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Don’t let your “way points” get away from you 
By: Chad Morgenthaler


In the past 10 years GPS units have revolutionized how anglers navigate and recognize productive areas to fish.  Of course the technology is much better today than it was a few years ago, but it’s still very important and necessary to organize and maintain way points. 

Believe it or not, units such as Lowrance’s LCX 113C-HD (GPS and depth sounder combination unit) with a built in hard drive can and will at some point reach a maximum storage capacity. Not to long ago I became well acquainted with this circumstance when my unit reached its maximum level.  I had never backed-up or maintained my way points, and the engineers at Lowrance told me I had a lot of work to do.

Over the last several years I’ve raced across the nation saving way points on lakes from Texas to New York .  Of course way points are one of the greatest aspects of owning a GPS unit. Way points easily allow anglers to go back to prized structure or areas that are holding fish.  The last thing I want to happen is to loose any of my prized locations.  

If you’re lucky enough to have a new unit with a clean hard drive start way point maintenance immediately.  Purchase a memory card from a local supply store; I suggest one with at least 120MB of storage.  If you’re tournament fishing and done with a particular body of water, it’s time to back-up your system.  First name the way points, for example, “Rend Lake 2007” then select transfer data and save all of the way points and routes for that particular lake or river system.   If you want to be extra cautious then burn two cards, a master copy and one for transferring data back to your unit.  Once all of the data is saved onto the memory card go back into system setup and delete all way points and trails for that body of water. This will clean-up the unit’s hard drive so you can start from scratch next trip.  At any point through system setup and transfer, data can be loaded from the memory card back into the unit’s hard drive.  This is the best procedure for saving storage space and maintaining organization. 

Unfortunately it’s more time consuming for those of us who have units with years of saved way points.  Start by going into the unit and pulling up the way points stored on the hard drive. Starting with the first way point, write down the longitude and latitude quadrants of each one. Once completed, go back into the mapping section and locate each body of water that you visited.  Write down the way point number associated with that body of water.  For example, if you were on Lake Okeechobee and you saved way points 1-10 the unit will automatically number them 1-10.   After you know which way points are associated with each lake, now the hard work begins.  Go back into the unit and erase all of the way points and routes….basically start with a clean slate.  After the hard drive is clean, enter all of the longitude and latitude quadrants manually.   If 1-10 are on Lake Okeechobee then enter those 10 way points and name it “Lake Okeechobee 2007.”  Insert the memory card and save those particular way points onto the card and delete them from the hard drive.  Repeat this process of entering, naming and deleting until all way points are entered.  When the process is complete you’ll have a clean hard drive and a memory disk with all of your way points well organized and named for each particular body of water.  I know it’s time consuming, but it has to be done in this manner because of the way the system saves and assigns numbers to each way point.

It’s more work if a couple of years of way points are saved up, but in the long run it is worth the time to deal with the issue as soon as possible before your unit reaches its maximum capacity. 

A special “Thanks” to all of my sponsors: Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Yamaha Motors, Ranger Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Svanda GM Motor Group, Maxima Line, Kistler Rods, Minn Kota, Plano , Penetrator Weights, Reaction Innovation, Nameoki Village Marine, Berkley – Abu Garcia, and Solar Bat.

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