July 13, 2006

How GPS’s work – Cool online Demo

There is a cool online demo of how a GPS works. This is from Crutchfield and shows the basics of what life is like when navigating with a GPS. Going home? Navigating through traffic? It can show you how these things work. If you are new to a GPS and aren’t sure how they work, check it out.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 31, 2006

Introduction to GPS and Buying Guides

So you want to know some more about GPS units and how to use them? Which one is best to buy? What’s right for you? What features are absolutely needed? We can help you out with all of that and more. Essentially there is no GPS unit that is “best” for everything because one that might be best for hiking may not be best for navigating on a long road trip. So, you are going to have to think about how you want to use the GPS before you decide what GPS to buy.

First, if you want to learn a bit about the basics of Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) and the how GPS receivers function, see our Basics of GPS section.

If you are mainly interested in hiking and using a GPS for outdoor sports – see our Outdoor/Handheld GPS Buying Guide section.

If you are interested in navigating around in your car with your GPS – see our Mobile GPS Buying Guide section.

A close relative of using your GPS for outdoor purposes is to use a GPS as a training aid. Strap on a GPS and go exercise, the newest units can help you train – Outdoor Fitness Basics - Coming Soon.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Buying Guide: Mobile/Automotive GPS

There is huge growth in the mobile GPS segment and for good reason – people are getting tired of being lost, and being stuck in traffic. The other big reason that the market is growing fast is that the quality of the products is way up, while the price is coming down. You don’t need an advanced degree to run one of these things, most of the time these things are dead simple to use and work well right out of the box. There are about three levels of units on the market right now, the lower end entry models that offer basic navigation and not a lot of add-on frills, the mid-tier that has rock solid feature sets and a lot of ease of use features and then the high end units that offer a lot of screen real estate and a lot of extras that make life on the road easy.

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Basics of GPS


The US Government essentially needed a way to figure out where its troops, planes and missiles were an where they were headed. So, in 1979 the US government started launching satellites into orbit to act as man made stars that orbit the earth. The first eleven satellites were the proof of concept, and the system was finally completed in 1994 for full worldwide coverage. These satellites send back very low power signals to earth. A Global Positioning Satellite receiver, commonly known as a GPS, will pick up those signals, and when it has a strong enough signal from enough satellites, it can triangulate to see where it is. Right now there are 30 GPS satellites in orbit, but only 24 of them are in active use, the other 6 are back-ups. The launch of the 24th block II satellite in March of 1994 completed the GPS constellation. The spacing of the satellites in orbit are arranged so that a minimum of five satellites are in view from every point on the globe. Not bad, so as long as you can see the sky, you can use a GPS.

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