The benefits of GPS
This article sponsored by Magellan GPS.
Magellan allows people to travel, work
and play their way with leading portable
navigation and positioning solutions. The
company is the creator of the award-winning Magellan RoadMate® series of
portable car navigation systems, Maestro,™
CrossoverGPS,™ the Magellan Triton
outdoor handheld navigation devices, the
Hertz® NeverLost® car navigation system
and ProMark,™ the bestselling single-frequency GPS survey product line on the
market. For more information, visit www.
YOU’RE DRIVING HOME FROM work, and you remember that you are out
of toilet paper and AA batteries. Certain items, such as toilet paper and
batteries, you always buy in bulk. You turn your car around to head to the
nearest Costco. You’re not exactly sure how to get there from the exit you
just took off the freeway, but you’ve got a pretty good sense of direction
so you wing it. Twenty minutes later—after having driven in circles—your
exasperation leads you to give up and decide to head home. One problem:
You don’t know where you are.
“Why didn’t I get a GPS?” Sitting in your car, you remember having told yourself to invest in a Global Positioning One of the System, or GPS, device “one of these days.” first commercial Aside from pride in knowing all the back handheld receivers roads, perhaps the main reason for not pur- introduced in?
chasing a portable GPS is cost. According 1988 was 7. 5" x 3. 5" x 21"
to a 2006 Consumer Electronics Association and weighed nearly
survey, 49 percent of nearly 3,000 consumers 2 pounds
stated that a high price tag was the top reason
GPS manufacturers, aware of consumers’ hesitations about spending
more than $500 on a navigation system, are developing new product lines at
lower price points to make GPS units more affordable to the mass market.
Subsequently, the current market for GPS systems is substantial and rapidly
growing. Industry research company IDC expects the worldwide personal
navigation device (aka PND) market to reach $10.6 billion by 2011, which
translates into about 38. 9 million units.
GPS manufacturers are also enticing consumers by packing additional
“luxury” features into their systems. Simply typing in an address is a thing of
the past. Nowadays, devices come with wide screens or touch screens, and
can help you do everything from calling your mom via Bluetooth to locating
the nearest five-star Indian restaurant.
Some units get a leg up on the competition by offering exclusive content,
such as AAA TourBook,® to provide consumers with travel information and
roadside assistance. Other devices feature voice recognition, up-to-the-minute
traffic reports and millions of searchable points of interest (POIs—the more, the
merrier) to help get you to the nearest Starbucks for your morning cup of joe.
How GPS works
When people talk about a GPS, they are usually referring to a GPS receiver. The Global Positioning System is, in fact, a network of 24 orbiting
satellites that send information to a receiver to calculate the vehicle’s exact
location anywhere on the planet.
In 1978, the U.S. Department of Defense launched NAVSTAR (Navigation
System with Timing and Ranging) with 11 satellites in orbit for military navigation purposes. In 1983, President Reagan declassified the GPS satellites and
made them accessible for public use under one condition: The system would
work under Selective Availability, or SA, which meant civilian units were
accurate only up to a 100-meter radius.