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Do I Already Have GPS

 
master pollinator
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I am pretty computer illiterate. I can navigate my way around a laptop or desktop, but I REFUSE to have a cellphone, much less a Smart Phone...so no electronic leash for this guy. I get home when I get home, if something breaks I either have to figure it out on how to cobble it back together, or start hiking. Either way is fine with me. And in an emergency, the next guy I see will have a cellphone, so I will ask to use his.

But I got a few acres too, and as I map out my mineralization on this farm, and chart all my ore sample sites, I maintain a questionnaire on each site to determine which ones are more valuable then the others. I have been doing this the old fashioned away with compass and map, reading topographical lines, water bodies, and LIDAR information to figure out where I took the sample, but having exact GPS coordinates would be really nice. (I am often MILES out in the woods while doing this)

I have ZERO interest in having a handheld GPS device, but was curious if my laptop has a way to tell me where I am by GPS coordinates? It have no issue with taking it with me because I could bring up my sample questionaire and figure out the ranking of the sample site before moving to the next location. But can my laptop (it is a year old) do this? If not, what do I need to do to make it work?

One of the guys I watch on Youtube goes in old mines, and he often says his tablet does not need GPS connection, and tracks where he goes even underground for miles. That got me to thinking, maybe my laptop would work for my situation.
 
master pollinator
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Googlemaps will give your position if you right-click and click "What's here?" on the menu that will appear.
what.jpeg
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gardener
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Google Earth give Lon/Lat if you have good visual l landmarks. Our County has a relatively accurate on line taxlot maps that can give distances but currently does not give Lon/Lat between the two I can get pretty good location info without a GPS, GPS's are far more affordable now than my first one.
 
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Hello Travis,

no I don't think your laptop has GPS. But you can buy a GPS device that connects to the USB port of your laptop for $20-$50 (depending on the accuracy and performance). A good device will give you roughly 3 meters precision. (I have one that uses GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and BeiDou at the same time, resulting in better accuracy.)
 
pollinator
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You laptop probably does not have GPS.

When you use your computer at home at it give your your current location it is usually based off other data (like your IP address) which narrows it down to a few 100m. That obviously won't work when you go for a walk around your property.
 
pollinator
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As others have pointed out, no. Your laptop will not have GPS unless it was a specific custom feature. But as Sebastian pointed out there are ways to get your laptop to have GPS. The question is how accurate do you need it to be and how much do you want to spend?
When we moved back to Illinois I started working on building my own rover for GPS data collection on the farm, specifically mapping out where the water line is, finding property corners, etc. I have a functional unit that will collect data points and gives submeter accuracy. That is not to say it will always work everywhere, but I have been able to use it and return to the same spot on different days within a couple feet. Most of the time it's less than a foot.

There are two things you will need to get your laptop to provide the data you want, the receiver itself and software to translate the data provided by the receiver. Also, for the best, or at least better, accuracy you need an external antenna.

I have one of these USB receivers and it will get you within 10 feet.

This software may get you what you need with the receiver above.
VisualGPS
 
Travis Johnson
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I am not sure how accurate I really need to be. When everything you are looking for is underground, it is kind of like trying to find a stud under drywall. You poke here, then there, and keep movving within a field until you find the exact spot you are looking for. It is the same with minerals.

In this case the mineralization seems to be limited to about 2000 acres overall, and at this point I am sampling individual streams, and outcroppings of rock. A few outcropping are big enough to have several veins running through them, but I have not really defined my search to say an individual stream, a section of that stream, and then sampled in grid-like fashion to see where the pay streak runs in that section of stream. I might in the future, but when I get to that point, I can upgrade my GPS mapping device.

I am more interested in lode deposits than placer anyway, and the bedrock here seems to be running with veins every 20-40 feet, but thankfully with pretty consistent strike, and an 85 degree dip; so they will be easy to map. With those, it just would be determining where the hotspot would be within the vein.

If I could pinpoint a spot anywhere within these 2000 acres, within 15 feet, I would be pretty happy. Anything over that and I might start getting veins mixed up. And elevation would be nice to know, again due to dip.

However, you guys know where these minerals always show up; in the worst possible ravines where even a donkey dares not tread, so reaching GPS satelites might be an issue. I have found outcroppings of rock in some of these ravines that even LIDAR has not picked up!
 
Tyler Ludens
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The Google Maps "What's here?" feature seems capable of detailed coordinates, I think it will give them within 15 feet.  

To find distance between coordinates, here's an online calculator:  https://gps-coordinates.org/distance-between-coordinates.php
 
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Travis,
Youre correct. If the ravine is deep enough to where 3 satellites minimum cannot reach your receiver, you wont get a signal anyway.

Read through your post, seems like a bit of a conundrum. Seems like youd like to use GPS as a useful tool (that it absolutely is), but you dont want to deal with any receivers or smartphones. Understandable, but unfortunately you have to "deal with" a GPS receiver of some variety or a smartphone- in order to be able to use this wondrous technology

It wouldn't be worth it for you to get your laptop set up with GPS "receiving" technology, due to the fact that all youd be doing is making your computer capable to utilizing the GPS signal, which is converting it into one big bulky clunky GPS receiver in and of itself. Which kind of negates the whole "i dont want a GPS receiver" mentality. BUT if you already bring it out into the field with you...then maybe it would work fine. But id be willing to bet that would cost you just as much if not more than a cheap handheld receiver would, now days. Just something to consider.
Any device that can utilize GPS signal is a GPS receiver. Period and point blank. Smartphones are equipped with the same-ish technology as commercial GPS receivers, you just also can make phone calls and such on them

Also, just to comment on your Youtubers comment- GPS cannot be actively utilized inside a cave of any sort. The signal is incapable of passing through stone. Your GPS will always go dead inside of cave or cavelike areas, including steep/narrow canyons.

And just another PS on this one, if you are interested in having something that can give you fairly accurate GPS, and you dont want to buy a fancy receiver, id recommend going online and buying a used but working older model smartphone for a few bucks. Like an old iPhone or and old Android. They go for cheap on craigslist/ebay and such. Get one of them, and you can actually use the interface portion of the phone without having a cell phone plan. So you can download Google Maps, or whichever Maps app onto there and they have offline maps you can download. Of course, youd have to do all of this on Wifi, since the phone wouldnt be hooked up to LTE or any internet, unless you connected it. But anyway, you can utilize the GPS feature of this phone without having it connected to the cell phone plan, because the GPS receiving portion of the phone is inherent to the phone (separate) from the cellular plan. So essentially that portion of the phone would still function correctly, assuming the phone was still in functioning condition.
In addition to this, youd be still dodging "the man" and all this tracking stuff that people get upset about, because theres no real way to know who currently is utilizing the phone, when its not set up to a cell phone plan, and is not logged into any of your accounts Just thought id throw that one in there.

I got long winded, but if youre interested in that last idea about the cell phone, let me know. There are somewhat specific methods you would need to pursue if you were to use an old "smartphone" as your GPS receiver. Its not as straightforward as a typical device that will just spit out coordinates to you, but it is still doable if youre willing to put in a bit of work.

Hope that helps some!!!

sources: worked with gps in the past; went caving in Colorado a lot.

 
Sebastian Köln
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I don't recommend buying an old smartphone for the the GPS receiver. They are a nightmare to maintain and the GPS isn't as good as a dedicated device.
 
Travis Johnson
master pollinator
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The biggest issue is, I do not always know where I am.

Maine is 90% forest, so satellite photos are not always helpful. Topographical maps get me close, but my exact position is often questionable. LIDAR maps and their 2 foot contours can be either incredibly accurate, or too confusing dependin on terrain. So when I mark my position on my sample map, it literally is an "x marks the spot". How close I am to where I actually took the sample, I am not sure.

My samples might be soil samples, water samples, ore samples, or mineralization.

Of all of them, water sampling is the one that needs the most accurate site location. That is because it tells me what I have for indicator minerals in the whole watershed above that point. Let’s say that I have a sample with high nickel; that is an indicator of palladium in my area. That means somewhere in the watershed above the point of the sample I got a high likelihood of mineral dyke. By using LIDAR and 2-foot contouring, I can define the area that nickel deposit HAS to be in. Then I work up the tributaries; including, or excluding, each one as a possible mineral source. Now keep in mind, a “tributary” might just be a trickle.

I saw a receiver for a USB Port that was $20 on Amazon, but would that work?

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A Tiny, but Interesting Stream
 
Sebastian Köln
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If it is a GPS receiver that support your operating system (probably the case for windows), then yes it will work.
 
Michael Cox
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I'm getting a better picture of your requirements now.

You don't really need a sophisticated mapping device - you have detailed LIDAR maps available back at base camp. You just need something that can give an accurate Lat/Long in the field. Consider looking on ebay or similar for  second hand hiking GPS device. My old one - like proper old school 15+ years - still functions, has a really basic LCD display and good battery life. You can press a button and after a few minutes calibrating it will give you a good Lat/Long (or in the UK, and Ordinance Survey grid reference).

I think it is also worth realising that GPS devices receive satellite signals only. They don't transmit. An old knackered smart phone - if setup properly with the right free apps would work fine for this purpose, even without a sim card in it. If you are unfamiliar with using them see if a friend could help you out.

Many people will have an old smart phone knocking around in a drawer that they might be willing to give you.
 
gardener & author
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Tyler Ludens wrote:The Google Maps "What's here?" feature seems capable of detailed coordinates, I think it will give them within 15 feet.  



Not here. I just tested it, and it showed me being somewhere about 12 miles east of where I am. Whereas the GPS feature on my phone is very accurate here.
 
Travis Johnson
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Michael Cox wrote:I'm getting a better picture of your requirements now.

You don't really need a sophisticated mapping device - you have detailed LIDAR maps available back at base camp. You just need something that can give an accurate Lat/Long in the field. Consider looking on ebay or similar for  second hand hiking GPS device. My old one - like proper old school 15+ years - still functions, has a really basic LCD display and good battery life. You can press a button and after a few minutes calibrating it will give you a good Lat/Long (or in the UK, and Ordinance Survey grid reference).

I think it is also worth realising that GPS devices receive satellite signals only. They don't transmit. An old knackered smart phone - if setup properly with the right free apps would work fine for this purpose, even without a sim card in it. If you are unfamiliar with using them see if a friend could help you out.

Many people will have an old smart phone knocking around in a drawer that they might be willing to give you.




Yes, that is about right...though "base camp" is my house.

Completing the sample questionaire is not absolutely essential while out in the field, I can do that at home. That is just a series of questions that helps me determine where the best sites are as I find them. Each question is given a score, and weighted, and then 20 questions are so are tallied to give me an idea of how the sample site scores. The above stream for instance was decent. It had good access, was extremely high in one type of mineral, but unlike other streams, lacked other minerals. It also was a seasonal stream, and was not that big in size. Another sample site had all the valuable minerals so it scored higher in that, but was an etremely remote location. By having the computer automatically score the different sites, I can get a constantly updated list of where the best site is.

But that is based upon all values. I can change the weight of each question and evaluate again. For instance I could easily rank my sample sites by mineral I am targeting, or something like, ease of access, or access to grid electricity.

As I get more and more sample sites, they are not as spread out like they once were. I have found where the minerals are concentrated for instance, which is within that 2000 acres. All but one stream in that area has been checked for mineralization, but now additional sites in the same stream are beginning to be checked. That is how I have isolated zinc to a 7 acre area for instance. To put that in perspective, I could have a 7 acre zinc mine if I wanted too.

All of this has taken 5 years of exploring to achieve. But I typically do my geological explorations in the winter because I really hate swatting misquitoes and flies. That is why I am asking these questions now: I am gearing up for the new season. It has been a pretty interesting adventure so far, big enough that I wrote a book about what I have found. It is finished, I just need to get it printed now.
 
Michael Cox
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Travis what do you use for record keeping when out in the field? It sounds like good record keeping is going to be as important as collecting samples in the first place.

You might find investing in a proper waterproof geologists field notebook worthwhile. They are comparatively expensive, but robust and genuinely waterproof for note taking. Use pencil rather than pen (ink runs when wet, pencil does not).

https://www.geologysuperstore.com/index.php/geological-equipment-tools/notebooks-mapping/field-notebooks/chartwell-field-notebook-2006.html
 
Sebastian Köln
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Michael Cox wrote:
I think it is also worth realising that GPS devices receive satellite signals only. They don't transmit. An old knackered smart phone - if setup properly with the right free apps would work fine for this purpose, even without a sim card in it. If you are unfamiliar with using them see if a friend could help you out.



I have an old knackered smart phone (Motorola Defy+) and a dedicated GPS receiver (GM-3 N RU300). The dedicated receiver boots up in a matter of seconds, while phone takes minutes. And the accuracy of the phone is about 5x worse.
The GPS receiver also has 3m of cable on it, so it can be mounted on a stick of necessary…
 
Travis Johnson
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Michael Cox wrote:Travis what do you use for record keeping when out in the field? It sounds like good record keeping is going to be as important as collecting samples in the first place.

You might find investing in a proper waterproof geologists field notebook worthwhile. They are comparatively expensive, but robust and genuinely waterproof for note taking. Use pencil rather than pen (ink runs when wet, pencil does not).

https://www.geologysuperstore.com/index.php/geological-equipment-tools/notebooks-mapping/field-notebooks/chartwell-field-notebook-2006.html



I am pretty old school, so I do not use much. A notebook, a small pan, hammer and chisels for the hard rock, and tons of ziplock bags for samples. I do have a magnifying glass too, just in case an inclussion shows potential. All that is in a backpack, and then I head out, many times on snowshoes!

The hardest thing is humping all those rock samples back home. Sometimes I am miles from the nearest road, and makes me wish I had a donkey, but a I have cancer too, so fatigue is always a problem. But this gets me outside in the winter, so it is a fun hobby.

Geological wise the most intersting find was in a stream, 20 feet from a lode deposit that had confirmed medium grade ore. I knew the stream would be a hot spot, but then I found a ultra rare palladium NUGGET. Palladium is only found in 20 places in the world, and rarely in nugget form. No one was more shocked than I was that Maine is one of those twenty locations...and I found it in the form of a nugget no less! Spot price today is $1679.30 per troy ounce, a few hundred dollars more than the price of gold.

Humanly speaking, the most interesting thing I found was a ginormous bobcat tracking me. I do not pack a gun with me, but after that encounter I have been thinking maybe I should. They are not aggressive, but when you are 15 feet from a ginormous one, miles from the nearest road, one questions ones place on the food chain.

Fun wise, it is working with the Geologists here. They have never had acess to this farm before, so their bedrock and surficial maps are void in this area. I had wanted to do a lot of earthwork this year to explore the bedrock, but I got busy selling some houses, and never got to that. I also wanted to do a test phytomining plot, but never got to that either. So it was disappointing, but I plan a lot of winter hokes...as soon as hunting season is over anyway. Palladium might be worth almost $1700 an ounce, but it is not worth getting shot over.







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Mighty Big Bob Cat
 
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