What's in a GPS? A List of Everything a Vehicle's GPS System Should Have for Those in Auto Careers
In the old days, drivers really had to know where they were going before they got in their cars. The absence of smartphones meant having routes pre-planned, and asking for directions when something went wrong. Today, drivers have forgotten all about the trouble that getting to a destination used to entail—all thanks to the wide availability of GPS technology. Just about every car that’s on the market in this day and age is equipped with a built-in GPS. Drivers of older cars can also benefit from the technology, with portable systems widely available for purchase that can be fastened to any dashboard.
So what exactly is GPS, how does it work, and what kinds of features should drivers look for when choosing a system? Let’s take a closer look!
If You’re in Automotive School, Here’s What You Need to Know About GPS
GPS stands for Global Positioning System, with the baseline satellite constellation made up of around 30 satellites sprinkled around Earth’s orbit, along with control segments on land. These satellites and control segments work to send radio signals to GPS devices, or receivers, which are then able to determine exactly where the device is located on the planet. Formerly reserved for military personnel and scientists, this technology is now widely available, and it’s typically extremely accurate at gathering location data from a number of areas. As those in auto careers may know, the precision of these devices makes them a great tool for drivers to use when getting from one place to another, providing step-by-step directions to prevent them from getting lost.
Every GPS Should Have These Fundamental Features
With the expansion of GPS technology, there are many different kinds of systems available, which drivers can outfit their vehicles with. Auto manufacturers are always looking to implement smart features and updates into the GPS technology utilized in new models. It can be hard to keep up with all the different styles of devices these days, but knowing about a few must-have features can help drivers to narrow down their choices when deciding on a GPS. These features begin with:
- Route Data: If a car’s GPS device should have anything, it’s accurate information about the route chosen so drivers can get to their destination as efficiently and safely as possible. When using a GPS, drivers should be able to access real-time updates on traffic, tolls, and any other potential obstacles encountered on the route. Additionally, a GPS should allow for drivers to choose a detour, or alternate route, if they don’t like the directions the system has chosen.
- Spoken Direction Commands: This feature is especially important for a driver’s safety. Ensuring that the GPS device chosen is equipped with spoken commands for giving directions is important in helping drivers to stay focused on the road while navigating. A GPS device should be able to verbally name the streets that drivers should be turning onto, preventing drivers from the need to look to the screen for confirmation.
These Additional Features Complete the GPS Package
Each GPS device will vary in its level of detail and display capability. Some device aspects the buyer will want to take a closer look at include:
- Screen Size: GPS screens can range from around 6 cm to 18 cm, measured diagonally across the screen. Drivers should choose a screen that they’re able to see easily, without straining their eyes or getting distracted. At the same time, the screen shouldn’t be so big that it in any way impedes the view of the road. With this in mind, those in automotive school might find it safest to recommend a mid-sized GPS device screen to drivers.
- 3D Map Display: While it might seem excessive, this is a great feature for drivers when they’re navigating an area they’ve never been to before. 3D display of the surrounding area via the screen aids drivers in spotting landmarks that they may see as they drive past, helping to familiarize themselves with the landscape.
These are just some of the essential features that drivers should look for when choosing a GPS. With the advanced technology available today, most modern GPS devices can be considered reliable with regards to helping a driver reach their destination as safely and efficiently as possible.
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