[Loadstone] Fundraising, GPS Receiver, and Cell Phone Questions

Cory Martin cory_martin at shaw.ca
Fri Dec 8 20:31:09 GMT 2006

	I can't comment on much else but I can tell you that the battery
problem sounds like one that can be solved with a solar charger.  You should
be able to get a solar-powered charger for the phone as well there are GPS
receivers that can charge off solar power.

-----Original Message-----
From: loadstone-bounces at loadstone-gps.com
[mailto:loadstone-bounces at loadstone-gps.com] On Behalf Of Michael O. Hanson
Sent: December 8, 2006 6:56 AM
To: loadstone at loadstone-gps.com
Subject: [Loadstone] Fundraising, GPS Receiver, and Cell Phone Questions

Dear Fellow Loadstone Users:

Please accept my apologies for the length and off-topic nature of this
message.  I will not post a similar message again.  Off-list email responses
are fine with me.  My email address is mhanson at winternet.com in case it does
not show up.

I am blind.  I am considering using Loadstone to solo-hike the Appalachian
Trail, starting in March, 2007, depending on how a job-search and some other
planning-related issues go.  The Appalachian Trail is a wilderness trail
running from Georgia to Maine.  I wanted to solo-hike for years but never
did because of the lack of two peaces of information.  I did not know how I
would locate landmarks and points of interest, including but not limited to
access points, campsites, difficult or important topographical features,
forks, intersections, turns, and water sources.   I did not know how I would
accurately determine my position relative to such points of interest.  GPS
will potentially allow me to do both of those things.  

As you know, locating landmarks with or without GPS is possible in urban
settings, where there are people to ask for directions.  It can be more
difficult in wilderness settings, where there are fewer people.

   I selected Loadstone as my primary GPS program because of the portability
of equipment and its relative cost.  Loadstone is free to download.  The
only cost is the equipment, which is less expensive than equipment used by
comparable GPS programs I am aware of.  Since Loadstone requires a cell
phone and a GPS receiver, it is more portable than comparable systems I know
about.  Equipment Loadstone uses seems no more or less water and
weather-resistant than equipment used by other adapted GPS programs.

Loadstone is not web-based.  This makes it more practical than Wayfinder and
similar programs, because of my ability to create and store maps and the
fact that Loadstone does not require cell phone reception.  

I will probably use Wayfinder to find points of interest in towns along the
trail.  Such a hike can take six months or longer.  I will not be able to
carry food for that length of time.  I will need to resupply along the way.
I will probably also need to replace some equipment.  Boots are one item I
can count on having to replace.

GPS data are available for such a hike.  Files can be converted into formats
Loadstone can use.  I will get trail guides in an accessible format and
carry a Braille compos as a backup to Loadstone.  

Bill Irwin hiked the Appalachian Trail using a guide dog in 1990.
Therefore, I do not consider such a hike impossible.  GPS was not available
to or usable by Mr. Irwin to the best of my knowledge.

I have a good deal of outdoor experience, including backpacking, camping,
canoeing, hiking, hunting, and fishing.  I believe I have the experience and
skills necessary to plan and attempt such a hike.

I am in contact with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and several
through-hikers, including Mr. Irwin.  I am in contact with the National
Federation of the Blind and the American Counsel of the Blind.  Both
organizations seem relatively unfamiliar with adapted GPS technology and

I want to publicize the use of adapted GPS.  I believe it is one of the more
underutilized navigation aids available to blind people.  It will not
replace guide dogs or white canes.  Having said that, it will provide
information they do not.

Now for my questions.  First, I want to use this hike to raise money for
Loadstone.  I believe it is one of the better and more flexible adapted GPS
programs available at this time.  If I complete such a hike, I want to give
credit where credit is due.  If I am successful, I will owe much of my
success to Loadstone and its creators.  

I know how to plan such a hike.  I know less about potential publicity and
fundraising options.  I can fund the actual hike myself.    

First, I intend to ask people to make donations directly to Loadstone.  I am
considering asking people to donate a specific amount per mile.  The
Appalachian Trail is over two thousand miles long.  I will probably ask for
ten or twenty-five cents per mile.  Do you have any thoughts on how I might
publicize and raise money for Loadstone through such a hike?  Do you have
any thoughts on the amount I should request per mile?  Any such information
would be appreciated.  

Second, battery life is a consideration for both a cellular phone and a GPS
receiver.  I currently use a Royaltec RBT2000.  How long can that receiver
run on a fully charged battery?  Do any of you know of good GPS receivers
that will run longer?  

Third, I use a Nokea 6680 cellular phone.  How long will that phone run on
one battery?  Do any of you know of a battery with a longer running time
than the standard battery?

I have Loadstone installed on a memory card.  I do not have in the phone
memory because of possible problems if the battery dies while the phone is
in use.  

Fourth, do any of you have experience with solar chargers for GPS receivers
or cellular phones?  I believe solar chargers exist for cellular phones.  I
do not know if they exist for GPS receivers.  

Fifth, do any of you have experience using Loadstone in dense tree cover?  I
got my system last August.  It worked well during hunting season and seems
to work well in downtown settings and inside some buildings.  I believe it
will perform adequately in dense tree cover but have not tested it in spring
or most of summer.


Mike Hanson

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