Go Green: Travel Effectively Using a GPS

GPSIn this article, travelling effectively would mean getting from point A to point B by spending the least amount of time and resources. By using a handheld GPS receiver, you would be able to obtain sufficient information to know how to travel with the shortest routes and avoid unnecessary hurdles. Do bear in mind that there are other tools which can aid you to further understand your surroundings.

To really understand how you use it, you have to understand how it works. The handheld GPS receiver would utilize the Global Positioning System to accurately measure where you are on earth. Essentially, the GPS is a system which consist of the ground stations, the handheld receivers (the unit you are holding) and satellites.

After your location is identified, your handheld GPS receivers would do the required calculations to provide you with information concerning your location. These calculations would be primarily based on pinpointing your elevation above the sea level, latitude and longitude. After getting the gist of how your GPS function, it is time to consider how this handheld unit can help you go green by aiding you to travel effectively.

There are 2 aspects here about travelling which I would discuss: (1) travelling in the outdoors on foot and (2) travelling using a vehicle. By reducing the amount of resources used to get similar results, we are reducing our carbon footprints as well.

Method 1: Using various navigation methods improving efficiency on land

By using a handheld GPS unit, it would improve your efficiency on land. By using modern computerized management systems with communication technology, many transportation challenges including those with vehicles and by foot can be avoided.

For travelling on foot, a GPS would be able to save you a lot of trouble if you are well-versed with the various navigation methods. You have the option of navigating using the stored waypoints in your GPS or by navigating through 3-D locations which are portrayed on your screen.

Only when you are experienced enough, you can know which type of navigation would be best suited for you when you are navigating through your unit to search for a destination or while you are travelling on foot as you are following a blood trail.

Concerning travelling by vehicles, a GPS can help you to search facilities present along the highway you are travelling or just help you to determine a route that is much shorter or less congested so that you can get to your destination within a short period of time.

Method 2: Using the ‘scouting’ capability of your GPS unit

This method is especially useful for those travelling on foot for hunting. Ideally, the hunting process would begin with Cyber Scouting where you would utilize computer maps, topography or aerial views so that you would have a rough idea of how the surroundings of your intended route would look like. Three resources come up to mind: Garmin’s BaseCamp software, Google Earth and

Scouting can be said to be your ‘homework’ before you hunt on foot. It helps you understand the terrain better which would directly help you to travel effectively. First, you utilize your home computer to look at maps and get a rough idea of how the landscape looks like. Next, mark those locations which interests you and are necessary for you to travel. Finally, transfer those waypoints into your unit.

Sounds easy enough right? Although it takes an extra effort to do the above but it would definitely be worth it. By doing this, you are providing yourself an alternative method of navigation where you can travel by referring to the waypoints you set in your GPS unit. This mechanism would allow you to backtrack effectively as well.

Method 3: Obtaining and understanding the information available in the GPS unit

Only when you understand and is able to effectively able to use the information provided in the GPS only then you can travel with ease. Do note that ‘where you are’ consist of 3 components: your orientation, your position and the intended direction you want to travel. Missing out on one of these factors can render you to move away from your destination.

Your GPS unit would be able to tell your orientation which is your alignment with your surroundings. Knowing which direction to turn would be essential especially when you are out in the wilderness and everywhere seems to be ‘north’ for some reason. By extracting information from your GPS properly, you can avoid moving about inefficiently and only move towards the direction which you need to go.

If you lose touch in one of the 3 components, it would have a high probability of affecting you to move in the wrong direction.

You can also move in the right direction since the GPS unit would track your coordinates, specifying your latitude and longitude position. These information would be vital especially when you are in an emergency situation because the coordinates can help rescuers track your position and aid them in pinpointing your exact location.


By employing the methods above, you would most likely be able to travel effectively to your destination be it on foot or using a vehicle. By doing so, you would be contributing to a better environment because you are conserving resources which can be used for other things.

But before that, you need to get that handheld GPS unit first! In getting one, there are several aspects that you must consider such as ensuring that your handheld GPS unit has excellent display quality which allows you to read it in different lighting conditions or it has adequate amount of storage capacity. The fact that it is lightweight and durable enough should be taken into account especially if you are using the GPS unit to travel frequently.

If there are any comments or you would like to share other methods you can employ to travel effectively, feel free to comment below!

Author Bio: I am John Lewis, a blogger, survivalist and outdoor enthusiast. You can follow me over at Epic Wilderness.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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