VERMONT BREEDING BIRD ATLAS POSTING
Carolyn and others,
I'm responding to the entire list because there might be general interest
in use of GPS units for atlas work.
I've used GPS units a lot in the forested conditions of New England, and
find that satellite reception generally is quite satisfactory. Terrain
seems to be more to blame for bad reception than foliage, but normally only
on unusually steep sites.
Last summer, I had students working in northern NH, where much of the
forest was thick spruce-fir. We used Garmin eTrex units (the most basic
12-channel model) and only rarely had problems getting signals. With a
little practice, the units were very handy for locating corners of survey
blocks, and for navigating around the survey blocks. Also, on a few days,
for navigating back to the car.
I hate to recommend a particular brand because my experience is limited to
Trimble (for professional work) and Garmin for general field work. I know
Magellan makes a good product also; I was in the field last week with
someone who had a Magellan unit, and she was very happy with it. I'll just
add that you can get some good buys on both brands through the Internet.
For those of us who will be using GPS in the field, I strongly recommend
that we record points where we confirm breeding species. It will be really
nice to have a database of known locations for breeding birds throughout
I hope I haven't begun a cascade of listserve GPS commercials,
At 02:41 PM 08-04-03 -0400, Carolyn Marsh wrote:
>VERMONT BREEDING BIRD ATLAS POSTING
>My husband John and I are signed up for the VBBA project in the
>Westminster West block and are interested in the possibility of using a
>GPS unit to assist. Right now we are trying to educate ourselves on
>the features and pros and cons of two different models (Garmin eTrex
>Vista and the Magellan Meridian Platinum.) We have both in our hot
>little hands --for a short time.
>We assume that a GPS might be a useful tool. Our major concern is
>whether it can effectively operate in the wooded environment that we
>will encounter. The reviews and manuals that we have read all mention
>the importance of having an open sky view for accurate navigation. Our
>test runs show intermittent signal loss under semi-open evergreen cover
>but we have obviously not been able to test in a situation where the
>deciduous trees are fully leafed out.
>We would appreciate any input from forum members who have experience
>with GPS units-- either on this specific issue or on their personal
>experiences with various makes and models.
>[log in to unmask]
David E. Capen
School of Natural Resources
University of Vermont
Burlington VT 05405