Friday, March 6, 2009

GPS = field gadget?

In my previous post, I got all self-righteous about avoiding the use of personal electronics in the field. And then I was asked about GPS.

My SO has a knack for giving presents of things I didn't ask for, and didn't think I needed, and which become indispensibe. The ipod I received a while back is a good example, but so is the GPS I received recently.

I've done some travelling with the GPS in tow, and it's terrific. Where's the grocery store? The airport? A restaurant that's close but which I haven't driven by? The GPS will tell me (although it's certainly not infallible).

But I survived for years without GPS just fine. Where's the local hardware store? Ask the client rep or someone at a gas station. What about food? The hotel will have a list and directions. And I never went into the field without directions to/from wherever I needed to go (hotel, FedEx, field site). I should have brought a local map with me, but honestly, I usually forgot and didn't have one unless the car rental folks handed me one.

So, I would certainly bring my GPS into the field, with a couple caveats:

1. This is my (pretty expensive) gadget, for my convenience. It is not to be borrowed/taken by anybody else or for another project.
2. If we're off-roading, on horrendous roads, or in other situations where the vehicle is going to be bouncing all over the place, the GPS goes safely away in its carrier.
3. The GPS is for driving only. It is not designed to be dragged around outside in a vain effort to locate a well. If feature location may be problematic or there's mapping involved, then rent an appropriate GPS to find them. I'm not subsidizing the project here.

We'll see how that goes...

1 comment:

jolo said...

my garmin etrex is quite sturdy. I think it takes some pretty hard throwing around before it gets any serious damage...