Posted by: davepidgeon | October 27, 2009

NPR reports on GPS

NPR broadcasted a story Monday about a new generation of GPS units and how they may be contributing to a false sense of security among inexperienced hikers. Melissa Block of All Things Considered interviewed Matt Scharper, coordinator of the California Emergency Management Agency’s search and rescue team:

Mr. SCHARPER: I’ve coined them the yuppie 911 device.

BLOCK: And by that, you mean what exactly?

Mr. SCHARPER: I simply mean that more and more people are relying on technology and gizmos and stuff like that to basically rely their own safety on a device versus common sense as it used to be.

BLOCK: In other words, they might be taking more risks than they would ordinarily, going places maybe where they’re not really prepared to go because they figure, well, I have this thing in my pocket, I’ll be okay?

Let’s put this obvious disclaimer out there – A GPS unit is not a waterproof parka, can’t really start a fire, won’t spread out like a tarp tent, can’t spray pepper into the face of a snarling griz, and isn’t worth a damn if the batteries dry up.

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