It’s hard to argue that GPS units are one of the most popular technologies on the electronic market place today. You can find them just about everywhere; from store shelves to GPS enabled cell phones. GPS navigational systems are the perfect way to know where you are in the world and how to get to where you want to go.

Used to be GPS units were quite expensive and there use was mainly the domain of surveyors and engineering firms. That’s not the case anymore and GPS systems have found their way to the average consumer with cheaper prices and increased functionality. There are a plethora of choices when it comes to choosing a navigational unit so it makes sense that you need to match what you want out of your GPS with the system that works for you.

GPS receivers have one basic function; to show you were you are on the earth with pinpoint accuracy. Once it knows this information its other features can do any number of things like tell you how to get to a particular destination, show you how fast you are advancing and in which direction you are traveling, and with enough satellite locks what your altitude is.

Keeping this in mind you need to determine what you need a GPS unit for. There are really two basic choices; vehicle navigation or outdoor use such as hiking, backpacking, hunting, geocaching, etc. A vehicle navigation unit is different from a unit intended for outdoor use.

For the vehicle mounted unit you want a large screen that displays street map information in a clear format. You’ll also want voice commands that allow you to keep your eyes on the road. Other features include easy to use controls and buttons; many of the newer units have touch screens that make programming a snap. You can also get units that download traffic information in real-time and can guide you around trouble spots.

A smaller handheld unit is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast. You’ll want to make sure any GPS unit you choose for outdoor use is weather resistant and waterproof. You’ll also want a system that has at least 12 channels which will give you a better chance of getting accurate satellite signals. A unit with WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) is also a good idea as this increases accuracy by a good ten feet.

There is a large variety of GPS units out there to choose from. Picking which one works best for you will come down to your own needs and preferences. Be sure to choose a unit that fits your needs and your GPS experience is sure to be a good one.

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