GPS Systems - What Do I Need to Know?
GPS or Auto Navigation Systems were developed from technology originally devised for the United States Military. They are a remarkable confluence of design and science and have become almost invaluable to many road users. But remember that they are still developing and improving. So toadays GPS system is likely to be inferior to thos that will be available in a year or two.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are almost invariably problems of some sort with all electronic gadgets. And it s doubly true when it comes to equipment that is run by software. If you re not sure about this, check out a computer that is run by Windows? We often find ourselves stymied by the limitations of the software we are using.
And the same is true when it comes to software driven GPS systems and GPS devices. This fact alone makes them a little unreliable. For those times when reliability isn t at its best keep in mind that for the most part the system works well. It s just difficult when the times you need it to work well are the times when it is malfunctioning. The good news is that the units themselves are often quite resilient and even able to withstand the manhandling a typical rough and tumble two year old can dish out.
GPS System Reliability
The reliability of GPS systems will always reduce when it doesn t have full all-round views of the sky. For that reason there may be times when you aren t able to get a clear signal. Tunnels below rivers and mountains are a good example of one of those times. It s not just about one signal, the device must be able to find three satellites orbiting way above the earth at the very least in order to be seen . And usually a fourth satellite is needed for verification purposes. This means that in some situations where you might have a clear view of the sky, you may not be in a position where all four satellites have a clear view of you and more importantly your device.
It is also important to keep in mind that GPS technology isn t meant to replace the use of maps or of common sense when driving. You can only store so much information on a GPS device and roads are constantly being built, changes, constructed, improved, and moved. For that reason alone it is nearly impossible to guarantee that any device will contain 100% accurate information at all times. You should buy a GPS or Auto Navigation System that has the facility for regular upgrades to its internal maps. Updating regularly and immediately prior to any large trips will go a long way towards saving some serious hair pulling while you travel.
GPS and auto navigation systems are still miles better than trying to read old maps, which might be out of date, for most of us. When you take the plunge and decide to buy one, don t expect it to perform miracles. The systems are good but they re not infallible. This technology is wonderful and affords many benefits to those who are willing and able to make use of it. Common sense is your biggest ally when driving and although a GPS can be a fantastic help it should only be used, as the military use it, in a support role.
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