Title: What To Know Before Purchasing A GPS Unit

Word Count:
833

Summary:
One of the most popular technological items on the shelves these days is GPS systems. You can find these in the stores, in your rental cars, on your cellular phone, and in a number of other places. In short, GPS navigational units are everywhere these days. They are used in anti-theft systems, on vacations, and when enjoying certain sports outings. Whenever you want to know just where you are in the world, the GPS navigational system is your number one shot at learning this i…

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Article Body:
One of the most popular technological items on the shelves these days is GPS systems. You can find these in the stores, in your rental cars, on your cellular phone, and in a number of other places. In short, GPS navigational units are everywhere these days. They are used in anti-theft systems, on vacations, and when enjoying certain sports outings. Whenever you want to know just where you are in the world, the GPS navigational system is your number one shot at learning this information.

GPS navigational units used to be quite expensive. However, these days it is possible to pick up a reasonably priced unit that is packed with enough features to offer you more than you may need. No matter how many features and how good a price is you need to ensure you know what you are looking for in a GPS navigational system. There are numerous choices, features, options, and prices for all of the units out there and if you do not know what to look for you just might get stuck with something that you do not need or cannot use.

While the GPS, which stands for Global Positioning System, has many uses, the primary use of the GPS is supposed to be to calculate or pinpoint the exact location a person is by using satellite signals. As the GPS learns where a person is then it can direct them to their point of destination.

Boat Captains use GPS navigational systems because they can tell the Captain how far from land they are sailing or how far they are from where they are going. They can also find out if they are right on course. Some Captains even use their GPS system to find and catch fish.

Other sporting enthusiasts that use GPS navigational systems include hikers, campers, backpackers, rock climbers, hunters, runners, and other enthusiasts who are active in the outdoors. Using a handheld GPS Unit in this environment can make things safer. You will not have to worry about getting lost and if you do, you will be given directions to the campsite, home, or any other location you wish to travel to on your trip.

With all of this in mind, it is important to know why you are planning to buy a GPS unit. GPS systems have numerous features but depending on your use of the GPS some features will be desired and others will not be necessary at all. For instance, if you are using it for sports purposes, like a runner might you would want something that is portable and small.

Additionally, you will want it to have weather resistance qualities. You should look for specific features for people that will be walking or on foot when using the system. For example, you might decide to get a GPS unit with a Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). WAAS is important for sporting trips because it increases your accuracy by at least 10 feet, which is a significant amount when in the wilderness.

When it comes to reception you want a number of channels. You should try to shoot for at least 12 channels. Your GPS navigational system is not going to work without an active signal. Having extra channels will ensure that no matter where you are you have a better chance of gaining the information that you need pertaining to your location.

Now if you are going to use your system in the car, you do not need something that is handheld and small. As you will not be holding it, weight and portability are not serious issues. Instead your prime goal should be finding something that transmits street maps in a clear fashion. If you purchase a non-handheld GPS system, you can have it mounted in your car. In these cases it generally goes on the dashboard. As it is inside the car you do not have to worry as much about durability and weatherproofing.

Once you know what kind of GPS navigational system you are looking for, you should determine what the fair prices are for the possible GPS units that suit your needs. As with all things, you will find some GPS systems are very low in price, while others cost thousands of dollars. Keep in mind the phrase, you get what you pay for, applies to GPS systems.

Do not attempt to buy a $100 GPS system (or less) and expect a feature packed system that is the best on the market. When it comes to the reasonably priced, better end GPS systems on the market you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $600.

The following features are important depending on the reason you are looking for a GPS navigational system.

Sports GPS
? Computer Interface
? Back Tracking Capabilities
? Topographical Mapping
? Durable
? Portable/Handheld
? Waterproof/Weatherproof
? Multiple Receivers (At least 12)
? WAAS

Driving
? Street Mapping Capabilities
? External Antenna
? Non-Portable
? Large Display Screen
? Computer Interface
? Multiple Channels

Boating/Water
? Active Sonar
? Weatherproof/Waterproof
? Computer Interface
? Color Screen
? Back Tracking Capabilities
? Marine Mapping

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