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How did you learn to use your GPS gear?

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I'm asking for general feedback on how this community learned to use its gear. I am presently writing a combined manual on GPS and Electronic Charting, for a boating safety volunteer group. I'm interested in the resources people used to supplement their manuals. After all, those little books tend to be a bit cryptic, and don't explain much of the theory behind GPS, waypoints, etc.

Is a manual like this likely to have wide acceptance?


4 Replies

  • I learned the very basics from the garmin manuals when I first purchased my garmin handheld years ago, and it's been an incremental learning experience since then.

    I understand some people attend the west marine gps class and have found that valuable.

  • Used to be a pilot (pre gps era) so already familiar with navigation and concepts like compass, lat/long, charts, etc. GPS was largely self thought, read bits of the Garmin manual with the hand held I bought years ago (ie pre-plotter era). Being from IT background found GPS quite straight forward and intuitive. Practiced a lot on the water, and then started interfacing with PCs, etc. It's not really rocket science. Nowadays people seem to just want to tap a "where do you want to go?" button and let a smart device figure it out for them. Bit head in the sand imho, that there it is.

  • Maptech's "How to use GPS with a chart" is a well written and illustrated short course on this subject:

  • Book? Read? I'm way to smart for those things! I turn it on, I play with it, I turn it off. Rinse. repeat.

    When I can't figure it out, or I figured it wrong, I open a book. An hour or two later I wake up. A year or two later I'm still amazed to find another feature!