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How Does A GPS Unit Work?


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In-car navigation is just not for anybody; the price alone will cause many individuals to forgo this technological innovation in favor of the very good old paper map. On the other hand, in the event you drive for a living, or prefer to head to different places at the spur of the moment, GPS would make the driving a lot more pleasurable,

How GPS mapping works

Originally designed in 1973 through the U. S. Department of Defense for armed services applications, the NAVSTAR GPS network consists of roughly 30 satellites orbiting the Globe and a collection of ground stations that monitor the satellites’ location in space and operational status and performance. To ascertain your location along with other information correctly, such as current and average speed, directional heading, and elevation, GPS units use a receiver to acquire the signals from no less than four of these satellites. It is called a 3D fix and it is why GPS antennas will need a clear view of the sky to function accurately.

Loaded with your precise latitude, longitude, as well as other area information, the GPS unit can apply this data into map information files saved in the device, revealing your current location, as well as exactly where you've been, on a map. Because the receiver is continually recalculating your position relative to the satellite’s location, the GPS unit can monitor your position in real time, in addition to your speed and directional heading. A traditional GPS unit incorporates a 12-channel receiver and an antenna to capture satellite signals, as well as a CPU to process the data. The quality of your receiver and your geographic area will be determined of how long it requires the device to acquire a 3D fix. For instance, it can be more difficult on the receiver to lock onto and maintain a signal if you happen to be moving underneath a dense forest canopy or an urban area with very tall buildings.

Newer GPS products have newer receivers with up to 40-channels, which allow them to monitor more satellites for far better accuracy. Other products (such as GPS-enabled smart phones) use a process called assisted-GPS (A-GPS) which makes use of the fixed location of connected mobile phone towers or Wireless hot spots to triangulate an approximate position, increasing the speed of 3D fix times.

The first time you turn on your GPS, it collects certain satellite info to establish your position. Generally known as a cold start, the receiver is basically blank or unloaded and needs to know the time, exactly where the satellites are in their orbits, and exactly where it is on the ground in relation with the satellites in those orbits. Most GPS software programs will require approximately 1 to 2 minutes getting a 3D fix in the course of a cold start, whereas some can take more than a few minutes. Thereafter, it could require as little as 3 to 4 seconds to lock in because the device already has your coordinates and a general position of the satellites. A good receiver will instantly recuperate from a total signal loss in case you drive through a tunnel, for example; cheaper models will need to have more time to recalculate a 3D fix. In unusual situations, you may have to stop the vehicle to provide the receiver a chance to lock on to the satellite signals.

How well a GPS system works for your vehicle depends upon entirely upon the location of the antenna. If your vehicle includes a factory installed in-dash unit, the possibilities are the antenna is built into your dashboard in a area in which it has an unobstructed view of the sky, which is desired. Quite a few transportable models are constructed to generally be positioned directly to the windshield via a suction cup mounting device, providing the antenna a broad view of the sky. In addition there are add-on antennas on the market for GPS products that allow you to maintain the receiver close to your front seat driving position for effortless viewing with out losing the quality of your signal.

Driving with GPS

Several years back, the cost of in-vehicle navigation forced many individuals to forgo these devices in favor of a good paper map. But recently, the price has dropped quite a bit, making way for sub-$100 units that permit almost anyone to pay a visit to new spots, improving driving enjoyment and leading motorists to main attractions or guiding them through quiet, scenic country roads. Using it as a business tool, GPS can be a tremendous aid for field services, transport employees, or international travelers who frequent unique cities on company trips. As the technology has matured, we’ve begun to see several highly developed features working there way into GPS devices. Now, spec sheets list capabilities that go beyond straightforward point-A-to-B navigation, such as real-time traffic reporting capabilities, live updated fuel pricing, and real time weather reports.

Almost all auto GPS applications come with a warning alert saying that the driver should not enter data into his unit whilst driving the vehicle. Some units do lock the onscreen keyboard and the touch-screen attributes while the vehicle is in motion as a basic safety precaution. Unless the system has the potential to accept voice commands, seeking and acquiring routes while in motion really should be left with a passenger, even if the GPS came with a remote. With voice prompted directions, the driver will not have to glance at the display; instead, it's a matter of listening to the voice prompts to get you going on the correct route.

Aside from aiding you to get from location to location, vehicle GPS systems can also integrate aspects to entertain the driver on and off of the road. For instance MP3 and audio book playback, picture viewers, and hands-free cell phone calling capabilities. Additionally, off-road drivers will find GPS helpful for exploring unpaved terrain and creating their very own rendezvous details and trails based on their latitude and longitude coordinates.

Like nearly anything else, the more bells and whistles incorporated inside your GPS system, the more you'll end up having to pay, but you'll find certain functions which are more or less normal equipment these days. Street-level maps with voice- and text-prompted driving directions are the foundation of any in-car GPS software worth it's salt, and we are beginning to see an increasing number of systems that use text-to-speech technology to offer distinctive street names in lieu of more-generic directions, such as, “Turn right in 0.5 miles. " A comprehensive POI data source containing airports, hospitals, dining, shopping, service stations, and much more, is a must if you're traveling in unidentified territory, as is automatic routing from a POI, an address book, or your present locale. Search for a device with touch-screen controls, automatic rerouting should you veer off route, and variable map views, which include 3D and bird's-eye views. As you get into the high-end units, seek out advanced lane guidance, voice instructions, and real-time traffic and weather condition alerts, which usually require an annual subscription fee.

My name is Allan Stewart and I have several websites dedicated to health and well being for people and pets as well as product information. Want to learn more about Garmin GPS products, go to: Garmin 1350LMT Or visit my website at Garmin Reviews for more information about Garmin GPS products.


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