GPS say where? Bridget’s post.

GPS says Where?

I chose this picture of two people in their canoe using a GPS to navigate because it shows the clashing of old and new technologies. The picture was taken in Kwartha Highlands Park in Ontario.

The picture quote with the picture says “I believe the GPS said intermittent water for this area, perhaps it’ll have to be renamed into a lake!”. This is a comical rendering of people using a very new technology which has provided some amazing benefits in navigation and statistics. Canoeing is a very old form of transportation well known to Canadians and is, by nature a quiet sport, free of electronics. Campsite locations are generally marked on maps which one hopes to have remembered to waterproof before pushing off into the water. The markings are not usually exact so it is always a bit of a guessing game which depends on both the quality/scale of the map and the reading abilities of the navigator. Symbols, and legends must be interpreted. Paddlers enter this world of water knowing that there will be a bit of a search.

Introducing the GPS into this kind of environment suddenly makes us expect accuracy, which as this picture depicts is still unrealistic. I was at a campsite a few years ago when a couple paddled by with GPS in hand (batteries had died) and they were desperately looking for campsite #10 (we were at #9). They had not bothered with a map and even though they were close panic had set in as the only tool and they felt ever so lost. The only tool they relied on had failed them. We do not need to be reminded of the Canadian couple who got lost in the Nevada wilderness earlier this year are relying heavily on their GPS. When O’Donnel spoke of gains and losses but I am not sure he referred to such a tragedy.

I currently teach middle school math teacher in Montreal and I also have a background in Biology. I am an avid athlete (run, swim, bike, x-c ski) and get out into nature as often as I can. I have completed seven MET courses and I have to admit that I began looking at this course because it fit my schedule that I had set out for my three remaining terms. After reading the expectations and scanning over some of the topics I think that this will be very interesting journey and I will delve into some areas that I have not even thought about for a very long time…if ever.

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