How To Use GPS

GPS devices uses four or more satellites to provide a reliable reading on the current position of the instrument. Learning how to use GPS is a nifty s...


GPS devices uses four or more satellites to provide a reliable reading on the current position of the instrument. Learning how to use GPS is a nifty skill nowadays, considering that this technology is starting to become more common in our everyday lives such as in cars, dog collars, mobile phones and other forms of tracking devices. Here is a basic guideline on how to use GPS.

The first step in how to use GPS is moving to a position that can get you a satellite signal. Remember, a GPS device requires unobstructed line of sights to 4 or more GPS satellites for it to work properly. Therefore your GPS receiver will not work properly inside buildings as it blocks high frequency satellite transmissions. A good place to use GPS is in an open, level area with a full horizon.

Usually your GPS device has stored your geographical position when you set in which country you are located. Because of this it knows which satellites are above your local horizons. Then it will start to acquire satellite signal while displaying the signal strength. Once it acquires signals from three satellites, it will provide a rough calculation of your current latitude and longitude as well as the estimate of uncertainty. Eventually as it acquires more signals from other satellites, the readings will become more stable and it will display the altitude above the sea level.

The next step in how to use GPS after establishing your position is to move around with the device to follow a route. Depending on the how advanced the device that you are using is, it will display the real-time changes in information as you move with the device, such as the direction that you are moving or your current speed. In some GPS devices, a graphic representation of the route that you are moving in is displayed so that if you are lost, you can retrace your steps on go back on your initial point. More advanced GPS devices even allows you to set a goal point so that it will display the distance between the instrument and it, and your estimated time of arrival based on that distance and your rate of movement.

History of GPS


The GPS devices that we currently use now in our mobile phones, cars, and even pet collars seem like new technology to us but the concept of an advanced navigation device has been around for as old as the World War II. The history of GPS can be traced during the war, when the United States, Japan, and other European countries used a terrestrial radio navigation system using multiple low frequency radio transmitters to find out the location and speed of the receivers, which is called the Long Range Navigation or LORAN. Another GPS prototype during the war is Decca Navigation System which was utilized for ship navigation in coastal waters as well as to accomplish accurate landings.

Another precursor for the GPS technology was the first man-made satellite made by the Soviets which is the Sputnik. By observing the radio transmissions of the Sputnik, American scientists discovered that they can pinpoint the location of the satellite by measuring the Doppler distortion. Since then, the United States have launched a series of space satellites to counter the Soviet Union’s efforts. These were crucial in the history of GPS and the subsequent development of such technology.

In 1973, the Defense Navigation Satellite System (DNSS) was created which synthesized the developments in the 1960’s satellite technologies. This was later named Navstar-GPS which was later shortened to GPS. At this point in the history of GPS, this technology was still exclusively for military use.

In 1983, when the Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down after wandering off to the USSR’s prohibited airspace, US President Ronald Reagan issued a directive to make GPS available for civilian use. The first satellite was launched in 1989 while the 24th and last satellite was launched 5 years later, in 1994. However, in the course of history of GPS, it only achieved operational capability in December 1993. It was however declared fully operational in April 1995.

All in all, it took about around 20 years since the first GPS satellite launch for electronics manufacturers to catch up with the technology, mass produce it, and incorporate it with the devices that they sell to the people. Nevertheless they are still very much useful when they are used.

Hand Held GPS


Hand held GPS devices have drastically changed many outdoor sports nowadays, rendering most maps and compass obsolete. They may still have a hefty price tag and is vulnerable to technological constraints such as lack of signal or battery, but their useful features more than make up of for them.

Hand held GPS are so versatile that they can be used by a variety of outdoor activities which includes but is not limited to golfing, fishing, hiking, biking, camping, orienteering, hunting and many more. These devices are so prevalent nowadays that an outdoor activity has even been invented which solely uses these devices as a main tool, which is called geocaching.

Most hand held GPS that are available today are built to withstand the harsh outdoor conditions. These GPS units are often shock, dust, and splash (if not water) proof to ensure that they are durable and rugged enough.

The primary use of hand held GPS in these aforementioned outdoor activities is to determine your present location, elevation, and topography. These are the most basic features of a hand held GPS that will help you survive and not get lost in your current location. The device can store the route that you have taken so in case you ever get lost while exploring an unfamiliar place, you can easily retrace back your steps.

However most hand held GPS that are sold nowadays offer better features that can enhance the outdoor activity that you are doing. For instance, one thing that you can do is tag a location or a waypoint to mark a favorite fishing spot, a shortcut mountain route, a campsite, or any place that you may want to access again in the future.

Furthermore, the latest hand held GPS that are available in the market today offer more advanced and extra features that many people will find useful. There are now a lot of touch screen hand held GPS that are more user friendly. Some units come with cameras that can be used to geo-tag photos. Some handheld GSP devices are even more versatile that they can be mounted on vehicles and be utilized as a navigation system when on a road trip.

GPS Navigation System


GPS stands for Global Positioning System which uses satellites from space to provide real-time information about location and other data. Meanwhile the GPS navigation system refers to the use of this technology by a device that receives GPS signals with the purpose of determining the present location and guiding to an intended one. While GPS navigation system devices can be purchased as standalone devices, many vehicles nowadays offer them as an accessory because of their great utility when travelling.

Basically what a GPS navigation system does is that it acquires signals from the satellites to obtain the current location of the receiver in latitude and longitude. Then the device uses this data to plot your location in a map. By the time it acquires a stable signal and reading from the satellites, it will also display your direction as well as the speed that you are moving. Then, once you have input your intended an location in the device, the GPS navigation system will calculate your estimated time of arrival on that location based on your rate of movement.

Another advantage of a GPS navigation system is that it acts as your hi-tech all-in-one compass, map, and navigator. With this device, you can go to places that you have never been through without having to worry about being lost along the way. The GPS navigation system will provide instructions on how you can go to that location. Most vehicular units even come with voice instructions so you don’t even have to stop your driving just to obtain the directions. If by any chance you become lost while driving in an unfamiliar place, you can also trace back your steps with this device as it records your previous locations.

A GPS navigation system is also useful to have if you enjoy road trips. You can update the software of your device to include the latest points of interest (POI) in its maps. POI’s are relevant establishments that are worthy of knowing such as attraction spots, banks, gasoline stations, motels and the likes. With a GPS navigation system in your vehicle, you are sure that you will literally never get lost again.

GPS For Trucks


While GPS navigations systems are common among private vehicles like cars and SUV’s, another means of transportation that can greatly take advantage of these useful devices are trucks. GPS for trucks have different usage unlike those that are used for private individual use as these vehicles are most commonly used for company logistics. Therefore GPS manufacturers design models that are exclusively suited for the particular needs of trucking companies.

An important application of GPS for trucks is that it allows companies to track the location and progress of their trucks and therefore their goods as well. This way, the company can better manage their operating procedure as well as provide an accurate report on their clients expected time of delivery of the load. Companies can also monitor their vehicles and make sure that their drivers are doing their job on their working hours and not slacking off.

Being able to track the company’s vehicles using these GPS for trucks can also help prevent the loss of valuable goods and equipments. Truck deliveries are common targets of highway theft as a defenseless driver cannot do anything against a group of armed criminals. With GPS, the company can work with the authorities in order to recover the stolen merchandise.

Companies can even take note of the speed of their delivery trucks using these devices. This way, the company can notify the driver to slow down in order to avoid the risk of being caught speeding. Accumulated fines can take a toll on the company’s budget in the long run.

Another significance of GPS for trucks is that it provides truckers with valuable information on the routes that they can undertake. Speed of delivery is crucial in the transportation business and it would be better if the trucks can avoid routes that have heavy traffic so that they can reach their destination more quickly. Also, GPS navigation for trucks can provide the driver alternate routes in case it is necessary to diverge from the usual route. In addition, GPS can also provide important road data to the driver like narrow roads, low bridges, weight and height restrictions, and the like, which can otherwise hinder the delivery of these goods.

GPS For Motorcycles


GPS devices are starting to become a common accessory in most vehicles nowadays because of the advantages that they offer. Motorcycles are no exception since this type of vehicle are ideal for road trip or off-road adventures. However, GPS for motorcycles are not usually the same as the ones that are normally used for most vehicles with four wheels since they are ridden in a different manner. Here are some tips on choosing GPS for motorcycles.

First of all, make sure that the GPS that you are purchasing are specially designed for motorcycles. These special GPS for motorcycles have features that can greatly benefit the rider while complementing the rugged capabilities of the vehicle. These special GPS devices often have weather-proof casing that can withstand the outdoor conditions, touch-screen that can be operated even when wearing gloves, and anti-glare LCD displays that is very viewable even when under direct sunlight. Some GPS for motorcycles can even receive voice instructions through a Bluetooth headset inside the helmet, so that you can operate it hands-free.

Another important consideration when choosing GPS for motorcycles is the battery life. This is especially important if you are the type of person to go on long road trips or if you are always on the go and doesn’t have the time to be bothered with charging the device repeatedly. Most GPS devices uses 2-6 AA batteries so it’s best that you invest in good rechargeable ones. Also, purchase spare batteries so that you can charge batteries at home even when you on a trip and using the unit.

Another thing that you need to keep in mind when buying GPS for motorcycles is how tough they are. Expect your GPS to receive a great deal of abuse as it will surely absorb the vibrations from the motorcycle. The way to get around this is to purchase an appropriate vibration isolated mount for the GPS device. Ensure that the mount will totally protect the device from external friction, especially of you frequently use your motorcycle on off-road trips. Trying to save a few bucks by buying a cheap GPS mount for your motorcycle is not really a good idea because it is the thing that utterly protects the GPS unit which is in itself is a huge investment.

GPS For Hiking


Using handheld GPS for hiking are common nowadays because of the benefits that it offers. A handheld GPS device can function as both your map and compass while at the same time providing even more features and therefore more and more hiking enthusiasts are starting to switch to this new kind of technology. Handheld GPS units for hiking can also be updated with new information unlike maps which become outdated easily. If you plan on buying a GPS unit for hiking, here are some tips that you can follow to get the most out of such huge investment.

The first thing that you need to consider when choosing a GPS device for hiking is the portability of the unit. What you need is a lightweight and portable device that you can easily carry around anywhere so that it will not add more weight to your pack. Another thing that you should consider is the ruggedness of the device. You’ll want a handheld GPS that can withstand the harsh outdoor conditions and therefore should be shock-proof, dust-proof, and splash-proof (or waterproof, if possible).

The next thing that you should consider are the features that are included in the GPS handheld device for hiking. Remember, better features will cost you more but if you have the money to spend, then by all means go for the unit with the better features since it will benefit you anyway in the long run. For instance, it is better if you choose the GPS device with the “map screen” rather than the one that only shows longitude and latitude coordinates. This is because they are easier to use especially when you are looking at waypoints.

Speaking of waypoints, choose the handheld GPS for hiking that can store at least 500 of it. Waypoints are coordinates or locations that you want to save in your device for future references. They are very useful in hiking for marking special places like campsites, safe passageways, a water runoff, or any spot that are of interest.

All in all, handheld GPS for hiking may be a huge investment but it’s all worth it as this tool’s features are invaluable for any hikers out there.

GPS for Dogs


Some pet dogs like to wander around so much that they usually get lost and their owners are unable to find them. This is also a common occurrence among hunting dogs especially when a dog has been trained to hunt independently of its owner. This is where GPS collars for dogs come in handy. These collars use the Global Positioning System technology to track and locate dogs that are deemed lost by their owners.

These GPS tracking systems for dogs are usually composed of two devices, the collar, usually waterproof, that contains the GPS microchip for the dog, and the handheld device that receives the information from the collar. The device basically displays the current location or the coordinates of the dog as well as its direction and speed when it is moving.

Most GPS tacking systems for dogs can also be programmed to set a home area or a safe boundary. If the dog moves beyond this defined safe area, the owner will be notified in the handheld device. Some handheld devices can also track more than one dog at a time which is great if you have many pets. Users can also login in the website of the provider of the GPS tracking system for dogs in order to monitor the location of their dog in a bigger and more detailed displayed.

There are however certain limitations on the usage of GPS tracking devices for dogs. The first is that they have a limited range so when the dog with the collar gets too far from the handheld device, the device will only display the last known location of the dog. If however the two devices becomes within range again, the system will resume the tracking of the dog.

Another important limitation of GPS tracking devices for dogs that should be kept in mind is that they are powered by rechargeable batteries. While they may last for more than a few hours, it still means that users only have a limited amount of time to find a lost dog before the battery runs out. Nevertheless, despite these limitations, these GPS tracking devices for dogs are very useful tools that can help you keep track of your beloved pet at all times.

GPS For Cars


Nowadays more and more new cars are starting to include GPS navigation systems in their packages. Today there are even GPS systems for cars that can be bought so that you can outfit older vehicles with these innovative and useful technology. The high price tags for these devices are justified as GPS for cars have greatly changed the way we drive nowadays. Here are some reasons why having a GPS navigation system for cars can be advantageous.

First of all, the GPS navigation system provides a real-time solution to a driver’s number one enemy: traffic jams. These devices provide direction on alternate routes that you can take so that you don’t have to go through heavy traffic anymore. With GPS, you can discover new routes and shortcuts that you can add to your repository of road knowledge which may come in handy in the future. Also, most GPS for cars have built-in voice prompts so you can just focus on your driving while the device tells where you need to turn. In addition, some more advanced models also offer voice commands so you don’t have to input directions manually by hand. However, not all of them are that responsive to all voices so you may still have to stop driving for a minute to input data.

Another great advantage of GPS for cars is that you can easily find an establishment that you are looking for with this device. This is especially useful if you are unfamiliar with the place that you are in and you are looking for say a gasoline station, a bank, or a restaurant. These GPS navigation system for cars can point out to you these places of interest whenever you need them. Also, most GPS systems for cars can be updated with new points of interests (POI) online so that you can always have the latest information in your fingertips.

Last but not the least, GPS tracking system for cars can also be used for safety purposes. With these devices, you’ll never be lost in the road again because you can keep track of where you are going and you can easily retrace your step in case you become lost. You can also use the map to just set a new location and the GPS will provide you with the directions so that you can reach your destination successfully.

Aviton GPS


Aviton GPS is one of the most affordable GPS navigation system available for cars today. It is quite hard to find information about the device on the net because it is manufactured by a Russian company that specializes in telecommunications system and electronics equipment. While Aviton may not have that much visibility as other GPS manufacturers like Garmin and TomTom, they have been in the business for over 10 years already so you can trust the quality of the Aviton GPS navigation device.

Their GPS device is called the Aviton AZ281MA GPS which features a 3.5 inch wide screen display, 64 MB RAM, and 1927 MB of non-volatile MLC memory. It uses a dual core Atlas III as processor which ensures quick responses when inputting commands. It has a mini USB port that can be used to update the maps in the device. It also has an SD card slot for an expandable memory. Its rubberized body also contains a stylus that can be used to operate the device and a headphone jack. The package also contains the suction mount that is attached to the windshield or dashboard, the unit cradle, the dashboard mounting disk, the car charger adaptor, the USB cable, the mini DVD which contains manuals and backups of maps, a quick-start guide, and the warranty statement.

Aviton GPS uses the iGo navigation software that provides both 2D and 3D mapping to provide an accurate perspective of the streets. You can actually see your car moving on the map display as you are driving. It includes the maps of all the 50 states of US and also of Puerto Rico and Columbia. It also has an auto-route feature that will provide a new route whenever you digress from the original suggested route. However, you cannot immediately cancel a route in progress. While it has an audible voice prompt that you can follow while driving, it doesn’t have a text-to-speech converter so it cannot really announce particular street names, just generic directions.

So if you are looking for an affordable GPS navigation system for your vehicle that isn’t that expensive but is reliable enough for travelling utility, the Aviton GPS is the best bang for the buck unit for you.