phones nowadays are a technological marvel and there is not much you cannot
do with them. Almost everyone has one. As they have the ability to know
where they are in the World using the Global Positioning System (GPS)
satellites, it did not take the brain boxes long to cotton on to the idea of
creating Apps. to record routes electronically, then in conjunction with the
GPS, guide you on your walk.
As far as my walks are concerned
you can download the .gpx files shown on each walk. To do this you will
first need to download one of various Apps. available. The best known is
probably Viewranger, which is well respected by Mountain Rescue Teams. Do
not use Apps. which rely on being connected to the mobile network to
function as route guides.
So who needs a dedicated GPS
receiver, map or compass? Well, the answer is you do! Whatever some smart
phone enthusiasts may tell you, it is very risky to rely solely on a smart
phone. Mountain Rescue Teams have probably lost track of the number of
rescues they have been called out on, to walkers lost and/or benighted,
because their phone ran out of power. Depending on the model, your phone may
seem to hold plenty of charge but if you are navigating out of range a mast,
or have switched data off to save your allowance, the phone (assuming you
have set it up properly) will obtain its location signal from
satellites. This uses a good bit more power than when it locates itself over
the data network. Constant searching for networks in areas with a
poor/intermittent signal also uses more power. For that reason, please carry
a map and compass and have at least a rudimentary idea of how to use them,
even if in practice you always use your phone (or GPS receiver).
There is also the danger too of
course that if you actually run out of all power, you might also lose the
ability to call for assistance in the event of an emergency. Consider
carrying a supplementary Power
Pack to top up a phone if you have to. Most smart phones do not allow
you to change the battery.
Also, make sure you know how to
switch between using data and GPS. I was once led on a walk by a friend
using his phone. It gobbled all his data allowance and we had to revert to
map and compass because he had only just got the phone and had not worked
our the GPS side of it.
Another consideration in respect
of mobile phones is how will yours stand up to inclement weather? Apart from
any water ingress causing electrical issues, handling them with gloves on
can be a problem, unless you have obtained special
gloves with conductive fibres in the finger. The function of the glass
touch screen relies on a tiny electrical circuit through you! Water droplets
on the screen can cause chaotic responses. I also believe very cold fingers
can make screens unresponsive.
Personally, to navigate
electronically, I would always go for a dedicated GPS
receiver. They are more robust if dropped and weather resistant.
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site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any
damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.