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John Stewart

USGS Map Prices to Increase

The U.S. Geological Survey has announced a price increase for their various map products effective March 1, 2009.  The increase come after their annual review to determine if all costs are being fully recovered.

The basic price changes are noted below.  For additional information, visit the USGS Store.


    * The price for the USGS primary series topographic quadrangle maps (7.5 minute - 1:24,000, 1:25,000, and 1:20,000 scales; 7.5 x 15 minute - 1:25,000 scale; and Alaska 1:63,360 scale) will increase from $6 to $8 per sheet.
    * The price for most other USGS map titles and scales (including 1:100,000-scale series, 1:250,000-scale series, and smaller scale topographic maps as well as thematic maps) will increase from $7 to $9 per sheet.
    * The price for National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) maps will increase from $10 to $12 per sheet.
    * Prices for select large format maps will vary by map size.
    * Prices for geologic quadrangles and thematic maps will vary from $9 to $80/title depending on the number of sheets and/or whether the product is produced by print-on-demand. Print-on-demand thematic products may be priced at $5/sq. ft.
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John Stewart

SPOT - for the offroad emergency

SPOTTechnology is making significant improvements to treks off the paved road.  One area that has seen rapid improvement is in communications.  In the good old days, CB radio was (and still is) standard fare for communications during the off road trail ride.  Over time, the CB has yielded its top sport to a succession of new comers: 2-meter amateur radio, cell phone, and GPS.

Each has benefits and drawbacks.  None provide true emergency location finding.  That is changing with SPOT.  SPOT is a combination of GPS and Satellite phone technology providing a beacon transponder that can send a 911 distress signal or a simple check-in message.

SPOT takes your GPS location and sends it to others back at home over a commercial satellite network in real time so they know exactly where your are and how you’re doing. SPOT works virtually around the world regardless of cell phone coverage.  SPOT provides four functions: Ask for help, Check-in, Track Progress, or Alert 911.
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John Stewart

Light in the darkness

Personal Lights

Frequent wheeling trips extend past the daylight hours and present a few challenges.  Technology and LEDs are now easing the task of lighting the way.  For personal use, two products standout - LED headlamp by Petzl and an LED micro-light from Gerber.

The Petzl headlamp provides 40 lumens of light with four selectable power ranges.  Powered by three AAA batteries, the headlamp is rated for 60 to 120 hours of operation, depending on the power range. 

The four ranges are selected by push button switch that cycles through a high, medium and low range followed by a strobe of one second on and one second off.  A momentary  contact switch will select a boost mode that provides a light beam reaching out to 50 meters or slightly over 150 feet.  The light angle can be tilted to provide light coverage close to distant.

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John Stewart

Nevada Trails - Western Region

Nevada TrailsDuring the 1950's, American families began taking the roads less traveled across western public lands.  The backcountry beckoned and surplus military jeeps were plentiful.  In the ensuing years, families began seeking backcountry destinations and enjoying their leisure time exploring remote locations far from paved roads.  While some were seeking a destination, for others the journey was the destination.

Keying on the desire of people to explore backcountry by-ways, the folks at Adler Publishing began developing guidebooks highlighting spectacular backroads and 4-wheel drive trails.

Their latest in the backcountry trails series focuses on the western region of Nevada bounded by Reno, Winnemucca, and Tonopah.  This region feature a step back in time complete with abandoned mines, buildings and entire towns. The Nevada Trails edition features day trips and weekend get-a-ways to 39 locations and over 600 miles of trails in the remote Nevada backcountry.
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John Stewart

Lowrance Baja 540 GPS Receiver

Lowarance Baja 540Global Position System technology has been available to the public since the U.S. Air Force launched the final Navstar satellite into orbit in the summer of 1993.  With the growing popularity of portable GPS receivers, maps and compass have become relics.  While many GPS units are hand-held with small viewing screens, a growing number are becoming dedicated navigation devices with larger viewing screens.

One such model is the Lowrance Baja 540 GPS receiver.  Featuring a 5 inch 16-color display, this GPS is ruggedized and shock-resistant; made for off-highway use.  The unit is pre-loaded with basic maps of the U.S.  An optional feature allows for more detailed topographical maps to be loaded.
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