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Dave Rogers

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HIKING AND BIKING WITH YOUR PDA This article explores some of the ways that you can use your PDA to improve your outdoor hobbies and sports. In particular, weíll cover biking, stargazing and photography, and look at GPS, first aid, and PDA protection. Hiking and mountain biking: being prepared People often know what trail they want to try, and often it is a new one that they havenít actually been on before. This is where a PDA comes in handy. Use it to bring along trail descriptions. Sight Seeing Enjoying the scenery is an important part of being outdoors and it is nice to be able to identify plants common to the area you hike or bike in as well as the local wildlife. A PDA can hold this information for handy reference. A good source I have found is MS Encarta. Star Gazing You canít fully appreciate they beauty of the stars are until you get away from the nighttime glare of big cities. It's more fun of course to know what you're looking at when there are literally billions of stars in the sky. Photography PDAs aid in outdoor photography. Use it to make notes on the location and settings to record the background story behind each picture. First Aid ≠ the doctor is in your PDA In most cases, medical assistance can be obtained with a cell phone call to 911 or through using a two-way radio like the Motorola TalkAbout. But what happens when you're outside cell phone coverage or if you donít have time to wait for additional help to arrive? Of course you should probably learn CPR and always hike with a first aid kit but you might also want to consider carrying medical reference software in your PDA. Other benefits If you absolutely have to stay in touch with your employer or business then wireless communications options are available. There are games you can play when it gets dark. You can store MP3s and listen to music during your hike. But remember that the more you do with your PDA, the more energy you use so bring backup batteries along. USING GPS WITH YOUR PDA The Global Positioning System can be used it to determine exact latitude, longitude, height above sea level, and even the direction and speed you're moving. GPS antennas are available for PDAs at sites like GPS is useful when... * Hiking in new territory or on an unmarked path. Using a GPS is an excellent way to make sure you always know where you are. * Tracking where you've been, how far youíve gone, tallying altitude gained/lost, etc. * Exploring, rock hunting, or looking for secret hot springs and other spots. With GPS you can record the position of your new discovery so that you can find again later with ease. * Mountain biking - use it during a rest stop to confirm location and spot check speed and distance covered. * Preplanning a hike. Mark off waypoints of good rest areas and other important spots along your route. There are websites with log files from many of the hikes others have completed and they often contain coordinates you can refer to. Even on trails you are not likely to get lost on a GPS can help you gauge your progress and assist you in responding to the cries of "are we there yet" that you may get. Weíve already covered some points about safety and your PDA but GPS capabilities would be another important item to have along as well. If you get in trouble, you can use a GPS unit to communicate your exact position to within a few meters to rescue teams. -- For more GPS and mapping related resources please visit delivers GPS navigation solutions, maps, and gear at prices below the manufacturer's suggested retail pricing.

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