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Srikumar

Never Venture in the Desert Alone

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A situation where only two cars entered the Desert with family and got stuck in the middle of nowhere without GPS. Could have become worse had it been close to the summer season

 

https://m.khaleejtimes.com/nation/dubai/10-uae-residents-get-lost-in-the-desert-at-night-heres-what-happened-next

 

 

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Some basic navigational skills would have helped here. Most phones have a compass, head north west towards the coast and you’ll eventually come across a road.  

GPS isn’t the be all and end all. If you don’t even have a compass, use your brain. Everyone knows the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, this will help you in the day time. Night time is even easier and more accurate, look for the Ursa Major constellation, make a line from the 2 stars on the edge and follow them towards Polaris, the North Star. I used to hike for days at a time in the mountains at home with no electronics and minimal gear and these 2 simple things always helped me find my way. Relying on GPS for navigation and phones or radios for communication isn’t always a good thing. Batteries die, things break, it’s best to learn the basics like our ancestors did so if things do go wrong, you have a chance of finding your way out. 

I could go on about survivalism but I feel that would be a whole thread on its own. 

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OMG, this could have been the worst disaster in summer with children and age-old diabetic patient without food and water.

Of course, many people drive for few drives and think they can venture alone, of course, you can but mother nature always strikes when you are least prepared. Apart from navigational skills or software their both cars stuck and that reminds everyone to go in at least 3 or more cars and not alone or in 2 cars. Stuck tow rope between two vehicles is very common especially if you are not a seasoned offroader and plan your recovery without considering the downslope, vehicle weight, angle, and tug intensity.

Slight correction from Khaleej Times statement, GPS signal was unavailable they might have meant that 4G or 3G was not there and that's why "online" GPS connection wasn't available.

GPS signals are always working BEST in the desert and even if you have the most stupid offline phone app, you can make your way out without counting stars, sun, and moon in today's age. GPS signal gets lost in an area that is filled with skyscrapers like in Burj Khalifa area, but they never fail in desert or offroad. I have been driving offroad since Garmin brick GPS days that works perfectly fine, now phone apps like Motion X for iPhone and wikiloc for android have changed the face of offline navigation entirely.

Secondly, every car, phone, most watches and offline google maps have a basic compass, so even if they have followed the qudra lake direction back with correct northing, they wouldn't have reached to Murquab that is way too far. Secondly, they could have gone on top of tall dune by foot and visually spot the road or street light and mark that direction in compass to follow. We see road lights from 15-20 kms very easily unless you are in Liwa, Sweihan or Wagan expansive desert.

Kudos to Dubai Police for sending the helicopter for search and rescue in such situation.

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Blown way out of proportion and some masala added by the media, there isn't that much uninterrupted desert left in Dubai and most of the UAE that you can have a scenario where you are lost for days  and end up dead, specially in the Dubai side. 

Pick a direction, any direction and start walking and with in a few hours, a day at the most you will bump into someone or something. 

Or simply call for help on your cell phone, like the people in the story did. 

P.S : Barry is right, people are so reliant on GPS nowadays I swear they couldn't find the way to their bathroom from their bedroom, let alone navigate in the desert. 

To this day I get a little chuckle when people ask or share GPS tracks for the desert. 

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also watching landing plains, 95% of flights landing in Dubai Airport south to north 

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15 hours ago, Barry said:

Some basic navigational skills would have helped here. Most phones have a compass, head north west towards the coast and you’ll eventually come across a road.  

GPS isn’t the be all and end all. If you don’t even have a compass, use your brain. Everyone knows the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, this will help you in the day time. Night time is even easier and more accurate, look for the Ursa Major constellation, make a line from the 2 stars on the edge and follow them towards Polaris, the North Star. I used to hike for days at a time in the mountains at home with no electronics and minimal gear and these 2 simple things always helped me find my way. Relying on GPS for navigation and phones or radios for communication isn’t always a good thing. Batteries die, things break, it’s best to learn the basics like our ancestors did so if things do go wrong, you have a chance of finding your way out. 

I could go on about survivalism but I feel that would be a whole thread on its own. 

You mean the Big Dipper (the Plough in the UK) asterism, as opposed the constellation Ursa Major? Sure, this works to find your way if you know what to look for but in my experience, less than a 5 people out of 100 can identify any constellation, much less an asterism that can save their lives.  

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Most of the deserts here are formed in grid shape so just face in anyone direction and keep going you sure will end up on the street to the other side...

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1 hour ago, shadow79 said:

Most of the deserts here are formed in grid shape so just face in anyone direction and keep going you sure will end up on the street to the other side...

And also explain how do you plan to keep a straight line in desert by dodging dunes, rocks, slip face, pockets, fence, farms, trees etc.

And secondly all grids you mentioned are of different geometrical shapes from rectangle, square, triangle, circle, trapezium, rhombus, etc.

It's not a sea or air, to keep straight as the crow flies.

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Each time you drop from a dune then check the direction of air if it's still in same direction or changed then face accordingly and repeat...😀 I have reached places that way but then had to walk almost 8 10 kms back to street from there...

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On 12/24/2018 at 12:59 AM, hossein said:

also watching landing plains, 95% of flights landing in Dubai Airport south to north 

This is also factually very incorrect. 

On 8/11/2019 at 1:59 PM, shadow79 said:

Most of the deserts here are formed in grid shape so just face in anyone direction and keep going you sure will end up on the street to the other side...

Talk about necroing a thread. Bam out of the blue !

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