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Maps, Syringes, and GPS

So the countdown has begun – 2 more months – and all I really want to do at the moment is sit around and read mystery books. It still doesn’t seem that real, but it is. Recent accomplishments:

1) Maps: Finally after much research and deliberation the maps have been purchased. There are two each for Peru and Bolivia. And for Chile and Argentina, countries which both have thriving automotive clubs (www.aca.org.ar, www.turistel.cl/index.htm) one map for the first area to be accessed. I feel more comfortable with maps in hand and true to the nature of maps they all have every-so-slightly different information. I purchased the maps from www.omnimap.com  - a company that seems to have every map under the sun. There is this little issue of paying extra shipment for items on backorder as they are already making a profit on shipping, but it’s better than some of the competitors who charge $1.50 a map. Wait as second, I paid more than that a map. Whatever, at some point it stops mattering and Omni Resourses, for as crappy as the website looks, has the BEST selection of maps and a very nice staff.
  1. Peru: Berndtson map 1:1,750,000
  2. Peru: Lima 2000 map (made with GIS!) 1:1,500,000
  3. Bolivia: Berndtson map 1:1,750,000ft
  4. Bolivia: The Guzman map which may be the best but could do with some cleaning up.  You can’t read stuff because there are other notations piled up on top of each other.
  5. Chile: Valles Centrales #08 JLM Mapas (my initials!) 1: 500,000
  6. Argentina: On backorder

2) Medical Supplies: I’m well equipped now with everything from altitude pills to syringes.  Most of it courtesy of www.travmed.com.  Surprisingly in all the kits and such there is no heavy duty ace bandage so I’m not 100% equipped yet. There is one more shot to go and quite the essay I’m writing on those delightful shots and all the other health related concerns to take into consideration. It’s really quite a lot and we take much for granted here in the land of we-can-drink-water-from-the-tap. Apparently, most of the world doesn’t expect to do that. What the hell do they drink as I’m positive that they are not running around buying bubbly water?

3) GPS: Now here’s an interesting story. I found a fantastic device called the TrackStick (www.trackstick.com) which seems like it will do every thing I need it to do. It will take readings at 1 min to 15 min intervals (and maybe larger interval – don’t know), it weighs about an ounce, yes, an ounce, has an approximate 5-7 day batter life, can store 4,000 readings in it’s baby 1MB memory. Perfect? Yes, but for one little discrepancy that I can’t seem to get closure on. Richard from Trackstick and I have been exchanging emails throughout the day over decimal places and we’re not getting anywhere. Other handheld GPS units display 5 decimal places for their readings because they can – accuracy is 15m – which corresponds in accuracy and resolution to xx.xxxxx . What we’ve been getting into, much to my amazement, is an argument over why if the unit can read to the 5 decimal place in positional accuracy it isn’t reflected in the coordinates which are output to the various formats. The output is xx.xxxx or in other words degrees minutes seconds. So he’s not very happy with me but he is lacking a bit in the customer service area.  I’ve also made it very clear that his product fills a very important niche and I will (most likely 90%) be purchasing it.

  • Pros: lightweight, not as expensive as a handheld GPS with altitude, decent battery life, can export to Google Earth kml files, simple concept and software interface
  • Cons: not waterproof, no return policy (a pricy mistake if you change your mind or it doesn’t do what you think it will do), software not MS certified (got some message from MS when installing about MS security and XP

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