GPS Navigation Device
What is GPS?
Global Positioning System (GPS) is a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). The United States Department of Defense developed the GNSS, which gives a global coverage of geo-spatial positioning autonomously via satellites orbiting the earth transmitting time signals by radio along a line a sight. Small electronic receivers on earth catch these signals to determine their longitude, latitude, and altitude, thereby determining their location. Besides getting the location, receivers with a fixed position on the ground can also calculate the precise time. Today, the fully operational GNSS is the United States NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS). Other countries are also developing their own GNSS like the Russian GLONASS, European Union’s Galileo, India’s IRNSS, China’s Compass, France’s DORIS, and Japan’s QZSS.
What is a GPS Navigation Device?
Any device capable of receiving GPS signals to determine the current location is a GPS navigation device.
Applications of the GPS Navigation Device
– Defense. It is used for aircraft, missiles, ships, small vehicles and foot soldiers. In the military, commanders use Commanders Digital Assistant and soldiers use Soldier Digital Assistant.
– Commercial Aviation. Location information is used by commercial planes like Boeing 737, mainly for course information, course tracking, recording devices, and multi-input computers for keeping the plane on autopilot.
– Consumer Applications. At present for public use, two varieties are available, namely stand-alone variety and computer-connected variety.
Stand-alone GPS navigation devices are mobile units, though devices for automobiles are stationary and usually placed in the center of the dashboard either by the driver or factory installed. They are usually sold with pre-installed software that includes selected regional street maps, route information and detailed directions, as well as places of interest like museums, art galleries, hospitals, banks, ATMs, cash machines, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, pubs, clubs, cinema halls, etc.
Latest mobile phones like Java-enabled phones and smartphones have built-in commercial navigation software. The phone may have an internal GPS receiver or may use an external one via a serial connection or Bluetooth. Besides GPS, access to high-speed GSM-networks like GPRS, UMTS, EDGE, HSDPA, etc. is also provided. Some phones like the VZ Navigator by Verizon Wireless, can also be used as a wireless modem that can connect to the laptop along with the GPS function fully enabled with gpsOne technology. Some phones also use the Gps2sms technology for transmitting in real-time points of interest via GSM cellular telephone networks using SMS text messages. Some may be pre-configured to send a SMS text message when a selected event like breakdown, anchor drift, or theft occurs.
Computer-connected GPS navigation devices utilizes a desktop, laptop, PDAs, or smartphones, with connections being made via serial, USB, Bluetooth, CF, SD, PCMCIA, or ExpressCard, depending upon the computer used. Some PCMCIA/ExpressCard GPS devices also double as a wireless modem.
Stand-alone varieties are available with TomTom, Garmin, Mio, Navigon, Magellan Navigation, etc. Computer-connected varieties include models by Globalsat, Holux, DeLorme Earthmate, Haicom, Canmore, NAVMAN, Sony Ericsson etc. Most of them sell the navigation software separately, however pre-bundled navigation software suites are also available with some PC based GPS receivers.