Cobra GPSM 3080 Nav One Mobile Navigation System

Cobra GPSM 3080 Nav One Mobile Navigation System

Cobra GPSM 3080 Nav One Product Description From the Manufacturer
The Cobra GSPM 3080 Nav One portable navigation system allows users to easily move from vehicle to vehicle with the GPS in hand--simply plug and go. The receiver offers automatic route navigation with turn-by-turn directions and clear voice guidance to either addresses or points of interest. It also includes more than two million points of interest, such as banks, hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and many more, as well as a point-of-interest search using business phone numbers. If the user strays off course or has to take a detour, the GPSM 3080 provides an automatic rerouting function. Users will appreciate the backlit, intuitive soft keys, which provide easy access to specific functions in any given mode without smudging your display.

Additional features include an infrared port that instantly transfers addresses from your Palm OS- or Windows Pocket PC-based PDAs; an odometer, trip timer, and speedometer; a Trip Planner function that allows you to preprogram up to five destinations in each plan; and a Trail Mode that allows you to go off-roading and mark your favorite waypoints for the return. The unit uses Cobra's exclusive Accelerated Satellite Acquisition Protocol II technology (ASAP II), which gets you running up to twice as fast as other recreational GPS receivers and provides superior reception in urban areas, canyons, and dense foliage. The device's built-in altimeter and compass display altitude readings and eight cardinal compass points.

What's in the Box
GPSM 3080 receiver, deluxe carrying case, 12-volt cigarette lighter power cord, dual port cigarette lighter plug adapter, hard wire power code with inline fuse, windshield suction cup mounting bracket, quick reference guide, user's manual.

Cobra GPSM 3080 Nav One Features:

  • 5.2-inch high-resolution ultra-bright color display
  • Plug-'n'-go portable vehicle navigation system with built-in mapping database
  • Automatic navigation with turn-by-turn directions and multilingual voice guidance
  • Street-level detail map features 48 contiguous U.S. states, Hawaii, and major Canadian metropolitan areas
  • 2 million points of interest; no CDs or downloads necessary; includes altimeter and compass
+Read More | Cobra GPSM 3080 Nav One Mobile Navigation System

Garmin StreetPilot 2660 WAAS-Enabled In-Car GPS with Dead Reckoning

Amazon.com Product Description
If you regularly drive in areas where a GPS signal is intermittent, such as urban environments with tall buildings or in mountainous terrain, Garmin's StreetPilot 2660 has all the features you'll need, including preloaded map coverage and dead reckoning. This means that once you have the unit installed by an authorized Garmin installer, you'll continue to get navigation guidance even if you lose GPS reception.

The StreetPilot 2660 is a plug-and-play, portable automotive GPS navigator featuring detailed, preloaded MapSource City Navigator maps. You'll never have to unlock or upload map data to your unit. Its preprogrammed hard drive stores City Navigator maps of North America so you can navigate to a specific address or access an industry-leading database of more than 5 million points of interest, including lodging, restaurants, gas stations, and local attractions. The intuitive, menu-driven liquid-crystal touchscreen ensures that navigating the unit is as easy as navigating the road.

Features:

  • Integrated dash mounting system provides easy adjustment and quick release; professional installation required
  • Dead reckoning guides you even when you've lost GPS reception; non-volatile/indefinite data storage--no memory battery required
  • Pre-programmed hard drive featuring MapSource City Navigator, providing street-level detail and addresses for the U.S. and metropolitan Canada
  • Audible and visual navigation instructions and warnings; includes alphanumeric remote control
  • 305 x 160-pixel display with 8-bit, automotive-grade, 256-color touchscreen LCD; built-in photo sensor automatically adjusts for light conditions

+Read more | Garmin StreetPilot 2660 WAAS-Enabled In-Car GPS with Dead Reckoning

12 Practical Uses of GPS for Everyday People

12 Practical Uses of GPS for Everyday People

By Simon Wyryzowski

GPS
or Global Positioning Systems is a term that most commonly conjures up images of vehicle navigation systems, space-age satellite technology, and interactive maps for outdoors-types and sportsmen. But the reality is that there are far more applications of Global Positioning Systems beyond GPS vehicle tracking or map navigation that everyday people like us can benefit from. All it takes is a bit of creativity, and some trial and error. Here are a few of the many possibilities that can benefit you right now in your busy and hectic life.

1. Know where your children are using services from companies like uLocate Communications.

2. Keep track of elderly members of your family, so that they don’t wander off alone.

3. Plan a road trip around interesting points of interests, landmarks, campsites, diners, etc, and hear fewer "Are we there yets?"- and of course get the most out of that expensive gas.

4. Get emergency road side assistance at a touch of a button from your vehicle, so you can get help exactly where and when you need it.

5. Keep a visual journal and bookmark collection of your favorite hot spots, sceneries, and points of interests, that may not be listed in any travel guide (You can create your own mini travel guides and memories).

6. Find lost pets easily using collars with built-in GPS, better than running around in your pajamas hollering like a maniac.

7. Feel safer with cellular phone 911 calls, so emergency personnel can pinpoint your location once you make an emergency call. Please double check your carrier service to see that it has GPS features and get a primer on how it works if possible.

8. Get to your interview, or any important time sensitive destination or engagement, faster by finding shortcuts and correct directions.

9. Find a good Italian restaurant near your movie theatre on the fly.

10. Track your luggage, laptops, and anything of importance while traveling.

11. Track and find family, friends in a crowded concert, graduation, or any social gathering.

12. When going on a vacation, feel free to separate from group for a while to venture on your own based on your own interests and find them later on with your GPS enabled device- even in an unfamiliar place.

Our ability to use GPS so far is limited by the relatively poor connection to the satellite feeds when we are indoors in buildings, homes, or behind anything that could obstruct the GPS connection. However with the investment and development in a new satellite network called Galileo which should be completed in the near future, these problems should be eliminated drastically. Despite these problems, GPS still offers a world of benefits as mentioned earlier, and with any technology, it will only get better.

In addition to more practical usage applications, GPS will make a great educational and fun gift for your loved one’s and friends as well. Consider just two of the many creative and educational uses of GPS:

1. Stay physically active and fit by playing RayGun! A locational based cell phone game based on GPS technology.

2. Become more cultured, make global friends, and learn about the world playing GeoCache, a global GPS based treasure hunt.

With many affordable feature-rich models to satisfy anyone’s preferences and budgets, now is as good a time as any to learn more about GPS technologies, which are surely to become more assimilated into the mainstream within the decade. One day we will take these things for granted just like we do now for the internet and cell phones. The key is to dive in, without paralyzing yourself with the overwhelming array of choices in the GPS market, and enjoying some truly amazing technology.

Visit GPSZoom.com for a dizzying array of ways in which GPS can improve your lifestyle including with GPS tracking services for people and vehicles, and for those adventurers at heart- technology to help you conquer the outdoors, one trail at a time.

Using Delivery, Routing and Scheduling Software with GPS, CAD, GIS Data from Aviation

Using Delivery, Routing and Scheduling Software with GPS, CAD, GIS Data from Aviation

By Lance Winslow

Well in aviation the toys for pilots are getting a lot better, for instance the GPS-PDAs with sectional charts on them. Also lots of other data like the J-Aide and Jeppeson airport contacts once you arrive. All this makes flying easier, less complicated and more enjoyable. AvMap EKP-III C

http://www.avshop.com/catalog/product.html?productid=3781

and even more cool are the ones with all the bells and whistles; Such as loading it with an International Data Base. Hell now the CIA can have all the civilian data along with their intelligence information. Of course this newest Industry finds itself with many new players as pilots are generally not having a problem affording new toys and it saves all those large flight bags and Knee Boards and clips. You can still buy the clipboards and I have one when I drive the Blitz Mobile mobile command center across the country hunting for the latest technologies it has maps and important numbers to do business from the highway. Many truck drivers and railroad conductors use such boards and in the NAVY Pilots use them and even probably torpedo bombers did too; remember George Bush Senior flew a torpedo bomber?

Back to our GPS Toys and PDA devices; Another one of the more unique ones is the EnFlight Text Weather Devise which you can google to get all the specs, definitely worth a look see. All of these devises also allow for National Security so no more private pilots in C-182s fly into restricted areas;

http://www.faa.gov/NTAP/SPECIALNOTAMS/Spec...s_graphics_.htm .

These companies are also careful whom they send these devises to, for obvious reasons. Just think you could be flying your own private plane with a little PDA devise and go have a blast with your newfound freedom. Another cool devise and one of my favorites is the Pocket test which you can look up on Google. This is a cool devise to help you from getting lost and it has just about too many features to list, too bad it was not Windows CE based, I just cannot trust the longevity of Palm in the market place and hope our military is not so stupid to buy into there hype for military versions. One thing going for it is its size. Very small.

We did like the MapTech unit also because we can use it on a laptop, Handheld GPS unit of PDA GPS unit, with terrain CAD capabilities. This unit has many other purposes for General Civil Engineering, Forestry, Mobile Car Washing scheduling and routing, Aviation, Hiking, Fishing, Diving, Trucking, you name it. It also has features from NOAA for weather; I would recommend this as the best all-purpose unit I have thus yet found. It also works with ESRI software. So we like this for its versatility across industries. Good for us too with the blitz mobile to take the route with the least amount of hills for fuel consumption conservation and wear and tear on a 300,000-mile truck. Another of the best units we looked at was the

http://www.teletype.com/pages/tracking.html

which can be used like a Top Secret “Bloodhound Unit” and we can use this for car wash truck tracking, can be used for just about any real use to help you find your self or units. This is a way we can covertly track our units so employees do not screw off and kill profits and lie about where they were and how long they were there. Also in our survey we looked at the SatellinkTech units and found a lot of other cool features there;

http://www.satellinktech.com/product/merlin_air_main.htm .

This is a great tool, like the other units is does provide real time data such as; Airport observations and forecasts (text), Area forecasts (text), Upper wind forecasts (text), Pilot reports (text and onboard processed graphics), Icing and Turbulence forecasts (graphical), Status of restricted, prohibited, and military training airspace (text and onboard processed graphics), Location of other aircraft on instrument flight plans (onboard processed graphics), FAA alerts and advisories, Aircraft Situational Display.

What is also of interest is how much all these companies work together so that they can provide all the same data to all their customers. This does not mean one is not better than the other. For our purposes we chose the Tele Type unit with all the features, which we may implement in the future. I hope this review of products has assisted you in learning more about the technology. Many of these PDA technologies will be available for nearly any business small or large.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs

Self Healing Minefields – Grid, GPS, Satellite Strategies

Self Healing Minefields – Grid, GPS, Satellite Strategies

By Lance Winslow Platinum Quality Author

I propose a “Manta Ray” Style self-burying landmine grid system, which uses swarm and haptic robotic re-organization theory to fill in the holes left from enemy intrusion. A “Manta Ray” mimicking robot, which vibrates can quickly bury itself.

The virtual grid in which the land mines occupy will allow for patterns, which are algorithm controlled by encrypted satellite command relay. The shape of the land mines will be a small lobster like body with large circular or octagonal mesh wired component. The body will dig a hole for itself and then the mesh grid will lower itself to the surface and then jiggle until it is covered. (have drawings). Since we know the latest exact locations of the minefield a blue force army, downed pilot or special force teams could transverse the minefield using a PDA-GPS device carefully dodging all the land mines. Any attempt to follow them would be sure death for those who pursue. Think the story of the “Parting of the Red Sea!” I further propose the Blue Force software guidance system around the self-healing minefield grid be called PRS.

The land mines will deactivate by satellite, before re-configuring and then once properly buried in place be reactivated. After the war they can be deactivated or discharged, to prevent the countless thousands killed and maimed each year from land mines of wars gone bye.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs

Lost About GPS? Here's Some Direction!

Lost About GPS? Here's Some Direction!

By Keith Thompson

If you've been confounded by all the technical jargon and hype surrounding GPS, confusing what's turning out to be a very useful tool, allow me to shed a little light on your roadmap to deciding whether or not this technology is for you! Originally designed with military applications in mind, the technology was made available to mere mortals in hte 1980's for the many and varied uses we've found so far for these special tools. Not only handy for auto navigation, GPS units have made their way into maritime navigation, backcountry uses, and much, much more!

How does GPS work? GPS (which stands for Global Positioning System) allows you to pinpoint your position anywhere on the planet to within an average of 15 meters, with some units doing much better than that. Twenty-four GPS satellites, paid for and placed in orbit by the Dept. of Defense courtesy of your tax dollars, send signals back to terra firma 24/7. These signals are retrieved by your handy dandy GPS receiver which uses three sources (satellites) to triangulate this information and compute your actual position. If there are four data sources, even altitude can be determined. Since there are normally eight satellites in line of sight from anywhere on earth, the opportunity for accurate positioning exists. Other things that can be determined besides latitude, longitude, and altitude would include things like speed, sunrises and sunsets, bearing, distance and more. While they will work in any weather, some hindrances would be electronic interference, buildings, and certain terrain. A good rule of thumb is that the units will generally not perform underwater, indoors, or underground. There are currently two Global Navigation Satellite Systems in use. Besides GPS, there is the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) Protocols are constantly being refined to enhance the abilities of these systems. A bright light on the horizon is Galileo, scheduled to go online in 2008, which promises even greater accuracy and functionality.

So how do I know which GPS unit is for me? Quite a few choices now exist for consumers in the GPS marketplace. Whether you need a handheld unit for backpacking or boating, or one for your automobile (they are becoming an attractive option!) or for one of a myriad of uses, there are several reputable manufacturers of quality GPS units out there to help you find your way through the maze of choices. Names like Magellan, Garmin, Rino, Etrex and Meridian lead the market, and are readily available. Take your time, check out the various features each has to offer, and get yourself outfitted with one of the more useful and efficient navigational tools out there today!

Keith Thompson is the webmaster at Best GPS Review where many resources and information on GPS can be found.

Buying a Satellite Navigation (Satnav) System for Your Car

by Paul Davies

Once they were only for the rich and were only fitted in the very high end cars but today SatNav systems are available to all. You can either opt for the in-car fitted systems that are still quite expensive or you can go for the handheld or protable units. This article is about the latter.

What is SatNav?

SatNav is a system that comprises of 2 elements, a GPS data receiver and a CPU/display unit. The receiver gets information from orbiting GPS navigational satellites and communicates it to the CPU/display unit. This unit is then able to find its exact location on the planet by comparing signals from various satellites.

The unit incorporates road maps of the area and places an indicator on the map showing where the car is on the maps.

Features

The units allow you to plan a journey ahead of time and then the unit will guide you to you destination by displaying a map showing you where you are and the direction you should be heading. Most now have voice instructions so the unit will tell you, when you are approaching a junction, which turning you should take. The units are also capable of making real time adjustments to the route, this means that if you go the wrong way the until will recalculate the route to your destination taking into account the wrong turning you have just made.

Maps

The maps for the unit can be loaded for the different regions you visit, so they may have a map of the UK and another for France and so on. Most modern unit have the maps stored on a removable memory cards like SD cards or similar memory card but some units read directly from a CD or DVD. The display can be set to show the conventional flat map view or the new 3D view that shows a view as if it was above you and looking forward. This view is very good and clear.

Traffic

Some units offer systems that will warn you of road works/traffic jams etc as they happen, and offer suggestion as to how to avoid them.

POI

Most units have POI's (Points of Interest) incorporated into them that will show things like garages, restaurants, historic sites, airport and ferries etc. You can also add your own POI's of your favourite places. One POI that is very popular is the location of all the speed camera and accident black spot locations.

Weather

Another feature that is becoming increasingly available is the weather for a location. The system will tell you the weather at a certain location on the map i.e. at that beach location you are planning to visit.

When you want to plan a journey you will need to enter the start and end destination, this can be done in a number of ways, the city, street and house number. The street intersections, the post codes and a location chosen on the on screen map. The start can be done in the same way with the addition of the present location as the starting point (remember the unit knows where you are). There are then itinerary or way points, these allow you to program destinations along the way. Finally you are usually presented with choices of routes with choices like, Fastest Route, Shortest Route, Scenic Route, Avoid Motorways etc some have the choice to avoid toll charges.

Fitting

The units can be fitted into the car in a number of ways but the 2 most popular ways are with a mounting bracket that has a strong suction cup that sticks to the windscreen. The second way is a bracket that fixed to the cars air vents, this method can be very good but required a fixing for each type of car. The unit is then fitted to the brackets and adjusted to the best viewing angle.

There are dozens of systems available now with a variety of choices of the options available. You need to choose which of the above options are important to you and then choose the until that best suits you or suits you price range.

You can see a large variety of different units at different costs at my favourite comparason site www.wangled.co.uk just type in "Mobile GPS"

The preceding article may be freely reprinted provided:

1. The article is not edited or modified in any way

2. The source is credited: reprinted by permission of Wangled.co.uk

Paul Davies is a professional engineer and product reviewer, he submits articles on product guides and reviews.

Tips on Buying Your First GPS Unit

Tips on Buying Your First GPS Unit

By Adrienne MacDonald

Anyone that enjoys the great outdoors has probably heard of GPS devices. They can come in handy when you are hiking, boating, biking, or doing just about anything else in the great outdoors. Twenty years ago, you had to rely on a compass the position of the sun and stars and your own common sense. Not anymore! Now you can have a handy little device that can pinpoint your exact location at any given time of day.

If you are in the market for a GPS device, it is important that you understand how it works. Since the GPS devices rely on air signals, you must have a GPS receiver and a clear view of the sky for them to work. When your device is turned on it is actually linking up with 27 orbital satellites in place around the planet. Four of the nearest satellites are located and the distance from them to you is calculated via the hand held device. The process is called trilateration. Based on that, the GPS device can determine where you are on the planet. Pretty neat huh?

When you look at the different types of GPS devices out there, you may wonder which one is right for you. Prices can range from $100- 5000 dollars, so it is important to do your homework. Find out what features each device has, and determine whether you need them or not. The following is a list of tips to get you started when you are shopping.

- Research the name brand. Though GPS technology is fairly new, the manufacturer should have a long track record of creating quality electronics.

- Don’t buy the cheapest or the most expensive GPS device out there. The cheapest may not meet your expectations and the most expensive one probably has too much extra stuff you will never use.

- Look for a large display, lighted if you are going to be traveling at night.

- If you plan on traveling by foot look for a model that is lightweight, and water resistant.

Once you decide on a model that you are interested in, head over to your local sports supply store. Get prices on the model above and below it for a good range. You can also try to look at auction sites like Ebay.com to find a good deal. If you are lucky enough to find one that is used, make sure to test it out first to make sure that it works properly.

Deciding to buy a GPS system is a personal one, so make sure that you understand the ins and outs of the technology. If you do a variety of different activities a good basic, waterproof model will do the trick. If you have friends or family members that own a GPS system, ask them if they are happy with their purchase. That way you can get an honest opinion on the different brands out there. An online opinion site like epinions.com is also a great place for honest answers.

Adrienne MacDonald is a freelance author and contributing writer to http://www.gpsresource.info – site that provides free information on global positioning systems.

GPS Navigation System and Data Problems

GPS Navigation System and Data Problems

By Lance Winslow

We have a serious problem brewing with GPS navigation systems for automobiles and even motorcycles. There are however problems with this devise as a high tech toy are more serious than you might think. Ask anyone in a metro area who has bought a new car with one of those cool GPS upgrades for their SUV or new sports car. We have had our customers complain (customers of the carwash business, which is my profession). Oh they love the gadget, but they are under whelmed by the lack of data and streets, which are not listed. You see we have been seeing incredible suburban growth in many cities. Places near large DMA metros are a problem out in the middle class suburbs. In many areas such as outside Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Nashville, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Columbus, Cleveland, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, DC Subs, etc. And in NJ, NC, NV, OH lots of other fast growing growth pockets.

When GPS devises for cars first hit the scenes at the CES and SEMA shows in 1996, they became increasingly more popular, powerful and better data. But like VHS and Beta, Apple and IBM, competition became increasingly greater causing much consolidation in the industry along with patent fights. Much of the technology was former Defense Contractors peddling their wares through subsidiary consumer level companies. But the tight market remained due to the costs. Meanwhile companies like DeLorme and others tried to flood the market with low priced GPS units, which made things even more competitive. And the bugs were not fully out of the system yet. Someday all cars will drive themselves and people can watch TV, do video conferencing and use their transportation as a portable office or entertainment system while they are being driven to the location they have punched into their computer. Some things will have to occur before this is a reality of course. But eventually your dexterity skills to actually pilot a car will be worthless and un-needed.

First the satellites will need to be laser aligned and use multiple satellites to get absolute locations of ground items and vehicles. The cars will need to have additional anti collision devises made up of networked sonar and optic flow sensors. All of which are now available and the technology is getting better and better. Many military applications today will be civilian tomorrow. Just like Radar, Microwave ovens, Nuclear Energy, Cellular Phones, Satellite Communication and Jet Aircraft in Commercial Aviation. The flow of transportation will be brought to the next generation to serve man better.

For the time being the incremental changes in these technologies has hit a slight road block even though Honda, GM, Ford, Mercedes, Daimler Chrysler and Toyota have invested billions in anti-collision and safety devices which they will add comfort and desirable options which they can sell to customers as upgrades. Smart Car Technologies can add Thousands of Dollars to the price of a car and consumers are glad to pay for them. A factory GPS system with display can cost up to $6,000.00 and they sell a lot of them on the higher end cars. It is a high profit item upgrade, although there are some, which only cost $1000. And if you wish to compare these, some are very incredible with many features;

http://www.gpsnuts.com/myGPS/GPS/review%20...he%20review.htm .

There are many companies, which sell after market computer assist items. These companies are doing quite well and the systems work great. The big issue is just because you have a super duper incredible GPS system, does not mean the street you are looking for is even on the map yet. In other words it is like using an old map. If you are a studier of maps like I happen to be, you will see the problem with older maps. Even some companies keep printing old map data year after year without adding in new on ramps, city streets, infrastructure freeway improvements and ring-roads, it is aggravating for those from out of town. Even more aggravating looking for an address or street in a new housing tract, which you can see but the devise insists, does not exist? Then there are problems in areas like Cape Coral, FL and Tehachapi, CA or El Paso, TX and Knoxville, TN where the roads have been scraped and ready to put in or put in but do not connect or have nothing there yet. Of course it is very aggravating to see a road and try to go down it and find it is a dirt road that connects to nothing yet or an entire sub-division that does not exist? Is it a Mirage? If so where is the white Tiger Show?

Jack Dangermond of ESRI had set up entire networks of software makers who developed data for their awesome software products for GPS and GIS needs. Used by government, military, utility companies, transportation companies, private companies with GPS units to sell to the public, First Responders and school districts for buses. After the Dot Com crash those software companies were among some of the survivors, but had significantly cut costs. Thus without the proper data the GPS systems bought by the upper, upper-middle and middle class for their cars were not always good enough to support the price point for the newest technology. This is especially upsetting since the upper, upper-middle and middle class citizens who pay the most taxes live in the suburbs for the most part. The chances of a middle class American; who bought a home during the 3 years last housing boom; not being able to find their house or street on their new GPS devise is a higher probability then them actually finding it. We interviewed one man who bought a new Nissan Sports car.

Who lives in a newer developed area in the higher end Las Vegas, Clark County Suburbs, which only had the main streets on his GPS and had huge blank spots on his device? Some GPS devices allow the user to choose a satellite vendor and data vendor and software, but many of the Factory units do not. People think they are getting something really good and then find they cannot use it to navigate, which would really piss you off considering you may have paid as much as $6,000 for the unit. Even more dangerous is the information we learned from an EMT ambulance driver in Dallas area who told us of looking for streets for 15-20 minutes after battling through suburban gridlock to get to where they thought it might be. 3G cell phone technology may assist for those using cell phones to call in data to the dispatches. For all the training we are doing across this nation for first responders and on-going education of police, fire, Hazmat, etc. it appears that we have forgotten the problems of the system. Any time you build a system to serve humankind you must make it simple and make it work, that should be the first, the very first priority, then you can fix all the other issues.

With that said we interviewed a lady recently one evening who had a hell of a long day working for the Metro Police Departments Central Nervous System. The communications center and dispatch is to what we are referring. Although she was unaware of the problem at the center for bad data or missing data in the system, she could not say how they were able to get the information. Luckily serving a metro area they are probably connected to the planning departments computer, which they should be. And if the police department has the new data and no problem in this case, why have the software vendors not been able to access the data? It is a safety issue if someone with a GPS system pulls out a map and tries to read it while driving in an area they are not familiar with. It is guaranteed that in the history of the automobile in this country more people have been in serious traffic accidents from trying to read maps, than talking on cell phones, although cell phones no doubt a contributing factor in many lesser accidents will eventually pass this figure. Where the streets are, well frankly I cannot understand the need to keep this a secret unless it is the layout of Area 51, Prison, Power plant, Pentagon grounds, Military Bases, etc. If the emergency first responders divisions and contractors would share the data, there might be less accidents and they maybe able to get some assistance from the public being the eyes and ears

http://www.lancewinslow.org/nmwp.shtml

and also perhaps they could in fact use the idea of Smart Virtual Mobile Communities or FlashMob scenarios since budgets are strapped as the National Security “Red-Orange-Yellow-High-Risk-Danger-Days” come with high frequency, more police and first responders are on duty and that costs money. Without significant inflows the coverage of the Grid of a city is in jeopardy of slower response times. Fast response times are the easiest way to keep the peace, everyone, which gets away can cause problems another day and of course in case of International Terrorist Attacks.

It is essential to have the data for these devises and everyone is better served when communication flows. GPS units provide that and the data should be readily available and probably it is best to have the cities using the same formats as first responders and the same data can be used for utilities, consumers, military and even census data or academia studying urban sprawl and growth rates to have infrastructures ready during expansion. Things like water and energy, which has obviously been a major focus here.

There needs to be a nationwide coordinated effort to see that such data is filtered into the private sector, because as it stand the companies have been hammered in the industry and cannot perform the services to bring this stuff to market. Communication is important for government and citizen a like, increased efficiencies in business will save the government money and provide additional tax base and funds on the income of such businesses utilizing such data, as well as save money and time for all the government services discussed above. If we want a screaming economy we ought to be thinking how we can streamline and accelerate the flow of information to increase efficiencies and allow a small portion of the gain from the expanded pie to continue the growth. In other words, we make it easier for the Florist to deliver, the school buses to pick up more kids per hour and the soccer mom to take more kids to practice and still have time left to shop all of which serves man. The digital GIS divide is as important for our economy as the Digital Internet Divide. Kids in sports do less drugs, become more competitive, have higher work ethics and soccer moms can help keep the retail economy going. Every time you ease the flow, more things are possible. The exponential increase in American productivity is needed to offset the time lost in traffic and congestion. GIS-GPS systems can help in any emergency or simply driving around town getting things done to check off one’s list for the day.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs

Basic Global Positioning System (GPS) Overview

Basic Global Positioning System (GPS) Overview

By Ken Dennis

The Global Positioning System, or GPS is a constellation of twenty four (24) active satellites and three (3) additional backup satellites. The GPS system was developed and implemented by the United States Air Force (USAF) for operational reasons, and has since become world wide phenomenon, used by hikers, outdoors men, and a vast array of commercial uses.

GPS works on the principals of Triangulation. Satellites send signals down to the earth, which are triangulated by the GPS receiver unit giving you your current location. In order to acquire your current location a receiver unit requires at least three satellite signals to extrapolate your location, though more is desirable. It is not uncommon to have your receiver pickup four to seven signals in any given location.

The GPS Satellites send out two signals: 1575.42 MHz - The Course Acquisition Signal (CA) 1227.6 MHz - Precision Signal (P)

All users, military or civilian are allowed to use the Course Acquisition signal, however the Precision signal is only used by the military, and gives much greater accuracy. The signals are closely monitored and audited by several stations, however the master station for GPS is located in Colorado Springs, USA, at Falcon Air Force Base (AFB).

Problems with the GPS System: Unfortunately due to the very low signal strength (around -127 dBm) GPS receiver units are often unable to acquire a good signal if you are in an area of dense foliage or under a heavy tree canopy. The GPS signal is also unable to penetrate most solid items, and requires a view of the sky to be effective. Use in deep canyons, or inside large cities with tall buildings will cause reduced satellite acquisitions and thus less accuracy or no triangulation at all.

Since GPS receivers have become so mainstream people seem to have thrown away the map and compass which could be a dangerous mistake. GPS receivers are an electronic unit and have the potential to fail, cold climates, batteries, dropping it could leave you lost. A GPS is a wonderful tool, however it shouldn't be a replacement for the old map and compass.

Fun and Games: There are a lot of great uses for GPS receivers, from marking your favorite fishing spot, to GeoCaching! A standard GPS receiver is between 100-250 dollars and can be used to give you your speed, average speed, set waypoints (mark your favorite spots), record tracks where you have been and can be loaded maps of different regions around the world. They are a great tool for hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts and can help foster a healthy outdoor activity for you and your family.

What to Know When Buying a GPS

What to Know When Buying a GPS

By Chuck Fitzgerald

Why are GPS units showing up everywhere? You might find one in your rental car, on your wristwatch or even built into your wireless phone. Anti-theft systems use one, heavy construction equipment might use one and having one on your boat now seems to be a requirement. Anytime we want to know our exact location on the face of the Earth, the GPS becomes indispensable. Like many other technologies, feature rich GPS units are now affordable for the average person. So how do you know which one to purchase? Let’s look at few things to consider prior to buying your next GPS unit, but first, what is a GPS unit?

A GPS (Global Positioning System) unit has the primary function of calculating its own location on land or water by using satellite signals. Once the GPS unit knows its own location, it can help the user determine direction and distance to other known locations. For instance, a GPS on a boat can tell the captain how far it is to the shoreline or how far it is to a favorite fishing spot. For the outdoor sportsman a GPS can help with finding your campsite, your vehicle or your next geocache. Popular outdoor activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing, trail running, backpacking, rock climbing, canyoneering and canoeing are all made more enjoyable and safer when you take along your GPS.

When buying a GPS system the first thing to consider is how you intend to use it. If you plan on using it while on foot, you’ll want a GPS that is lightweight, compact, weather resistant and that is equipped with features important to foot travel. WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) is one such feature. WAAS greatly increases the accuracy of your GPS, in most cases to within 10 feet. Accuracy within a few meters is important for the outdoor enthusiast but not nearly as important for navigating through town in your rental car. Next, be sure your GPS has at least 12 channels of reception too. Since your GPS will only work when it receives signals from satellites orbiting the Earth, less than 12 receiving channels will not get the job done in wooded areas or in steep terrain. If you plan on using your GPS to navigate while driving in your car, its weight is not nearly as important as its ability to display street maps. The GPS mounted to the dash of your truck probably doesn’t need to be weatherproof, but the one on your boat better be.

Here are the features and products I recommend. For the outdoor athlete or sportsman, be sure your GPS has these features: topographical mapping, back tracking, a computer interface, weatherproofing, 12 receiver channels and WAAS. I recommend portable GPS units in the Garmin eTrex Series and the Magellan Meridian Series. For driving applications, be sure your GPS has these features: street mapping, large display, a computer interface and external antenna compatibility. I recommend automotive GPS units in the Garmin StreetPilot Series and the Magellan RoadMate Series. For boating and other marine applications, be sure your GPS has these features: marine mapping, color screen, active sonar, back tracking, a computer interface and weatherproofing. I recommend marine GPS Units in the Garmin GPSMAP Series.

Prices for GPS units vary a great deal and in general, you get what you pay for. While some units cost around $100 and offer relatively few features, others may cost as much as $1000 or even more and are loaded with dozens of features. Here is a good rule of thumb for determining how much money to spend on your next GPS. You should expect to pay between $200 and $300 to get a decent GPS Unit. I own a Garmin eTrex Vista. I believe it is the best GPS available for under $300.

If you don’t have a GPS or yours is more than five years old, now’s the time to get one. Adding a new GPS to your inventory of backcountry toys will take your outdoor adventures to a new level of enjoyment. Use this information and you’ll Get It Right The First Time. Get Outdoors!

Chuck Fitzgerald is the owner of Arizona based BackCountry Toys, an online specialty store with the “Best Gear Out There” and dedicated to helping outdoor enthusiasts to “Get It Right The First Time” with timely educational information. Please visit http://www.BackCountryToys.com to find great gear and to receive the Fact & Tips e-newsletter, "FreshAir"; (800) 316-9055.

How GPS Works

How GPS Works

By Anne King

Global Positioning System (GPS) is a navigational aid originally developed for the military. The system simply receives signals. It is the applied technology that gives the GPS its versatility.

If you have ever used map and compass, you will understand a little about how the GPS works. In order to find your position on a map, you need to have three points of reference. The intersecting line from the reference points is where you are. Map and compass work uses triangulation (bearings), GPS uses trilateration (distances) to calculate location. Satellites orbiting the earth emit unique signals that can be received by a GPS. The GPS software interprets the signal, identifying the satellite that it came from, where it was located, and the time that it took for the signal to reach the system. Once the receiver has both time and distance it begins to determine position.

Three satellites provide the intersection point and the fourth is used to check that the positioning is accurate. Accuracy depends upon the synchronization of atomic clocks in the satellites with the clock in the GPS system. Although the clock in the GPS is not atomic, utilizing the fourth satellite gives it that functionality as the internal clock adjusts itself to correct any discrepancy discovered.

GPS has gone far beyond its initial military application. Drivers can find their way through city streets, long distance trekkers use the technology to cross unfamiliar terrain, mariners and pilots use GPS enhanced data to cross the seas and skies.

In--vehicle GPS can be integrated into the car entertainment system or can be installed as a removable device. These systems need to tell the driver where he/she is and how to reach their destination. The information includes road directions plus relevant features along the way such as rest stops, gas stations, points of interest, etc. Auto GPS uses voice commands so that the driver can concentrate on the road.

Hikers and trekkers use similar technology, but normally without the inclusion of road systems on their devices. Mapping software defines the territory that the hiker will encounter. The user can enter waypoints (points of reference) so they can return using the same route. They can add points of interest such as water sources, possible campsites, and other items of interest on their trail. However, the portability demanded by hikers will also limit the functionality of the system as small screens mean that some detail will be lost.

It is GPS technology that is used to track individuals on home arrest, to trace missing pets, stolen vehicles, and missing people. Small systems can be incorporated into pet collars and wristwatches. As long as the receiver is active, it can be found.

Marine and aviation GPS units are sophisticated and specialized. The principles involved are the same as any standard system; the software is much more highly developed.

Any fisherman, who is using a fish finder on his boat, is using a GPS that is enhanced by sonar and tracking devices. Units have been developed for use on float tubes also -– as GPS technology advances, the systems become more and more compact and their uses more and more extensive.

If you are considering purchasing a GPS, make sure that it can be updated easily. This is especially true if you buy a multi--function GPS or one that is used where conditions change regularly. An in--vehicle GPS soon loses its usefulness if it is not updated as road systems change.

Updates vary according to the device being used. They can come in CD/DVD packages or as computer downloads. The user can purchase maps specific to the area in which the GPS will be used or a range of maps and routes. These are available from GPS software companies who will charge proportionally to the sophistication of the software.

GPS units vary in price according to their usefulness. It is possible to buy units for less than one hundred dollars to units costing more than one thousand dollars. What your needs are will be a factor in the cost of your unit. If you are a backpacker then portability is a major consideration. If you are a trucker, you need to be able to find a delivery point as quickly and conveniently as possible. Whatever device you go for, cost is generally related to quality. Buy the best you can afford.

Anne King is a sports and recreation writer in Boise, Idaho. For more GPS information, visit Maps GPS Info.com which provides practical information on GPS and maps that everyone can use. The website includes product reviews and a maps/GPS glossary.

Free GPS Software

Free GPS Software

By Anne King

I took a look at some of the online offers for free GPS software and found, like many "free" offers there were often limits and provisos involved. Often the freeware is a scaled--down version of purchasable products. Sometimes the free product has restricted functionality with features disabled, other products are trial--based and are disabled after a certain time (hours or days or use).

An example of limited free GPS software can be found at GPS Utility. The downloadable freeware is limited 100 waypoints and 500 track points. (There are 65,000 of each in the registered version of their program.) The free program gives you a good opportunity to try before you buy, and this is the benefit of most free programs.

There are online sites that list various free GPS software and describe how to use the programs after you download them. Often individuals who have used the programs themselves develop the sites. These are great because they give you an unbiased interpretation of the benefits and disadvantages of the programs before you use them.

Using free GPS software you can download programs that allow you to retrieve and display aerial photos, topographical maps, USGS landmarks. There are programs available that allow you import scanned images and add latitude and longitude points and other data.

Free GPS software downloads are available for PDA units that are capable of communication with GPS receivers. With these downloads you can have a useful navigation assistant, location database manager, and GPS data converter.

Programs to manage GPS waypoint and route files are available for both PC and Mac users. The waypoints and route files can be saved or converted to various formats used by other mapping programs.

If you need to transfer information to and from your GPS receiver and your home computer or laptop there are several free programs that allow you to do so. There are also programs that allow Garmin GPS receivers to "talk" to one another.

Many of the programs listed here are directed at the hiking/trekker community, but there are also free programs available for auto GPS systems and marine navigational systems. I found a couple of marine navigation programs that allow you to download nautical charts and plotters.

There are free GPS software programs that allow you to download street maps that might not be included in your auto--navigation system. If you intend downloading in--vehicle software, make sure that it has audio capacity, an essential safety factor for motorists. One such program offers data for several countries with voice guidance in twelve languages.

Free GPS software is also available for downloading to your cell phone. This is mostly tracking software and can be phone specific. You might want to check with your carrier before downloading anything to your cell phone to make sure that it does not incur extra charges.

As satellites are constantly moving, it is helpful to know the optimal time for data collection in your area. There is free GPS software that includes an almanac to let you know the availability of satellites at any given time.

Some of the free GPS software is brand specific. Programs designed for a Garmin receiver may not work for a Magellan, so check out the specifications carefully, especially if you intend purchasing a registered version after your trial period. Other software works with most brands.

Anne King is a sports and recreation writer in Boise, Idaho. For a list of free GPS software, visit Maps GPS Info.com which also provides practical information on GPS and maps that everyone can use. The website includes product reviews and a maps/GPS glossary.

How To Choose a GPS

How To Choose a GPS

By James Chartwel

You've heard that new sport, geocaching, is fun. Or, you're tired of getting lost on your travels. Welcome to the 21st century. Global Postioning System (GPS) has been around long enough that prices are reasonable and the technology is user-friendly. With myriad brands and models, how to choose?

If you want a GPS for both hiking and driving use, then a handheld unit would be the way to go. Some handhelds even have accessories to allow them to be installed in an automobile. But don't rule out a PDA. More on that in a moment. For driving only, there are GPS receivers made just for vehicle use.

Handheld GPS receivers are either mapping or non--mapping. A basic, non--mapping unit can often cost less than $100 US and usually has/displays the following:

  • Location
  • Compass heading
  • Elevation above sea level
  • Accurate time
  • Satellite location and signal strength
  • The ability to calculate distance traveled
  • The ability to record your path as a set of waypoints
  • The ability to navigate routes
  • The ability to retrace your steps

Handheld mapping receivers do all the above plus have the ability to display maps. The maps are either pre--loaded or uploaded from your PC. Prices are reasonable for mapping units, starting at around $150 US.

Paper maps are strongly recommended whether you're using a mapping receiver or not. Paper maps do not require batteries and probably won't go defective. Also, a paper map gives you a "big picture" view of your situation -- something lacking on the small screen of a GPS.

I mentioned earlier your considering a PDA with GPS capability. A PDA is bulkier and the battery life is usually shorter, but if you're using a PDA anyway, then there are several ways to turn a PDA into a GPS. Some PDAs accept a GPS "sleeve." That is a device that the PDA nestles into. Another choice is one of Garmin's PDAs. Garmin is probably the most popular GPS maker and they have one PDA/GPS that is Palm--based and one that is Pocket PC--based.

Prices for automotive GPS start at around $250 US. These provide turn--by--turn guidance. Spend a little more than that and you get voice guidance. These are larger than handhelds in order to accommodate a screen large enough to be seen while driving. They are powered by the car's electrical system and because of this, they can only be used in a vehicle.

Many automobile manufacturers now offer built-in GPS receivers as an option. Because they are built-in, the big advantages are security and aesthetics. They are quite a bit more expensive than add-on units and often have fewer options. I've also heard some stories of people having a hard time getting map updates.

A PDA/GPS is a good alternative for automotive use. Its screen is about the size of an automotive unit, so seeing the display is not a problem. They can also be powered by the car, eliminating battery worries. The Garmin PDAs mentioned above both come with the hardware and software for automotive use.

If you're hiking, a basic handheld unit (without maps) will be fine since you'll always have paper maps with you anyway (you will, won't you?). An advantage to a handheld mapping unit is that they usually have more advanced features than the basic units. For driving, you have the choice of a handheld, in--car dedicated, or PDA. The handheld does have limited usefulness in a car, as it does not provide turn--by--turn guidance. For a more detailed look at how to choose a GPS, click here.

J. Chartwell has developed Maps GPS Info.com, which provides practical information on GPS and maps that everyone can use. His website includes product reviews and a maps/GPS glossary.

Magellan 750NAV Plus

Magellan 750NAV Plus Vehicle GPS Receiver with Voice Prompting

The highly refined Magellan 750NAV Plus car navigation GPS receiver offers full color, detailed mapping, and a wealth of rich location-specific information in a sleek and intuitive design. It uses the same Magellan technology found in the NeverLost system of the Hertz rental car fleet.

The Magellan 750NAV Plus was developed for people who want a semi-permanent mounting in their personal or work car. When professionally installed, the 750NAV Plus GPS receiver leaves no housing or cables visible when removed. With the optional 750NAV Plus mobility kit you can easily switch the unit between vehicles.

With turn-by-turn directions and friendly voice prompting, 750NAV Plus automatically guides you to your destination, recalculating your route if you make a wrong turn or decide to take a detour. The built-in database of detailed maps covers the United States and most of Canada. The large full-color screen and keypad make it easy to enter your destination information and find the best route. With WAAS-enabled GPS accuracy tracking up to 12 satellites, the 750NAV Plus can place your location to within 3 meters.

+ Read More | Magellan 750NAV Plus Vehicle GPS Receiver with Voice Prompting

Product Details

Features:
  • Large full-color screen and keypad; includes parallel port interface

  • 12-channel vehicle navigation GPS receiver

  • WAAS-enabled for 3-meter accuracy

  • Built-in database of detailed maps covers the United States and most of Canada

  • Turn-by-turn directions and friendly voice prompting

+ Read More | Magellan 750NAV Plus Vehicle GPS Receiver with Voice Prompting

Lowrance GlobalMap 7500C 12 Channel Vehicle GPS

Lowrance GlobalMap 7500C 12 Channel Vehicle GPS and Chartplotter + WAAS with 10.4" Color Display and Dual MMC / SD Digital Media Memory Card Slots

Boasting an extra-large, high-contrast 10.4-inch color liquid-crystal TFTdisplay and a host of valuable features, the Lowrance GlobalMap GPS+WAAS receiver renders incredible detail on its built-in and downloaded maps, helping boaters and drivers take the next step in GPS navigation. Merely chart a path or pick a destination via the easy-to-use keypad, and the GlobalMap follows the route precisely. As with the best GPS navigators, the device is highly accurate, with precision 12-parallel-channel GPS and WAAS mapping that gets you within a few meters of your destination whether you're on a Great Lakes fishing expedition or a cross-country road trip. Each trip is completely customizable, with the ability to chart new paths, waypoints, trails, and more. You can also easily recalculate your trip route should you get distracted and lose your way, and thanks to the dual MMC/SD card slots--which are protected by a waterproof door--the device and save and retrace up to 100 of your favorite plot trails, with up to 10,000 points in each path.

Users can also perform more advanced GPS functions on the GlobalMap 7500C, including determining the distance between two separate locations, creating and editing brand-new routes, and navigating trails and paths backwards. To give users a good mapping foundation, Lowrance included a built-in continental U.S. and Hawaii background map that's enhanced to take advantage of the high-resolution display. The detailed map offers such marine features as more than 60,000 nav aids and 10,000 wrecks/obstructions in coastal and Great Lakes areas, along with landlocked extras like interstate exit services, standard major streets, and highways. The GlobalMap is also compatible with Lowrance's optional MapCreate 6 custom mapping software, which offers a full set of searchable land features and more than two million points of interest, including restaurants, lodging, gas stations, emergency services, airports, shopping destinations, and more. In addition, the GlobalMap is compatible with several plug-and-play map choices, such as FreedomMaps, Fishing Hot Spots Elite, LakeMaster Pro Maps, NauticPath USA, and Navionics electronic charts. Each item loads through one of the MMC/SD memory card slots, which support up to 1 GB of mapping memory each.

+ Read More | Lowrance GlobalMap 7500C 12 Channel Vehicle GPS and Chartplotter

Product Details

Features:

  • Sealed, waterproof housing suitable for saltwater use; measures 12.2 by 10.4 by 4 inches (W x H x D); 1-year warranty
  • Full-size, 12-parallel-channel GPS+WAAS receiver for use in marine or vehicle applications
  • High-contrast, sunlight-readable 10.4-inch SVGA TFT display with sharp 640 x 800 resolution
  • Built-in continental U.S. and Hawaii background map with 60,000 nav aids and 10,000 wrecks/obstructions
  • Dual MMC/SD memory card slots with waterproof door; 100 savable plot trails with 10,000 points per trail
+ Read More | Lowrance GlobalMap 7500C 12 Channel Vehicle GPS and Chartplotter

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