What does GPS stand for?
GPS stands for Global Positioning Service, and as the name suggests, this technology allows people to make use of an electronic device to determine exactly where they are located using satellites. This system is not new, and was originally developed by the government, but as its use with global consumer technology is still being understood, there is a lot remaining for people to learn.
Once you have purchased a GPS system, such as those used by drivers to help them navigate journeys, the use of this technology can be carried out indefinitely, as there will be no additional costs or subscription fees involved. GPS units make use of GPS satellites, which orbit the earth twice a day at around twelve thousand feet above the planets. Three satellites will provide longitude and latitude readings, while a fourth satellite will provide an altitude reading if it is in view. After a unit’s position has been located, additional data such as bearing, speed and remaining distance to a specific destination can be calculated.
Searching for the best GPS navigation system for a car can seem overwhelming at first, but if you know what features to look for, the process will go much more smoothly. Here’s what you should consider when shopping for a unit:
One of the most important considerations when searching for your next GPS for cars is the size of the screen. You can easily find a unit with a screen anywhere from four to seven inches, and some models will be even larger. Deciding on which screen size you want will come down to personal preference, but generally, it is easier to view information on larger screens. In addition to the actual size of the screen, pay attention to its resolution and check out GPS car navigation reviews for information about responsiveness, user interface and so on.
All automotive GPS navigation system options should offer spoken directions, but some will have more options in this regard than others. Some entry-level units will only offer spoken directions in a handful of languages, while others will offer dozens. If you would prefer to have directions spoken to you in a specific language, it may be worth spending a bit more to have this included on the device. You can also check if there is an option to download support for that language.
You should pay attention to the level of support for voice commands and other voice features. As you compare GPS systems, check reviews for accuracy of the input and additional voice-controlled features. Some of the best GPS options, for example, will let you connect your smartphone and then allow for voice-controlled phone calls or even texting.
Ensure that the GPS for cars you select offers more than one route. Most will let you pick from at least two routes, but the best GPS will let you filter out options. For example, they let you eliminate routes with road works currently taking place or those with tolls.
A high-quality receiver results in a GPS which works to the best of its ability. If you have a GPS unit with poor sensitivity, you will struggle to gain an accurate reading of where your vehicle is located on a road.
There are GPS units available which provide drivers with information such as whether there is heavy traffic coming up or an incident such as a collision. The more advanced devices will be able to plan around these obstacles in order to get you to your destination as quickly as possible.
If you’re nervous about factors such as making a turn in good time or knowing which lane to be in to make an exit or interchange on a freeway, driving assistance or lane assist functions on car GPS systems can help you by providing guidance in unfamiliar locations.
Points of Interest
When you’re on a road trip with a car GPS, it can be useful to access points of interest in areas you haven’t been to before, especially useful spots such as motels, rest stops, gas stations and local landmarks.
GPS systems which allow for phone functions while driving such as hands-free calling make for a more convenient trip, as you can multitask while on the go by answering or making important calls during travel.
Most car GPS devices won’t have an overly long battery life, averaging out at around an hour, but some systems will allow for several hours of battery-based usage, which is highly convenient for those on long road trips.
Many of the best GPS units will come preloaded with maps of the United States, with some offering maps of Canada and Mexico also. To avoid paying out for any updates required, find a device which offers free lifetime map updates.
What is the best GPS to buy?
Deciding on the best car GPS to buy depends on which features you consider to be the most important. For example, the Garmin DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S will provide lifetime map updates and Bluetooth calling, while the Rand McNally OverDryer features a large 6.95 inch touch screen. Meanwhile, the Magellan RoadMate 5630T-LM has seven million points of interest preloaded onto its devices, and the TomTom GO 52 will work without a cell or GPS signal. Ultimately, your choice will depend on how much you are willing to pay and features such as the above.
How to update Garmin GPS
It takes a few steps to know how to update your Garmin GPS system, but fortunately, we have provided a guide to make this process simple and easy:
- Hook up the device to your desktop or laptop using a USB cable. The progress bar should begin scrolling, and if you’ve connected it before, prompts will typically begin automatically. For those connecting their device for the first time, signing in to your Garmin account may be necessary.
- Load up Garmin Express. If you haven’t installed this program yet, go to its download page and select either the Windows or Mac version, depending on your model of desktop or laptop.
- Install updates. Open up Garmin Express and click on ‘Add a Device’ to find your GPS unit. Then the program will search for any available updates and offer you any which you can set up. Click on ‘Select all’ and leave the updates to install.
- Return the GPS to your vehicle. Once the updates are complete, select ‘Eject’ to safely disconnect the device, then unplug the USB cable and return the unit to your vehicle.