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Topics - Lost Soul

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Maps / Five reasons why we should still read maps
« on: May 02, 2015, 09:21:23 AM »
Interesting item from BBC News Website.

Training tips / Making the simple uninteligable
« on: January 31, 2015, 09:01:35 AM »
How not to explain one the of fundamental principle of navigation.

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / GNSS Tracker
« on: October 03, 2014, 03:36:31 PM »
Just culled from the latest IAOPA Europe E News letter.  Whilst not land navigation it still may be of interest.

AOPA Russia's new Tracker
This summer AOPA-Russia has introduced a new software service for the Russian aviation community – AOPA-Tracker.
Satellite tracking devices such as SPOT or Delorme InReach are already used by thousands of pilots worldwide. These trackers can provide much-needed help when the pilot is able to press the ‘SOS’ button, but they lack automatic alerting capability for when the pilot can’t press the button or the device becomes inoperative because of an accident.
Russia, with its vast territory and lack of adequate SAR services, needs the very best alerting system, which AOPA-Tracker provides. With AOPA-Tracker, flight progress is monitored and rescue procedures is activated when necessary, even if the pilot is unable to call for help.

AOPA-Tracker monitors flights by logging moving tracking points, and expects an ‘OK’ message to be received after a successful landing. If the tracking points disappear, or are transmitted repeatedly from a single location, AOPA-Tracker first attempts to notify the pilot by sending an SMS message to a mobile phone. The pilot can reset the warning by replying by SMS, clicking on a web link or sending an ‘OK’ message from the satellite tracker. If that does not happen, in 20 minutes SMS messages will be sent to emergency contacts.

The service is currently free for anyone to use. AOPA-Russia membership is not required. The service and all messages are Russian-language only. If you want to try the service and are ready to deal with Cyrillic letters, check it out at (you may also try google translate at

Training tips / Walkers Rules
« on: July 22, 2014, 10:56:07 AM »
Something culled from the OS Website

A mixture of the practical, tongue-in-cheek and the amusing.  Nevertheless, stuff on navigation appears to be spot on irrespective of how it is presented.

Regional SAR teams / Mountain Rescue in USA
« on: July 06, 2014, 10:21:54 AM »
Interesting, note the victim's attire.

Satnav (GPS GLONASS COMPASS Galileo) / More GNSS Woes
« on: April 11, 2014, 12:01:51 PM »
This news article demonstrates once again why we should NOT place total reliance on GNSS and why we need to keep our map and compass skills well honed.

Regional SAR teams / Snowdon Rescue
« on: January 27, 2014, 06:40:01 PM »
Oh dear yet again.  Will they never learn.

Compasses / Magnetic North Pole Movement Affects UK Mapping
« on: January 23, 2014, 09:37:45 AM »
North Magentic Pole's walk about is now such that for the first time in 220 years magnetic variation in the UK is now East.  Well for the moment its east for points west of Penzance.

New Techniques & Learning / Seven Safe Practices
« on: November 25, 2013, 03:49:05 PM »
The world of professional Marine Navigation is becoming increasingly exercised about the fallibility of GNSS and the over reliance on it for the navigation of ships.  Particularly in congested seaways and near hazards to shipping.  The consequences of a navigation failure can be disastrous on many fronts. 

The Nautical Institute in association with The Royal institute of Navigation has just started publishing a slim monthly magazine called The Navigator.  In the latest issue it deals with positioning and the potentially catastrophic consequences of an over reliance on GNSS.  It concludes with a list top 10 points that a marine navigator should seriously consider in respect of ensuring effective, reliable and accurate positioning at sea. 

Based on the advice given in The Navigator I have generated a list of 7 points of Safe Practice for use in this technological age that us foot slogging navigators might want to consider in respect of ensuring effective, reliable and accurate positioning / navigating on land. 

All for your consideration of course.  Discuss, and please don't shoot the messenger.

1. Be Aware and Alert.

Good situational awareness requires continual checking of your position, knowing the lie of the land around you along with a good understanding of the actual and forecast weather.  Stops you becoming lost, prevents accidents, saves lives.

2. Multiple Choices - Safety in Numbers.

There are numerous methods of fixing your position / navigating, ancient and modern.  Use them, but know each has its strengths and weaknesses. No one system has proven to be entirely good enough on it's own.

3.  Avoiding Over Reliance.

Over reliance on one means of position fixing / navigating can lead to complacency and poor decision making. Know the limitations of each method you use and plan and act accordingly. Never rely on a single means of fixing your position / navigating.

4.  The Human Element.
Whilst different positioning methods may be complimentary they need integrating.  This is down to the skill of the navigator.  A skill that is acquire through training and practice.

5.  Beware of Over Reliance on GNSS.

All GNSS systems share a common weakness and are therefore all are equally susceptible to signal corruption and jamming; intentional or unintentional. Therefore the degradation and loss of GPS is a real risk so don’t rely on it. Be prepared for it to corrupt and have back up plans in place.

6.  Technology.

Learning how to use GNSS and other gadgets needs to be much more than how to use the knobs and buttons ( knobology).   Be very aware that technology can fail due to a myriad of reasons (not just jamming) including flat batteries, water ingression and just because - - - .  Most importantly its about using technology to support good decision making with a full awareness of its inherent weaknesses.

7.  Share Your Knowledge.

Mentoring is the key.  Experienced navigators should mentor less experienced navigators.  And those who understand modern technology should help those who don't.

General Discussion / Origional Mountain Marathon
« on: September 22, 2013, 10:56:49 AM »
Oh dear it's a grey Sunday Morning and you can see what I have been doing - catching up with my reading!

This months edition of Navigation News describes and promotes an event called the Original Mountain Marathon - Hardest Navigation Challenge in the World.  The world is full of ultra-marathons, endurance events and other highly entertaining ways to nearly die, and then not quite manage it.  The Authors words not mine.

It seems one is required to spend 36 hours in October, unsupported in the Brecon Beacons, aiming for check points in a timed manner.  Full list of check points is given to you ten minutes before the off.  Unlike running you need to be more than physically fit.  You need to be able to navigate on foot to a very standard.  A 55 year old mountain man is more than likely able to beat  a 26 year old athlete purely because of his mountain and navigation experience.

As a pre-race qualification showing that you have completed 10 London Marathons is insufficient.  You need to be able to show that you can get your self from A to B without assistance, and also be able to deal with all the potential mishaps that the remote mountain terrain can throw at you.

There is an extensive mandatory personal equipment list.   For the experts it must not weigh more than 6kg and must fit into a 20 litre pack.  Novices can go up to 10kg fitting into a 30 litre pack.

Further details, who has already signed up and an entry form can be found at

I feel quite exhausted now.  Back to my tea, toast and Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs.  :)

New Techniques & Learning / Future of Navigation
« on: August 25, 2013, 09:59:11 AM »

This is a fascinating.  Drives home the point of the nightmare we are / have created for ourselves with an over reliance on GNSS.

BBC Radio 4 has broadcast a fascinating programme on the future of navigation.

We all rely on GPS - the Global Positioning System network of satellites - whether we want to or not.

From shipping to taxis to mobile phones, the goods we consume and the technology with which we run our lives depend upon a low-power, weak and vulnerable signal beamed from a few tonnes of electronics orbiting above our heads.

This dependence is a new Achilles' heel for the world's financial, commercial and military establishments. From North Korea's concerted disruption of the South's maritime and airborne fleet, to white van drivers' evading the boss's scrutiny over lunch, this signal is easy to jam, with disastrous consequences.

Some people are looking at alternatives.

The programme featured former RIN President Professor David Last, and is now available to listen to on the BBC's iPlayer website. to listen to the show, which expounds on eLoran, visit the link on this page.

Forecasting / Space Weather
« on: June 13, 2013, 12:07:42 PM »
This is interesting and informative.

Maps / Map Codes
« on: May 18, 2013, 12:52:30 PM »
Have just installed a revised operating system to my Tom Tom gadget.

One of the new features is something called Map Code.  To quote Tom Tom 

Map codes can now be entered as part of selecting an address. A map code is 4 - 7 characters long and is like a worldwide postcode that is available for every location on Earth. See for more information.

• As you scroll through POIs on the map, the corresponding map code is shown together with latitude and longitude.

Just checked it out via the mapping on the above web link and got a 6 character code for my home along with an alternative 7 character one.  Seems great.

OK according to the website this is something that would appear to have been around for 10 plus years, is now being put forward as an ISO universal standard for defining position and is also now being used / promoted by Tom Tom in connection with GNSS navigation. 

So the questions are:  Has any one come across it before?  Is it something the emergency services would be familiar with?  Say I need to report an incident and gave out a map code reference of the incidents location would they be able to do anything with it?

General Discussion / Kahtoola Spikes
« on: March 15, 2013, 09:48:14 AM »
Not sure if any of you are aware of Kahtoola Micro Spikes.

Whilst they have been designed for use in snow and ice I was using them to great effect on the steep, slippery muddy paths on the South Downs yesterday.

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