all the satelites when the hunter is in a steep ravine, or if a mountain range is close and blocking a part of the sky from the hunter. For a better understanding of GPS satellite orbits check here.
Garmin Rino with built in radio
Some later series GPS units also include a GMRS radio tranceiver that allows two such devices to talk to each other. Two hunters can not only talk to each other, but of even greater significance can transmit each others location to the others device, such that they can see where each other is in relationship to the map.
This means that should one become injured or otherwise need assistance, his hunting partner can find out where he is and make his way directly to the person needing the help.
For more info: Garmin GPS’s can be found here, Magellan here, Lowrance, here, one of several places to dowload maps for GPS’s here.