Nav 103 -- GPS Step by Step

GPS Navigation through Big Cypress

Once you've learned to navigate the old-fashioned way, it's time to upgrade to GPS navigation.

This course covers four things a GPS can tell you: 1) where you are, 2) where you want to be, 3) where you don't want to be, and 4) where you have been.

Among other topics, we'll talk about:

  • 2D versus 3D fixes
  • Map datums
  • Sources of GPS error
  • Differential GPS (DGPS)
  • Wide Area Augmentation Service (WAAS)
  • The importance of not relying on a single source for navigational data.

We'll discuss common GPS buttons and screens. You'll learn to mark a location and return to it, with or without the track feature. You'll get familiar with terms such as route, trackback, Course over Ground, Crosstrack Error, Course to Steer, and Velocity Made Good. We'll review the lat/long, UTM, and MGRS grids. We'll review yet again compass declination.

Finally, we'll talk about setting your GPS to match your activity--sailing, hiking, driving, whatever. This course covers some elements of marine navigation, as well as land navigation.


Participants should have completed Nav 101, Low-Tech Wilderness Navigation, and Nav 102, Map-and-compass wilderness navigation.

The reason for these pre-requisites is so you'll be able to navigate without a GPS should the need arise.

A wilderness traveler should NEVER rely on GPS skills alone. The GPS is a wonderful navigational tool, an excellent ADDITION to your navigation kit. For safety's sake, however, no wilderness traveler should rely solely on a GPS to get in and out of the backcountry. Should the GPS become unavailable from loss, destruction, or failure, backup navigation skills remain absolutely essential.

Course Schedule

No GPS courses are currently scheduled.

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