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GPS Recreation - Hiking, Backpacking, Geocaching

The use of GPS technology for recreation such as geocaching, hiking and backpacking is increasing rapidly. Listed below are a few of the ways that it has been used or might be used in the future. If you would like to share additional ideas on how GPS can be used please email them to:

Recreational Uses of GPS:

  • Geocaching is a game played around the world. Players hide a "cache" (a waterproof container with a log book and trinkets inside) and other players try to find it using GPS coordinates and clues posted on one of several websites (GeoCaching.com). Some players have hundreds of "hides" and "finds".
  • Bird Watching is a recreational activity where GPS has significant value. Many bird watchers maintain a log of the date and location of where they have observed different bird species. Accurate locational data can be a significant enhancement to these logs because it will help the bird watcher return to the same location for future observations. In addition, the GPS coordinates can be shared with friends so that they can go to the same location without a personal guide. Perhaps they will be lucky and sight the same birds.
  • Hiking has many uses for GPS. Trails can be viewed on topographic map software, traced on the screen and that route can be downloaded into the GPS. Then, in the field the route can be displayed in the map window of the GPS and easily followed. Another use is to leave the GPS on and in a mesh pocket of your backpack while hiking. This will allow the GPS to record a tracklog of your hike. The tracklog can be shared with others, plotted on maps, used for distance hiked estmiates and even printed with mapping software and shared with friends.

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