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GPS The Modern Way to Find Out Where You Are

Updated on June 15, 2011
A marine GPS
A marine GPS | Source

GPS The Answer to The Question Where The Heck Are We

Back in the old days if we wanted to know where we were we looked around for some familiar object or sign. Or if you were real good you could use the sun and the stars and never be lost. Today we have a GPS system which will map our position and tell us where to go.

Most people are familiar with the car GPS that will give verbal commands which are usually correct and will guide you to unfamiliar destinations. Even cell phones have GPS functions now. There are boat GPS systems which have somewhat revolutionalized marine navigation. There even Golf GPS systems that help improve your golf game.

Why the sudden flood of GPS systems for everything from your bicycle to your row boat?

The Development of The Global Positioning Satellites

The original concept of the GPS system was for military use. In fact we owe it to a President of the United States who ordered restrictions that had previously severely limited the accuracy non military GPS units to be lifted in May 2000.

This opened the door to a multitude of non military uses which continue to grow. From wrist watches that track a runners speed, elevation, and heart-rate as well as the runners position on the earth to GPS units for Motorcycles that come with satellite radio that give the rider the news, weather reports as well as position speed and gas usage GPS units have worked their way into our day to day existence.

Even on the golf course they not only tell you your position but how far you are from the hole and what is your best course of action to avoid traps etc. They are attempting to replace the caddy that knows the course well and gives you pointers. With names like Golf Buddy Pro and Sky Caddie they are trying to push that angle.

There are a variety of hand held devices that are focused on hiking, boating, or even small planes. The old joke about how to find the good fishing spot again by marking an x in the bottom of the boat has been solved. When you find a good fishing spot just mark it on your GPS and you can easily find it again. As long as you don't let your batteries run down you will be able to find your way out of the woods no matter how deep you go.

All this is possible because of 24 satellites that feed signals to the GPS units allowing one to pinpoint their location. The number of satellites may vary as they add more, but the principle remains the same. The more satellites you can connect with the more accurate your positioning will be.

How GPS Works

What Types Of Systems Are Available And How Do I Choose A GPS Unit

Well probably one of the most popular GPS manufacturers is Garmin and they make a GPS unit for just about every use imaginable. There are many other manufacturers as well such as Magellan, Tom Tom, Golf Buddy, and many more.

So with so much available how do you tell which is the best? Its easy. You cheat. Now on this page there will be probably some links to some Amazon products. I know this because I will put them there and because It is pretty much the only advertising I control on this page. The good thing however is that Amazon is a great research tool when you are shopping for something.

You should always read the user reviews if you want to know the strengths and weaknesses of any product. You should look for products that have 4 stars or better or at least close to that, and you should read the good and bad reviews.

Realize that any product can get a bad review and still be a great product but if it is getting dozens of bad reviews you want to know what is wrong. Is it bad customer service? Perhaps a great number of defective products might indicate poor quality control at the manufacturer. There is nowhere else on the web that these types of issues can be detected before you buy.

So if you are looking for a GPS for hiking, a bicycle GPS, or a golf GPS review or any other type of GPS unit there is no better place to get unbiased discussions of the pros and cons of a product than the Amazon customer reviews. Some times their product descriptions are weak but that is just sales hype anyway. The product reviews will give you a well rounded view of the pros and cons of the product.


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