Handheld GPS Technology

Handheld GPS Technology

When it comes to direction, navigation and reception Handheld GPS technology is still the best technology and the standard cell phones only strive to meet.  With the full featured units currently available in the market, traveling, hiking, marine and other adventure activities have become within the reach of almost anyone. Now “getting lost” just means going where ever you want to go safely. There are three main criteria which set handheld GPS technology apart from the humble cell phone:  These are navigation, reception and waterproof capability.  With this in mind high-sensitivity receivers, such as those with the SiRFstar III or MediaTek chipsets are basic criteria to look for in a handheld GPS device. With these receivers, you can have your unit in your pack or pocket and still have reception. Given the number of manufacturers vying for top position, there is healthy competition in the field of Handheld GPS devices.

Handheld GPS for Hiking

There are a lot of handheld GPS units to select from  First and foremost, anyone who decides to buy a Handheld GPS must be acutely aware of basic categorization. At the moment, there are three categories namely; survey grade, mapping grade, as well as recreation grade. The last two categories are the most popular for everyday use.
High-end survey class devices are used in specialized professions. When purchasing a Handheld GPS unit, it is important to go beyond the price tag. The way Handheld GPS units are presented follows the same trend as every other product. In simple terms, you get what you pay for. Brand name aside, the power features and capability can be determined using the price tag; which brings us to an important question, what exactly should one consider while venturing down the Handheld GPS technology isle?

  • Price—The component in handheld GPS units that makes them expensive is the SiRF chipset. The chipset is responsible for an advanced user experience. However, older models that come without SiRF also function and are the most affordable. The portal through which you buy a GPS unit either increases or decreases the price. Legit retailers and online stores tend to buy in bulk from the manufacturer at discounted prices. Thus, buying via retailers might also lower the total price. Hence you need to be aware of these slight differences and the impact on the price you pay.
  • Memory—Obviously, Handheld GPS device bought for your mother is different than the one that will appeal to a hiker. Available memory and storage play a huge role in differentiating handheld GPS units. Many units have an internal memory of up to 128MB. Although there are options to extend memory by up to 8GB consider the need and activities your intend to undertake before settling on memory requirements.
  • Maps – It is important to have a receiver that is set up to navigate. There are topo maps available for almost any wilderness area in the world but not all GPS receivers can accommodate topo maps.
  • Way Point Capacity—In general, to get a good experience from your GPS unit, it must hold at least 500-waypoints. The latest and advanced devices have an average of 1000-waypoints.
  • Receiver—Under Handheld GPS technologies, there are receivers and transmitters. The most used and preferred are the receivers. A good number of GPS receivers use a chipset to receive and self-process signals from the satellite. The latest Handheld GPS models have an inbuilt SiRF which offers high sensitivity for faster location identification. Additionally, new receivers have improved signal stability making them perfect for anyone looking into a trip to the forest.
  • Built-in Electronic Compass—Each time you move, a compass determines the direction. A GPS unit that houses an electronic compass is excellent for real-time navigation. With a slight movement or change in direction, the compass will determine the direction one is facing. Few people would argue that the “wilderness man” method of measuring the position of the sun has been replaced by an easier and more accurate handheld GPS unit with a built-in electronic compass.
  • Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) Capability—this navigation aid system works to improve GPS accuracy, as well as availability. If your budget allows, it is recommended to buy a WAAS powered device. You will be happy with the guaranteed improved horizontal accuracy. Handheld GPS technology goes way beyond commercial work.
  • It’s important to remember that the best Handheld GPS units last between 10 and 16 hours of battery life. Luckily most good handheld GPS units sport AA batteries and units can also be charged using the car charger.

Adrenaline ‘junkies’ can now indulge in their favorite activities. Whatever the occasion wherever the location, with GPS handheld technology, there is no excuse for being left out. It is quite safe to state that the price range encompasses buyers from all walks of life. To experience stress-free enjoyable activities, Handhelds are there to offer more than navigation.



Advantages of Handheld GPS

Advantages of Handheld GPS

You know the most baffling constant about technology –it is evolving! It is amazing how much Global Positioning System (GPS) has changed since declared functional in 1995 powered by 24 satellites. Nowadays we have become super dependent on GPS devices for direction and location. Having a Handheld GPS device is the equal of having a compass; map and wind speed compacted and placed in the palm of your hand.

The principle behind GPS is very simple- it works by providing a set of geographical coordinates such as a place’s latitude, longitude and elevation on Earth. The GPS device also gives out very accurate time.

The basic functionality of GPS technology is limited to receiving satellite signals and calculating position information. Things like navigation systems, tracking devices, surveying and mapping instruments are simply different applications of the technology.

Handheld GPS for Wilderness

With dynamic changes and developments, GPS now possesses a broad range of functions. Be it going about with your everyday activities or taking a trip to the countryside; knowing your whereabouts is a must. Since the human brain can only hold so much information, it comes as a relief that there are devices to help with tasks such as finding the best route. The availability of GPS Handheld devices provides a solution for portable support. Thus, it makes Handheld GPS devices indispensable. Their make and functionality distinguish them, yet they are all the same when it comes to the benefits of having a GPS unit. Read on to find some of the advantages of Handheld GPS units.

  • Measuring slope/water depth—In 2014, the New Atlas published that “Instead of tide gauges that use electronic sensors in a pipe to measure water level height, the system developed at Chalmers University uses Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) radio signals from systems such as GPS…” Although it is not possible to measure mean sea level using Handheld GPS units; it is still possible to measure slopes, hiking distances, as well as water depth when rafting, canoeing, camping, and fishing. A Handheld GPS can be used to navigate across water bodies. Moreover, there are specialized handheld GPS devices designed especially for fishers. These can be used for fishing, boating, and other open water activities.
  • Inbuilt thermometer is one of the most advanced benefits which come with owning a handheld GPS. Using the GPS thermometer function can provide wind speed, temperature and air pressure measures allowing up to date weather expectations at your destination and during the tramp. Detection of Potential
  • The best GPS units are waterproof a feature which makes the device an invaluable addition for any hiking, tracking, tramping, boating, fishing and trekking trips in all areas and in any weather conditions.
  • Hazards—Advanced handheld GPS devices come with an inbuilt beacon. Using the beacon can help save a life in case of a storm or any other natural disasters about or happening in a particular area.
  • This is the best navigating system in water as in larger water bodies we are often misled due to lack of proper directions
  • Record and Store Places—One of the most exciting things about traveling is informing memories. Once planning the journey, the excitement spills over to everyone involved. With a handheld GPS unit, it is possible to share in the fun with everyone by recording favorite spots and information. There is a lot of memory allowing for extended recording of up to weeks. Additionally, the multi-functional GPS devices can work in activity tracking or watch mode while seeing GPS.
  • Color Touch Screen Display—Let’s agree on one thing, plain black and white can be boring. Owning a GPS unit is exciting, to begin with. Now getting a functional device with a color touchscreen display is a bonus. With the latest range of devices, it’s easy to point on the display map with your finger the area of interest.
  • Navigation—Using your handheld GPS device, you can work out the best route for your trip. These intelligent devices use trilateration. For example, connecting and locking into a minimum of 3 satellite signals to pinpoint your exact current location. Since there are currently 24 active satellites orbiting the earth, your device can triangulate any 3 of them. Depending on the power and functionality of your unit, you can get simple to detailed instructions once the route between the current position and final destination has been imaged.
  • Direction—Perfect for people without a sense of direction! You know, there are times when you get lost not because you don’t know where you want to head out, but it happens? Good news, with handheld GPS, there is no need to scratch your head for direction. The GPS receiver works from current location to destination. So if you take a detour, you will still get directed until you reach the final point. See, the things are, once the navigator has mapped out the route between two points, the handheld GPS will give directions until you reach the end point. It doesn’t get easier than this right? Conclusion

Currently, there are some GPS handheld units on the market. Before selecting one, don’t just consider the price. It helps to spend time researching about a product, reading the user feedback and reviews. Presently, Garmin is the leading manufacturer, and people seem to love the GPS devices. But, don’t just take my word for it, go out there and get the retailer to explain the features on each device before selecting the one. With handheld GPS devices, you can have an easier daily routine. Or better yet, plan your next canoeing, camping, hiking or geocaching trip like a pro.



Bluetooth GPS

Bluetooth GPS

We are in the age of smartphones, smart homes, and smart gadgets, smart everything, right? So since everything is ‘smart,’ and seemingly connected, why not use one or two devices, sync them together and use them for several tasks? I mean, it would make so much sense and reduce the number of devices an individual buys. But then again, all things considered, based on the fact that humans need to specialize in maximizing their proficiency, the same can be said for gadgets.


Still don’t get the drift? Ok, let’s simplify it further. Smartphones come with inbuilt GPS receiver. The GPS is an added feature to the AGPS capability and works through accessing any 3 of the 24 satellites orbiting around Earth. However, smartphones also function to receive and send messages and phone calls. Thus the GPS is not given top priority and usually drags. As a result, using the phone’s GPS ends up being more of a task than a cool, helpful feature. So, as a solution to this issue, the external Bluetooth GPS fits in like a glove. Built only to function as a Bluetooth GPS, these units are lightweight and pretty compact. They can be pocketed or just held in hand.

The external Bluetooth GPS unit houses a built-in rechargeable battery, a couple of LED indicators and a Bluetooth radio. There is no display.  The external Bluetooth GPS is fairly priced and retails for a maximum of $100. When purchasing it, there are other accessories including a car charger and home charger. It can last up to 10 hours while in use with the ability to go to ‘sleep’ when not actively connected to another Bluetooth device. Thereby conserving power.

The next question right about now is how to use the external Bluetooth GPS? Simple, there is no display meaning you cannot possibly see anything on it, so to use, it must be connected to a computer, smartphone or tablet. To activate it, you can go to your Android smart device and switch the GPS unit. A simple search for nearby devices and pair it up. Just like that, you have a fully functional super-powered component. The external Bluetooth GPS functions to send and receive GPS signals and your phone or tablet work to show you the transmissions on display. Teamwork made easy by smart gadgets. However, you might be disappointed to note that the external Bluetooth GPS is not exactly still readily available on the market. Why? Just like every other invention, evolution.

Presently, it is possible to obtain Bluetooth GPS in the form of an application (App). The Bluetooth GPS App can be found and purchased on the Play store. Using the App, you can connect to the external Bluetooth GPS unit. The App is regularly updated, so there is no need to worry about it stopping working at some point. With each new Android version, the Bluetooth GPS App also gets updated to cater for the upgrades. The App also shares current user location, enabling the GPS system to triangulate and find exact coordinates between 2 points. On Play Store, the App has already been installed close to a 1, 000, 000 times. That’s how popular it is.

Bluetooth GPS

So what is Bluetooth GPS and what makes it so valuable? With Bluetooth GPS, it’s like you are using two distinctly different robust systems within each other to get the best results. Bluetooth technology facilitates gadgets to exchange data through an open wireless protocol. It works using radio waves. The closer the gadgets are to each other, the stronger their Bluetooth connection. Therefore, with a Bluetooth GPS system, geographical data can easily be transmitted to any Bluetooth-enabled device.

There is no need to worry because the union between these two technologies does not interfere with each other. All you have to do is place your devices next to each other, and you will get clear GPS signals without any problems.

According to users, the Bluetooth GPS is an ingenious invention. For Android users, it is a life saver, one that allows people to use affordable smartphones that have GPS for navigating directions. If one has the old external Bluetooth GPS, it can still be paired up with the latest software and still function as good as the expensive smartphones. Whichever generation you are from, you can always find room in the world of Bluetooth GPS. A bonus is that the external Bluetooth GPS is portable, cell phones and tablets are also mobile. There is no need to be stuck indoors. Better still, the era of penning down directions is long gone. If the smart phone’s internal GPS starts acting up, no problem, just get the external Bluetooth GPS fired up, connect and you are ready to go.