GPS Trial Run

Since I am currently at Banting House NHSC, between visitor groups, I thought I would take this opportunity to write a little about my (brief) experience testing the GPS Trackers for my MA project so far.

A couple of days ago I decided to test one of my GPS Trackers out when I went on my run, and I was surprised how well it worked. The route was a couple of meters off in places, and when I went through the forest path the signal must have bounced around a bit since my route was off more there, but in all it was fairly accurate. I suspected the trees would decrease the accuracy of the unit but I had hoped it wouldn’t be so bad. So, aside from the tracker suggesting I am Kitty from X-Men and can run through walls I was rather impressed. I used Google Earth to view the map the tracker produced and examined the stats I received about distance and speed from the program associated with the tracker– I was surprised to find I had gone 2.55 miles that morning.

The next day I went for a short walk carrying all four of the trackers, and took waypoints along the way, to test how consistent the set of them are. I went through the forest again and was pleased to discover that the set produced relatively the same route as one another so I am going to need to do more experimenting in there to see what is going on. The rest of the route and the waypoints were generally within a few feet of each other. When I backtracked along the route there were minor differences between the initial and return route but that could also be me misremembering where exactly I had walked.

At the moment I suspect that some of the inaccuracies and inconsistencies are due to the small felt pouches the manufacturer provide to protect the units. I carried the trackers in these in case, by some small chance, I happened to drop one– I didn’t want to scratch the units unnecessarily. Over the next few days I plan to test them again without the felt pouches to see if these had an impact on the results. I am hoping that the accuracy and consistency will be higher during these tests so I will know if it is best to leave the units uncovered. It is also my intention to try different techniques of carrying the units, including having them clipped to a bag or belt loop, if I can find the appropriate item for this task. Hopefully a carabiner and a thin plastic cover will work for this and not impact the results.

I am hoping that the statistics provided by the program associated with the trackers will be able to provide interesting information about how long people spend at the archaeological site museum and how quickly they move throughout the site and on their tour. And, of course, I will be sure to test the accuracy and consistency of the units at the site when I get there so I will have an idea about the reliability of the data logged by the trackers; I will also be marking the units and the memory cards so I can be sure to keep the pairings of these the same during my tests and research.


About alisondeplonty

I am an Archaeology MA student at The University of Western Ontario, studying the complex interactions of actors and actants, and their effect on the visitor experience, at the archaeological site museum Huacas del Sol y de la Luna, Trujillo, Peru. Public historian and public archaeologist at heart-- dissemination is key!

Posted on June 2, 2012, in MA Project. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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