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PA Hiking Trails

Website Est. 2005


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My GPS & Custom Symbols

This website was created and is maintained by an educator that is dedicated to delivering..
MAPS, GPS Data and DETAIL about PA Trails like no other!

As I complete pages, the site pages will be updated. Most pages will be broken until the page is complete.
After the migration is complete both URL's will be directed to the new layout. Enjoy!
Feedback is very much appreciated! You can contact the site at georflf@comcast.net or click the feedback link.

Pennsylvania and its wilderness / water supply is in danger, because of the natural gas industry.
Please take action and educate yourself on this destructive process of natural gas extraction known as hydraulicfracturing.
Join the RDA.org (its free!) & the Sierra Club (or just take action, its easy!)
Contact your legislatures & senators to enforce protective law for PA.
Please visit my Marcellus Shale page to learn more about the DANGER Pennsylvania is in.




Note: Welcome to the new
PAHikingTrails.com!!!
I hope you enjoy it.
Currently the site is not complete.
Look for the data on:


www.georflf.com


This webpage is designed to teach you about various..
GPS features, Garmin Information, GeoRFLF created data
and additional information useful to GPS technology.


Page Table of Contents
GeoRFLF's GPS Receiver Experiences
Useful GPS Information & Links From Garmin
GPSr Features
Antenna Types
Custom-Created "MapSource" Categories
Custom-Created "GPS Waypoint" Symbols
GeoRFLF Help Files
     Learn to Interpret My GPS Files
     Learn to Interpret My TOPO Files & Maps
     Learn to Interpret My 5 pt. Water Table Scale System
Garmin Receiver Classes
     Oregon Series
     Dakota Series
     GPSMAP 60 Series
     GPSMAP 62 Series
     GPSMAP 76 Series
     GPSMAP 78 Series
     Rhino Series
     Astro Series
     GTU Series    
     eTrex Series
     Foretrex Series
GPSr & Map Datum Setup and Format
Reading Distance on a Paper Map
Declination & How It Relates to Navigation
Vital Things to Take with You on the Trail
Useful Charts Created by GeoRFLF
     Basic Conversion Chart
     USGS Map Scale Conversion Chart
     Latitude & Longitude Distance Conversion Chart
     Decimal Miles to KM, Mi, M, Yd's, Ft
Great Links
* Click on any of the links to be taken directly to that piece of information



GeoRFLF GPS Receiver (GPSr)

Currently I am on my third GPS and I have my eyes on a 4th, the Garmin "GPSMAP62s" (I do not need the "st" model since I already own the Topo Maps). My first GPS was the Garmin "eTrex Legend." It was a nice GPSr with some great features. I liked the rocker switch for naming waypoints. I also liked its small design, but it lacked the reliable reception that I was looking for. This receiver did not hold a strong signal under the summer foliage of PA. Unfortunately because of poor reception the LINK HERE Black Forest Trail GPS tracks and waypoints suffered consistency. I am currently reassembling the trail and its data as I hike sections of the BFT. Further research concluded that the lack of reliable reception was because of two things. The first being the type of antenna this model uses (patch antenna) and the second was due to a GPS chipset that was not high sensitivity. Garmin, Magellan, Bushnell, Delormes and other manufactures still use the patch antenna, but thanks to high sensitivity receivers and better technology these types of antennas are more reliable, but I am still a believe in the quad-helix antenna, more about this later!

My second GPS unit was the Garmin GPSMAP 60. It was a great GPS and was worth the extra money, but it lacked some extra feature such as: an electronic compass, barometer, elevation profiling and color to name a few of the big ones. I truly enjoyed this unit, but when Garmin released the new "x" series I had to upgrade. The 60 series units utilize the quad-helix antenna which is capable of searching for satellites on a 360 degree level unlike the eTrex series which has limited viewing of the sky. My current GPS is the Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx. This unit is absolutely amazing and is worth upgrading to. The satellite reception and accuracy, no matter what the conditions or topography (due to the SiRF chip), is absolutely awesome! The original "x" units released by Garmin incorporated the SiRF chip, which increases the units sensitivity in receiving satellites by a huge percentage. The new "x" units use Garmin's own highly sensitive chip which from what I read is comparable to the SiRF chip. High Sensitive receivers are capable of receiving bouncing (deflected) satellite data. Most GPSr's need direct sight of the satellites in the sky to receive data, but the SiRF and other "x" receivers are capable of receiving data that has "bounced' or "deflected" off the topography whether it be buildings, trees and sometimes caves. How cool is that! I have been in some serious tree coverage, canyons, ravines, tunnels, caves and even my house with access to only one window and it still is capable of receiving/holding reception with no problems. The GPSMAP 60CSx has great features that are perfect for all GPS users. I encourage you to research the unit and Garmin's other newer units or any GPS unit before buying, because what works for me, may be too much or too little for you. You can also create your own personal waypoint symbols for the 60CSx, which I have done! Check them out at the bottom of the page. There you will find the symbols and directions on how to download them for your own personal use.



Useful GPS Information & Links from Garmin

* Learn all about Garmin products, GPS & software available to Garmin customers here. * Click either the icon or the link below.

Garmin Learning Center Icon    Garmin's Learning Center- Learn about your GPS and other GPS stuff.

Garmin's Support Page Icon    Garmin's Support Page - Garmin's Support Page.

Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx Icon    Garmin's Software for Download - Products such as: MapSource Updates, POI Loader, BaseCamp, Mac Software, etc..

BaseCamp Icon    Garmin's BaseCamp Software - BaseCamp is a free piece of software available for download that incorporates features of MapSource along with the ability to view the map from any angle. I am not a big fan of it. I prefer..

Trip & Waypoint Manager Icon    MapSource Trips & Waypoint Manager.

Topo US 2008 Icon    Garmin's MapSource Update Website - This page takes you to their update location for MapSource.

Mac Icon    Garmin's Map Conversion Website - This page tells you how to convert your PC DVD-ROM maps of U.S. TOPO for Mac use. Read about it here.

MapInstall Icon    Garmin's MapInstall and MapManager for the Mac - An additional piece of software needed to complete the map conversion for your Mac.

Web Updater Icon    Garmin's Unit Update Website - WebUpdater updates your unit automatically with the lastest software and firmware updates.

Custom Maps Icon    Garmin's Custom Maps Website - Information on how to upload custom maps to your GPS.

BirdsEye Satellite Imagery Icon    Garmin's BirdsEye Satellite Imagery Website - BirdsEye Satellite Imagery is exactly that. It's like using Google Maps Satellite View, but on your GPS.

POI Loader Icon    Garmin's Points of Interest Loader Website - This software allows you to convert a waypoint with symbol to a permanent fixture on your GPS Unit.

Roat Trip Icon    Garmin's Road Trip Website - This software allows you to use your laptop and GPS unit as one during navigation. Take that small 2in. screen and enlarge it to your laptop size screen! However the software is only compatible with the Mac OS.

GPS with Paper Maps Icon    Read Garmin's "How To Use Paper Maps with your GPS" to improve your navigational confidence.

GPS for Beginners Guide Icon    Read Garmin's "GPS Beginner's Guide Manual".

Map Datum List Icon    Read Garmin's "Map Datum List"

DCNR Trail Markings Icon    Read the "DCNR's Trail Markings" PDF file.

Get Adobe Acrobat Reader Icon    Download Acrobat Reader here.

* Click either the icon or the link above.




GPSr Features

Most GPSr's are equipped with some great hardware and software features. With this in mind they have a wide variety of features and menus. Some receivers are more customizable than others, some support shaded-reliefing, some support geocaching features and some have better processors and more memory. Features listed below are for garmin units, especially the 60 Series.

Main Screens

  1. Satellite Screen
    • Displays the 12 possible satellites visible at all times no matter what your location is on the earth
    • 3 gets a 2D Fix, 4 or more is a 3D fix with elevation
    • 2 views, satellite bars & constellation location along with satellite numbers
  2. Track Log Screen
    • Displays your track log
    • Saved tracks
    • Menu setup - I have found the best setup to be 10,000 tracks, set to .01 miles (52.08ft.) by distance
  3. Map Screen
    • Displays the map in various formats depending on what software you have loaded
    • Basemap
    • US TOPO 100K
    • US TOPO 24K
    • Custom Maps for new units
    • Newer units support 3D shaded reliefing and Bird's Eye Viewing
  4. Compass Screen
    • Displays a compass for navigation, the unit must be held horizontal
    • Some have a 2D compass where you must be walking for the compass to work
    • Some have a 3D compass where you do not have to move for the compass to work
    • The newest units have a 4D compass that works no matter how the unit is held
    • You can also display up to 4 data fields
  5. Trip Computer Screen
    • This screen displays a wide variety of data fields calculated by your GPSr
    • I prefer to show time of day, sunset, moving time, moving average, total time, overall average, trip odometer & odometer
  6. Altimeter Page
    • Displays your hike via a profile view along with two data fields, barometer and max elevation other fields can be chosen
  7. Menu Page
    • This page allows to you edit your GPSr in all sorts of ways, from setup to menu displays to GPS games
    • There are allot of features displayed on this screen and many of the icons have additional information within them
  8. Auto-routing Screen
    • Some units have a screen for road navigation just like a car GPSr



GPS Antenna Types

Patch Antenna

  • Typical antenna found in receivers without the protrusion from the top of the unit
  • Small square receiver found usually at the top of the unit
  • More two direction in receiving signal
  • Unit should be held horizontal to the sky to receive the best reception
Garmin eTrex Guts    Garmin eTrex Guts


Quadrilfier (Quad Helix, Quad-helix) Antenna

  • Typical receiver found in higher end GPSr's
  • My experience states that these types of antennas do better in heavy tree cover
  • Cylindrical receiver that picks up reception better when held vertically
  • My personal experience states it doesn't matter how you hold it (most of the time my unit is held vertical on my shoulder strap)


Ceramic Patch Antenna

  • Antenna found in the Dakota & Oregon Series
  • Advanced patch antenna
  • Smaller rectangular to square receiver found at the top or bottom of the unit
  • Found on a lot of the newer Garmin units that are not touchscreen
Garmin Oregon Guts


Additional Patch Antenna (Garmin GPSMAp 76)

  • Antenna found in the Dakota & Oregon Series
  • Advanced patch antenna
  • Small square receiver found at the top of the unit with small ceramic fingers that extend from the main area
  • Found on a lot of the newer Garmin units that are touchscreen
Garmin GPSMAP78




Custom "MapSource" Categories Created by GeoRFLF

MapSource Users can organize their waypoints into 16 different categories. So I have utilized this feature and created 16 different categories that I feel are important to use when out in the woods. They are...


Map Source Custom Categories


Learn How To Interpret My GPS Files




Custom "Waypoint Symbols" Created by GeoRFLF for use with GPSr & MapSource

I have also created 24 of my very own custom waypoints that I use out on the trail. Feel free to download and use them.
You may also want to down download my file that will explain how to Interpret My GPS Files to better understand how I have uniformed my GPS naming and filing system. I do however explain of of this below.


FYI on Custom Waypoint Symbols

  1. Icons have been saved to Garmin's color palette specifications and extension. (16 pixel, 256 colors, .bmp)
  2. The icons must be saved in a certain order and naming scheme.
    • Unit icons must be saved as: Waypoint Symbol 000.bmp, Waypoint Symbol 001.bmp, etc..
    • MapSource icons must be saved as: 000.bmp, 001.bmp, etc..

What Does All This Mean?

  1. Use "ximage" to upload the symbols into the GPS unit (you must have a compatible unit, which I will get to later).


Icon Symbols & Their Meanings
Garmin 60Csx   Cross a Road or Merge onto a Road
  Turn Left onto a Road
  Turn Right onto a Road
  Reptile or Amphibian
  Flower or Plant
  Trail Register
  Trail Merge
  Trail Crossing
  Low or Non-Dependable Water Source
  Small Waterfall
  Big Waterfall
  Trail Split
  Trail Bears Left or Takes Left Fork
  Trail Bears Right or Takes Right Fork

  Vista looking North
  Vista looking South
  Vista looking West
  Vista looking East
  Panoramic Vista looking North
  Panoramic Vista looking South
  Panoramic Vista looking West
  Panoramic Vista looking East
  Snake
  Run
  Bail-Out Trail to Main Road
  Animal
  Insect or Caterpillar

 

 

Note: To download icons right-click over the image and click "Save Picture As.."


Questions or Comments?: Please feel free to email me, I would appreciate them, Thanks!

Want to download all 27 of them?
Click link(s) below:

Note: Icons were created with GPS orientation set to "North Up"

Note: The magenta background is needed to display a transparency background around the waypoint objects on the unit & MapSource display screens.

Note: The bottom left two icons will not display correctly on the GPS Unit. I think the color palette is messed up. I will attempt to fix them in the near future.



GeoRFLF Help Files (available for download)

Learn To Interpret My GPS File

I have arranged my GPS waypoint naming system to follow a certain format.
I hope they are not too confusing for you to use.
Listed below will be examples that you will find within my .gdb / .gpx files along with their meanings.
Please read all of this to fully understand my GPS files.
I may have enough room for spacing waypoint names, but most of the time I do not.
Click Here to download the topic information below in a pdf document.

The first thing you will notice is the waypoint symbol name:

Ex.1) 0815 GCS

GCS = Good Campsite
ECS = Established Campsite
PCS = Possible Campsite Location

You may also find other words behind the GCS, ECS or PCS such as:

NoH2O which means there is NO WATER HERE!
-H2O which means LOW WATER SOURCE HERE! Or UNRELIABLE due to location or during periods of no rain or drought when I was there


Ex. 2) 0693 Lt Wds Rd

  • This means at mile 6.93 you will make a LEFT on a Woods Road.

You many also find other words after the mileage such as:

Lt = Turn Left
Left = Same as Above
Ex: 0693LtGrassyRd

Rt = Turn Right
Right = Same as Above
Ex: 0693RtGrassyRd

St = Continue Straight
Straight = Same as Above
Ex: 0693StGrassyRd

Lv = Leave Road
Leave = Same as Above
Ex: 0693LtLvGrsyRd (turn left leaving Grassy Rd.)


Ex. 3) 5048XCraneSpur

  • This means at mile 50.48 you will cross over the Crane Spur Trail

You many also find other examples after the mileage such as:

    3982 X Sm Trib = Cross over a Small Tributary at mile 39.82

    X = Cross Over or Crossing
    Sometimes I use an X and sometimes I do not. It depends on the name

Ex. 4) 0385 Bohen Run

  • Just simply means you will cross Bohen Run at that mile marker.

* The rest of my sayings are pretty much self explanatory.


Click to view in full resolution




The second thing you will notice is the waypoint symbol itself:

Each symbol has its own meaning. They are listed above: Click here to be directed to all 27 of them. They are also available for download!


Note: The GPSMAP 60CSx allows:


MapSource Waypoint Properties
Click on the image to view full resolution.




The third thing you will notice is the comment section:

Ex. 1) Trail Merge – RX-3 (left), turn right
This means that you will merge with the RX-3 trail that comes in from the left, but you will turn right.

Ex. 2) Trail Merge – RX-3, turn right
This means that you will merge with the RX-3 trail that comes in from the left, but you will turn right.

Ex. 3) Trail Split – RX-3 (right), turn left
This means that you will depart the trail by turning left, but the RX-3 trail continues to the right.

Ex. 4) Trail Merge - Unknown, turn left
This means you will turn left to continue on the trail. Unknown simply means I don't know the name of the trail that merges into the trail you are hiking

Ex. 5) Trail Crossing – X-C Ski
This means that you will cross over the cross country ski trail.

I have several other formats that I use, they are self-explanatory.




The fourth thing you will notice is the categories section:

Note: If you have not created categories yours will appear as Category 1, 2, etc.. to 16



You can also arrange the waypoints in order by either:

  1. Name (from A-Z)
  2. Waypoint Symbol
  3. Comment, Coordinates, Altitude, etc.

Just click on the bar above the waypoints symbols where the title appears.
After the category title you will find a personal comment about the waypoint, either the name or specific instructions.




Additional Important Information

GPS Recorded Tracks:

Setting the GPSr to record track data in time intervals is not practical in my eyes and anything more than .01 miles is too much.
I want my tracks to be as accurate as possible.


Track Log & Odometer Discrepancy

This is very frustrating for me, because I spend many hours correcting the waypoints to their exact distances. I do this one of two ways:

I want my data to be accurate for both you and me. My wife and I like to go back and visit certain geographical features on the trail at a later time. This data is critical for us when time is a factor.


Track Log Color


Loyalsock Trail
Click on the image to view in its full resolution


Note: This trail's main track color is yellow, that is because the LT is blazed with yellow disks.
Most popular state forest trails are blazed with orange 2" x 6" rectangles.
* Take note to the track colors and the menu on the side.
If you would like to view the picture at full resolution, just click on the image.


Tracks In General


* Accuracy is very important to me. If the trail was drawn correctly on the map, I will reproduce it as best as I can.


Saved Tracks


Work Around..


GPS Files


Elevation Profile Documents

Click Learn to Interpret My GPS Files to download the topic information above in a pdf document.





Learn To Interpret My TOPO Files & Maps

I have transferred my GPS File Data to my National Geographic TOPO! software for even more detail and accuracy. The file (available for download) has the GPS waypoints and symbols.
The topo maps that I have created contain symbols and text only. Each map available for download will contain various symbols that I use and feel is important on the trail. Symbols used are campsites (3 different colors for 3 different meanings), waterfalls, vistas, parking areas, trailheads, water sources & others if needed.
The solid colored lines represent trails that are within the area. The main trail will be in red. This would be the trail you are about to hike if it is a state forest trail. Any map created on my website contains the actual trail you are about to hike unless I have stated so on the webpage. Some of the side trails I have and have not hiked, those that I have not hiked are estimates based off a very accurate method that I use. They are generally in other colors such as: Yellow, Green, Blue, Black, White, etc... The meanings for each trail are listed below.
The overall map of the entire trail (day hike or backpacking trip) & its surrounding area is very large in both viewing and print size, but they are USGS 24K quality. So I have also created smaller (1) one page maps available for print that cover the entire trail. These maps too are USGS 24K quality and scale.
Click Learn to Interpret My TOPO Files & Maps to download the topic information below in a pdf document.


Trail Colors

Red Trails
     .tpo File:   Main Trail associated with the .tpo file.
                   * Move the mouse over the trail to find out the name and mileage of the trail.
     Map File:   Main Trail associated with the map.

Blue/Black/Etc…
     .tpo File:   Side trails close by that can be seen on both types of maps. May lead to a waterfall or detour.
     Map File:   Side trails close by that can be seen on both types of maps. May lead to a waterfall or detour.

Yellow Trails
     .tpo File:   Side trail close by that can be seen on both types of maps. Generally lead to a town or road.
     Map File:   Side trail close by that can be seen on both types of maps. Generally lead to a town or road.

    * Trail colors are generally replicated exactly as they are in the woods

Basic Trail Information
Right-Click: Save As... If you would like to copy the image.


Symbols

Green Campsite – Campsite established, maybe be a GCS or ECS, with flowing water

Yellow Campsite – Campsite established, but it has low water, might be small or not an ideal location (right on the trail, poor water drainage, etc.) and/or all of the above

Red Campsite – Campsite established, but it has no water!

White Parking – Parking Area either established or off road parking location

Blue Thick Arrow – Waterfall

Blue Thin Arrow – Small Waterfall

Blue Water Spout – Water Source

Purple Trailhead – Trailhead

Black Camera – Vista or View

- - - - -

Mile Markers – Shown on the maps too

Trail Type – Point to Point or Loop

Recorded Data from Guidebook – in Miles

GPS Recorded Data – in Miles

Trail Difficulty – Easy, Moderate or Strenuous

TOPO! Legend
Right-Click: Save As...
If you would like to copy the image.
Click to view fullscreen    MST - Section 17 * The map displayed is the 17th Section of the Mid-state Trail (MST).
This particular section traverses the mountains north of Rt. 414 heading NE from Blackwell, PA (Canoe Access Area) to Rt.287 near Antrim, PA. (14.91 miles) This is a great section of the MST.

Click Learn to Interpret My TOPO Files & Maps to download the topic information above in a pdf document.



Learn To Interpret My 5 point Water Table Scale System

This next help file talks about the water table referencing guide that I made up. Water is an essential part of backpacking. If the water levels are low it can make for a much less enjoyable hike. So what I have done is come up with a 5 point scale that I use to rate the water sources along the trail. I also reference my hikes to the USGS - PA Current Stream Flows website, which gives you data for all water gauges in the state of PA. USGS Water's main website, USGS Water's US WaterWatch website. This is a wonderful site to use, but it can be a little difficult to understand and navigate. The 5pt. scale is quite easy to use.


5 pt. Rating System for How the Water Was When We Hiked the Trail..
  Water Level 5-pt. Scale
Personal Rating System: Very High - water is abundant, high water crossings possible 5 - Excellent Water
  High - water is plentiful, creek crossings taken with care 4 - Good Water
  Medium - water should not be an issue 3 - Ok Water
  Low - water may be scarce at streams and creeks 2 - Poor Water
  Very Low - water is almost nonexistent, filter where possible 1 - Bad Water
* Use this chart to interpret my water level rating system for each hike or backpacking trip. *

Click Learn to Interpret My 5pt. Water Rating System to download the topic information above in a pdf document.



Garmin Receiver Classes

Garmin has a wide variety of receivers, some better than others. Some are basic and some have all the bells and whistles you could imagine. In this part I will briefly talk about each outdoor series and what they are capable of doing.



Montana Series

Oregon 550t

Models

  • 650t
  • 650
  • 600

Suffixes & Price Range

  • Larger unit, easy to use
  • Ok battery life, up to 16 hrs., better with 3 AA's (22hrs.)
  • Touchscreen units
  • All are color screens
  • Capable of downloading maps
  • All have high-sensitivity receiver
  • Internal storage from 3-3.5 GB's
  • Preloaded Base Map included
  • External storage such as a MicroSD Card Slot
  • Geocaching Friendly, paperless too!
  • Custom Maps
  • camera on the t model
  • Satellite Imagery capable
  • All the bells and whistles
  • All use the newer style Patch Antenna


Oregon Series

Oregon 550t

Models

  • 550t
  • 550
  • 450t
  • 450

Suffixes & Price Range

  • Larger unit, but easy to use
  • Ok battery life, up to 16 hrs.
  • Touchscreen units
  • All are color screens
  • Capable of downloading maps
  • All have high-sensitivity receiver
  • Internal storage at 850 MB
  • Preloaded Base Map included
  • External storage such as a MicroSD Card Slot
  • Geocaching Friendly, paperless too!
  • Custom Maps
  • 500 series has a camera
  • Satellite Imagery capable
  • All the bells and whistles
  • All use the newer style Patch Antenna


Dakota Series

Dakota 20

Models

  • 10
  • 20

Suffixes & Price Range

  • Small easier to use as compared to Oregon & Montana Series
  • Excellent battery life, up to 20 hrs.
  • Touchscreen units
  • All are color screens
  • Capable of downloading maps
  • Both have high-sensitivity receiver
  • Internal storage at 850 MB
  • Preloaded Base Map included
  • One has it all while the other is very basic
  • All use the Ceramic Antenna which is an advanced Patch Antenna


GPSMAP 60 Series (Discontinued)

GPSMAP 60Csx

Models

  • 60
  • 60Cx
  • 60CSx

Suffixes & Price Range

  • 60 = B&W Screen, High-sensitivity Receiver
  • Cx = High-sensitivity Receiver with a Color Screen and MicroSD Card Slot
  • CSx = High-sensitivity Receiver with a Color Screen, Electronic Compass and MicroSD Card Slot
  • Price Ranges = $200 - $400
  • Garmin 60 Series Link
  • A little complicated to use
  • Multiple buttons
  • Good battery life, up to 16 hrs. (24 hrs. with NiMH)
  • Great entry level to advanced GPSr series
  • 2 out of 3 are color screens
  • All are capable of downloading maps to them
  • High-sensitivity receiver in all of them
  • Preloaded - - - - -
  • External - - - - -
  • All have automatic routing
  • Custom Icons can be loaded (I have created custom ones, check them out)
  • 2 out 3 have external storage such as a MicroSD Card Slot
  • All use the Awesome Quadhelix Antenna!


GPSMAP 62 Series

GPSMAP 62st

Models

  • 62stc
  • 62st
  • 62s
  • 62

Suffixes & Price Range

  • s = accepts MicroSD Card Slot
  • st = accepts MicroSD Card Slot & includes topo maps
  • c = camera
  • Price Ranges = $350 - $600
  • Garmin 62 Series Link
  • A little complicated to use
  • Multiple buttons
  • Great battery life, up to 20 hrs.
  • Excellent GPS, has everything you need
  • All have color screens
  • All are capable of downloading maps to them
  • High-sensitivity receiver in all of them
  • Preloaded - - - - -
  • External - - - - -
  • All have automatic routing
  • Geocaching Friendly, paperless too!
  • Custom Maps
  • Satellite Imagery capable
  • 3 out 4 have external storage such as a MicroSD Card Slot
  • All use the Awesome Quadhelix Antenna! LINK HERE
  • 62 is very basic, but excellent for reception


GPSMAP 76 Series

GPSMAP 76

Models

  • 76

Suffixes & Price Range

  • Water-based unit
  • Price Ranges = $200
  • A little complicated to use
  • Multiple buttons
  • Good battery life, up to 16 hrs.
  • Good GPSr for water use
  • High-sensitivity receiver in all of them
  • All use the Awesome Quadhelix Antenna! LINK HERE


GPSMAP 78 Series

GPSMAP 78sc

Models

  • 78
  • 78s
  • 78sc

Suffixes & Price Range

  • s = accepts MicroSD Card Slot
  • st = accepts MicroSD Card Slot & includes preloaded maps
  • Price Ranges = $350 - $550
  • A little complicated to use
  • Multiple buttons
  • Great battery life, up to 20 hrs.
  • Excellent GPS, has everything you need for water use
  • All have color screens
  • All are capable of downloading maps to them
  • High-sensitivity receiver in all of them
  • All have automatic routing
  • Geocaching Friendly, paperless too!
  • Custom Maps
  • Satellite Imagery capable
  • 2 out 3 have external storage such as a MicroSD Card Slot
  • All use the Awesome Quadhelix Antenna! LINK HERE
  • 78 is very basic, but excellent for reception


Rhino Series

Rhino 530hcx

Models

  • 110
  • 120
  • 130
  • 520HCx
  • 530HCx

Suffixes & Price Range

  • H = High Sensitivity Receiver
  • HC = High Sensitivity Receiver with a Color Screen
  • HCx = High Sensitivity Receiver with a Color Screen and MicroSD Card Slot
  • Price Ranges = $200 - $550
  • A little complicated to use
  • Multiple buttons
  • Not the battery life, up to 14 hrs.
  • Excellent GPS, has everything you need for water use
  • Some have color screens
  • Some are capable of downloading maps to them
  • High-sensitivity receiver in a few of them
  • Some have automatic routing
  • Some are geocaching friendly & paperless too!
  • FRS & GMRS along with VOX and NOAA channels
  • .5 - 5w power, 22 channels, 38 squelch codes
  • 2 out 3 have external storage such as a MicroSD Card Slot
  • All use the Awesome Quadhelix Antenna! LINK HERE
  • 78 is very basic, but excellent for reception


Astro Series

Astro

Models

  • Astro
  • DC 20 collar
  • DC 30 collar

Suffixes & Price Range

  • Collars = $155 - $165
  • Price Range = $650
  • A little complicated to use
  • Multiple buttons
  • Excellent battery life, up to 24 hrs.
  • Excellent GPS, has everything you need
  • All have color screens
  • All are capable of downloading maps to them
  • High-sensitivity receiver in all of them
  • All have automatic routing
  • Geocaching Friendly, paperless too!
  • Custom Maps
  • Satellite Imagery capable
  • 2 out 3 have external storage such as a MicroSD Card Slot
  • All use the Awesome Quadhelix Antenna! LINK HERE
  • 62 is very basic, but excellent for reception


GTU Series

GTU10

Models

  • GTU 10

Suffixes & Price Range

  • GPS Locator
  • Price Ranges = $200
  • Small
  • reparable Lithium-Ion battery
  • battery life up to 31 days
  • High-sensitivity receiver
  • waterproof


eTrex Series

eTrex Vista HCx GPSr

Models

  • H
  • Legend H
  • Legend HCx
  • Summit HC
  • Venture HC
  • Vista H
  • Vista HCx

Suffixes & Price Range

  • H = High Sensitivity Receiver
  • HC = High Sensitivity Receiver with a Color Screen
  • HCx = High Sensitivity Receiver with a Color Screen and MicroSD Card Slot
  • Price Ranges = $100 - $300
  • Small easy to use
  • Exceptional battery life on some, up to 25 hrs.
  • Great entry level GPSr's, but the higher end ones do have everything you need
  • Some have color screens
  • Some are capable of downloading maps to them
  • Some have the high sensitivity receiver
  • Some have automatic routing
  • Some have external storage such as a MicroSD Card Slot
  • All use the Patch Antenna LINK HERE


Foretrex Series

Foretrex 401

Models

  • 301
  • 401

Suffixes & Price Range

  • Price Ranges = $150 - $200
  • Relatively simple to use
  • Good battery life, up to 18 hrs.
  • Good entry level GPSr's
  • B&W screens
  • Not capable of downloading maps to them
  • All have the high sensitivity receiver
  • No bells and whistles
  • No external storage or map data loaded
  • All use the Patch Antenna LINK HERE


How Do I Know Which Datum & Format My Map or GPS is in?

To figure out how your map has been setup look over the legend and look to the edges of the map. The USGS Topo! software tells you the datum used in the upper right & lower right-hand corners. It can also generate maps in four formats (3 lat. & long. & UTM). The format markings are along the outer edges of the map & would contain the coordinates.

The USGS maps you purchase at outfitters are 7.5’ topographic maps. You will find (9) 2.5’ blocks on each map. 7.5’ is the distance it covers in both directions using the latitude & longitude grid system. It will also contain the UTM grid system with markings every 1000 meters.



Reading Distance on a Paper Map

Can You Read, Make Out and Interpret distance on a Paper Map?

Yes, you can (to a certain extent) do this by knowing the distance between o (degrees), ' (minutes), " (seconds) or UTM's meters, but the best way is:

  1. Use the legend to interpret distance along with some sort of straight edge instrument.
  2. Use a special ruler that is calibrated to read minutes & seconds on a 2.5' x 2.5' grid.
  3. Use the ruler on your compass (make sure the scale on the map & the compass match)!
  4. Draw a finer grid on your map (subdivide the map into smaller grids).
    • Make sure the grid lines are easy to interpret distance measurements and are easy to read.
    • When interpreting distance on a paper map, it takes some knowledge & practice to accurately interpret distance.
      • Latitude distance is consistent.
      • Longitude distance is not! If you remember from my bulleted information about longitude, as you move north or south away from the equator, the distance between grid lines decreases. The only time both latitude & longitude are the same is at the equator.



What is Declination? How does it relate to Me?

Declination is the difference between magnetic north (the direction your compass points) and true or grid/map north (the direction the map points as north, which is the North Pole). Declination difference will be in degrees and varies depending on what part of the US you live in. Declination can vary up to +18o depending on what part of the US you live in. Here in PA, its roughly 11o W or -11o.

You must know the declination of the area you are in, for example:

* Determining Your Declination – Expressed as either East or West Declination according to your present location of the magnetic North Pole



If your present location is right of the magnetic pole line, it is considered
West Declination. (PA is west declination)

West Declination Symbol on a Map
Example of the west declination symbol on a map.

If your present location is left of the magnetic pole line; it is considered
East Declination. (Midwest to CA is east declination)

East Declination Symbol on a Map
Example of the east declination symbol on a map

Continental Map of US Declination

Click either map to view full size image

Maps courtesy of: National Geophysical Data Center

North America Map of Declination
Continental US in a pdf document for download
North America in a pdf document for download


East is Least, West is Best – Which means you subtract east declinations and add west declinations to your calculations depending on which side of the magnetic pole line you stand on. The examples below show you how do do this.

 Example #1

Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Origin:
Doodle Hollow Road
Coordinates:
41o 13’ 50" N 74o 53’ 31" W (Start)
Destination:
Dingmans Falls
Coordinates:
41o 13’ 51" N 74o 53’ 45" W (Finish)
Estimated Distance:
.22 miles
Map Declination:
13o W (according to my map)
Maps Compass Bearing:
93o
Maps Compass Bearing + Declination:
93o + 13o W = 106o (Magnetic North)
Correct Compass Bearing to Waterfalls:
106o  (follow compass bearing in this direction to reach the falls in .22 miles)

Example #2

Location: Central Montana
Origin:
Neihart, MT
Coordinates:
46o 54’ 36" N 110o 43’ 52" W (Start)
Destination:
Big Baldy Mt. Peak
Coordinates:
46o 57’ 05" N 110o 35’ 05" W (Finish)
Estimated Distance:
7.18 miles
Map Declination:
13o E (according to my map)
Maps Compass Bearing:
64o
Maps Compass Bearing + Declination:
64o - 13.5o E = 50.5o (Magnetic North)
Correct Compass Bearing to Mt. Peak:
50.5o (follow compass bearing in this direction to reach the Mt. Peak in 7.18 miles)

* Most all maps will tell you the declination difference somewhere on the legend, the USGS Topo! software maps declination is located in the lower right corner.
* Declination changes due to the floating magnetic poles. The maps above are current as of 2011.



Vital Things to Take with You on the Trail!



Useful Charts Created by GeoRFLF

Basic Conversions

  • inch = in.
  • feet = ft.
  • yard = yd.
  • mile = mi.
  • ounce = oz.
  • pound = lb.
  • millimeter = mm
  • centimeter = cm
  • meter = m
  • kilometer = km
  • 12 in. = 1 ft.
  • 3 ft. = 1 yd.
  • 1 yd. = .9144m
  • 5,280 ft. = 1mi.
  • 1mi. = 1.609km
  • 2.54 cm = 1 in.
  • 39.37 in. = 1 m
  • 3.28 ft. = 1 m
  • 1000 m = 1 km
  • 1 km = .62 mi.
  • .01 mi = 52.8 ft.
  • .06 mi. = 100 yards roughly



USGS Map Scale Conversions Chart

* Each inch of map represents the numbers below according to the map scale they were printed in
 
General USGS Map Scales
Scale
Inches
ft. p/in.
yds. p/in.
mi. p/in.
1:500
500,000
41,666.67
13,888.89
7.89
 
1:100
100,000
8,333.33
2,777.78
1.58
 
1:24
24,000
2,000.00
666.67
0.38
 
 
* USGS 7.5min maps are generally 1:24th scale
 
National Geographic TOPO! Scales
Scale
Inches
ft. p/in.
yds. p/in.
mi. p/in.
 
1:4000000
4,000,000
333,333.33
111,111.11
63.13
 
1:865000
865,000
72,083.33
24,027.78
13.65
 
1:327360
327,360
27,280.00
9,093.33
5.17
 
1:50000
50,000
4,166.67
1,388.89
0.79
 
1:15375
15,375
1,281.25
427.08
0.24
 
 
* Nat. Geo's highest scaled Topo is equivalent to USGS 1:24th scale

Map Scale Conversion Excel Document

* measurements were calculated and rounded to the nearest 100th, so they are not exact, but very close.



Latitude & Longitude Distance Conversion Chart

1 degree 69.05   miles  
  5,280.00   feet to 1 mile  
  364,584.00   feet in 1 degree  
  121,528.00   yards in 1 degree  
  100,000.00   decimal degrees to 1 degree  
36,4584 3.65   .000001 decimal degrees in feet  
12,1528 1.22   .000001 decimal degrees in yards  
         
1 minute 1.15   miles to 1' minute 60 min. to 1 degree
  5,280.00   feet to 1 mile  
  6,072.00   feet in 1 minute  
  2,024.00   yards in 1 minute  
  1,000.00   decimal minutes to 1 minute  
6,072 6.07   .001 decimal minutes in feet  
2,024 2.02   .001 decimal minutes in yards  
         
1 second 0.01917   miles to 1" second 60 sec. to 1 min.
  5,280.00   feet to 1 mile  
  1,760.00   yards to 1 mile  
6,072 101.20000   feet to 1 second  
2,024 33.73333   yards to 1 second  
Latitude & Longitude Globe

Latitude & Longitude Distance Conversion Excel Document



Decimal Miles to Kilometers (km), Miles (mi.), Meters (m), Yards (yds). & Feet (ft.) Conversion Chart

.06 miles = 317ft. or 105yds.
.1 miles = 528ft. or 176yds.
.2 miles = 1,056ft. 352yds.
.25 miles = 1,320ft. or 440yds.
.3 miles = 1,584ft. or 528yds.
.4 miles = 2,112ft. or 704yds.
.5 miles = 2,640ft. or 880yds.

.5 miles = 2,640ft. or 880yds.
.6 miles = 3,168ft. or 1,056yds.
.7 miles = 3,696ft. or 1,232yds.
.75 miles = 3,960ft. or 1,320yds.
.8 miles = 4,224ft. or 1,408yds.
.9 miles = 4,752ft. or 1,584yds.
1 mile = 5,280ft. or 1,760yds.
Kilometers
Meters
Feet
Yards
Decimal Miles
0.00 km 0.00 m 0.00 ft 0.00 yds 0 mi
0.02 km 16.10 m 52.80 ft 17.60 yds 0.01 mi
0.03 km 32.20 m 105.60 ft 35.20 yds 0.02 mi
0.05 km 48.29 m 158.40 ft 52.80 yds 0.03 mi
0.06 km 64.39 m 211.20 ft 70.40 yds 0.04 mi
0.08 km 80.49 m 264.00 ft 88.00 yds 0.05 mi
0.10 km 96.59 m 316.80 ft 105.60 yds 0.06 mi
0.11 km 112.68 m 369.60 ft 123.20 yds 0.07 mi
0.13 km 128.78 m 422.40 ft 140.80 yds 0.08 mi
0.14 km 144.88 m 475.20 ft 158.40 yds 0.09 mi
0.16 km 160.98 m 528.00 ft 176.00 yds 0.1 mi
0.18 km 177.07 m 580.80 ft 193.60 yds 0.11 mi
0.19 km 193.17 m 633.60 ft 211.20 yds 0.12 mi
0.21 km 209.27 m 686.40 ft 228.80 yds 0.13 mi
0.23 km 225.37 m 739.20 ft 246.40 yds 0.14 mi
0.24 km 241.46 m 792.00 ft 264.00 yds 0.15 mi
0.26 km 257.56 m 844.80 ft 281.60 yds 0.16 mi
0.27 km 273.66 m 897.60 ft 299.20 yds 0.17 mi
0.29 km 289.76 m 950.40 ft 316.80 yds 0.18 mi
0.31 km 305.85 m 1,003.20 ft 334.40 yds 0.19 mi
0.32 km 321.95 m 1,056.00 ft 352.00 yds 0.2 mi
0.34 km 338.05 m 1,108.80 ft 369.60 yds 0.21 mi
0.35 km 354.15 m 1,161.60 ft 387.20 yds 0.22 mi
0.37 km 370.24 m 1,214.40 ft 404.80 yds 0.23 mi
0.39 km 386.34 m 1,267.20 ft 422.40 yds 0.24 mi
0.40 km 402.44 m 1,320.00 ft 440.00 yds 0.25 mi
0.42 km 418.54 m 1,372.80 ft 457.60 yds 0.26 mi
0.43 km 434.63 m 1,425.60 ft 475.20 yds 0.27 mi
0.45 km 450.73 m 1,478.40 ft 492.80 yds 0.28 mi
0.47 km 466.83 m 1,531.20 ft 510.40 yds 0.29 mi
0.48 km 482.93 m 1,584.00 ft 528.00 yds 0.3 mi
0.50 km 499.02 m 1,636.80 ft 545.60 yds 0.31 mi
0.52 km 515.12 m 1,689.60 ft 563.20 yds 0.32 mi
0.53 km 531.22 m 1,742.40 ft 580.80 yds 0.33 mi
0.55 km 547.32 m 1,795.20 ft 598.40 yds 0.34 mi
0.56 km 563.41 m 1,848.00 ft 616.00 yds 0.35 mi
0.58 km 579.51 m 1,900.80 ft 633.60 yds 0.36 mi
0.60 km 595.61 m 1,953.60 ft 651.20 yds 0.37 mi
0.61 km 611.71 m 2,006.40 ft 668.80 yds 0.38 mi
0.63 km 627.80 m 2,059.20 ft 686.40 yds 0.39 mi
0.64 km 643.90 m 2,112.00 ft 704.00 yds 0.4 mi
0.66 km 660.00 m 2,164.80 ft 721.60 yds 0.41 mi
0.68 km 676.10 m 2,217.60 ft 739.20 yds 0.42 mi
0.69 km 692.20 m 2,270.40 ft 756.80 yds 0.43 mi
0.71 km 708.29 m 2,323.20 ft 774.40 yds 0.44 mi
0.72 km 724.39 m 2,376.00 ft 792.00 yds 0.45 mi
0.74 km 740.49 m 2,428.80 ft 809.60 yds 0.46 mi
0.76 km 756.59 m 2,481.60 ft 827.20 yds 0.47 mi
0.77 km 772.68 m 2,534.40 ft 844.80 yds 0.48 mi
0.79 km 788.78 m 2,587.20 ft 862.40 yds 0.49 mi
0.80 km 804.88 m 2,640.00 ft 880.00 yds 0.5 mi
Kilometers
Meters
Feet
Yards
Decimal Miles
0.80 km 804.88 m 2,640.00 ft 880.00 yds 0.5 mi
0.82 km 820.98 m 2,692.80 ft 897.60 yds 0.51 mi
0.84 km 837.07 m 2,745.60 ft 915.20 yds 0.52 mi
0.85 km 853.17 m 2,798.40 ft 932.80 yds 0.53 mi
0.87 km 869.27 m 2,851.20 ft 950.40 yds 0.54 mi
0.89 km 885.37 m 2,904.00 ft 968.00 yds 0.55 mi
0.90 km 901.46 m 2,956.80 ft 985.60 yds 0.56 mi
0.92 km 917.56 m 3,009.60 ft 1,003.20 yds 0.57 mi
0.93 km 933.66 m 3,062.40 ft 1,020.80 yds 0.58 mi
0.95 km 949.76 m 3,115.20 ft 1,038.40 yds 0.59 mi
0.97 km 965.85 m 3,168.00 ft 1,056.00 yds 0.6 mi
0.98 km 981.95 m 3,220.80 ft 1,073.60 yds 0.61 mi
1.00 km 998.05 m 3,273.60 ft 1,091.20 yds 0.62 mi
1.01 km 1,014.15 m 3,326.40 ft 1,108.80 yds 0.63 mi
1.03 km 1,030.24 m 3,379.20 ft 1,126.40 yds 0.64 mi
1.05 km 1,046.34 m 3,432.00 ft 1,144.00 yds 0.65 mi
1.06 km 1,062.44 m 3,484.80 ft 1,161.60 yds 0.66 mi
1.08 km 1,078.54 m 3,537.60 ft 1,179.20 yds 0.67 mi
1.09 km 1,094.63 m 3,590.40 ft 1,196.80 yds 0.68 mi
1.11 km 1,110.73 m 3,643.20 ft 1,214.40 yds 0.69 mi
1.13 km 1,126.83 m 3,696.00 ft 1,232.00 yds 0.7 mi
1.14 km 1,142.93 m 3,748.80 ft 1,249.60 yds 0.71 mi
1.16 km 1,159.02 m 3,801.60 ft 1,267.20 yds 0.72 mi
1.18 km 1,175.12 m 3,854.40 ft 1,284.80 yds 0.73 mi
1.19 km 1,191.22 m 3,907.20 ft 1,302.40 yds 0.74 mi
1.21 km 1,207.32 m 3,960.00 ft 1,320.00 yds 0.75 mi
1.22 km 1,223.41 m 4,012.80 ft 1,337.60 yds 0.76 mi
1.24 km 1,239.51 m 4,065.60 ft 1,355.20 yds 0.77 mi
1.26 km 1,255.61 m 4,118.40 ft 1,372.80 yds 0.78 mi
1.27 km 1,271.71 m 4,171.20 ft 1,390.40 yds 0.79 mi
1.29 km 1,287.80 m 4,224.00 ft 1,408.00 yds 0.8 mi
1.30 km 1,303.90 m 4,276.80 ft 1,425.60 yds 0.81 mi
1.32 km 1,320.00 m 4,329.60 ft 1,443.20 yds 0.82 mi
1.34 km 1,336.10 m 4,382.40 ft 1,460.80 yds 0.83 mi
1.35 km 1,352.20 m 4,435.20 ft 1,478.40 yds 0.84 mi
1.37 km 1,368.29 m 4,488.00 ft 1,496.00 yds 0.85 mi
1.38 km 1,384.39 m 4,540.80 ft 1,513.60 yds 0.86 mi
1.40 km 1,400.49 m 4,593.60 ft 1,531.20 yds 0.87 mi
1.42 km 1,416.59 m 4,646.40 ft 1,548.80 yds 0.88 mi
1.43 km 1,432.68 m 4,699.20 ft 1,566.40 yds 0.89 mi
1.45 km 1,448.78 m 4,752.00 ft 1,584.00 yds 0.9 mi
1.46 km 1,464.88 m 4,804.80 ft 1,601.60 yds 0.91 mi
1.48 km 1,480.98 m 4,857.60 ft 1,619.20 yds 0.92 mi
1.50 km 1,497.07 m 4,910.40 ft 1,636.80 yds 0.93 mi
1.51 km 1,513.17 m 4,963.20 ft 1,654.40 yds 0.94 mi
1.53 km 1,529.27 m 5,016.00 ft 1,672.00 yds 0.95 mi
1.55 km 1,545.37 m 5,068.80 ft 1,689.60 yds 0.96 mi
1.56 km 1,561.46 m 5,121.60 ft 1,707.20 yds 0.97 mi
1.58 km 1,577.56 m 5,174.40 ft 1,724.80 yds 0.98 mi
1.59 km 1,593.66 m 5,227.20 ft 1,742.40 yds 0.99 mi
1.61 km 1,609.76 m 5,280.00 ft 1,760.00 yds 1.00 mi

1 mile = 63,360 inches
1 mile = 5,280 feet
1 mile = 1,760 yards
1 mile = 2,112 strides (30" avg.)

1 mile = 160,900 centimeters
1 mile = 1,609 meters
1 mile = 1.61 kilometers
1 kilometer = .62 miles

The above chart in an excel document     -    feet to mile chart in excel    -    feet & yards to miles chart in excel    -    feet, yards & km to miles chart in excel

www.onlineconversions.com is a great website that converts just about anything!



Great Links

Many / Most of the pictures above are links to great software and website's




Questions or Comments?: Please feel free to email me, I would appreciate them, Thanks!

*Please, if this site as helped you in anyway and you would like to give back, donate by clicking the link found on the bottom left navigation bar. It takes many hours to update, post, check the data and its accuracy. Any contributions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Last UpdaAugust 6, 201312


Disclaimer
*Please remember, the information posted on this page and all other pages can & probably will change. I assume no liability for accidents happening to, or injuries sustained by, readers who engage in the activities posted on my entire website including links. Remember, you are responsible for your own actions, please understand conditions on the trail, in the woods or on the river can/will change due to mother nature. Please don’t assume I know all there is about such topics, unfortunately I do not. I am just posting my travels and opinions experienced out in the wilderness. I encourage you to read further and look to reliable resources like the PA Game & Fish Commission and the PA DCNR. Thank You.