The Global Positioning System (GPS) is widely accepted as an important tool of control in several sectors of modern life, not least as a valuable aid to navigating in city and country. This blog will discuss some of the aspects relating to Street Navigation GPS, a future blog will discuss handheld ‘bushwalking’ GPS.Before the advent of GPS units, travelers put in much effort to get to unknown places. They used street directories, paper maps or road atlas, frantically searched for landmarks or just wandered until they got lucky. With GPS, travelers are provided with accurate and precise information for identifying their places of interest and to easily navigate between them, a whole continent in one small device.
How does a GPS work?
The GPS system consists of three major parts which coordinate with one another to bring forth the relevant information whenever needed. The three parts include:
- GPS satellites that orbit at an altitude of 20,000 kilometres above the surface of the earth
- GPS control and monitoring stations
- Individual GPS receivers
The control and monitoring stations control the satellite network and update the onboard electronic clocks. The satellites emit signals in the form of microwaves which are captured by the individual GPS receiver to determine the location by calculating the time difference between signals sent and received. Signals from a minimum of three satellites are required for the calculation, but more satellite signals will improve accuracy . The accuracy of location depends upon the “time keeping” perfection of the receiver.
Factors to consider before buying a GPS Unit
GPS receivers are available in different types and come with an assortment of features. The key is to determine the real purpose and find the suitable one at the given budget. The list of factors below must be duly considered before purchasing a GPS unit.
Size and resolution of screen
The ideal screen size for a GPS Navigators is in the four to seven inch (diagonal) size. The larger screen devices with make reading easier but they do gobble up more vehicle space and may obscure your vision. Smaller units are more convenient if you are taking them out of your vehicle, carrying them in your pocket or handbag. Irrespective of the screen size, buyers must look for devices with a good resolution. Screens with high resolution make reading much easier while driving. Some manufacturers trade off screen resolution for screen size and offer products at a lower cost. However, both factors must be duly checked before the purchase.
The next important thing to focus while buying a GPS receiver is the mounting system. GPS units must be mounted and dismounted with ease. Portable GPS is often used along with a suction cup windshield mount and in the case of cars with a high angle windshield, friction mounts work well. Portable GPS systems are often subjected to theft and therefore they must be dismounted and stored safely when not in use.
GPS devices come with preloaded maps and additional areas can be downloaded if needed. However, routes are often subjected to changes and staying up-to-date with these changes is important. Before buying a GPS unit, owners must look into the map update policy of the seller to avoid unexpected charges. Good GPS units will include a pre-loaded Points of Interest (POIs) database containing tourist attractions, transport hubs, medical facilities and much more.
Bluetooth Enabled GPS
An interesting feature that adds better functionality to the GPS is the ability to connect the smartphone with the device through Bluetooth. With this feature, drivers can send addresses directly from the phone book to the GPS unit and can also receive phone calls through the device without using unwieldy headphones. Buyers must check the compatibility of their phone with the device before purchase.
Live Updates and AvoidancesApart from keeping travelers safe from getting lost and connecting them with a broad database of POIs, many GPS units may also aid easy navigation by offering automated route updates to avoid traffic congestion, roadworks and diversions. The GPS should also give you an option to avoid certain road classes or actions in its navigation calculations, e.g. you may not want to travel on Toll roads, or perhaps dirt roads or if you are towing a caravan you may not want to be doing U-turns.
Additional storage memory
Units with higher memory space offer a greater chance of storing additional functionality. Users can install additional maps, store relevant multimedia content and save several locations and landmarks. This is of great value while exploring new locations in the outback region. Units should also be capable of reading extra SD or MicroSD memory cards.
How does a GPS add value during travel holidays?
All our GPS navigators come pre-loaded all of Australia and New Zealand so you will have accurate navigation to your destination. You can easily add maps for other countries which will prove invaluable by guiding you into the correct lane on the highways or negotiating a maze of one-way streets to get to your hotel in an unfamiliar city. They even take some of the stress out of driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road!. Additionally, most GPS units will run for a limited period without external power. This can be great for exploring a new city on foot, just save your starting location and turn the unit off. When you are ready to return, switch on the unit and navigate back to your saved location.
Tourists in Australia love the country for its various adventure activities like bushwalking, trekking, hiking and exploring some of the most magnificent trails in the world. Explorers must carry a navigation kit that consists of maps, atlas and compass. Adding a handheld GPS to the kit makes travelling a much better experience. Using a good GPS device offers the following benefits.
Assistance during emergency situations
In case of unwarranted situations that demand help, travelers can give their exact GPS location when communicating with the respective authorities thus aiding rapid assistance. This allows greater peace of mind and restores the confidence to enjoy adventurous activities in any part of the country.
GPS technology is clearly a source of easy travel, safety and better information. Choosing the right device based on the specific needs and coupling it with the right accessories goes a long way in achieving the benefits of the technology completely.