Retracing my footsteps

By November 27, 2014 Tech, Travels

Last weekend I escaped to the Cederberg again, for the 3rd Digital Detox this year. This however was not  a pure digital detox (I had a GPS and GoPro with me)

On our previous hiking trip we had a slight mis-navigation and ended up getting properly lost in the wilderness (reference my cousins article Thoughts from the top of a mountain for the full story) and we never actually reached our final destination, which was supposed to be the Wolfberg Cracks.

This allowed me the opportunity to finally purchase a GPS device. For awhile I have considered buying a GPS but never really had a decent enough excuse. I mean 9 out of 10 times we don’t get lost and in some way perhaps previously I thought  the idea of getting lost out in the wild seems kinda romantic. I’ve changed my mind, its not romantic or fun and it actually really sucks getting lost, and most people don’t cope very well.

So I did some research the week before this trip and decided on the Garmin eTrex 30. The choice was based on price, stock availability and obviously the features.

This is not a product review, but I will say this…..these devices are NOT very user friendly. The eTrex is an “entry-level” device, but overall the User Experience is lacking. I have gotten used to the Apple Standard of user experience, I keep getting within in the Garmin OS. Quite ironic really. Somewhere in my research I read a comment that basically mentioned that Garmin is obviously brilliant at building physical / hardware devices, but are struggling in the digital / software space. Perhaps their new models like the Orgegon and Montan touch screen devices are a step in the right direction.

The web services available for the device, namely Basecamp, Garmin Connect and Express seem clunky, hard to figure out and understand, and you really need quite abit of patience to get your head around the functionality on the websites as well as the actual device.

That being said, I am new to the whole plotting / navigation arena and maybe the fault lies with me.

Regardless, its been super fun to track my activities over the last few days, and have found the most popular platform to upload my activity and .gpx file is called Strava.

The Strava service allows you to record your athletic activity using one of the many compatible GPS devices, or in my case upload the Garmin recorded activity to their website. Once you have done this it then plots your route and provides you with various statistics depending which activity type (ride, run, walk, hike etc,) you performed.

But what is the purpose of doing this? Was the idea not for the GPS purely to help me if I get lost?

Now I am tracking and monitoring my activities by publishing it online so my “followers” can see what I am up to (and who knows who else). I am not a professional athlete, nor will I ever be…so I do ask myself

Why am I uploading and publishing my activities on a 3rd party website? I guess to Share the experience?? Because its fun to see the route?? I will leave this for another day…

See the Strava iframe from the hike below as well as some pics taken with a GoPro3  

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