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Spot On: Finding Your Outdoor Location

GPS: Better Than Bread Crumbs GPS: Better Than Bread Crumbs

Nearly everyone has been wowed by GPS (Global Positioning System) technology. If you don’t already have one in your car, you probably have a GPS in your iPhone or BlackBerry. Remote location growers and mushroom pickers collecting morels can happily employ handheld GPS units in order to quickly find their favorite growing or harvesting spots again and again.


Doubtless, it has helped you find a restaurant, bar, or friend’s house. But farmers also regularly use sophisticated satellite-linked GPS technology to improve a variety of their growing practices. Large-scale field growers, for instance, pair GPS coordinates with fertilizer application. Their tractor-based fertilizer injectors then can be adjusted instantaneously and on demand, offering pinpoint accuracy to nutrient application.

Even if you’re not tooling around in a $500,000 tractor, you can still benefit from a GPS. To reiterate, remote location growers and mushroom pickers collecting morels can happily employ handheld GPS units in order to quickly find their favorite growing or harvesting spots again and again. Also, if you expect to go it alone into the wilderness to your favorite remote locations (and, truth be told, this is not a great idea), you can share your GPS position with a trustworthy friend. This way, if you don’t check in at a specified time, they will know where to start looking.

Handheld GPS units come in two types: mapping and nonmapping. A nonmapping GPS is a nice little device for simply finding your way back to the car after a rigorous day of hiking. With a mapping GPS you can electronically store your trails in your PC and then download them to your GPS. If you’re using your GPS unit in the woods, it may have trouble reading the satellite signal thorough a heavy canopy of leaves. The built-in antennas on GPS units vary wildly in quality, and you may need to add an external amplified antenna to your backpack.

A lot of companies make GPS units. The most popular brands are Garmin, Magellan, and Lowrance. Our advice: Determine your needs (mapping, nonmapping, signal strength, etc.), and then test out a few in
the woods.

Grow Room In A Box

grow-roomgrow-roomIt used to be that growers needed to alter or construct new rooms in their house in order to create an indoor garden. No longer. Now, you can purchase a prefabricated grow tent of just about any dimension and in less than an hour assemble a professional-quality grow enclosure.

There are many advantages to indoor grow tents. First, you can set them up anywhere, allowing for a wide range of growing locations. They seal in water, light, and humidity. They also are highly reflective and maintain supplemental CO2. No alterations to the room or building are required. They set up and dismantle quickly and quietly; no tools required.

Grow tents come in many sizes, up to 10 x 20 feet. Manufacturers have made marked improvements in the material coverings, making them more reflective and better suited to plant growth. Thermal coverings are available as an option with some prefabricated growing enclosures that help to retain almost 99 percent of the light energy introduced by artificial light sources in the enclosure. Tents start at around $200.

Reflective Films

thermal-filmthermal-filmIndoor growers have long been limited in their site selection by the heat produced by their lighting rigs. High intensity discharge (HID) lighting runs very hot and exudes so much heat that it can be noticeable outside of the building. Growers were often limited to placing their grow room in places that were well insulated, like basements. Even these patchwork solutions weren’t perfect; there was still overhead heat losses, resulting in a reduction in grow room efficiency.

Today, growers can install reflective films that do a great job of reflecting light back to the crop. The film—plastic sheets, actually—also prevents 99 percent of the thermal energy from escaping, a technique used by some better cold-weather clothing, which bounces body heat back and keeps you toasty. Tests using forward-looking infrared (FLIR) heat detection devices have demonstrated that these specialty films do an exceptionally good job of retaining all of the heat energy created, making them nearly invisible in terms of the amount of energy they lose. The installation of such films allows growers to choose locations that may have otherwise been unsuitable due to concerns regarding thermal energy loss and emissions from HID-lit gardens. It costs about $140 for a 4-x-100-foot roll.

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Interesting application of GPS technology in the woods
Last modified on Thursday, 20 September 2012 13:33

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