Bear with me for a minute as I take a bit of a roundabout path to the meat of this post. You’ll see how it all ties together.
After our local ham radio club meeting the other evening, I chatted with one of our members at length. We began by discussing fox hunting. That’s where hams use radio equipment to find a low power transmitter. This comes in handy for pinpointing sources of interference, such as radio signals that prevent your car’s key ring remote control from properly locking your car at the mall parking lot.
One of the other benefits of fox hunting for hams is becoming familiar with lesser known areas of a city or county, since a lot of back roads get traveled during fox hunts.
With talk of travel, our conversation turned to the growing use of GPS units and how dependent on them we’ve become. Interestingly enough, my ham club friend observed that, if there’s an electromagnetic pulse from a solar storm or other source, many people will be helpless and lost without their GPS. Inwardly I was glad someone else thinks of such things.
Fortunately, my ham friend said he has traveled a great deal and was doing so before GPS became so widely accessible. He knows quite well how to navigate without GPS. As for me, we don’t own a GPS unit and aren’t likely to get one any time soon.
Some of the companies whose ads you se on this blog sell GPS units, and far be it from me to discourage you from buying one if you want one. I’m not going to try selling you one in this post though. Rather, I want to touch a little more on the dependence on high tech gadgets our society is encouraging for everything, including wilderness survival.
I read an item a few weeks back saying the iPhone can now be part of the survival gear for the Boy Scouts. Can you believe it? The Scouts are trying to reach out to more tech savvy young people and keep membership numbers from dropping further. I suppose they can justify this, but what kind of message are they sending about the place of technology for preparedness to new and existing Scouts?
The Boy Scout Handbook is being put online. Maybe it’s there already. The latest edition includes a section on Internet safety and information on GPS navigation. An iPhone application for the handbook was scheduled to be available by this month. The Scouts are also into social networking sites, Twitter and Youtube.
Maybe that’s just the way of the world these days. After all, I’m using the Internet to share these thoughts with you. Still, doesn’t it seem peculiar to think of a Boy Scout accessing the Handbook on his iPhone in the middle of nowhere? Think about it. What’s wrong with this picture?