Records of old mines and placer sites are a huge resource to the modern gold prospectors. Today there are more methods and data available than ever before. Many websites including this one offer huge amounts of information. There are also many areas where you can find traditional sources of information like, your state's local mine department, libraries, state capitols, various federal agencies, newspapers etc. Digital information is becoming a fast track for the modern gold prospector as well. USGS data, Google Earth, NASA World Wind, Hystare, Minloc.com just to mention a few of the tools that are out there. Satellite images, aerial photography, infrared and other types of information also expand the modern gold prospectors tools. Distributed media such as books, maps. CDs, DVDs and internet forums and blogs also allow gold prospectors from around the world to share their knowledge and connect.
GPS is yet another powerful tool in the hands of modern gold prospectors. Most households today have a PC that is capable of interfacing with a GPS unit via computer programs which make moving data froma computer to a GPS unit very easy to do. Some GPS units also are able to display maps on screen. Modern phones also now have the ability to Geo Reference locations, bring up topo maps, use Google Earth and more.
Metal detectors today have come a long way from their humble beginnings. Both VLF and PI units are great choices for gold prospecting. Some detectors (mostly vlf models) can reliably tell the difference between iron trash and non iron targets giving the modern prospector the edge in many situations. PI units have depth and sensitivity that is truly exceptional, large targets can be found at well over a 1 foot deep and gold so small it weighs less that 1/10th of a gram both are regularly found by detectorist.
Its a very exciting time to be looking for gold. You don't have to be an "old pro" to be a of value to the prospecting community. No one knows it all and no matter what your experience level you at this point in time are a modern prospector. Pleas join our online community and share your finds, travels and adventures.