Sedona, GPS, and GIS Training Videos

Before launching GeoMattix, I worked as a Trimble GPS sales rep and trainer in Arizona.  To help learn the finer points of the various GPS devices, I would take a unit along when I went hiking in Sedona – my adopted hometown.  I carried a GeoExplorer in my backpack with an external antenna attached to my hat as I went around Chimney Rock; clipped a Nomad to my fanny pack for a hike around Airport Mesa; and was able to carry a Juno in the pocket of my water bottle as I hiked up Cathedral Rock.

Airport Mesa Loop

Slowly, I began to build up a collection of hiking trails, trailheads, and various points of interest in town and in the forests and wild lands surrounding Sedona.  I learned not just about the GPS units, but about adding digital photos to a GIS using GPS.  All of my trailhead points include photos of the actual trailhead.  Points of interest point features are supplemented with photos of lovely vistas, colorful lizards, and even a jackrabbit, or two.  I also learned how to best managing GPS collected data in a geodatabase and how to design the geodatabase for efficiency in the field with dropdown lists, default values, and more.  I was also able to get a lot of practice post-processing GPS data for better accuracy.

When I started GeoMattix, I bought a Juno SB so I could continue my Sedona trails project.  But it didn’t stop there!  I bought various Garmin units, too.  I drove my husband crazy on our hikes trying to troubleshoot technical problems, asking him to pose for a geotagged photo, and finding the best way to carry the Juno when hiking.  He was a good sport, but I know how annoying it is when you just want to hike and your partner is mucking around with gadgets!  It took a little figuring out but I got it down to a science – having learned the idiosyncrasies of my various GPS units.

Sedona is a hiker’s paradise.  Dramatic views, accessible rock structures, gorgeous canyons, and even a creek running right through the desert – and all that is accessible from your front door!  And Arizona is perfect for collecting GPS data.  Here, we enjoy wide open views of the sky with very little interference from tree canopies or other obstructions and I’ve never had a problem locking into WAAS.  My Sedona hiking data became the material for demos in my GIS training classes.  I always enjoyed the oohs and aahs from students when I’d show them how to work with photos in GIS.  Sunset at Cockscomb was a favorite!

Learning how to use GPS photolinking software. I am wearing an Amod GPS unit clipped to my belt. My husband is taking photos with a regular camera. Back home, I geotagged the photos.

When I learned about the technology that enables me to create training videos, it was natural to feature my very own Sedona hiking data in the videos.  Many of the video courses feature Sedona in all its GIS glory.  Students get a virtual trip to Sedona as they learn about ArcPad, GPS, digital photos, and more.

Experimenting with a Garmin Forerunner.

Geography is about understanding the lay of the land.  GIS models the lay of the land digitally  I love both and seeing the beautiful Sedona landscape captured in GIS from data I’ve collected is pretty cool.  Technical training doesn’t have to be dry, though it often is.  My training videos teach the essential skills and workflows and they do so using data that was collected while I was out having fun in a beautiful place.  When you watch the training videos, you get a strong sense of playfulness that comes with mixing work and pleasure.  What better way to learn?

Here I am collecting Long Canyon trail – making sure my vertices are in order.