This brief guide is intended for those who have never used a GPS or for those who have had very limited experience only, so I have kept it brief and simple.
The Advantages Of A GPS For The Prospector
- You can mark the spot where you left your car and find your way back again so you will not become lost. Even experienced Bushmen can get lost easily when taking up metal detecting. This is because the operator walks about, often in circles, looking at the ground rather than at positions on the horizon. Especially when clouds hide the sun you can lose your sense of direction. Having a GPS has given me the freedom to explore more remote country that previously I would not have walked into for fear of getting lost.
- You can mark the spot where you found gold so you can find it again on another occasion. Sometimes gold finds are made a long way off the beaten track. One gully looks much like the next. All the ridges look the same and it can be difficult to find the spot again, especially if it is any distance away.
- By studying a map with gold mining areas marked beforehand, you can program their locations into the GPS and save them. At any future time the GPS will guide you to the old diggings. A few months ago I was studying up old mining data and came across a description of a rich alluvial spot. The co-ordinates were marked on the corresponding map and I was able to punch them into the GPS while still at home. Weeks later as I was driving around the goldfields, the GPS was able to guide me to the diggings where I was able to find several ounces of gold on that day.
- You can mark the spot where you intend to meet your prospecting partner so you can find each other at the designated spot. Sometimes it’s hard to find each other again in timbered terrain. Voices only carry a short distance and whistles sound like birdcalls. A GPS can give a sense of security.
Most brands of GPS systems are pretty good, but are generally more expensive for the same features or they are more complicated to use. The Magellan’s are excellent value for money and their ease of use. If you are going to operate within sight of the car then there is no problem, but if you are going to go further into the bush, perhaps you should consider a GPS.