Introduction to GPS and Trip Planning - Seattle - 2019

Navigation Course

GPS Navigation: Using CalTopo and Gaia GPS

Seattle - 2019 - An introduction to GPS and how the Trip Planning Workflow integrates with GPS.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers course.

This is an entry level class that introduces GPS and how the Trip Planning Workflow makes use of GPS. The class consists of two parts:

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1. An online presentation with exercises that is viewed and completed at home (approx 4-5 hours to complete).

2. An in-person workshop that will focus on planning a short trip, uploading this data to your device, and then using the data to navigate around the Program Center (approx 2.5 hours).

The applications used in this class are GaiaGPS on a smartphone (for both Android and IOS devices), and Caltopo for the online trip planning segment.

Students will need to register and pay for this main class, then select one of the in-person workshops to attend.  The online content will be sent to the student 2 weeks prior to the start of the in-person workshop that you signed up for, and MUST be completed prior to attending the workshop. Once both parts are completed, you will earn a GPS navigation badge.

The learning goals for this class are as follows:

  • Understand how GPS works, its history, and the various networks available.
  • Understand how to recognize common accuracy and technology issues when using a GPS device, and various solutions available.
  • Understand what options are available for emergency communications (one and two-way satellite communications and Personal Locator Beacons) and how they are used in a rescue scenario.
  • Understand what options are available for both dedicated GPS devices and smartphone GPS applications.
  • Understand how the Trip Planning Workflow makes use of GPS. NOTE: This is NOT a comprehensive trip planning class.
  • Obtain a basic level of understanding of GaiaGPS and Caltopo to be able to plan a trip and navigate short routes in the field following a course/bearing, track, route or waypoints.

 Finally,  students completing this class will receive credit for the GPS section of Seattle's Wilderness Navigation class if taking this in the future.


Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
GPS Navigation: Using CalTopo and Gaia GPS Workshop
Online Classroom
Thu, Mar 25, 2021
Registration closed Mar 18
5 participants
2 instructors
Required Equipment

A GPS enabled Smartphone  with the new GaiaGPS App installed. This can either be the IOS or Android version depending on which type of smartphone you have.  The Gaia application is free to download, and the Mountaineers will give you a free premium subscription for a year provided you are a member. 

A laptop computer (or tablet) with internet connectivity.  You will need to connect to the internet and view the online presentation while at home.  Also, you will need to bring this computer to the in-person workshop and be able to connect to the Mountaineers public Wi-Fi.  You should also be able to receive and send email from this laptop. 

Digital map of the program center area pre-loaded into your smartphone device prior to class.

Headlamp for the outdoor exercises.

Appropriate clothing for the weather. The in-person workshops have an outdoor section.

The following computer skills are required: The ability to download and upload files to your computer/smartphone via the internet, the ability to send email, and the ability to install applications on your smartphone device. 

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.