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GPS Buyers Guide

Buyers Guide Going for a weekend getaway, job interview in a new city or any other travel can change from an exciting outing to a horrendous nightmare if you get lost. Whether it was due to exiting at the wrong exit and finding that the exit does not allow you back onto the highway or making wrong turns in a new city that leave you hopelessly lost, having a GPS system in the vehicle could prevent these unfortunate events.

What is GPS:

GPS, or Global Positioning Satellite, is a system that uses a small receiver to pinpoint coordinates via the satellite system set up in space. While the satellite system was originally developed, constructed and set in space during the Cold War as a means of defending the United States against nuclear attacks, it is now applied to consumer use via a receiver that uses the system to pinpoint an exact location.

The GPS systems come in a variety of forms that include small handheld systems, vehicle systems that are built into a car, portable vehicle systems that you can remove from a car and add-ons to Palm OS systems, Smartphones and pocket PDAs. The systems will vary in power and ability based on the specific system and the size of the battery. Larger systems like those found in a vehicle are generally more powerful than small handheld systems.

Using GPS:

GPS systems will vary slightly in the basic use, but many have a similar method of managing the system. Usually, they have a touch screen that allows you to put on a map option or type in an address for directions. Once the system finds the satellite, it shows a map based on your current position.

While driving, if you type in the address for directions a voice will give spoken directions such as saying “turn left” when you need to turn.

Who Needs GPS:

While a GPS system is interesting, not everyone needs the system. In general, anyone who rarely travels outside the area where they are familiar will not need a GPS system because the area is well-known and getting lost is unlike.

Anyone who travels often, such as businessmen who travel for work, should consider getting a GPS system.
Another consideration is whether you drive alone or not. Individuals who often drive without the accompaniment of someone else should consider getting a GPS system because it reads out directions so that your concentration is on the road.

Selecting the System:

Making the choice of what type of system to get is perhaps one of the hardest problems that face consumers who want a GPS system. Fortunately, keeping a few ideas in mind about the system can make it easier.

Drivers who are often alone or who are going to a new location in general will want to have a GPS system in the vehicle. Whether the system is portable so you can move it between vehicles or is attached to the car is a personal choice and will depend on your personal needs, budget and preferences.

Handheld GPS systems are best for those who often go biking, hiking or enjoy the great outdoors.

The add-on systems for Smartphone devices, PDAs and notebooks are best for anyone who does not travel often, but might occasionally travel with the device.

Buying a GPS is as simple as going to the store and picking out the one you prefer. While that is true, keeping in mind the amount of use and the type that is best suited to your personal activities will make the choice easier.