Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Google Earth for Hunters

Aside from a binocular, one of the best tools for scouting is a GPS navigation aid.  There are many products out there but one of my favourite is Google Earth.


There are a few things to consider when using google earth on the road for hunters:

Mobility
I like to mount a laptop in the car with a GPS antenna on the car roof connected via USB.  Tablet is always a good option but haven't ran across a reliable one yet.

Software
Running Google earth and GooPs.  I run it on XP but it can run on most systems.

Off-line information
Google earth cache can be used to store the maps to the areas you plan to travel.  These maps need to be pre-cached in case you loose connectivity.  You can use the fly-by mode of google earth to capture and pre-load most of the way and add a bit of your own discovery.  You can back up the cache file and do some cache swapping or even run your own gateway service and use it for offline cache.  There is a 2GB limit on the locally stored data.

Real-time information
Obviously if you have connection to a cell network you can try connecting and receiving real time but this option is usually not available once you turn off highway 1.

Off Road layers
I like to add back road maps and overlays to make the tool even more powerful. Specially when I venture to areas that i have not pre-cached.

Observation & Directions
I use pins to store information about sightings, interesting spots, "shoot-out" spots, etc.  From time to time i might store GPS tracks as well to the secret spots if i need to share it with someone.  GPS track is the best direction you can give to anyone.

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