Navigation in State Forests

Submitted: Friday, May 28, 2010 at 08:29
ThreadID: 78841 Views:3171 Replies:3 FollowUps:13
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Gday All,

I work in native seed collection and travel extensively through regional and remote state forests and the like. We supply seeds for mining and development projects.

I am looking for a good navigation set up for mapping on the go in state forests and such in regional and remote qld and nsw. To this point been using paper maps with great success, however it seems time to make the leap.

Appreciate if someone could give me a run down on suggested set ups/products. Want to keep it as basic as possible.

Do any of the GPS units have extensive state forest maps available?

Currently running macbook pro but have cross-platform software.

Any links to previous threads would be highly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:54

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:54
A software package such as OziExplorer running on a laptop or small 12v computer with a mouse style gps unit should be ideal. OziExplorer is widely used and Australian - good gear. There are many maps available for it, though whether the particular ones you require are available is open to question. If your needs are very specific, you can however make maps yourself, as the system works on images. A good photo or scan of a paper map, or a Google image, then calibrate by providing the coordinates of a number of points and you have created a map - bit arduous but not impossible. Ozi also allows you to add comments to the map, which may be useful in your application. In addition to keeping track of your travel, Ozi also allows you to plan your route in advance.

Accomodating a laptop in the vehicle is a hassle, so suggest a small 12v computer is a preferred option.

A few of the downsides - operating a mouse in a bouncing moving vehicle is very unpredictable, so is using a touch screen, though better than a mouse. Using a keyboard in a moving vehicle - forget it! The screen must be non-reflective and positioning may be difficult if you wish to see it while on the move. Protecting the workings from vibration isn't easy.

Our own solution is a HP ePC (a small desktop PC from a few years back with an external laptop style power supply) mounted with lots of sponge rubber behind the passenger seat, USB ports extended to the gps on top of the dash, miniature keyboard and touchscreen hanging in a sling from the top of the dash. This has survived way beyond our most optimistic expectations.

Image Could Not Be Found

HTH

John

J and V
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:57

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 10:57
Try for the image again!

Image Could Not Be Found
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:09

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:09
Should have mentioned - check the EO shop for raster maps for your areas of interest. (Ozi uses raster, NOT vector, maps). There appear to be lots that might suit your application.

Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:35

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:35
Ozi runs under windows.

Another thing I forgot to mention was that you can download a trial version of Ozi to have a play with. Website is here. Its not the easiest package to come to grips with but there is quite a bit of help available. We have found, having used it for about 4 or 5 years now that once we got the basics sorted we wonder how we ever travelled without it. I have some familiarity with seed collecting and I think that Ozi would suit your purposes very well.

One slight limitation is that the sensitivity of the GPS can be reduced on very cloudy days or under a heavy or wet canopy ie where there is a lot of water between the satellites and the GPS. However the plot is seldom lost for very long.

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 18:17

Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 18:17
Hi

Clouds have no observable effect on gps "sensitivity". Bit of an old wives tale I think.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 18:26

Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 18:26
Can i ask what brand/model your touchscreen is John and/or Val? ;) Oh, and the cover/holder for the screen.

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 21:32

Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 21:32
Greg,

Water does absorb pretty well at the wavelengths involved in gps. As gps relies on communication with a number of satellites to triangulate reliably, water in trees in forested areas, and in dense cloud can have a very significant effect on gps performance. Not an old wives tale!! (and be careful using that expression near my Mrs!)

Andrew,

Our touchscreen came from Hong Kong through ebay and I don't think it ever got as far as having a brand name. We've had years of trouble free use, far more than we expected. I see that it is still listed on ebay - look at ebay and find this picture Image Could Not Be Found.

The mounting - For protection from vibration, corrugations etc, we simply devised a sling with an open front. The monitor actually hangs from the top of the dash. The sling was made from heavy canvas, velcro etc, and while not too elegant has worked well. If you'd like to discuss further, send me a member message with your email address and we can talk further off line. We'd be interested to discuss your seed collecting too, as we've done a fair bit ourselves.

Cheers

John

Cheers



Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 21:53

Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 21:53
Hi

Wasnt joking, clouds, dense or otherwise, will have no observable effect on gps "sensitivity". My GPS works perfectly even when its raining, let alone on seriously cloudy days..doest yours?

Cheers
Greg

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 22:07

Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 22:07
John - here is a quick summary of the non effect of clouds (and rain and snow) by a man who knows more about GPS "stuff" than you, I and all on the forum combined...

Rain, Snow, Clouds and GPS Reception

Take it up with him if you have any real proof what you say is correct (i.e. clouds have an observable effect) and get back to us with the result :)

Cheers
Greg

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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Jun 06, 2010 at 08:08

Sunday, Jun 06, 2010 at 08:08
Greg,

Thank you for that very interesting link.

Must confess, while our gps will tend to lose lock under/near wet trees, I can't recall any time when it has lost lock simply under cloud when in an open area. Clouds accompany rain that accompanies wet trees hence the jump to clouds affect gps. I conceed! The spurious correlation trap is working well! But I'll never surrender on wet trees affect gps!

Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Sunday, Jun 06, 2010 at 09:28

Sunday, Jun 06, 2010 at 09:28
Hi
I don’t think anyone has claimed that wet trees will not have an effect so you won’t have any trouble defending that one, everyone should agree with you.

Some discussion on subject (and other things that affect gps signal) here

GPS reception in trees

I guess the cloud myth originated under similar circumstances to what you describe. People jump in their car turn on the gps and when it doesn’t seem to be working properly they look up in the sky, see clouds and say “oh that must be it”...no effort put into eliminating other potential causes. No notice is taken of the clouds when the gps is working perfectly.

All good fun.

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, May 28, 2010 at 15:27

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 15:27
Alternatively simply purchase a HN5 HEMA Navigator GPS.
It will come with 1:250,000 Auslig maps for the whole of Australia (as well as the HEMA 4x4 maps) and it runs on OziExplorer CE software.
Simply plug in and go.
You can record positions and tracks and save them to your computer later.
If you can get them for the areas of interest you can add 1:50,000 Auslig maps.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome.
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Follow Up By: bj_cruiser - Friday, May 28, 2010 at 17:27

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 17:27
Thanks all for your help.

The Hema Navigator sounds like the go.

Cheers.

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Follow Up By: Member - Rod V (NT) - Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 18:12

Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 18:12
I used the hema navigator in my 8500 km trek, NT, SA, VIC NSW OLD, including the Snowy'snever missed a beat, you can even install your own maps on it
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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 06:49

Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 06:49
When carrying out the survey of all ACT Fire Trails a couple of years ago we used a Trimble GPS with Parks and Forestry Map overlays. Very detailed, more so than the rasher maps. The position was down to cm's.

Expense, well yes to say the least. Good large touch screen. Remote antenna on roof.
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 18:38

Saturday, Jun 05, 2010 at 18:38
Hi

I think you are confusing the accuracy of the GPS unit/system being used with the scale/accuracy of the map on which the data is being displayed. It is possible to display sub centimetre gps data on a raster image. The generated coordinates and their accuracy are totally defined by the GPS setup.

The visual accuracy of the position, as displayed on a screen, is then dependant on the scale/accuracy of the underlying image you are using ...it has nothing to do with the image format (i.e. raster or vector).

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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