The Gps Unit: Your Portal To The World


by David Faulkner - Date: 2007-07-25 - Word Count: 441 Share This!

The first time the GPS unit was tested under fire, it performed like a battle-tested veteran. The GPS unit was an essential tool in the success of the first Gulf War in 1991, when it enabled the US military to successfully map enormous expanses of unfamiliar desert terrain. The navigation made possible by the use of the GPD unit was a cornerstone of the successful Desert Storm effort.

The GPS unit has come a long way from those days, and is now as essential a part of civilian life as it was for the military in Desert Storm. Estimates are that there are over five hundred different types of GPS units available in prices ranging from below $100 to over $15,000, depending on the sophistication of their technologies.

Basics Of GPS Technology

A GPS unit operates by sending an electronic signal to a group of twenty-one satellites in orbit nearly twelve thousand miles above the Earth; the satellites will analyze the signal and up to four of them will return location information back to the unit. The information will include the latitude and longitude of the GPS unit to an accuracy of between one and five meters, and may contain its altitude as well.

Most GPS units come loaded with mapping software, because while knowing where you are may be useful, knowing how to get from where you are to where you want to go can be much more useful. The more detailed the maps on a GPS unit's software, the more precisely you will be able to map your surroundings. Some GPS units even have voice capability to give you continuous directions as you proceed on your way.

Limitations Of GPS Units

GPS units do have their limitations; many earlier models could not receive satellite transmissions if their view were obstructed by dense foliage, canyon walls, or tall buildings; and if they were being used indoors had to have external antennas.

GPD units are available in a wide variety of sizes from backpacker's watches, to handheld PDAs and cell phones, to vehicular units. Miniature GPS units have been designed to implant in, and track the movements of, endangered animals. The screen size of a GPS unit will depend, of course, on the size of its housing; even handheld units have surprisingly wide screens and easily-read, vividly colored maps

Your GPS unit will be your friendly and non-judgmental navigator when you know where you are; no more late night stops in questionable neighborhoods to get directions, or wondering which condo, in a development of a thousand identical condos, is the one where your date is waiting. With a GPS unit, the world is truly at your feet!

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