Thursday, October 29, 2009

GPS and Adventure Racing Revisited

My original blog entry 'Why the GPS Hate' generated much discussion, not only in the comments but also on Facebook and *gasp* in real life! I've since realized that I didn't communicate my position as well as I would have liked.

Allow me to make it perfectly clear that any race director should put together their race(s) in their own image so as to create whatever challenge they see fit. That means if Mr. / Mrs. Race Director wants to make a GPS and compass prohibited items, then by all means! Lets just hope the stars are visible through the clouds! Although I am an advocate of the GPS, I'm more of an advocate of living the experience that the race director has in mind.

I see a GPS as a tool, no different in essence than a compass. Give either one to a rookie navigator and they are still a rookie navigator. Both require learning, practice and experience. Arguably, a GPS requires more effort to learn since basic compass knowledge is required anyway. The usefulness of the GPS at an adventure race is directly proportional to the amount of effort that the navigator has put into learning the device. The people who will truly benefit by using a GPS are those who have developed significant skill.

Interestingly, those opposing my position keep coming back to the situation where you will always know where you are, and how advantageous that is. I think I might need ANOTHER blog on that issue alone as it's quite an animal on its own.

My goal with 'Why the GPS Hate' was to dispel the myth of the GPS being an instant savior to struggling navigators by explaining my theory that the GPS won't help anyone who doesn't put in significant work with the tool.

Keep on navigating.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009