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  1. #1
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    Default paper maps vs cellphone apps

    "Take paper maps. Your phone could break". Yeah, right. Like my phone's really going to break, right? So I was relying totally on Guthook's app. That thing is great, and it took me all the way to the top of the mountain. Took a picture from there, and then the phone died!
    It can happen; take a map.

  2. #2
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Or....
    Take map & compass.
    Phone with app as backup.
    Wayne


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  3. #3
    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    Personally, I like the big dimensions (2' x 3'? correct me if I'm wrong) of a paper/tyvek map, over a phone screen measured in inches. My vision's never been real good, and aging sure hasn't helped!

  4. #4

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    Ask Search and Rescue.

    They spend much of their time rescuing (or recovering bodies) of people who had great digital apps running.... until they didn't.

    Analog technology has it's place when it comes to reliability, safety, and saving lives.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Ask Search and Rescue.

    They spend much of their time rescuing (or recovering bodies) of people who had great digital apps running.... until they didn't.

    Analog technology has it's place when it comes to reliability, safety, and saving lives.
    Stop being dramatic.

    Anyone who relies solely on any one piece of technology, whether it's a cell phone app or a paper map for their survival, deserves what they get.

    Two is one, one is none.

    A map and compass do nothing for you if you don't know how to use them, just as an electronic with all the software in the world will not help if you don't understand the technology.

    This is the 'guns kill people' argument.

    Each has their advantages, and disadvantages. What it boils down to are the needs of the individual, based on their experience, and the environment they find themselves traveling to.

  6. #6

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    To be a gun argument, wouldn't it have to be stated, "maps don't kill people but people with guns can kill people with maps"?

    Just sayin....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hikes in Rain View Post
    Personally, I like the big dimensions (2' x 3'? correct me if I'm wrong) of a paper/tyvek map, over a phone screen measured in inches. My vision's never been real good, and aging sure hasn't helped!
    .
    But the difference is, the phone app has gps, so it tells you if you're off the trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bemental View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Ask Search and Rescue.

    They spend much of their time rescuing (or recovering bodies) of people who had great digital apps running.... until they didn't.

    Analog technology has it's place when it comes to reliability, safety, and saving lives.
    Stop being dramatic.

    Anyone who relies solely on any one piece of technology, whether it's a cell phone app or a paper map for their survival, deserves what they get.

    Two is one, one is none.

    A map and compass do nothing for you if you don't know how to use them, just as an electronic with all the software in the world will not help if you don't understand the technology.

    This is the 'guns kill people' argument.

    Each has their advantages, and disadvantages. What it boils down to are the needs of the individual, based on their experience, and the environment they find themselves traveling to.
    It isn't dramatic. I could easily have been in serious trouble. SAR probably wouldn't have been involved, tho. The phone was broken. I couldn't have called them.

    I don't know what this has to do with guns killing people. I guess you mean, if you want to kill someone, make sure your gun isn't broken?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jefals View Post
    "Take paper maps. Your phone could break". Yeah, right. Like my phone's really going to break, right? So I was relying totally on Guthook's app. That thing is great, and it took me all the way to the top of the mountain. Took a picture from there, and then the phone died!
    It can happen; take a map.
    Darn good thing there was a trail.....

  10. #10
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    Sorry for being "old school", but if you need GPS to tell you if you're off the trail, then maybe - just maybe - you shouldn't be on ANY trail. Just sayin'....
    Quote Originally Posted by jefals View Post
    .
    But the difference is, the phone app has gps, so it tells you if you're off the trail.
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning how to dance in the rain!

  11. #11
    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    Yes, this. I also have a nice compass. With that, I can triangulate with easily identifiable landmarks, and tell exactly where i am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jefals View Post
    "Take paper maps. Your phone could break". Yeah, right. Like my phone's really going to break, right? So I was relying totally on Guthook's app. That thing is great, and it took me all the way to the top of the mountain. Took a picture from there, and then the phone died!
    It can happen; take a map.
    Darn good thing there was a trail.....
    Well, if there wasn't a trail, I wouldn't have been on it in the first place!

  13. #13
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    Exactly right. Printed maps, on waterproof, tear-resistant substrates, have never failed me. Most AT maps are easy to read, and include various ways to bail -- and where you'll be bailing to -- should that be necessary.

    If you're bringing a cell phone anyway, and you want to use Guthook or similar, and GPS, that's an option. But as the OP demonstrated -- don't rely on that. Rely on paper maps and know how to read them. Compass and compass skills are just as valuable if you need to bushwhack very far off the AT or side trails.

    Cell phones are very common in the woods today (when I did the AT, they were rare but starting to come into their own), and there's no denying they can be convenient. Especially in trail towns with good coverage. But they are notoriously spotty in the mountains. Another reason not to rely on them.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelterbuilder View Post
    Sorry for being "old school", but if you need GPS to tell you if you're off the trail, then maybe - just maybe - you shouldn't be on ANY trail. Just sayin'....
    I KNEW this was coming! I'm saying, I agree! Take a map! Know how to use it!
    That said, no map is going to tell you when you are off trail anywhere close to as good as GPS can!

  15. #15
    Registered User shelterbuilder's Avatar
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    ...sorry...couldn't help myself.... ANY technology can fail - and usually at the least opportune time! (I've ruined more than one expensive compass by storing them too close to a strong magnet, but that's another story.) Personally, when I'm out hiking, I don't feel the need to know EXACTLY where I am every minute of the day - I am where I am, and as long as I've found enough water to keep me going, and a reasonable spot to camp for the night, and have seen a few cool things during the day, well...that's enough for me! YMMV Skyline's thoughts RE: bail-out points is valid.
    Quote Originally Posted by jefals View Post
    I KNEW this was coming! I'm saying, I agree! Take a map! Know how to use it!
    That said, no map is going to tell you when you are off trail anywhere close to as good as GPS can!
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning how to dance in the rain!

  16. #16
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    A map and compass and protactor are just as accurate as GPS in the right land navigators hands. Obviously this is a skill and must be learned to become poficent.

  17. #17
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    Reminder to those of you who automatically made this discussion about the AT:
    99.999% of the earth is not on the AT.
    The discussion of multiple navigation aids applies to the other 99.999% of the earth. More so in much of the earth.
    Wayne


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelterbuilder View Post
    Personally, when I'm out hiking, I don't feel the need to know EXACTLY where I am every minute of the day - I am where I am, and as long as I've found enough water to keep me going, and a reasonable spot to camp for the night, and have seen a few cool things during the day, well...that's enough for me! YMMV
    Yeah, that's good, fun hiking. Where I'm at, the water is scarce, so you really do need to keep track of where you're at..

  19. #19
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    A phone working perfectly at all time still has a tiny screen. It is important to have both local detail and the big picture on one display. That tales some square footage. Maybe someday big, fold-able displays for e-maps will come along. I'll stick with paper. At least until then.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by AfterParty View Post
    A map and compass and protactor are just as accurate as GPS in the right land navigators hands. Obviously this is a skill and must be learned to become poficent.
    Are you saying that a good land navigator can point a compass at a distant mountain or tree, and get a perfectly accurate reading from the exact center of that landmark? Will he know his exact declination from his location at this particular date/time/hour/minute/second? If not, he's not going to be as accurate as a GPS...

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