Saturday, March 14, 2009

Show Me The Way To Go Home

One of the presents I got last Christmas was a hand-held GPS receiver. However, winter in the St. Louis area isn't the time to be outside exploring, so I haven't gotten a whole lot of use out of my nifty navigator. Today I took a class to learn how to use a GPS unit.

The class was held in a room in the recreation complex at Queeny Park, a county park close to my house. When I pulled into the park, the marquee said there was also a train show going on. There's only one building, so I figured both activities would be there. There was a long line of train enthusiasts waiting to enter, but a sign directed anyone attending the GPS class to a separate entrance door.

There were about two dozen people in the class, and everyone had a different reason for being there. Some wanted to use a GPS unit for hunting or fishing, some for hiking, and one man wanted to use it to find the boundaries on some property he owned.

The activity brochure had promised I would learn to get the most out of my GPS unit. The first part of the class was held indoors, where there was a PowerPoint presentation that covered basic terminology and information about how the GPS system worked. After we had digested all that, we were given a slip of paper with the coordinates for several waypoints (places to find) in the park. After everyone had entered the coordinates into their units, we divided into small groups and went out to find the places. Each group was assisted by an experienced user.

I was surprised how quickly the time went; before I knew it the class was over. I'm looking forward to practicing with my new toy.


  1. A Gps system is on my to buy list. Maybe for my Birthday in July?

  2. I've thought about taking up geocaching. Have you heard of that?

  3. I've thought about getting one of those and trying out geocaching, is that what it is called?

  4. Yep, geocaching used GPS receivers. I'm going to learn how to do that in a few weeks.