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The Dirt Brothers
Book Reviews
For Amateur & Avocational Archaeologists

Navigation, Mapping and Wilderness Guides

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GPS Made Easy
by Lawrence Letham
The Mountaineers Books   2003  4th Edition      ISBN# 0-89886-823-8   paper

If you don't already have a GPS unit yet, or have just bought one and want to know everything about it, you'll want this book. It's tough to find books about GPS, this one is the easiest as it's found in many large chain bookstores, and it's the most up to date book on the topic.

As his book was written for those who will use it for survival on mountaineering expeditions, author Lawrence Latham is very thorough in his approach to GPS. He starts out by explaining the GPS system, moves on to the basics of all handheld units, then procedes to give readers a thorough understanding of how to use them to mark trails, find specific locations, and how to coordinate your GPS with paper maps (a most valuable chapter!)

Rounding it all out is a section on GPS units and computers, showing the reader how to pull all of the GPS data into a PC for later reference and use, as well as how to plan an expedition with these two tools together.

The reader should note all of Lethams' warnings, as he outlnes the technologies limitations, to not totally depend upon GPS for survival .

All in all, you'll be hard pressed to find a better book on the topic.

This book can be ordered direct from the publisher, The Mountaineers Books, a company which publishes an assortment of great guides for the outdoor explorer in rugged country. You'll likely buy a couple of books at your first visit to their website. GPS Made Easy retails for $15.95 and can be ordered directly from the publisher by clicking here.

reviewed by Bob Wishoff
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Wilderness Navigation
by Bob Burns & Mike Burns
The Mountaineers Books   2005  2nd printing      ISBN# 0-89886-953-6   paper

OK, now that you've bought yourself a GPS, you probably think you are now ready to head for the wilderness, safe in the knowledge that you will know where you are....wrong! Increasingly, authorities are concerned that novice trekkers are getting lost because they are neglecting to learn valuable mapping skills that could save their lives. We must not forget that GPS units all have varying levels of accuracy and in an emergency will do little to pinpoint where you are. "The first rule of the GPS receiver is to not become dependent on it," write the authors. Besides, what are you to do when the batteries run out?

Do yourself a favor and buy this book to get a start learning how to find your way around using map and compass. This book should be a part of the gear you pack--- even in the woods you'll find it a great reference to help guide your way.

Starting with Map Basics, Compass Basics and Basic Orientation with Map and Compass, the editors clearly explain how to find your way. further chapters tell you what to do when lost by explaining how to use map and compass to regain bearings, even when there's little to see on foot.

Once you've got that down, the Burns' explain the use of an altimeter and clinometer and GPS to supplement the basic compass and map combo, all helping the hiker with routefinding on trails and more.

"By the time you finish reading this book," claim the authors, "you will have a good handle on the tools of navigation and the proven techniques of top-notch navigators."

Wilderness Navigation retails for $12.95 and can be found at most large chain bookstores, or can be ordered directly from the publisher by clicking here.

reviewed by Bob Wishoff
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