February 27, 2020, 03:47:43 am

What GPS units are you using in GSAR work?

Started by Holding Pattern, January 03, 2020, 12:42:15 am

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Holding Pattern

My county has standardized on the Garmin gpsmap 64 series. I'm curious as to what the other teams are using these days.

RMW14

I personally use a Garmin Foretrex 401 on my gear. I also have a Garmin Etrex Legend HCx floating around that I use when I place targets for aircrews. I am looking to upgrade my GTL unit to a Foretrex 601 and a wristwatch Garmin Instinct as a backup unit for daily wear.
Ryan Weir Capt
Search and Rescue Officer Jesse Jones Composite Squadron 304
Expert Ranger #274
NASAR SARTECH 1
CMD PAWG Central
IC3 (T),AOBD,GBD,GTL, GTM1, UDF, MO, MS, MRO

Eclipse

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.binarytoys.ulysse&hl=en_US

I have a couple Garmin Vs as backup, but haven't needed a stand-alone GPS in like 10 years.
I think just about every computer I own, including my watch, has its own GPS (maybe not my notebook).



etodd

To what level of accuracy does one need for GSAR?  Its not professional survey work.   Most any map app on a cellphone will get you within 20 feet or closer.  Everyone has one in their pocket. The maps are updated on a regular basis without having to buy anything. Why carry another gadget that will need charging?
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot

Holding Pattern

It's all fun and games until you drop your phone in a puddle or run the battery down halfway through a tracking session.

Eclipse

The same is true for any other GPS.
That's also why you have a team.



Holding Pattern

Quote from: Eclipse on January 03, 2020, 12:54:20 pm
The same is true for any other GPS.


Not waterproof ones, and ones with optimized battery usage for high usage GPS tracking.

Eclipse

They dont make waterproof phone cases and extended life
phone batteries anymore?

My phone has swapple batteries, and heck even the new
iPhones are waterproof for a puddle drop, but a ziplock bag solves that for any device.



NIN

Quote from: Eclipse on January 03, 2020, 12:50:19 am
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.binarytoys.ulysse&hl=en_US

I have a couple Garmin Vs as backup, but haven't needed a stand-alone GPS in like 10 years.
I think just about every computer I own, including my watch, has its own GPS (maybe not my notebook).


Basically this.

In the last 6 years, I've been to several events where people were doing land navigation.   I once watched two groups, people with roughly equal training and ability, handle their technology completely differently.  One group got written coordinates in lat/long, converted them to MGRS or UTM (I can't recall which), entered them into their GPS unit in a very laborious fashion AND plotted them on the (manually gridded) quad,  and then off they went on foot to find that location following their GPS point-man.

The other group entered the lat/long into a smart phone, got the map up, realized that the coordinates were about 200 ft off a nearby road, hopped in the van and drove there.  They were done with their task before the other team had even left the assembly area.

At a certain point, you'll accept some potential loss of functionality (ie. "What if the cell network is down? What if you battery goes dead?") in certain cases for the higher degree of features and functionality for 90+% of your use cases.  The trick is to have a back up in the event those things stop working. When I hike in the mountains, I have my cell phone, with the spare charger battery, in my pack for its mapping (Darn you, Trimble, for discontinuing that nice mapping app) and breadcrumb, and next to it one of my hand held GPS units, also running with breadcrumb, and the trailhead pinned.  I also have a paper map and a compass in a waterproof bag.  That seems to be the 99% solution for me. If I get into that 1% case where the battery-powered stuff has failed, I can still navigate by terrain association and the paper map. So far, haven't had to use that.

Its perfectly fine to have a standalone option. I have a Garmin GPS 12XL that is my 20 year old 'go-to' for a hand-held coordinate machine, and an older Etrex Vista.  I just realized its been 2+ years since either has been in view of a satellite and both likely need help following last April's week number rollover. Fresh batteries and 12 hrs with a clear view of the sky should solve that.  <fingers crossed>

Whats that old saw? "The best [device] for [specific task] is the one you have with you?"
Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
Wing Dude
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2020 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

Eclipse

January 03, 2020, 05:56:13 pm #9 Last Edit: January 03, 2020, 06:00:36 pm by Eclipse
^This.

People get so process and task focused in CAP they forget what the mission is - "Find the thing or the person."

Of course always have backups, stand-alones, and more backups, but if you can find the guy in 5 minutes with your
calculator, you don't draw a line because "what if", you go find the guy.

My phone has Timeline enabled, it records my location 24x7x365 for my regular work (makes billing easier).

Somehow it works all the time, even with poor signal, yet it's going to magically fail on a mission?

Also, phone GPS' and compasses work without cell towers, and if you cache GMaps when you've got wifi you
won't notice when a tower drops.

I have 20-year old Garmin Vs that can take a firehose (one that's been on my bike in the burning sun for 10 years.
They work great and are rock solid, but you don't make the stone tablet a preference when you have an ipad in the other pocket.

And don't get me started on the fetish around MGRS and UTM in a CAP +/-5 degree world.

Spend the time making sure everyone is recording and reporting Long / Lat in the same format and leave
UTM for confusing new GTMs.



Ozzy

In the Army, several of us used Garmin Foretrex 401. I still have this but it's my backup.

My main driver is a Garmine Rino 655t, which has maps, GPS, Radio (GMRS AND FRS), and a meh Camera (Which records location). With multiple Rinos, you can track teams that are within radio range... my unit has two older units which do work with the newer ones.

I had a tablet with Google Maps downloaded for offline use for the Long Island NY area and then some... Evaluators weren't too happy about it though when I used it...
Ozyilmaz, MSgt, CAP
C/Lt. Colonel (Ret.)
NYWG Encampment 07, 08, 09, 10, 17
CTWG Encampment 09, 11, 16
NER Cadet Leadership School 10
GAWG Encampment 18, 19
FLWG Winter Encampment 19

Eclipse

Quote from: Ozzy on January 03, 2020, 06:20:25 pmMy main driver is a Garmine Rino 655t, which has maps, GPS, Radio (GMRS AND FRS), and a meh Camera (Which records location). With multiple Rinos, you can track teams that are within radio range... my unit has two older units which do work with the newer ones.


Rhinos are awesome, except they aren't allowed on missions.

GMRS is explicitly prohibited for CAP use, and FRS can only be used for non-mission work.



Holding Pattern

Quote from: Eclipse on January 03, 2020, 06:41:58 pm
Quote from: Ozzy on January 03, 2020, 06:20:25 pmMy main driver is a Garmine Rino 655t, which has maps, GPS, Radio (GMRS AND FRS), and a meh Camera (Which records location). With multiple Rinos, you can track teams that are within radio range... my unit has two older units which do work with the newer ones.


Rhinos are awesome, except they aren't allowed on missions.

GMRS is explicitly prohibited for CAP use, and FRS can only be used for non-mission work.


They are allowed on missions, you just can't transmit on GMRS and you have limited FRS usage scopes. The GPS function can still be used without issue.

Holding Pattern

Quote from: NIN on January 03, 2020, 05:35:23 pm
I once watched two groups, people with roughly equal training and ability, handle their technology completely differently.  One group got written coordinates in lat/long, converted them to MGRS or UTM (I can't recall which), entered them into their GPS unit in a very laborious fashion AND plotted them on the (manually gridded) quad,  and then off they went on foot to find that location following their GPS point-man.

The other group entered the lat/long into a smart phone, got the map up, realized that the coordinates were about 200 ft off a nearby road, hopped in the van and drove there.  They were done with their task before the other team had even left the assembly area.


This is where competent leadership makes all the difference. I imagine that the tech wasn't the issue so much as the ability to look at the big picture was for the first team you mentioned.

Ozzy

Quote from: Eclipse on January 03, 2020, 06:41:58 pm
Quote from: Ozzy on January 03, 2020, 06:20:25 pmMy main driver is a Garmine Rino 655t, which has maps, GPS, Radio (GMRS AND FRS), and a meh Camera (Which records location). With multiple Rinos, you can track teams that are within radio range... my unit has two older units which do work with the newer ones.


Rhinos are awesome, except they aren't allowed on missions.

GMRS is explicitly prohibited for CAP use, and FRS can only be used for non-mission work.


They are prohibited on missions... yet which frequency would a lost hiker with a radio have?

I do know not to really use the radio on actual or practice missions. I originally bought it for myself as I moved to Georgia and was planning on hiking some unfamiliar trails...
Ozyilmaz, MSgt, CAP
C/Lt. Colonel (Ret.)
NYWG Encampment 07, 08, 09, 10, 17
CTWG Encampment 09, 11, 16
NER Cadet Leadership School 10
GAWG Encampment 18, 19
FLWG Winter Encampment 19

Holding Pattern

Quote from: Ozzy on January 03, 2020, 06:58:42 pm
Quote from: Eclipse on January 03, 2020, 06:41:58 pm
Quote from: Ozzy on January 03, 2020, 06:20:25 pmMy main driver is a Garmine Rino 655t, which has maps, GPS, Radio (GMRS AND FRS), and a meh Camera (Which records location). With multiple Rinos, you can track teams that are within radio range... my unit has two older units which do work with the newer ones.


Rhinos are awesome, except they aren't allowed on missions.

GMRS is explicitly prohibited for CAP use, and FRS can only be used for non-mission work.


They are prohibited on missions... yet which frequency would a lost hiker with a radio have?

I do know not to really use the radio on actual or practice missions.


There is an exemption for listening to those freqs and directly contacting the missing person with those freqs if heard.

Eclipse

Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 03, 2020, 06:49:40 pm
Quote from: Eclipse on January 03, 2020, 06:41:58 pm
Quote from: Ozzy on January 03, 2020, 06:20:25 pmMy main driver is a Garmine Rino 655t, which has maps, GPS, Radio (GMRS AND FRS), and a meh Camera (Which records location). With multiple Rinos, you can track teams that are within radio range... my unit has two older units which do work with the newer ones.


Rhinos are awesome, except they aren't allowed on missions.

GMRS is explicitly prohibited for CAP use, and FRS can only be used for non-mission work.


They are allowed on missions, you just can't transmit on GMRS and you have limited FRS usage scopes. The GPS function can still be used without issue.


Without the mapping capability, they have no advantage over a standard GPS or phone. Use them properly if you
have them, but I know people who have bought them explicitly for CAP team use for the tracking function, and that's pointless.



Eclipse

Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 03, 2020, 06:59:49 pm
There is an exemption for listening to those freqs and directly contacting the missing person with those freqs if heard.


Yes, there is, and also mostly pointless as the odds of someone who is lost, has a working FRS, and doesn't have a working cell
phone, is statistically zero.

For life and property you can use a shoe-phone if it produces a save, but you don't train with it or suggest it as a standard platform.



NIN

Quote from: Eclipse on January 03, 2020, 05:56:13 pm
And don't get me started on the fetish around MGRS and UTM in a CAP +/-5 degree world.

Spend the time making sure everyone is recording and reporting Long / Lat in the same format and leave
UTM for confusing new GTMs.


Whoa, now: I have an MGRS & UTM fetish. No, wait, I have a mapping and coordinate systems fetish.

:)

I think I can navigate on pretty much any map set you give me in the US with almost any normal coordinate system and datum.




Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
Wing Dude
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2020 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.

sardak

Quote from: NIN on January 03, 2020, 05:35:23 pm
Its perfectly fine to have a standalone option. I have a Garmin GPS 12XL that is my 20 year old 'go-to' for a hand-held coordinate machine, and an older Etrex Vista.  I just realized its been 2+ years since either has been in view of a satellite and both likely need help following last April's week number rollover. Fresh batteries and 12 hrs with a clear view of the sky should solve that.  <fingers crossed>

I gathered up all my GPS receivers before the rollover date. To get an idea of when they were last updated, as each of the  units booted up, I noted the dates that quickly flashed on-screen.
I checked internally for software/firmware dates. The dates shown below are the most recent dates I found within each device.

My two current units, a Garmin 64s handheld and nuvi 2595LM vehicle portable, were both updated this year and used as the baseline for time, date and location. Location format was set to decimal degrees to get the most resolution.

Post rollover date results are:

The Kenwood/Garmin DNX7120 in-dash entertainment center (2009) I installed in my Toyota had time, date and location correct. I keep the maps current in this, but there have been no firmware updates since 2009.

Two older handheld units which I still use are a Garmin eTrex Vista (2008) and GPSmap 76s (2006). Both matched the current units for time, date and location.

Older units for which I have no idea when they were last used.

Garmin GPS III+ (2002) and Garmin GPS 45 (1995) had correct time and position.  Both showed the date as 21 August 1999. That's the date of the previous rollover. The III+ has a cold start setting which allows the user to select a place on a map.  It took about 20 to 30 minutes to lock onto the satellite signals and determine location.  The 45 had no such feature and took at least an hour to find satellites and resolve position.

Trimble Scout (1993), one of the first civilian handheld GPS units. It never found more than one satellite, and lost lock on it, so never established location. Only one satellite is needed to get time and date. It got the time right, but like the other old units, the date was 21 Aug 1999.

Mike

etodd

Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 03, 2020, 12:42:15 am

I'm curious as to what the other teams are using these days.



How many Squadrons have bought a handheld gps unit like you mention, or maybe Wing issue? I don't know of any.

Are we just talking about personal gear here? In which case, as others have mentioned, just whatever you happen to have, that works.

I have an old Garmin somewhere that I used in rental steam gauge planes back in the early 2000s, for simple Direct To courses. Worked great.  As soon as one of the planes got a Garmin 430 installed, and about that time I got my first iPhone, and haven't looked back. The handheld never came back out.
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot