GPS Buying Guide

With so many options in the market, finding and buying GPS devices can be rather time consuming and difficult. We could spend a lot of time researching these devices, for various purposes, such as for navigation and geocaching. GPS technology was originally designed for military purposes, but it is now available for users. Many people are starting to use GPS technology more and more. GPS is based on 24 satellites that tracks and surrounds the earth every 12 hours. When using GPS devices, we typically obtain signals directly from the satellite. With GPS, we will know our position directly and track objects with integrated GPS devices in them. When planning to purchase GPS devices, trusted names in the market include Magellan, Tomtom, Lowrance, Navman and Cobra. There are many different models available from these manufacturers; some of them can be affordable, while others are quite expensive.

Many GPS devices are car-related and they have built-in software that provides navigation information using voice prompts. We can download additional maps when we travel to specific new locations. Using voice-based instructions for navigation can be very convenient, because we could get information without being distracted at all. Garmin Nuvi and Magellan Roadmates are popular models available for consumers. We could also purchase handheld units that can take anywhere while we are on foot or biking. Handheld models include Magellan Explorist, Garmin iQue and Garmin Forerunner. There are different characteristic of GPS units and our selections could depend on different factors. As an example, we should be aware of whether a GPS-based device is accurate enough in providing mapping information while we are in remote areas or foreign big cities.

GPS Buying Guide

Here are things to consider when choosing a GPS device

  • Basic GPS units should be adequate for average consumers who just want to get around and find specific place. In fact, it is typically one thing that people want out of GPS devices. A basic device should be able to display mapping information in good enough details, such as name of streets, places of interests and others. It should also allow us to download extra mapping information.
  • If possible, we should ask the sales representative to provide us with a demo unit and find out how responsive and accurate the device is. In general, GPS devices with more channels offer better reception and improved performance. With additional channels, the GPS device could pick up more satellites. Magellan Roadmate and Garmin Nuvi series are known for their abilities to manage signals from multiple satellites.
  • It is also important to determine how much available storage in the device to save additional maps, landmarks, waypoints and locations. It is a good idea to choose more scalable models that can be upgraded in the future.
  • We should consider whether it is necessary to have a handheld or car-based GPS unit. People who often travel in foot and transportation means other than cars should choose handheld GPS devices. Some of these devices are designed for marine use, which are useful for recreational sailing and fishing.

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