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SKILLS: How to Prolong Your Phone's Battery Life Outdoors

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Climbers and hillwalkers will be familiar with the outdoor equivalent of range anxiety - the fear that your phone battery will run out before journey's end. These tips and tricks from Rachel Koktava should help you keep your phone going for longer. 

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2
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Really useful article.

 Babika 01 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Brilliant article. Lots of top tips - I shall be taking my phone to bed with me now rather than leaving it outside the sleeping bag!

And searching out the 2G setting.

 lithos 01 Mar 2022

getting a gps fix in the car park, when you can plug it into the car to keep it fully charged before you set off,  can speed up finding the fix later on in the day whilst it searches for satellites.  This is especially relevant if you have travelled far (eg by car) since the last fix

 simes303 02 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Portable batteries are really useful but don't get a cheap one from eBay etc.

Get an Anker or RavPower and save yourself a lot of stress.

Or something like this if you're going to be away for longer. I've got this model and it easily charges my phone at close to mains charging speed even when it's cloudy, and two phones simultaneously if the sun is out.

https://us.anker.com/products/a2422?_pos=3&_sid=26f917140&_ss=r

It's also worth knowing that charging cables vary massively. I tested a lot a couple of years ago and the charging current varied from the standard USB current of 2 Amps right down to an utterly pathetic 150mA.

Post edited at 17:43
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

My top tip: leave it at home switched off*

*I have to admit that I don't do this, but when I lost mine on the second day of a week long trip into the hills a couple of years ago, it did feel genuinely liberating.

10
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

One other tip for sending SMS in low signal area is to hold your phone horizontally and point, say, East and try to send the message. Then if that doesn’t work, turn 90 degrees (North or South in this example) and try again. If that doesn’t work try with your phone vertical in both directions etc. That technique gives best chance of finding any tiny signal that might be around you sufficient to get the message out. 

1
 nikoid 03 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

My phone wouldn't make calls in 2g mode. Android phone on Three network. 

 The Pylon King 03 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Leave it in the car!

20
 streapadair 03 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

How on earth did we ever manage to get about the hills when your only phone was the black GPO one in your house?

11
 robhorton 03 Mar 2022
In reply to nikoid:

I had something similar which turning off VoLTE seemed to sort. Your mileage may vary of course...

 ExiledScot 03 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Turn phone off unless expecting urgent phone call, don't use phone for navigation. Problem that didn't exist, solved. 

9
In reply to ExiledScot:

> Turn phone off unless expecting urgent phone call, don't use phone for navigation. Problem that didn't exist, solved. 

I think a good solution would be to have a cheap basic phone kept charged in a waterproof bag at the bottom of the sack for emergencies only. Leave the fancy phone behind.

4
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I think a good solution would be to have a cheap basic phone kept charged in a waterproof bag at the bottom of the sack for emergencies only. Leave the fancy phone behind.

Or treat your phone like a GPS device and ignore the fact that it's a phone. 

Then you can be really surprised later in the journey when you need to make a call and find out your GPS does it!!

In reply to timparkin:

> Or treat your phone like a GPS device.

You mean not have one on principle?

Post edited at 15:56
9
 The Pylon King 03 Mar 2022
In reply to timparkin:

Doesnt anyone just map read any more?

3
 deepsoup 03 Mar 2022
In reply to The Pylon King:

Well obviously people do still read paper maps, yes, but please don't let that stop you having a good shout at the clouds.

It does strike me as a bit odd, given that the ability to provide a precise GPS fix is a fairly basic function of so many phones these days, that you would carry one in a sealed bag for emergency use that is not capable of doing that. 

But then my navigation is admittedly pretty poor, so I have no difficulty at all imagining circumstances in which I might need to make an emergency call (or perhaps text) that would also involve being unable to provide an exact grid reference from my trusty paper map.  And if I ever did need to shout Mountain Rescue (or Coastguard/RNLI) for help, I would really really like to be able to tell them exactly where I am.

Post edited at 16:39
 Myr 03 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Sometimes if my phone has got very cold and I start using it, it will drop from say 60% to 1% in a few seconds' use, and then shuts down. Then when I try and turn it on again it'll get part way through the startup animation and then shuts down because it perceives the battery charge is low, even if the phone has been warmed up again. But if I then plug it in to a charger, it'll go up from 1% to 60% in a few seconds.

It is as if the coldness erroneously causes it to perceive the battery charge as very low, and that assessment can't be reversed until I start charging it again. Has anyone else had this, and is there a solution?

In reply to deepsoup:

> It does strike me as a bit odd, given that the ability to provide a precise GPS fix is a fairly basic function of so many phones these days, that you would carry one in a sealed bag for emergency use that is not capable of doing that. 

Simply the matter of principle. I think everyone will have their own line in self-sufficiency they don't wish to cross.

 Marek 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Simply the matter of principle...

I think it's more than a matter of principle. Full disclosure: I had a career in technology, chip and systems design, so I'm pretty open-eyed about how technology works (and sometimes doesn't).

Simplistically, I would posit that your 'everyday' technology (e.g., for navigation) should prioritise convenience over bomb-proof reliability. Your fall-back option however, should prioritise bomb-proof reliability over convenience. In that context I would put any consumer technology (e.g., smart phones) firmly in the convenient camp, not in the bomb-proof camp.

The dichotomy of course is that the map-only based navigation skills (bomb-proof) need practice, and fairly regularly at that. So that suggests that you really should exercise your map-only nav skill regularly, not just assume that you'll remember how to do it when you need it. So for me neither of the common approaches makes sense (GPS just for emergencies, or paper map just for emergencies). By all means use the GPS technology for convenience some of the time, but you really then need to make sure you keep your map-only nav skills honed by using them regularly too. My own compromise is to use the phone quite often purely as an electronic map (no GPS). That stops me getting lazy and not maintaining 'map contact'* all the time, while being easy to carry.

* Orienteering term for knowing where you are on the map (real, in the phone or in your head) 100% of the time and having the right mental reflexes to spot when something on the ground doesn't match that map.

Post edited at 19:39
In reply to Marek:

Well summed up.

If you don't trust the technology then don't use it but please don't judge people who do use it just because it isn't for you. 

Personally, I have an iPhone X with a really good battery. I download the map on the OS app and seldom take a paper map with me for short walks. If I was doing a multi-day walk, in more extreme conditions, I may well take a paper map as a backup, but probably never use it.

Alan 

1
 Basemetal 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Myr:

> Sometimes if my phone has got very cold and I start using it, it will drop from say 60% to 1% in a few seconds' use, and then shuts down. Then when I try and turn it on again it'll get part way through the startup animation and then shuts down because it perceives the battery charge is low, even if the phone has been warmed up again. But if I then plug it in to a charger, it'll go up from 1% to 60% in a few seconds.

My understanding is that the issue is battery ageing  due to internal crystallisation and causing loss of rechargeable capacity. A new battery would perform better, though all are affected by low temperatures.

What catches us out is that battery capacity (as % displayed) disappears from the bottom of the range, not the top.... by that I mean your reduced capacity (older) phone battery, will hold fewer watt-hours of energy when charged, but display 100% since the 'fully charged" is correct. "Empty" however,  will gradually creep up from the bottom, so that your battery will be effectively empty when the gauge shows, say 50%, ...or 60%... or whatever. So with an older battery you need to develop a sense of how far it will discharge down to, rather than thinking it has a true % scale of available capacity.

This fits with what you see with your phone going from 60% to 1%.... your phone battery only has the top 40% of its capacity available now so works between 100% and 60%. Mine currently works between 100% and 35%. Such is (battery) life

 ExiledScot 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Marek:

Maintaining map skills - when heading off the hill, I'll just aim for a few features as I go, drop into some dead ground to find a re-entrant, small tarn, spur etc.. it costs nothing in time, maintains a skills, plus adds a little challenge and entertainment to a walk off. 

 Marek 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> If you don't trust the technology then don't use it but please don't judge people who do use it just because it isn't for you. 

I wasn't 'judging', just hopefully providing an (slightly arrogant?) informed opinion plus - more importantly - a possibly better modus operadi. And I did work for/with Apple for a while and I'm well aware of their hardware reliability (no, I wouldn't trust them for emergency use, any more than any other tier one phone supplier).

But like you, I more often than not, only take a phone for 'non-extreme' outings. It's all about understanding the context.

Post edited at 20:54
2
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> If you don't trust the technology then don't use it but please don't judge people who do use it just because it isn't for you. 

Far be it from me to even think of judging somebody for being reliant on continuous connection to a multi-billion pound collection of satellites for a bimble in the hills🙂

12
In reply to Robert Durran:

Maybe you could eschew computers for a while, on principle, like. And go back to hand writing letters to the editor in green ink...

 Marek 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> If you don't trust the technology ...

Actually, to paraphrase Richard Feynman (badly): "If you trust consumer technology with your life*, then you don't understand it." Just an opinion (not a judgement).

* "Oh heck, lost in a Cairngorm blizzard. OK, I'll get that phone out from the bottom of my rucksack...."

6
 Myr 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Basemetal:

Thanks, that's useful. Sounds like it's time for a new battery (it is about 5 years old), and for better discipline about keeping my phone warm.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Another top tip for Android users.

Settings/Battery shows you where your battery use is going.

Unsurprisingly, display dominates. The other main drains are external comms (mobile, wifi, bluetooth, NFC), and CPU processing.

So, turn down the display brightness, look at it as little as possible, turn off all external comms, and shut down as many apps as possible.

 deepsoup 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Simply the matter of principle.

It isn't a matter of principle, it's an arbitrary question of degree.  You're willing to carry this electronic device in case it can help you in an emergency but not that electronic device.  A mobile phone that you may be able to use to call mountain rescue in case of emergency is ok, but not one that you (or they) might also be able to use to verify your precise position.

In reply to captain paranoia:

> Maybe you could eschew computers for a while, on principle, like. And go back to hand writing letters to the editor in green ink...

Well, yes, that is actually very appealing. One of the things I am seriously thinking of doing in retirement is living like a hermit in the desert for a while with a pile of books for company (and one of the things driving me to retirement is the insidious creep of technology which I am finding increasingly difficult to get away with ignoring).

In reply to deepsoup:

> It isn't a matter of principle, it's an arbitrary question of degree.  You're willing to carry this electronic device in case it can help you in an emergency but not that electronic device.

Well yes, fair enough, my position has changed. I resisted carrying a phone at all in the hills for quite a few years. But I eventually cracked. However, as I said, I found it liberating when I lost my phone and had a week in the hills without it. Maybe one day I'll crack again and use GPS, but I hope not - I have an aesthetic abhorrence of relying on all those satellites.

1
 deepsoup 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Marek:

> * "Oh heck, lost in a Cairngorm blizzard. OK, I'll get that phone out from the bottom of my rucksack...."

"Oh heck, lost in a Cairngorm blizzard.  Well it's a good job I don't have a phone in the bottom of my rucksack, I'd feel a right idiot fishing that out and trying to use it to get a fix on my position."

In reply to deepsoup:

> "Oh heck, lost in a Cairngorm blizzard.  Well it's a good job I don't have a phone in the bottom of my rucksack, I'd feel a right idiot fishing that out and trying to use it to get a fix on my position."

Indeed. And if a mountaineer doesn't want to compromise their principles and place a bolt when in a bit of a fix, they don't carry a drill. 

1
 deepsoup 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

In a situation in which you're carrying a device in case you need it to call for help I don't think it's really your principles that matter, it's those of your rescuers.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> I have an aesthetic abhorrence of relying on all those satellites.

Would it help to think of all the mathematics involved in computing the fix...?

In reply to deepsoup:

> In a situation in which you're carrying a device in case you need it to call for help I don't think it's really your principles that matter, it's those of your rescuers.

Yes, there is undoubtedly pressure to carry a phone and, now, increasingly, GPS for that reason. On the other hand I strongly believe that a guiding principle in the mountains should be to make decisions and act, as far as possible, as if rescue were an impossibility. There is undeniably a tension there - I find this quite interesting.

In reply to captain paranoia:

> > I have an aesthetic abhorrence of relying on all those satellites.

> Would it help to think of all the mathematics involved in computing the fix...?

That would certainly be very aesthetic if one were navigating by the stars; one's own calculations from natural phenomena (including the earth's magnetic field) are obviously as acceptable a read out from satellites is not.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> On the other hand I strongly believe that a guiding principle in the mountains should be to make decisions and act, as far as possible, as if rescue were an impossibility.

I do hope that you tell no-one you are going, or when you are expected back. So that no-one will risk themselves coming to look for you. To make rescue an impossibility. Anything else would be compromising your principles, surely?

 Marek 03 Mar 2022
In reply to deepsoup:

> "Oh heck, lost in a Cairngorm blizzard.  Well it's a good job I don't have a phone in the bottom of my rucksack, I'd feel a right idiot fishing that out and trying to use it to get a fix on my position."

This could go on and on.

But my point was that there's no black-and-white about GPS vs. map skills. They both have their pros and cons, uses and abuses. Anyone who relies solely on one or the other - irrespective of the circumstances - is (to put it politely) missing a trick.

1
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > On the other hand I strongly believe that a guiding principle in the mountains should be to make decisions and act, as far as possible, as if rescue were an impossibility.

> I do hope that you tell no-one you are going, or when you are expected back. So that no-one will risk themselves coming to look for you. To make rescue an impossibility. Anything else would be compromising your principles, surely?

The trouble is that that is impractical - somebody would eventually miss me and raise the alarm. Anyway the responsible thing to do is not to try to make rescue an impossibility but to plan and make decisions as if rescue were an impossibility - by all means, tell someone where you are going and carry a phone that should not affect what you actually do.

 deepsoup 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> On the other hand I strongly believe that a guiding principle in the mountains should be to make decisions and act, as far as possible, as if rescue were an impossibility.

Quite right, I don't think that's controversial at all. 
But nor is it relevant really, because rescue is not impossible, and you are carrying the means to call for help if in spite of your best laid plans it turns out you do need it.

If it's inconceivable that you might not know your precise location even in circumstances where you did find yourself having to call for a rescue, then it makes no difference whether you have a GPS-enabled 'emergency' phone or not.  You pass on your precise grid reference over the phone (or by text) whilst calling for help and all is well.

Otherwise the choice to carry a non-GPS enabled phone impacts the rescue team as much as it does yourself.  If you call for help and can't provide an accurate fix on your current location you're committing the rescue team to a much more arduous and therefore potentially dangerous rescue effort than might otherwise have been required. 

In your drill analogy, carrying a non-GPS equipped 'emergency' phone isn't refusing to place a bolt yourself because you're cragfast and in a pickle, it's telling the mountain rescue team that your principles don't allow them to place a bolt either (or more likely a bloody great big ground anchor) during their efforts to come and get you. 

 deepsoup 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Marek:

> This could go on and on.

Don't worry, that never happens on UKC.

In reply to deepsoup:

> Quite right, I don't think that's controversial at all. 

I certainly hope not, but I am not sure it is by any means universal.

> But nor is it relevant really, because rescue is not impossible, and you are carrying the means to call for help if in spite of your best laid plans it turns out you do need it.

It is highly relevant because you are treating rescue as a last resort rather than, implicitly and irresponsibly, as part of your plan (and therefore obviously more likely).

> If it's inconceivable that you might not know your precise location even in circumstances where you did find yourself having to call for a rescue, then it makes no difference whether you have a GPS-enabled 'emergency' phone or not.  You pass on your precise grid reference over the phone (or by text) whilst calling for help and all is well.

When navigating with map and compass you regularly don't know your exact position and regularly not as accurately as you would with GPS.

> Otherwise the choice to carry a non-GPS enabled phone impacts the rescue team as much as it does yourself.  If you call for help and can't provide an accurate fix on your current location you're committing the rescue team to a much more arduous and therefore potentially dangerous rescue effort than might otherwise have been required. 

And there is the tension with self reliance (in the sense of not relying on an external multi-billion dollar system of satellites in this case), which is a big part of being in the mountains for many people. 

> In your drill analogy, carrying a non-GPS equipped 'emergency' phone isn't refusing to place a bolt yourself because you're cragfast and in a pickle, it's telling the mountain rescue team that your principles don't allow them to place a bolt either (or more likely a bloody great big ground anchor) during their efforts to come and get you. 

So do you think it is irresponsible not to carry a GPS? Or in fact a phone?

1
In reply to Robert Durran:

> So do you think it is irresponsible not to carry a GPS? Or in fact a phone?

No. Provided you're not relying on anyone to come and rescue you. So best not to tell anyone what you're up to so they won't try.

Of course, carrying a GPS might reduce the chance of someone needing to come and rescue you.

1
 ExiledScot 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

It's chicken and egg, in the old days you wouldn't even be considered missing until you failed to show for breakfast in a bed and breakfast, or their car was in an odd place all night. So folk knew they had to stay on the ball, help wasn't instant (a few hours), if the poo hit you'd have to survive the night with what you carried. Now mobiles and gps are like instant get out of jail cards, i think they kill the joy of self reliance. 

2
 deepsoup 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> It is highly relevant because you are treating rescue as a last resort rather than, implicitly and irresponsibly, as part of your plan (and therefore obviously more likely).

Crikey that's condescending.  Do you think the author of the article, or anybody who has commented on this thread does not regard calling for a rescue as a "last resort"?  Do you think that I would be any less reluctant to bother Mountain Rescue than you are?

> And there is the tension with self reliance (in the sense of not relying on an external multi-billion dollar system of satellites in this case), which is a big part of being in the mountains for many people. 

If you want to imagine that rescue is impossible when you're planning your day out that's cool, but the fact remains that you know rescue is a possibility.

Self reliance is about not relying on other people, to the greatest extent possible.  In a situation in which you have been forced to shout for help that's already gone out the window, the best that you can do then is to make your rescue as simple and straightforward for your rescuers as it can be.

So if you're choosing to carry a device that you can use to call for help (specifically because it can be used to call for help), then it's the exact opposite of self reliance to choose not to carry a device that might also spare your rescuers the trouble of having to search for you.

1
 ExiledScot 04 Mar 2022
In reply to deepsoup:

I'll agree, a phone turned off in the bag fulfills that reliance.

There are other benefits, you are trudging up a ridge and see a massive slab avalanche cross where you just saw a group, you have very limited time and help could be nearby already, but how would you know or alert them etc. 

Phones are also good for weather and avalanche updates when in a hut. 

It's using a phone to your advantage, as opposed to relying on it for navigation.

Post edited at 07:27
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > So do you think it is irresponsible not to carry a GPS? Or in fact a phone?

> No. Provided you're not relying on anyone to come and rescue you. So best not to tell anyone what you're up to so they won't try.

As I have said, that is effectively a practical impossibility. Given that fact, do you think not carrying a GPS is irresponsible?

> Of course, carrying a GPS might reduce the chance of someone needing to come and rescue you.

Taking things to their logical conclusion, so would staying at home.

In reply to deepsoup:

> Crikey that's condescending.  Do you think the author of the article, or anybody who has commented on this thread does not regard calling for a rescue as a "last resort"?  Do you think that I would be any less reluctant to bother Mountain Rescue than you are?

As far as I know, no.

> If you want to imagine that rescue is impossible when you're planning your day out that's cool, but the fact remains that you know rescue is a possibility.

You seem to be deliberately missing my point.

> Self reliance is about not relying on other people, to the greatest extent possible.  In a situation in which you have been forced to shout for help that's already gone out the window, the best that you can do then is to make your rescue as simple and straightforward for your rescuers as it can be.

Yes, so, given that, do you think it is irresponsible not to carry a GPS? I am genuinely interested in yours and others' answer to this question.

> So if you're choosing to carry a device that you can use to call for help (specifically because it can be used to call for help), then it's the exact opposite of self reliance to choose not to carry a device that might also spare your rescuers the trouble of having to search for you.

So you think that I should either carry a phone and a GPS or neither? I agree there is some logic in that. 

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Given that fact, do you think not carrying a GPS is irresponsible?

Given you accept the inevitability of someone coming to look for you if you have an accident, then yes, it seems irresponsible not to carry a small device that you may be able to use to contact rescuers and let then know your location; a modern smartphone. This does not oblige you to use the phone for navigation.

Just to be clear: I have been navigating with map and compass since I was seven. I teach conventional navigation to DofE participants (though we also use GNSS trackers for expedition management). I've written an instruction manual for conventional navigation. I was a moderator on the Micronavigation Forum, by invitation from the forum owner and author of the "Ultimate Navigation Manual". I navigate conventionally, and with GNSS.

On the other hand, I have worked professionally on the development of a number of GNSS applications over 25 years, from Infantry Soldier systems, vehicle positioning and road tolling, INS/GNSS fusion systems, and ESA's GSVF constellation simulator. So I'm fairly familiar with the benefits and limitations of GNSS.

Post edited at 08:57
In reply to Marek:

> I wasn't 'judging', just hopefully providing an (slightly arrogant?) informed opinion plus

I was referring to the other replies, not yours. Apologies for being unclear.

Alan

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Far be it from me to even think of judging somebody for being reliant on continuous connection to a multi-billion pound collection of satellites for a bimble in the hills🙂

There is a huge difference between 'use' and 'being reliant on'. But of course, you knew that.

Alan

In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> There is a huge difference between 'use' and 'being reliant on'. But of course, you knew that.

Fair enough. I am sure a lot of people who use GPS are not completely reliant on it. But I don't think that changes things much - people are still happy to use a connection to a multi-billion pound satellite system in the hills for navigation, which seems to me to go against a spirit of self-reliance.

Post edited at 09:00
3
 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Fair enough. I am sure a lot of people who use GPS are not completely reliant on it. But I don't think that changes things much - people are still happy to use a connection to a multi-billion pound satellite system in the hills for navigation.

I'd rather use a multi-billion pound satellite system (if it's there) than a cheap one. I also use a multi-billion pound industry (cars, pubic transport) the get to the hills and I come back to multi-billion pound infrastructure (cities) to relax in afterwards. Relevant?

1
In reply to Robert Durran:

> which seems to me to go against a spirit of self-reliance.

Your sense of self reliance is happy to rely on the significant effort of others to survey and prepare maps, though? Surely you should be self-reliant enough to create your own map? And maybe the paper to draw it on. And the pencils to draw it with... I mean, Ötzi made his own clothes and equipment, and didn't rely on othets.

1
In reply to Marek:

> I come back to multi-billion pound infrastructure (cities) to relax in afterwards. Relevant?

And use a multi-billion pound system to witter endlessly about how terrible it is...

On other forums, it would be considered 'thread crapping'.

In reply to Marek:

> I'd rather use a multi-billion pound satellite system (if it's there) than a cheap one.

I agree that if you are going to use it, it might as well work. But no satellites come cheap.

> I also use a multi-billion pound industry (cars, pubic transport) the get to the hills and I come back to multi-billion pound infrastructure (cities) to relax in afterwards. Relevant?

Yes, absolutely. One reason I go to the hills is to get away from all that and have the simplicity of only using and being reliant on what I carry on my back and on the natural phenomenon of the earth's magnetic field for navigation once I have left the road. Yes, obviously some of the stuff I carry comes from these industries, but I cut the direct link once in the hills - I like that idea.

1
 The Pylon King 04 Mar 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

"Climbers and hillwalkers will be familiar with the outdoor equivalent of range anxiety - the fear that your phone battery will run out before journey's end."

Its the level of anxiety and fear that these devices seem to cause people that gives me a healthy disresect of all convenience technology.  These companies have you wired.

Turn off, drop out, tune in.

In reply to captain paranoia:

> And use a multi-billion pound system to witter endlessly about how terrible it is...

Yes, but I'm not in the hills just now.

> On other forums, it would be considered 'thread crapping'.

I actually find it a an interesting discussion that gets close to the heart of what being in the mountains is about. Just what a forum like this is for really.

In reply to captain paranoia:

> > which seems to me to go against a spirit of self-reliance.

> Your sense of self reliance is happy to rely on the significant effort of others to survey and prepare maps, though? Surely you should be self-reliant enough to create your own map? And maybe the paper to draw it on. And the pencils to draw it with...

See my last answer to Marek.

Actually I do get a bit of angst sometimes lying awake at night about this sort of thing; that I use a computer without a full understanding of it to a quantum mechanical level, or flying in a plane without the knowledge to engineer one from scratch. I suspect I'm a bit weird in this respect. Navigating across the Cairngorm plateau with map and compass in a white out usually puts things in perspective though - definitely good for the soul.

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I agree that if you are going to use it, it might as well work. But no satellites come cheap.

Starlink count as cheap in my book.

> Yes, absolutely. One reason I go to the hills is to get away from all that and have the simplicity of only using and being reliant on what I carry on my back and on the natural phenomenon of the earth's magnetic field for navigation once I have left the road. Yes, obviously some of the stuff I carry comes from these industries, but I cut the direct link once in the hills - I like that idea.

That I can relate to. I think some *reasoned* Ludditism is a useful foil against the current trend toward "Oooh shiney new technology! And it's 'smart'! Must have more!" tendency. I drove past a Virgin advert a couple of days ago, "You can now connect 100 smart device in your home to the internet!". Err, why? I'm a fan of technology when it solves a problem or creates a real opportunity, but too much these days is technology for the sake of technology, or more precisely for the sake of parting people from their money. Rant over. GPS though? I'd hate to go back to the days when it didn't exist!

1
 Roberttaylor 04 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

You can get mobile internet almost everywhere in the UK by sending your phone 2km into the air, in a waterproof case slung under your drone. 

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Fair enough. I am sure a lot of people who use GPS are not completely reliant on it.

Me for example.

> people are still happy to use a connection to a multi-billion pound satellite system in the hills for navigation, which seems to me to go against a spirit of self-reliance.

Yep, but I also rely on quite advanced materials science/chemistry (?) for a nice waterproof jacket that lets some sweat out and some great engineering to make my ice axes and screws etc.

In reply to TobyA:

> Me for example.

Same. Generally, I have a map and compass and my local knowledge for when things go haywire but will happily cheat using GPS to get to the bottom of a route in bad conditions.
 

The 3D mapping of Snowdonia is ridiculously good these days, to the point where you can have a first person perspective of where you are sans-fog, easily verifying the GPS lock using features on the ground that Google have kindly scanned in.

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Alkis:

So, at the risk of going even more off-topic...

When does 'technology' become just 'stuff'? In their day, leather tanning, paper making, rubber, plastics, compasses, spectacles, tarmac roads were all bleeding edge technologies. Somewhere along the way the 'new' became, well, just 'there'. Is it a generation thing - if you were born to it, is it then too boring to be 'technology'? Or has technology just become a marketing term to convince us that we have a need we didn't know about?

 ExiledScot 04 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Ice climbing before front points, climbing shoes, friends, stretchy ropes... all these new fangled ideas making it easier! 

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Actually I do get a bit of angst sometimes lying awake at night about this sort of thing; that I use a computer without a full understanding of it to a quantum mechanical level, or flying in a plane without the knowledge to engineer one from scratch...

Look at it this way: The whole point of being a member of society - as opposed to a lone hermit - is that you don't have to understand everything. As long as someone out there knew what they were doing (and someone else did a risk assessment), the rest of use can reap the rewards. I'm happy with that.

In reply to Marek:

> When does 'technology' become just 'stuff'?

When Robert says you're still being self-reliant if you use it...?

In reply to The Pylon King:

> Its the level of anxiety and fear that these devices seem to cause some people

FTFY.

The fact that some people happily use this technology, seems to cause a level of anxiety and fear in some other people...

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > When does 'technology' become just 'stuff'?

> When Robert says you're still being self-reliant if you use it...?

I'm glad to see that you now have come to accept Robert as the ultimate arbiter of acceptable technology

1
 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > Its the level of anxiety and fear that these devices seem to cause some people

> FTFY.

> The fact that some people happily use this technology, seems to cause a level of anxiety and fear in some other people...

Nowt wrong with that. Other people using this infernal car technology certainly causes some fear and anxiety when I'm out on the bike!

 Basemetal 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Actually I do get a bit of angst sometimes lying awake at night about this sort of thing; that I use a computer without a full understanding of it to a quantum mechanical level, or flying in a plane without the knowledge to engineer one from scratch. I suspect I'm a bit weird in this respect. 

In the dim and distant pass when I was was studying physics we had a course on integrated circuits that taught operational amplifier theory using Boolean Algebra. I asked the Professor how satisfactory he thought it was teaching this topic without the physical narrative of what was going on inside the black boxes and just learning rules for "inputs and outputs".  

He replied, "We don't understand what's going on in the simplest resistor, so I wouldn't worry about it at all. Inputs and outputs is all we know." 

In reply to captain paranoia:

> > When does 'technology' become just 'stuff'?

> When Robert says you're still being self-reliant if you use it...?

No, I am sure everyone can come to their own decisions about what they are happy using without unduly compromising the reasons they go in the mountains. All I am saying is that for me GPS use crosses a clearly defined line which I would hesitate to step over.

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Basemetal:

Ultimately we don't really understand anything. I may (or may not) be able to do the maths that underpins QM, but what does that mean? QM is really just a 'description' or at best a 'model', not an 'explanation', albeit a very good one that seems to make the right predictions within its domain. But why does the world apparently behave like that? You very rapidly get into philosophy rather than science when you go too far down this path.

And your Prof was right in a way: The whole point of opamps was to create a black box with well defined external behaviour so that you really didn't need to know how anything inside works in order to make good use of it. It's the 'divide and conquer' (any problem) approach that makes much of society more than the sum of its parts.

Post edited at 15:53
In reply to Marek:

> Look at it this way: The whole point of being a member of society - as opposed to a lone hermit - is that you don't have to understand everything. As long as someone out there knew what they were doing (and someone else did a risk assessment), the rest of use can reap the rewards. I'm happy with that.

Well it makes me feel uneasy even though it is obviously all but impossible to live any other way. I do certainly have hermit tendencies.

In reply to Marek:

> Ultimately we don't really understand anything. I may (or may not) be able to do the maths that underpins QM, but what does that mean?

I think I am now in danger of spiralling into some sort of existential crisis.

Bloody phones.....

In reply to TobyA:

> Yep, but I also rely on quite advanced materials science/chemistry (?) for a nice waterproof jacket that lets some sweat out and some great engineering to make my ice axes and screws etc.

See my reply to Marek at 10.35. I see a clear distinction between GPS and and all this other stuff.

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> See my reply to Marek at 10.35. I see a clear distinction between GPS and and all this other stuff.

I went back and reread your 'distinction'. Interesting. As far as I can see you draw that line between 'products' (like a Goretex jacket) that once bought have no day-to-day dependence on the originator as opposed to 'services' (like GPS) whereby you have to 'buy-in' to some infrastructure that you have no control over. Accurate?

In reply to captain paranoia:

> > Given that fact, do you think not carrying a GPS is irresponsible?

> Given you accept the inevitability of someone coming to look for you if you have an accident, then yes, it seems irresponsible not to carry a small device that you may be able to use to contact rescuers and let then know your location; a modern smartphone. This does not oblige you to use the phone for navigation.

I do get that argument, but I'm not sure it's strong enough to make me carry a GPS. Ok, so it might be a little more convenient for rescuers in some situations if I did and had an accident. But it would be even more convenient if I carried a sat phone with universal coverage and a personal locator beacon. And even more convenient if I had stayed at home. Where would you draw a reasonable line?

And if I did have an "emergency" GPS in the bottom of my sack, it would change the feeling of navigating across the Cairngorm plateau just knowing it was there - would I really not use it if I became a bit lost? I expect I would. I do think my drill and bolt analogy is a good one here - it is a sort of get out of jail free card and inevitably would be put to use in some situations; if you don't want to use it, don't carry it.

In reply to Marek:

> I went back and reread your 'distinction'. Interesting. As far as I can see you draw that line between 'products' (like a Goretex jacket) that once bought have no day-to-day dependence on the originator as opposed to 'services' (like GPS) whereby you have to 'buy-in' to some infrastructure that you have no control over. Accurate?

It is the use of links to satellites while in the mountains that I am uneasy about. I would not be being self-sufficient in the sense that I am not carrying the satellites in my rucksack. I like the idea of it just being me and the contents of my rucksack.

 jimtitt 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Marek:

There's a whole world of bushcraft/survival stuff out there equally confused about the philisophical background to what they are doing. The thinking seems somewhat flexible! Basically it seems to come down to how much fun is it overcoming a difficulty with the least "modern" technology, i.e make it as awkward as possible. Walking across the Carngorms in a white-out is one of those things I'd avoid no matter the technology available anyway, it's pointless and unpleasant!

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> It is the use of links to satellites while in the mountains that I am uneasy about...

So if - hypothetically - your phone had an purely internal inertial guidance system plus downloaded maps to keep track of your location, you'd be happy to use it for navigation?

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

> There's a whole world of bushcraft/survival stuff out there equally confused about the philisophical background to what they are doing...

A bit like people who claim to be living 'off-grid' but are nevertheless intimately dependent on the 'grid' being there around them.

In reply to Marek:

> So if - hypothetically - your phone had an purely internal inertial guidance system plus downloaded maps to keep track of your location, you'd be happy to use it for navigation?

I suppose so.

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I suppose so.

So, given that all phones have GPS these days, would you specifically use the IGS and *not* the GPS (you have both), even though the GPS is almost certainly more accurate?

In reply to Marek:

> So, given that all phones have GPS these days, would you specifically use the IGS and *not* the GPS (you have both), even though the GPS is almost certainly more accurate?

I suppose so.

I have a smart phone but wouldn't know how to get GPS on it. Maybe I should get a unsmart phone for the hills in case I accidentally find out how.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> See my reply to Marek at 10.35. I see a clear distinction between GPS and and all this other stuff.

Well of course, because if you didn't you wouldn't have much of a point would you? 😀

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I have a smart phone but wouldn't know how to get GPS on it. Maybe I should get a unsmart phone for the hills in case I accidentally find out how.

Sound like a Guinness advert (if you're old enough to remember the one I mean).

In reply to Robert Durran:

Why have you got a phone? That requires a bidirectional connection with a multi-billion pound system?

Doesn't that violate your self reliance?

The GNSS receiver in your phone can be turned off. You can turn it off. You just need a teeny bit of willpower. Are you really so lacking in willpower that you don't feel able to trust yourself not to 'cheat'?

 deepsoup 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Ok, so it might be a little more convenient for rescuers in some situations if I did

I think the difference between 'having to conduct a search' and 'not having to conduct a search' is a tad more significant than "a little more convenient" for rescuers.

But even if it weren't, would you not feel obliged to make your rescue as convenient for them as you possibly could?

> a personal locator beacon.

If you really can't bear the thought of your 'emergency phone' being able to communicate with satellites as well as the extensive terrestrial communications network you are prepared to use, that might not be such a bad idea.

In most conditions it will (eventually) provide a gps fix of your position to rescuers, but it absolutely won't ever provide one to you.

Post edited at 19:17
 elsewhere 04 Mar 2022

Just installed the OS Map app and scratched to reveal the digital download code on a paper map.

Very nice to have on the phone.

Post edited at 20:12
In reply to TobyA:

> Well of course, because if you didn't you wouldn't have much of a point would you? 😀

Of course not, but, as it is, I do.

In reply to captain paranoia:

> Why have you got a phone? That requires a bidirectional connection with a multi-billion pound system?

Yes, I know. As I said, I resisted taking a phone in the hill for years. But a phone is only an emergency thing, whereas GPS is replacing routine self-sufficiency, so not really comparable.

> The GNSS receiver in your phone can be turned off. You can turn it off. You just need a teeny bit of willpower. Are you really so lacking in willpower that you don't feel able to trust yourself not to 'cheat'?

No, probably not in some situations. As I said, a get out of jail free card changes the feel of the game.

Post edited at 20:10
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Why have you got a phone? That requires a bidirectional connection with a multi-billion pound system?

Yes, I know. As I said, I resisted taking a phone in the hill for years. But a phone is only an emergency thing, whereas GPS is replacing routine self-sufficiency, so not really comparable.

> The GNSS receiver in your phone can be turned off. You can turn it off. You just need a teeny bit of willpower. Are you really so lacking in willpower that you don't feel able to trust yourself not to 'cheat'?

No, probably not in some situations. As I said, a get out of jail free card changes the feel of the game.

Anyway, I don't even know if it is on, or how to switch it on, or how to use it!

Post edited at 20:16
In reply to deepsoup:

> I think the difference between 'having to conduct a search' and 'not having to conduct a search' is a tad more significant than "a little more convenient" for rescuers.

It is matter of degree. I would expect to have a pretty good idea where I am with map and compass.

> But even if it weren't, would you not feel obliged to make your rescue as convenient for them as you possibly could?

There are conflicting things at play here. No easy answers. Nobody has to go in the hills at all.

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> ... No easy answers. 

Spot on. 

I think where these discussions go awry is when people think that there's a simple right-or-wrong answer. There rarely is and I don't think it's helpful to think in those terms. Much of life is a bunch of noisy compromises, often between what you feel you need, what your family need and what the broader society (plural?) needs. Different people will make different compromises and rarely will history look back and say "Yes, that was right" or "No, that was wrong" (with any justification). Most of the time it really doesn't matter. 

In reply to Marek:

To be honest, I'd never considered the rescue angle of GPS before and it is a fair point ((I wonder what take rescuers have on it). I've just always had an presumption against digital gadgetry, never felt any need for GPS when I have a good map and it has always seemed like cheating to me.

 Marek 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> ... and it has always seemed like cheating to me.

How can you cheat if there are no rules and you're the only player?

To your point about rescue though - if you did have to call out the MRT and didn't have a location fix, would you be embarrassed (about the lack of location despite having a smartphone, not about needing them)? If the answer is "Yes" then perhaps you should learn how to use the tool you're carry around with you anyway. If you don't want to navigate with it, then fine, but at least know how to use it if you do need it. 

In reply to Robert Durran:

You are an enigma, Robert.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Yes, absolutely. One reason I go to the hills is to get away from all that and have the simplicity of only using and being reliant on what I carry on my back and on the natural phenomenon of the earth's magnetic field for navigation once I have left the road. Yes, obviously some of the stuff I carry comes from these industries, but I cut the direct link once in the hills - I like that idea.

Do you cure your own animal pelts to protect yourself from the elements too? 😉

In reply to Marek:

> How can you cheat if there are no rules and you're the only player?

It is a one man game which I play to rules which sit comfortably with me.

> To your point about rescue though - if you did have to call out the MRT and didn't have a location fix, would you be embarrassed (about the lack of location despite having a smartphone, not about needing them)? If the answer is "Yes" then perhaps you should learn how to use the tool you're carry around with you anyway. If you don't want to navigate with it, then fine, but at least know how to use it if you do need it. 

I'll maybe need to think about this.

In reply to Ridge:

> Do you cure your own animal pelts to protect yourself from the elements too? 😉

See my earlier replies.

 LJH 05 Mar 2022
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I kind of agree with you up to a point, I tend to not use a phone for nav more due to the British weather likes to fill them with water.

As a keen fell runner I do find myself helping point a lot of phone reliant people in the right direction when they seem to have got lost or lost signal... This has happened over winter in Wales in some nasty conditions too.

I think phones used for nav in the right hands are fine, but they are defo enabling people without mountain experience to get into some awkward situations...

 deepsoup 05 Mar 2022
In reply to Marek:

> To your point about rescue though - if you did have to call out the MRT and didn't have a location fix, would you be embarrassed (about the lack of location despite having a smartphone, not about needing them)?

Perhaps I got the wrong end of the stick, I thought Robert was carrying a non-smart phone in the hills anyway.

Semi-OT, but dealing with somebody who is calling for help from a smartphone but doesn't know how to use it to provide a fix on their location is what SARLOC is for.

I won't try to describe it, I'll just find a link..  here we go: https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/skills/using_sarloc_for_rescue_on_your_smartphone-10917

 deepsoup 05 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> To be honest, I'd never considered the rescue angle of GPS before and it is a fair point ..

You ignored my comments about a PLB earlier, and I'm not sure whether you thought I was taking the piss but I genuinely think it might be a good idea.  It's a GPS device but is completely useless for personal navigation, the sole function of the GPS bit is to enable rescuers to find you in an emergency*.

I wouldn't suggest it just for hillwalking, but I think you've mentioned on here before that you also sea kayak and that you're looking to make your sea kayaking more 'adventurous' in the future, so it seems like a no-brainer for use on the water at least.  I've taken my Ocean Signal 'PLB1' for a walk in remote hills before now because it just so happens that I own one already so why not?  (It normally lives in the pocket of my buoyancy aid that also has a knife in it.)

*(Albeit with a fairly substantial time lag, most likely measured in hours, between activation and that key bit of information making its way around the world and through several different agencies before eventually, hopefully, reaching the people who can actually make use of it to find you.)

In reply to Robert Durran:

Everybody seems very happy using the unethically funded, multi-million pound OS maps when they're out and about and ultra-modern, environmentally unfriendly clothing but complain about carrying a device that can save lives (not just the owners).

There's a chap who isn't going home from our patch this weekend and a community of volunteers who may have benefited from a bit of preventative planning or an emergency backup device.

Self-reliance in the UK outdoors is a first-world luxury IMO. If mountain rescue folk have to carry a radio with them whenever they're out it would be nice if people could make a few, small compromises to help them out should the worst happen. 

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In reply to timparkin:

As I said, I can see the arguments and may reconsider. Maybe try to work out how to get my location off my phone. Presumably it would just give me latitude and longitude, so pretty useless for navigation with a map anyway.

It's just something I've never thought about in those terms. In fact I don't think I have ever knowingly been in the hills with someone who uses GPS (though one friend gets their distance walked off their phone, so it must be accessing it), so it's never come up in conversation.

Just had a play with my phone and found out how to get lat/long. Useless map for navigation though. Sorted🙂. I presume it needs a phone/data signal though? Or is there a way of getting it direct grom the satellites like a dedicated GPS device.

 David Riley 05 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

"your phone and its battery will perform very differently in cold conditions, in very low temperatures it may struggle to hold a charge for long."

Is this really correct ?

First, electronics generally works better the colder it is.  Frequency dependent circuits might have been optimised at room temperature, and so it is possible some radio parts could use more power at temperature extremes, by design choices rather than physics.

Second, batteries are chemical reactions tending to slow at low temperatures.  This reduces the voltage, which falls further when the phone takes more current.  It fails when the voltage is too low.

I am not aware of any mechanism by which charge initially stored in a battery can be lost due to low temperature.  When warmed up, all the charge should remain.

There should be no benefit from keeping a phone warm when switched off.  "struggle to hold a charge for long" does not seem appropriate.

In reply to Robert Durran:

Robert

Is a smartphone of some description?

In reply to David Riley:

> There should be no benefit from keeping a phone warm when switched off.  "struggle to hold a charge for long" does not seem appropriate.

I think there may be a bit of pedantry there. For practical purposes, letting a phone battery get cold significantly impacts on it's useabilty. It's quite astounding the impact of cold on phone batteries.

It may be due to loss of voltage rather than 'charge', but to the user on a hill that's pretty academic. The phone showing 100% 'charge' when they left home that morning is now showing 5% 'charge' and keeps shutting down when they need it.

In reply to Ridge:

> Robert

> Is a smartphone of some description?

Yes. Android.

 David Riley 05 Mar 2022
In reply to Ridge:

> I think there may be a bit of pedantry there.

"It may be due to loss of voltage rather than 'charge', but to the user on a hill that's pretty academic."

Except the difference between charge being lost and voltage being low, is that warming will get all the power back and that knowledge could save your life.

Post edited at 13:31
 jimtitt 05 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Just had a play with my phone and found out how to get lat/long. Useless map for navigation though. Sorted🙂. I presume it needs a phone/data signal though? Or is there a way of getting it direct grom the satellites like a dedicated GPS device.

Plenty of better download maps available, no they don't need a mobile signal, you store the map on the device and the gps works without a mobile signal. If you activate the ELS function on the phone it automatically relays your position to the emergency number you dial/message as well.

In reply to jimtitt:

> Plenty of better download maps available, no they don't need a mobile signal, you store the map on the device and the gps works without a mobile signal. 

So the google map I have will get the lat/long for me without a signal? 

 jimtitt 05 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

Of course, the GPS function is independent from the mobile  network. On my tablet I never connect to the network when I'm navigating. You can still navigate on the map in offline mode as well, the map is stored on your phone. But Google map is really for road users so contours etc aren't there, I use Locust maps (free) but plenty of others which are designed for walkers etc and the detail is better than a paper map as they can base them on far more detailed surveys than you could possibly carry, I just checked and you can zoom to 1cm = 1m if you wanted to! The contours are 10m and so on.

If using the map is too easy you can just display the GPS info and compass!

In reply to Robert Durran:

If it’s purely lat/long or (usually for me) a G Ref that I want I use GridPoint GB app, but also have OS Locate app on phone (mainly use the former since it can display both at the same time whereas the latter is an either or in settings).

Both simple and effective. There is the option to link to maps in both though I never have done that. Both work with GPS and so don’t need mobile signal (still work when in airplane mode).

I don’t think the GridPoint GB app is available on android though, but the OS should be.

In reply to Climbing Pieman:

> If it’s purely lat/long or (usually for me) a G Ref that I want I use GridPoint GB app, but also have OS Locate app on phone.

Thanks. Shall look at those. The google maps doesn't seem to work if I switch off data. All I want is GR or lat/long; no interest in map.

 ramisthand76 05 Mar 2022

Dim the screen. Turn down the brightness of any screen you're on to at least half to help preserve battery life.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> So the google map I have will get the lat/long for me without a signal? 

Yes. GNSS works by receiving signals from that multi-billion dollar satellite constellation you talked about so knowledgeably earlier... It has nothing to do with the multi-billion dollar mobile phone network; that's why the article this thread was about (before it became 'the bizarre world of Robert Durran') said you could put your phone in airplane mode, and still get GNSS reception. Well, except on some early iphones, where some of the RF circuitry was shared.

For those replying to Robert trying to tell him how he can now use his phone to navigate: remember, he doesn't want to do that, so his 'useless' lat/long is a benefit for him. I'm a bit surprised he won't find himself tempted to do the 'trivial' bit of trigonometric transformation to compute OSGB... If he could trust himself not to 'cheat', he could install Arthur Embleton's excellent little app 'Grid Reference', which will simply display the OSGB position.

1

In reply to The Pylon King:

[TPK's deleted post warned about not relying on satellites being there when needed, due to their temporary nature]

I'm temporary...

Satellites are more likely to be available than the mobile network. At least in Robert's neck of the woods.

I'm not sure if you're trying to make a serious technical point...

Post edited at 15:33
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > So the google map I have will get the lat/long for me without a signal? 

> Yes.

But it doesn't seem to work if I switch off data (maybe my phone will pick up "data" from satellites even if it says there is no mobile data?)

> For those replying to Robert trying to tell him how he can now use his phone to navigate: remember, he doesn't want to do that, so his 'useless' lat/long is a benefit for him.

Indeed. I have no wish to navigate using GPS; I just want to be able to give an accurate location in the event of having to call mountain rescue, having been persuaded that it is the responsible thing to do.

> If he could trust himself not to 'cheat', he could install Arthur Embleton's excellent little app 'Grid Reference', which will simply display the OSGB position.

And that will also work direct from the satellites with no signal or data?

 jimtitt 05 Mar 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

But Robert doesn't want to use GPS/OS to navigate, just to call for rescue. But he didn't say not use his phone, he would be self sufficient carrying any decent mapping app on his phone which gives him both coordinate systems and navigate as if it was a really good paper map system and toggle the GPS on and off at whim! Locus for one gives OS coordinates and grid as an option and I guess the others do as well.

I'm as Luddite as it comes and survived sixty years with paper maps, keeping stopping every ten minutes to navigate pissed me off in the end so I moved the challenge of navigating on paper to mastering the functions modern devices present!

In reply to Robert Durran:

> But it doesn't seem to work if I switch off data (maybe my phone will pick up "data" from satellites even if it says there is no mobile data?)

It should not need any external data sources. And, no, the GNSS signal does not carry arbitrary data. It is for one purpose only; to provide a pseudorange signal.

It may be looking for ephemeris data to provide a warm start for the GNSS receiver, which it can get from the internet. But it is also sent on a 12.5 minute repeat sequence, so if you leave the receiver on long enough, visible to the sky, it will acquire satellite ephemeris data, which is valid for four hours.

> And that will also work direct from the satellites with no signal or data?

It is just doing the coordinate system transformation; some mathematics. It needs nothing other than the GNSS lat/long to do this, since all the other transformation parameters are static.

All this information is available via a simple internet search. You could even go to a library and read a book, if google is 'cheating'.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Indeed. I have no wish to navigate using GPS; I just want to be able to give an accurate location in the event of having to call mountain rescue, having been persuaded that it is the responsible thing to do.

If it’s an emergency call and you connect from where you are, and you haven’t done something to stop it like disabling sending of emergency location data, etc, then my understanding is any modern smart phone will include your location automatically to emergency services if it can triangulate it. (Someone with better knowledge can correct me if this is not the case).

That said, if you are wanting to give a location for an area that there is no mobile reception, a separate app using GPS is best to have (eg someone else needs help and so you would need to get location for the incident and then say have to hike miles to make a emergency call).

 deepsoup 05 Mar 2022
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

> I don’t think the GridPoint GB app is available on android though, but the OS should be.

The Arthur Embleton 'Grid Reference' app is a particularly good one for Android.  It has no frills, no ads and no nonsense - extremely simple and efficient.

In reply to Robert Durran:

Can I suggest for emergency purposes when you’re thinking about all this, to register your mobile number with the emergency text service - https://www.emergencysms.net/registering_your_mobile_phone.php . Cost nothing but could be a life saver in poor mobile reception areas.

This would allow a rescue text to be sent (doesn’t need as much signal to work, sending attempt is usually repeated automatically, unlike a voice call that will cancel when network is not available) and afaik also includes automatically your location if it’s available.

In reply to deepsoup:

Robert should consider that app then.  The OS Locate one also has a compass within and prob designed more as a navigation tool than some other apps out there.

Personally as I’m on iOS I much prefer the GridPoint app to the OS Locate one. Like the simple layout on startup screen yet some other detail also available if wanted (eg elevation). I use mine usually just as the basic screen showing a grid ref square, roughly diagrammatically where you are in it and most importantly an easy to read grid reference and the accuracy estimate of it.

Post edited at 17:12
In reply to deepsoup:

> The Arthur Embleton 'Grid Reference' app is a particularly good one for Android.  It has no frills, no ads and no nonsense - extremely simple and efficient.

So just to clarify: will it work when I have no phone signal and no data? If so, sounds ideal.

 lithos 05 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

there's an app call 'Grid Reference' for andriod, it's free, very small  ad-free and all (!) it does is show your OS grid ref (to 10 places - take with pinch of salt 8 seems about the reliable limit i think). It doesn't need a phone signal just a clearish view of the sky (ie not surrounded by skyscrapers - ie london) and to turn on the GPS on your phone


leave it on your phone if you ever need a GR, turn it on and wait for it to find the satellites

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.blerg&hl=en_GB&gl=US

try it, if you don't like it uninstall it. there are others but its the one i have and it works.

edit - what deepsoup said.  It does not need phone signal just 'location services' enabled

Post edited at 17:47
In reply to deepsoup:

> The Arthur Embleton 'Grid Reference' app is a particularly good one for Android.  It has no frills, no ads and no nonsense - extremely simple and efficient.

+1 The best IMHO Grid ref app out there. Open it up you get a huge 6 fig (you can have more if you want) grid ref that covers the screen. Dead easy to copy and paste into a text.

If you don't want maps on your phone and need something you can use to confirm your location on a paper map, or text for help if needed, this is all you need.

In reply to Robert Durran:

> So just to clarify: will it work when I have no phone signal and no data? If so, sounds ideal.

Absolutely. Open the app, get the grid ref, (from your phone's built in GPS chip, no phone signal required), find your position on your paper map..

Post edited at 18:34
 Jenny C 05 Mar 2022
In reply to lithos:

> there's an app call 'Grid Reference' for andriod, it's free, very small  ad-free and all (!) it does is show your OS grid ref

I have this, it's incredibly simple and whilst not something I'd use for navigation is handy if you become geographically challenged and want to confirm where you are.

When on the hill I want to escape my phone, so it's turned off and stored safe in a drybag with my car key, if I want photos I take a proper camera. I see the phone as emergency kit, not something I plan to use but there if I do need it.

Have thought about using an old dumb phone on the hill, but having had first hand experience of communicating with MRT via text (due to a poor signal) I'd much prefer a proper keyboard. My smartphone will also allow then to use sarlock, making their job easier and my rescue quicker.

In reply to Ridge:

> Absolutely. Open the app, get the grid ref, (from your phone's built in GPS chip, no phone signal required), find your position on your paper map..

Cool. Thanks.

 Darkinbad 05 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

My only experience of crossing the Cairngorm in a white-out was before the days of consumer GPS. But it wasn't a problem for me. I just followed Robert

In reply to Darkinbad:

> My only experience of crossing the Cairngorm in a white-out was before the days of consumer GPS. But it wasn't a problem for me. I just followed Robert

1987? That was slightly epic🙂. Who needs GPS when they've got me?

I actually have another climbing partner who admitted that they had never really learnt to navigate properly because they just "followed Robert". 

Post edited at 02:30
 deepsoup 06 Mar 2022
In reply to Ridge:

> Absolutely. Open the app, get the grid ref, (from your phone's built in GPS chip, no phone signal required), find your position on your paper map..

THAT'S CHEATING!

In reply to deepsoup:

> THAT'S CHEATING!

>

Well, I'm glad we are now in beautiful harmony; you agree that GPS in general is cheating and I agree that it is responsible to use GPS to give an accurate position in an emergency🙂.

I never replied to you about PLB. I share your position - overkill in the hills now that I'm going to get a GPS app, but worth considering for kayaking.

 HardenClimber 06 Mar 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Lots of advice is to carry a 'powerbank' to mitigate poor / limited battery performance. I it is wet and you try plugging your usb charging cable in there is a good chance that moisture will be detected in the socket and charging will be aborted.... I think this advice can be falsely reassuring.

I now carry a powerbank with wireless charging ability (and, obviously a phone that can be charged that way) if I I think I will need 'backup'.

 Darkinbad 06 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

1986, I believe. My third year and you had graduated the year before. I was planning to "follow Robert" up the harder pitches of Sticil Face, but a miserable bivy at the Shelter Stone, my abominably slow lead of the first pitch, and some incipient hypothermia put paid to that. Fun times.

 GrahamD 06 Mar 2022
In reply to Basemetal:

> In the dim and distant pass when I was was studying physics we had a course on integrated circuits that taught operational amplifier theory using Boolean Algebra.

That is an odd way to try to describe operational amplifiers !

In reply to Darkinbad:

> 1986, I believe. My third year and you had graduated the year before. I was planning to "follow Robert" up the harder pitches of Sticil Face, but a miserable bivy at the Shelter Stone, my abominably slow lead of the first pitch, and some incipient hypothermia put paid to that. Fun times.

Ah yes, I thought I was dying of hypothermia after the long belay, but in fact was just starting to black out from hot-aches.... Grim.

I was thinking of the time we walked from Glenmore to the Hutchison hut bia Strath Nethy, then I think out to Braemar having failed to climb on Etchachan in a maelstrom.

 Marek 06 Mar 2022
In reply to GrahamD:

> That is an odd way to try to describe operational amplifiers !

An opamp is just a somewhat timorous AND NOT function.

 Darkinbad 06 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

I had forgotten that one (or at least, suppressed the memory). Was that the same weekend that a uni group had to abandon their tents and walk out to Braemar, only to find the tents had disappeared when they returned the following weekend?

 deepsoup 06 Mar 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I never replied to you about PLB. I share your position - overkill in the hills now that I'm going to get a GPS app, but worth considering for kayaking.

We agree twice in one thread?  Inconceivable!

Maybe not quite - I think it would be overkill buying one for the hills for most people, and the price seems to have gone up quite a lot since I bought mine.  But the couple of times I've carried mine on land it certainly didn't seem ridiculous to just take it out of the buoyancy aid pocket and stick it in a rucksack.  Obviously I was never going to use it, but it certainly didn't feel like cheating having it in the bag.

There's a clever GPS smartphone app for orienteering (the current version is 'MapRun6') that formed the basis for a really good series of 2 hour 'virtual' mini mountain marathon events down here in the Peak while the covid restrictions had put a stop to mass-start fell races and the like, and happily the 2021 series was so successful they're running another series later this year.

Obviously using GPS for navigation really is cheating while taking part, but the app tracks you and gives you a 'beep' as confirmation when it registers your position at any of the controls.  (The event is open for anyone to run individually at any time within a 'window' of several months, so the controls don't have any physical markers.) 

After the event you have the option to correct any errors, then upload your route, time and score, so almost everybody's route ends up on a website and I really enjoy that - after having a first attempt 'onsight', it's good geeky fun to look at the routes everybody else has taken, steal ideas from others and see how your own route can be improved to get a higher score without running any faster.  Sadly my onsight attempts always seem to leave plenty of room for improvement.

In reply to Darkinbad:

> I had forgotten that one (or at least, suppressed the memory). Was that the same weekend that a uni group had to abandon their tents and walk out to Braemar, only to find the tents had disappeared when they returned the following weekend?

Yes, I think so. Or at least the tents were irretrievably buried!

 Basemetal 06 Mar 2022
In reply to GrahamD:

> That is an odd way to try to describe operational amplifiers !

I'm guessing you mean the Boolean algebra bit? If so, it was quite neat as the physical arrangement of AND, OR, NOT and NAND gates you needed could drop out of a Boolean expression for the Logic Function you wanted. So you could design your logic circuit from the Boolean expression. It seemed quite magical back then (late '70s). l'm too rusty on it now but Google and even You Tube will fill your boots if you look

In reply to Basemetal:

Op amps (operational amplifiers) are linear devices, not digital. Boolean algebra is used for the design of digital logic, not for linear circuits.

 Basemetal 06 Mar 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Op amps (operational amplifiers) are linear devices, not digital. Boolean algebra is used for the design of digital logic, not for linear circuits.

My bad, I'm just too rusty. I think I put the cart before the horse above -I think there lab sessions building individual logic gates using op amps then came the Boolean thing with the logic gates to build other functional circuits. I could quite easily be mistaken as I haven't thought about this in the intervening 40 years. 

In reply to Basemetal:

Since an op amp is a very high gain amplifier, it can be used as a comparator, and it is therefore possible to construct logic circuits from it (essentially using DTL). But even in 1982, digital logic devices had been around for a very long time, and the 74 series TTL and 4000 series CMOS circuits were long established. I was using them for years before I started university in 1982.

I know some university lecturers had pet topics, but using linear op amps to demonstrate digital design seems particularly.... esoteric.

 Basemetal 06 Mar 2022
In reply to captain paranoia

> I know some university lecturers had pet topics, but using linear op amps to demonstrate digital design seems particularly.... esoteric.

Haha! Professor MacLeod of Glasgow University was also the first person I ever heard saying "electronic circyoots".  Seriously. I think he would have qualified...


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