Let us first look at the three main activities GPS units are used for: recreation, driving and working:
Recreation – A number of recreational activities on land, sea or in the air can be assisted by the use of a GPS unit such as: hiking/walking, mountain climbing, biking, camping, touring, hunting, fishing, boating, skiing, snowmobiling, flying and maybe others.
Driving – A GPS unit within your car, van or lorry or on your motor cycle can give you directions and stop you getting lost in either cities or in the countryside. It could also provide you with the quickest, shortest or other type of route to your destination.
Working – Various occupations may need one within their day to day activities such as: tour guides, pilots, dispatchers, rescue crews, archaeologists, military personnel, firemen, geologists, surveyors, mapping specialists, boat captains and maybe some others.
GPS Unit Design Classification
GPS units are generally designed with three main uses in mind: recreational navigation, automotive navigation and marine navigation:
Recreational Navigation – These Navigation systems are usually small handheld devices that you can hold in your hand and usually fit easily in to your pocket or other place like a rucksack or mount easily onto your dashboard. A few are also designed to be worn on the wrist. Some of them have topographical (also known as topo) or Ordnance Survey (OS) maps built in or the ability to download or add maps to them to enable you to traverse the countryside.
Automotive Navigation – These units are designed specifically to be used for motor vehicle road navigation. They usually have road and street maps built-in or have the capability to enable you to download maps to them. They are usually mounted within the vehicle and some even have voice directions.
Marine Navigation – These GPS units are designed especially for vessels that traverse water and have a robust and waterproof design, or may even float on water. Consequently, they have offshore maps and maybe also onshore maps. They have functions for chart plotting and other marine relate functions.
Why Use A GPS Unit For Hiking & Walking?
Entry Level Walking GPS Gives Map Grid Reference
There may be more reasons for using a hiking GPS but the main benefits are as follows:
Safe and Secure Hiking – It can be quite annoying if you get lost, not to mention dangerous, particularly at high altitude or in poor weather conditions. A standard hiking GPS provides you with an accurate grid reference to show your position. More costly hiking GPS devices display your precise location on a digital map.
Just To Enjoy Hiking – You can plan your route before you start hiking by recording it on your hiking GPS. Then when you start hiking you don’t have to concentrate on finding your route on a paper map. However, be warned that the batteries and even the Hiking GPS unit can fail. It is therefore very important to also take a paper map together with a compass and keep up your ability to navigate.
For Emergencies – A Hiking GPS can be a lifesaver for pinpointing your precise position should you have an accident or any form of emergency situation whilst out on the hill or in the mountains, especially if the weather conditions are bad.
As A Record – A Hiking GPS device can be really good for recording way point information. If you come across a marvelous view then you can record the location and revisit it or share it with friends. You can also build your own database of favorite places such as attractions, pubs, restaurants, etc.
Finding Geocaches With Your GPS Units
Other Uses – Other more specialist uses of Handheld GPS units include:
For Geocaching – You could join many others in this activity which involves using your GPS to locate outdoor hidden “treasure” in containers termed geocaches. You can also share your experiences with others online. To find out more information visit www.geocoaching.com
As A SatNav – Some GPS untis can also be used as a SatNav in your car. Specialist groups such as canoeists and mountain bikers use them to find routes away from the usual beaten tracks.