Its a common question. If your a seasoned rambler you probably scoff at the new generation of 'endurance athletes' taking to the hills with their GPS, 'if its not on strava it didn't happen'! But (and ramblers hold onto your knee high woolly socks!) its hard to deny that the versatility of GPS devices and app's is a fantastic asset.
The Geography teacher in me gets an unhealthy amount of pleasure from maps - especially old ones. (Confession coming up...) I spent my evenings as a kid on the living room floors with the atlas and any map I could find. There is a confidence that comes from being able to navigate effectively with map and compass. Good 'nav' skills open up the beautiful UK wilds to limitless adventures.
There are several well documented cases of groups heading out with only their smart phones and - as it invariably does - the tech failed. The result is rescue and some would argue avoidable rescue. There is also an older generational concern of skill drain among the younger explorers.
At Epic outdoors our navigation courses have never been more popular, we progressively build skills and confidence using a variety of locations and tools. Our contour only map sessions start with head scratches and end with devotees! We have the pleasure of working with a lot of youth groups, so if your worried about that skill drain factor - don't - the fire is alive and burning brightly!
So our tops tips:
1 - Get the knowledge start with map and compass in places you know and play!
2 - Book on a course, you'll get so much confidence
3 - When using GPS have a back up - always!
4 - Make sure you know how to use the tech before you go out
5 - Always carry spare batteries/power packs (especially if you GPS is also your phone!)
6 - Water proof cases!
7 - Make mistakes, we all do, nobody is perfect at navigation
So do we use GPS when working in the outdoors - of course we do they are great! Do we also have a map and compass in our pockets - you bet - rely on tech at your peril. If your not 100% with your navigation get in touch and we can change that, the reward is a multitude of new adventures.
Lets Explore together!