Most popular posts 2015

The most popular posts on my blog for the year 2015 are, with one exception, posts that I wrote in previous years. I don’t know what that says about my blogging this year – perhaps I am getting worse or less interesting.

I am thinking of ways to shake things up in the new year – considering “vlogging” (Video Blogs), and perhaps re-establishing my “SARDay” posts where I write a blog about every single SAR related thing I do in a year. Could be very boring, but starting something like that can also jump start the creative process since you are forced to write.

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Anyway, here are this year’s most popular posts

  • How to Kill Yourself Snowshoeing
    This is the post that gets the most views on my blog, year over year. Written in 2010 to describe what I observed to be a much greater problem than avalanches that was killing local showshoers and skiiers, this post has become a fall and winter favourite, being shared and reposted to various bulletin boards.
    I hope it has saved some lives.
  • Calculating your own GPS accuracy
    This is a rather technical post on how to measure GPS accuracy. A part of a series of posts about GPS, accuracy, perceptions of accuracy and other topics on the GPS system, this post shows you how to measure the variation in position reported by a GPS yourself to see how the opaque and misunderstood claims of the manufacturers stand up.
    I sincerely hope this gives people insight into how GPS and statistics work.
  • #TrailHeadSelfie
    This post is the only one I wrote in 2015 that made the top 5 this year.
    This started as a very simple idea that became associated with “controversy” after some very basic misunderstandings about what I wrote, and how that would be perceived.
    The fact remains that my SAR team uses social media to search for you and having a picture of what you look like has actually helped us find people.
    Taking a Trailhead Selfie is exactly like writing your trip plan into a trail head registry and I strongly encourage the practise.
  • Personal Locator Beacons from the Rescuer’s Perspective
    This post from 2011 details my SAR group’s response to a Personal Locator Beacon triggered in the backcountry of the upper Pitt River Valley and the issues that arose from it. It’s informative to the public because it shows that there can be a very long delay between when you signal for help and when it arrives.
    SAR groups can learn about the unexpected inaccuracies in the signal and how to verify the margin of error with the reporting agency – this has important implications for planning responses to these incidents.
  • Measuring Smartphone GPS accuracy
    This post is very similar to measuring your GPS accuracy (above) and shows that smart phones are without exception less accurate than a GPS with a dedicated external antenna. Smart phones tend to “fake” your position by using WiFi and other sources to derive an estimate and speed up the initial acquisition of  a position solution, but are hampered by their “form factor”.
    It’s up to the user to determine if the level of accuracy reported by a smart phone is appropriate for the use you’re putting it to.
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