Published 2009-02-11 (Rev. 2010-07-13) -- Examines the use of handy portable and hand held gps navigation systems for vehicles and hiking directions.
Author: Des Smalls
Examines the use of handy portable and hand held gps navigation systems for vehicles and hiking directions.
For the directionally challenged people who can never find their way from point A to point B without maps, compasses and personal assistance, a GPS system can change your lives. Never again will you call someone to say that you are lost. A GPS unit is the most reliable navigator and map-reader that you will ever need.
You can even dump all of those unwieldy maps from the glove compartment and rejoice at your new found freedom. GPS devices have been around for a number of years but it has only been within the past 5 years that the technology has improved to the user-friendly style we know today.
In the late 90s when the firs GPS hand held systems were being marketed, the devices were large and ungainly. The technology was in its infancy and the mapping was dealing more with showing you latitudes and longitudes. There were lines showing various highways but little information was available to help you understand what you were seeing. The new GPS devices cannot only show you every road and landmark, they can signal when you are approaching traffic lights. Today's models even use voice technology to tell you in advance when you need to turn. The voice technology has added a great deal to the use and function of these navigational buddies.
GPS systems are great for long distance drivers and vacation loving families.
These little navigational aids can get you across town or across the country and never once will you have to pull out a map or stop to ask directions. These units are absolutely priceless for salesmen and others who are constantly on the road. They not only provide you with step-by-step directions many of them have a number of other additional features that can be used.
Some of the GPS systems are able to download up to the minute traffic and accident reports and will provide you with advance warnings about traffic jams, roadwork and other traffic hazards. They will even calculate new routes for you to take to avoid long waits on the highway in mile long traffic queues.
All GPS systems are not the same and different models and makes come with very different capabilities and features. These are investments for you so it will benefit you to carefully look at all of the tasks that each model can perform. You can find some models that will download entire libraries of music or books on tape to play on the road. Some of these are compatible with Bluetooth systems. You will even locate GPS models that can provide you with listings for every type of attraction or tourist feature that you could desire.
With a modern GPS today you can ask it to locate the nearest restaurants, movies, gas stations, or shopping center. Even schools, subdivisions, intersections, tourist attractions and banks are never more than a few seconds away. Your GPS can direct you safely to your chosen destination and then you can click the button to return home and the saved map will return you to your own driveway.
You can find many of these GPS models offered in new cars today.
Some of these are included as standard equipment on luxury autos and others are optional equipment. The overall price that you pay for having these as optional choices will be higher than purchasing them in stores, but they are neatly placed in the dash and well worth the money. Most models with a good assortment of features can be purchased for about $300.
There are some models being sold for under $100 but these are not worth the time and effort and are not user friendly. There are also some that sell for over $1500 and you may prefer to choose one of these high-end models if you do lots of driving.
Any of the built in navigation systems are usually designed for particular types of vehicles and these have extras like DVDs and radios in addition to the regular features. The screens are larger and they are very user friendly. Bluetooth use is also included as well as hands free speech to text capability. When you pay extra prices for these models in your new car, you will pay at least$1000 or more. Some of these GPS models can cost several thousand dollars.
You can purchase a GPS system as a separate unit through other retail vendors and use them in any vehicle and these will cost you about $300-$700. There are a few models that can cost more. These can be moved from vehicle to vehicle and mounted on the dash or on the inside windshield. There are even permanent bracket mounts that can be fitted to hold these devices. Some of these units can be a bit awkward and they can get in the way, especially if your car is tiny. Many of these also have small screens that can be hard to read. The overall convenience and assistance they deliver makes these awkward moments worth all of the effort.
You can even buy single model hand held units that are designed for hikers. These will not only keep hikers from getting lost they let others see where they are. You can purchase these in pairs. Your second model can show you where the person with the first unit is at all times. GPS system capability and technology has been integrated into PDA and Cell phone units as well as into some laptop computers. These do not have all of the features of other models but they can offer you some assistance in finding locations.
When choosing a GPS system you should look for one with 20MB or more of available storage so you can save many locations and other information. Also make sure that you have one that can be recharged in your home as well as in your car.
Most of the customer support numbers are very helpful and can usually assist you by phone with any small problem that you are having with your system. There are many makers of these systems including Magellan, Tom-Tom and Garmin. Garmin has been one of the leading innovators of this type of technology throughout the years.
For persons with disabilities there is now a new GPS navigation system that finds disability parking locations.