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In the last decade GPS has made life a lot easier! Nowadays you can find these Global Positioning System devices as a navigation device for cars, trucks and motorcycles, on the water for navigating boats and yachts, to sport enhancements as GPS watches for runners, golfers and outdoor hiking GPS handhelds and bicycle GPS computers.
GPS has been said to have perfectly put together two of the most important things when traveling – mapping and navigation. The birth of GPS navigation devices was the start of numerous endless things not just for the travelers but for everyone. As what critics have earlier said, the advantages just cannot be matched.
Today, GPS is used not just in traveling but in various sports as well. Best part is that GPS navigation now comes in those little modern and high-technology looking devices that you can forego those large maps you usually take along with you. Do you want to hear more? Take GPS watches for example. Could life get any easier than that?
To give you a better idea on how GPS changed our way of life for the better and how it definitely is the start of something great as far as GPS navigation, mapping, traveling, and playing sports are concerned, here are some of the categories where it is being widely used today.
GPS has brought so much convenience to the automotive navigation system. More than just helping drivers get from point A to point B faster, it has enhanced safety and property protection. This works in an efficient way that the GPS device for the car, truck or motorcycle acquires its exact position data in order to locate the vehicle on the road as per the device’s database.
Once the exact location of the vehicle is established, one can get instructions and directions on how to get to his chosen destination or to even find roads with less traffic jams and/or detours for what could be a safer ride. Such automotive GPS navigating systems can also be equipped with gyroscope and accelerometer for a much better reliability since signal loss must always be expected at some point in the travel.
Different devices offer various visualization options. Some just show a top view of the map that rotates with the automobile while some offer additional bird’s eye view and even linear gauge. Others have schematic pictograms and most offer voice prompts which should make the drive safer as the driver would not have to take his/her hands off the wheel just to take a look at the directions.
Additionally, most car GPS devices can also be taken out of the vehicle for hand-held use. To know more about the common features of an automotive GPS system, here is a quick list:
Large and Responsive Touchscreen
This is a must have for every GPS navigation system designated for automotive use. You surely do not want to take your eyes off the road for long periods of time just to get a better and clearer view of that tiny navigation device screen, would you? This also helps so that you will not accidentally touch the wrong controls should there be a sudden stop.
Remember that the navigation screen especially for cars and trucks must be able to show much information at a glance. It should also be responsive as this is critical especially for those tight turns and jam-packed roads.
This is something that should not take much of your time. Most common universal mounts would be okay. There is no need to spend a good fortune for fancy mounts. However, if you want an automotive GPS system that would be easy to snap in and out of the vehicle, those that come with windscreen snaps would be ideal.
This enables any GPS system to act like a speakerphone. In addition, you can connect it directly to your vehicle or smartphone or any other gadget you might have. The special motorcycle GPS systems can be connected to motorcycle intercoms in order to give the instructions loud and clear to the biker.
This is the latest craze today since almost everyone wants to see everything in a 3D perspective. This is helpful in navigating over landmarks. However, they are still updating the actual images and you might not want to rely on it so much.
Navigation devices basically help anyone not to get lost anywhere. In addition, this serves as a warning to car thefts out there because they are somewhat turned off by the fact that the vehicle they are about to take is equipped with a sophisticated tracking system and so, would put them at risk of being caught and trapped.
It has been a while that people are once again starting to realize the great health benefits of running as part of their fitness programs. Some people have been running most of their lives without such GPS devices and yes they were doing great. However, they did better once they were able to efficiently track how far they have been running.
See the thing with running without a device is that you run and run without knowing the distance that you have run. If you want to become a better runner or at least improve your running skills, it has to be done the right way. You start with a few kilometers and increase weekly or monthly.
When running GPS devices were first introduced to the public, some were actually hesitant to use it, much more to buy it, because some does not feel comfortable with it being strapped on some part of their body especially while running. It has only been lately that GPS running watches were introduced, and hence, people naturally find them more comfortable to wear.
More than just accurately giving running statistics, running GPS watches lets you trace your routes, save them, and allow you to go that route one more time again at a later date. If you have a few extra bucks, you might as well get one that comes with a heart monitor as well.
Here are some of the famous and well-appreciated features of running GPS devices:
Measures Individual Values
If you are a runner who is trying to pursue a specific goal such as to get fit for a competition or to lose weight, the individual values that most running GPS watches give are highly beneficial.
For example, these devices not just simply calculates the distance travelled but also the calories burned which should give you a better idea on far along your specific goal you are.
Since more runners will run whenever they can, there is simply no specific time of day or night to run. For those days that you feel like running after working hours, an illuminated display will help you keep track of your route, calories, and distance. This shall make you feel safe and secured on the running path.
As a runner, it does sometimes get boring to take on the same path every single time you run. Don’t you want to explore new routes around your area? This is another great thing about running GPS watches. They have the capability to show and lead you to new tracks around your home.
Fitness Training Programs
Most running watches today, especially the GPS watches, let you do various fitness-training programs more than just running. There are even those that are specifically created to help triathlon players and wannabes that let you run, hike, bike, cycle, and even swim.
Just like with the automotive navigation devices, you have to look for an easy-to-read screen when choosing a running GPS watch. Remember that an easy-to-read display of a running GPS device is one that easily shows the vital statistics such as pace, distance, and speed.
A handheld GPS device is everyone’s best buddy when it comes to traversing unfamiliar territories. It is already an adventure to head out into the wild to hike to may be spend quality time with your family or friends or do some geocaching which has been the latest hiking trend. For experts, GPS works in so many ways that it provides an extra protection should conditions turn out to be less than ideal.
While a GPS device cannot help your growling stomach fight away hunger or some wild animals out at the mountains, it can give you more ways than one on how to get away from a less than ideal situation. With this device, at least you know there is simply no way you are going to get lost at the woods.
However, when looking for something to help you with your hiking or geocaching adventures, here are some points you want to remember:
You have to realize that you will be spending an awful lot of time out in the wild and probably in the mountains and that makes signal reception quite a bit of a problem.
Choose a hiking GPS device that has high-sensitivity receivers and one that does not rely on only the GPS signal alone. Through this way, you can still navigate with the Glonas positioning signals as a backup should the GPS signal prove to be more troublesome than initially thought.
High-sensitivity receivers today work excellently that they get quite a good signal even when the device is safely tucked inside the pocket. However, all still depends on your specific position and how it corresponds to the satellite position.
Since hiking usually takes several days, it would be best to get a weatherproof hiking GPS navigation device to make sure that regardless of the weather, you can use it to find your way home or to head to the nearest shelter. In addition, it also needs to have a brightly colored screen with details maps to make navigation way easier even if the situation does not permit.
Customizable Menu System
We all have our own preferences on how to use our devices. Given that the main goal of a hiking GPS device is to make things easier in general and not just navigation alone, it would most definitely be better with a customizable menu system.
For hikers and the likes, this device allows you to specifically customize the settings so that you get quickest access to the apps and functions that you really need especially during the hike. Once you have fully customized the menu to your liking, ease of use naturally will follow.
Once your outdoor hiking GPS system has all these important features, you are somehow assured of a wonderful adventure ahead of you. If you are about to use this for geocaching, this should definitely increase your chances of reaching your destination faster.
Have you always wanted to be a better golfer? Critics say that the birth of golfing GPS watches and devices helped not just the professional golfers but the beginners as well. Well, this will not make you play like Tiger Woods but this will definitely help you get better shots.
With the help of various satellites available today, a golfing GPS device gives an accurate distance from the golfer to the hole. They even come with the capability to show the calculated distance to water hazards and sand bunkers.
Because of all these, it makes the life of a golfer easier. It saves time and energy that one would otherwise consume just to gather information and determine what technique he/she is going to use.
Here is a quick list of advantages that a golfing GPS watch or device brings:
- Quick, Easy, and Simple Readings
Focusing and locking on in target would not take a minute of your precious time. Most golf GPS devices today are equipped with high-technology features that it gives almost instant readings and measurements. However, this will still depend on the satellite position.
- Provides Distance Despite Blockages
Is a tree or something blocking your view? This is another great advantage of using a golfing GPS. You never would have to be bothered by such again because this can still provide accurate measurements despite blockages and hindrances from your position to your target.
- Club/Stroke Recommendation
This is not available in all models but you are lucky if you can get one that has this feature. Based on the distance measured and other factors in the green, this device will determine which club and what stroke should be used to better reach the target.
- Course Coverage
Different GPS devices offer different course coverage. Ideally, a dependable GPS unit should have as much courses as possible. However, there are lots of downloadable map courses if in any case the golf course that you are about to go to is not included in the set of the initially pre-downloaded courses in your device.
What you can do here is to check if the device comes with free map membership or the likes in order to save money instead of paying for every downloaded course.
Golf GPS watches and devices come in several types though they all have more or less the same capabilities and features. There are the handheld golf GPS devices and the recently released golf watch GPS units.
Just like the great importance of a GPS navigation device is to automobiles, it is equally important for cycling as well. Cycling is now one of the best exercises to do to be fit and healthy. More and more people are doing it because there is a certain fulfillment in cycling. It not just makes you lose weight but helps you release the stresses of day-to-day living.
There are so many choices for bike GPS devices today. However, here are the most important features that you must remember:
Provides Accurate Route Information
What is great about cycling GPS units is that they allow course sharing. This is great if you frequently travel with a bunch of friends. This makes sure that you are all on the same page and road. You can even customize your own route or save a route that you accidentally stumbled upon for latter exploration.
Most cycling GPS computers today not just offers course paths but helpful information as well such as altitude changes, climbs, and descents.
This has become more desirable through the years because it paves way for safe riding. This is most commonly done through Bluetooth which lets bike GPS devices connect and share with compatible mobile phones. In addition, one can use a Bluetooth headset in order to receive voice instructions and even make or answer call alerts.
This is commonly overlooked when it comes to cycling. Mounting options should not get so much attention for automotive GPS navigation devices but it is another story for bicycles. Remember that you are riding a bicycle which is much more unstable than a car. Hence you have to get a great stable mounting kit especially if you are into multiple sports.
Large and Easy-to-Read Screen
Easy-to-read screens are always ideal for cycling. The screen would have to be sunlight readable and the GPS device totally weatherproof since it would be exposed to a multitude of environmental and road factors. The screen should be large enough but not too bulky that it would obstruct your cycling.
If you frequently ride your bicycle and you very well know every part of the city or suburb, think twice because you will still benefit health wise from a bicycling GPS device with the array of helpful analysis it gives.
The marine industry is one of few that would never survive without proper navigation. At sea, there are no landmarks that you can refer to or remember so as not to lose your way. During the olden days, our ancestors use compass, maps, and even the stars to find their way.
For centuries, mariners relied on those for navigation. Today, their lives are made better with a reliable and trusty marine GPS navigation system.
There are three different types of marine GPS navigation system – the chartplotters, standalone navigators, and the chartplotter-fishfinder combo units with the latter being the most popular especially for those who love fishing adventures. It is also considered the one with the most advanced technology today.
If you are considering getting a marine GPS unit, here are some things that you have to consider:
Your Boating Style
Where are you going to use the marine GPS system? If you are going to use is solely for fishing on nearby lakes, then you can get away with the simplest unit of a fishfinder compared to those who plan to take on high seas for long fishing trips away from home.
Ease of Use
You would not want to spend most of your day trying to figure out your marine GPS unit, would you? There are marine GPS units that actually offer one-touch programming which should be easier to operate especially in varying weather conditions.
Screen Size and Resolution
For any mariner, this is their primary considerations. It has also been suggested to get the units with night watch and sunlight mode because they are well worth the money given that resolution and clarity is of high importance especially at the middle of the sea.
Water Resistance Level
It should be noted that all marine GPS units are waterproof. However, they vary in degrees and depth. Make sure that the unit you are going to get has watertight battery and memory compartments as those are the easiest to be affected and destroyed by either salt or fresh water.
GPS devices have truly come a long way. For all we know, every sport and every single thing that requires some sort of navigation will have their own dedicated GPS device in the future. For now, let us rejoice for having these helpful GPS navigation systems that truly make things easier and adventures and sports more enjoyable.