Technology has fundamentally changed the way we navigate from A to B and this reliance on navigational technology is very common. When at home or at work, there are plenty of opportunities to recharge the batteries vital to those devices. On the trail, there are not so many sockets to plug into. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS – including GPS) provide a pretty reliable scheme for finding our location and these systems can determine location with amazing accuracy. This allows entire trails including their waypoints to be very easily followed. Solar chargers have improved in efficiency and reduced in cost, however, the old school skills still have a very important role both in the what-if scenarios that could save your life and the quick check to provide confidence through a backup technique.
GNSS uses radio waves to transmit time. Radio signals can only be relied on when the satellite has line-of-sight to the receiver. When this signal bounces off some object (say a mountain) and still has a good signal strength, receivers can become confused and provide inaccurate information. This is especially true when a low number of satellites are in view, like in a narrow valley. Knowledge’s only cost is time, take it.