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Get the Most Out of Your GPS

Updated on May 10, 2014

GPS has become a great companion of drivers. It makes trips easier, more relaxing, even spontaneous on occasion.

GPS does not only serve to guide you to your destinations, it also helps you to spot new places. It helps to design your trips as you desire: faster trip when the time is the priority; trip costs less fuel if gas saving is your main concern. I am going to share with you my experience using the Garmin nuvi GPS unit.

Save An Address
Save An Address | Source

1. Address Book - organize the addresses into different categories

Each time you input an address which you may need again in the future, you'd better save it right after and more important – save it in a smart way.

After you input an adress, there will appear this window with both "Save" and "Go" buttons on the left side. You can just simply press the “Save” button and give it a name as prompted, the information will go directly to the default category of “Address”. But next time when you intend to load it, you may end up going through the whole bunch of addresses which is really painstaking. So why not take an extra step making the future searching an easier job? Load the address after you store it as you are going to start the trip (you can quickly find it in the "recently found" folder). Before you press “Go” button, move your finger to a line of small blue words "press for more" just below the address. It will take you to a window for more options. You will see an "Edit" button on the left side for you to change or add information for this location. Simply scroll down to the bottom line "Change Categories", the default one is "Address" with a green check, you can use the folder already built in by the manufacture or you can create a new one as you wish. Therefore all the addresses will be organized into corresponding categories. Organizing your address book is a very good habit to develop. My experience tells me a GPS with unorganized addresses sometimes could put you into a very awarked situation. Once my friend suggested we drive to a shopping mall together. She had just been there a couple of times so she loaded the address from GPS and started the trip. It was supposed to be just a quick 10 minute trip but 10 minutes passed we were still running on highway and getting frustrated. We were obviously nowhere near our destination. It looked like she used a wrong address. So I searched for the correct one. I scrolled up and down through the whole bunch of addresses and coudln't locate the one she mentioned. Because she didn't organize the addresses at all ! GPS keeps all the input addresses till it reaches the maximum, after that each newly input address will replace the old one.

Change Address Category
Change Address Category | Source

2. Design the route to meet your preferences

We all have our likes and dislikes even when come to driving. You probably don't like driving on highway, or you might hate toll roads etc. Does GPS allow you to pick the roads which you find the most comfortable? Of course! You can set up the route based on your personal preferences. Go to the setup window through the “Tool” button at the lower right corner. Press “Settings”, we come to the window with “Navigation” button at the top middle. It is where you can set up your “Route Preference”. As you can see there are 4 different options: faster time, shorter distance, less fuel, off road. We can also tell GPS what road situations we want to avoid during the trip by enable “Avoidances”: U-turn, highways, toll roads, traffic and ferries.

ecoRoute | Source

3. ecoRoute

"ecoRoute" has undoubtedly something to do with the environment as the prefix "eco-" tells us. Simply put, it is about being economical with gas. You use less gas, reduce negative affect upon environment. During the economic recession and the gas price soaring, you definitely need keep an eye on your gas cost. Start from “Tool” as well. A green leaf icon noted as “ecoRoute” is where you can use the function. Go to “ecoRoute” setup window, first you need to build up your “Vehicle Profile” by typing information of vehicle MPG (mileage per gallon) and gas type, gas price. After having the basic data, GPS will show how much a trip would cost and combining with the "router preference" function discussed above, you could change route and see cost varies.

Where Am I?
Where Am I? | Source

4. Where Am I?

This feature can be very helpful under some emergent circumstances. Start from "Tool" and press “Where Am I”, you will get this table with the exact information about your current location including latitude, elevation, nearest address and roads intersection. You could also find out where the nearest hospital, police station or gas stations is in case if you need it.

We have only discussed some of the main features about GPS. There are still other useful functions such as GPS simulator, pedestrian or bicycle usage mode etc. If you use a different manufacture brand, there might be some slight differences. All I hope is this short explanation could trigger your further exploration and get the most out of your GPS!


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