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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

GPS

GPS devices - never be lost again

By David C Skul

GPS devices (GPS comes from Global Positioning System) are devices that can determine your location anywhere on the planet. They do this by calculating the distance from where the GPS device is to satellites orbiting earth. The device must achieve signals from at least three satellites for returning a two-dimensional position. If it finds more than four, the GPS device can return a three-dimensional position, also measuring the height.

The location that the GPS device returns is quite accurate, the normal GPS devices can determine your position within a range of ten meters, but professional ones have mechanisms that mostly remove all the errors.

A thing that must be known is that GPS devices cant work too good in cities with tall buildings because they obstruct the sky and the GPS devices connection with the satellite, but in an area where most of the sky is visible the work perfectly.

There are a lot of GPS devices on the market nowadays, with prices and performances varying from around a hundred dollars to a few hundreds. Of course, the performance also varies. The most expensive ones have a lot of memory and include maps of many regions, including the important roads, buildings, cities and airports. Extra maps can be found on the CD that comes with the GPS device. If you want to calculate a specific route aditional software and information is required.

The battery life of a GPS device is quite important when comparing them, because it is useless if the batteries run out. The backlight of the device is the thing that drains most of its power.

There are lots of GPS devices on the market, all of them having their pros and cons, so if you wish to purchase one my advice is that you read some specialized GPS reviews on the Internet and select the GPS device that best suits your needs.

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