Do I need a GPS Unit when I go Birding?

This is part #16 in a series of frequently asked questions about birding.

What is a GPS and how do I use it in birding?

  • GPS stands for Global Positioning System and relies on signals from satellites to give an exact fix as to where you are on the Earth, often accurate to within a metre or so.
  • A GPS unit looks a bit like an older mobile phone or a remote control unit. They can be quite expensive with base models starting at about A$400.
  • A GPS is useful when doing surveys that require latitude and longitude coordinates. When I was sending in reports for the Atlas of Australian birds this was a requirement and I also add this information to the database on my computer.
  • A GPS is not essential unless one is doing some serious research or survey work – or you are a statistical freak tragic like me.

  • They can also be useful if you get lost – if you remember to take a reading of where you left the car!
  • Happy birding – and don’t get lost – or misplace your car!


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