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  Re: [Aroid-l] Exact locations of plants
From: Steve Marak samarak at gizmoworks.com> on 2006.09.26 at 15:30:50(14651)
Brian, I'm sure you'll get lots of replies on this topic, I'll start things off
with my $0.02 worth - these GPS units are GREAT! We have 2, in fact, one for my
wife's car and one for mine. We aren't geocachers (I think the name for that
game is geocaching) but we've been using them to note locations of plants and
anything else interesting for years and it works very well. You get altitude
information, too.

Cathy happens to teach a high school class in which they use very expensive
industrial GPS units, the type surveyors use, and apply corrections from ground
based stations to get the accuracy down to inches. But the $150 units we have
in our cars are just as good for what we do, especially since Bill Clinton
turned off "selective availability" back in 2000. We typically see accuracy of
about 10-15 meters (and we're not applying any corrections, of course).

The technology has been around a while, and I know botanic gardens and other
institutions have been using it, but I'm always surprised that among people I
meet it seems to be the fishing, flying, or serious hiking enthusiasts that use
GPS rather than the plant people. (People can be in more than one of those
groups, but usually aren't.) Of course, it's so cheap it's showing up in cell
phones now, so lots more people will be using it whether they know it or not.

The newer hand-held units have lots more features and far better battery life -
our older unit (7-8 years old) runs for a few hours - maybe 4 if you're lucky -
on 4 AA batteries. The new one (2 years old) runs for around 20 hours on 2 AA


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