Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Continuing Education at the Warnell School

GPS for Beginners

Building 4, Room 516, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Date: 07/22/2011 from 08:30 am to 03:30 pm

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is an important tool for natural resource managers. Wildlife biologists use GPS to document the location of nests, survey points, and other critical habitats. Foresters use GPS to delineate treatment areas and develop standard geographic information systems (GIS) databases for roads and other management-related infrastructure. Fisheries biologists and hydrologists use GPS to map stream systems. Recreation resource managers use GPS to map trails systems. A variety of professionals use GPS in conjunction with wildfire monitoring and suppression activities. All natural resource managers, along with the general public, use GPS to navigate. While most people think of GPS in terms of the receivers that they use, GPS is actually a system of satellites, receivers, control stations, base stations, and software for navigation and mapping the earth's features.


Click here to view the brochure for this course


This six-hour course will:

  • Briefly introduce the basic features of satellite-based navigation systems of the U.S. and other countries
  • Discuss the sources of error and the common methods used to assess data quality in forested conditions
  • Provide introductory experience with GPS data collection using consumer-grade and mapping-grade GPS receivers
Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:
  • Understand the basic components of GPS
  • Be able to understand many of the common terms associated with GPS (e.g., PDOP)
  • Think critically about GPS error sources and data quality
  • Understand how to collect data with a GPS receivers
Who Should Attend?

Natural resource management professionals and realtors who have little to no background with GPS, yet have an interest in learning about the basics of GPS and the accuracy of the technology when used in forested conditions. Upper-level managers who need to communicate GPS-related requests with field personnel may find the course useful as well. Realtors who are involved in the valuation of rural land and timber should also attend.

Registration Fees

The fee for this course is $195, which includes instructional materials, one luncheon.


The course involves lecture presentations that provide an overview of satellite-based navigational systems, sources of error, accuracy, and planning. In addition, participants will briefly use two or more GPS receivers to gain an understanding of how they operate. The material will be presented in a logical manner, from a description of satellite-based navigational systems, to the equipment involved, to field data collection procedures. Handouts will be provided to summarize the material presented.


Dr. Pete Bettinger is a professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. He has more than 25 years of operating, teaching, and research experience in forestry and natural resources, including roles with the U.S. Forest Service, several forest products companies, and Oregon State University. Dr. Bettinger has taught courses on forest measurements, forest planning, and harvest scheduling, as well as GIS applications in natural resource management. In 2009, Academic Press published his book Forest Management and Planning, and in 2008 Oxford University Press published his book Geographic Information Systems: Applications in Natural Resource Management. Dr. Bettinger earned BS and MS degrees from Virginia Tech; and a PhD from Oregon State University.



Continuing Education Credits

  • 6.0 Continuing Forestry Education (CFE) hours—Category 1 (approved)
  • 6.0 Continuing Logger Education (CLE) hours—Environment (approved)

Course Instructor(s)

Add course to calendar

If you have any questions please contact James T. Johnson at 706-308-6396 or

Personal tools