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GPS for Cars

New portable GPS receivers (Sat Nav GPS) designed for roadway navigation tell you where you are and help you find your destination. They do so by generating turn-by-turn directions from a preloaded map database and current location tracked by satellite. As all new top GPS systems perform the same function, the only real difference between them is the features they offer. Almost all Sat Navs will give you verbal commands to turn at the next corner. The newer generation auto GPS systems will include the street name in the command. Some models offer the option to select a celebrity voice for your receiver.

Types of Auto GPS Systems

In-dash or Fixed Mount Auto GPS Receivers are factory installed by the automaker or may be installed after market. These Sat Navs are not removable or portable. Many of their components are integrated with the automobile itself. For example the GPS power is supplied by the car battery.

A Portable GPS Receiver is easily moved from one vehicle to another or removed to prevent theft. These units have quick release mounts, integrated antennas and an internal battery power supply for short term out-of-vehicle use. Some auto GPS systems are suitable for motorcycle GPS applications.

Except for the obvious mobility feature; the basic GPS options are available with both auto GPS system types with few exceptions.

The more common auto GPS system brands include (alphabetically):
Bushnell, Garmin, Insigniaź, Lowrance, Magellan, TomTom

A Word About Motorcycle GPS Units

Navigation functions for Motorcycle GPS Units are the same as for GPS for cars. The difference lies in the physical properties of the device itself. Motorcycle Sat Navs must work under adverse conditions and must cater to the driver’s unique situation.

Things to consider when selecting a Motorcycle Sat Nav GPS:
  • Glove-friendly touchscreen
  • left-handed controls makes it easy to operate
  • High brightness, sunlight-readable, UV-resistant display
  • Motorcycle mount compatible with your motorcycle
  • Dual function motorcycle and automotive mount for riding or driving
  • In helmet voice commands
  • Sturdy, waterproof, fuel-resistant and able to withstand the elements

GPS price for motorcycle Sat Navs are generally higher than an auto GPS system do to the additional physical requirements.

Top GPS Features

In cheap GPS systems the features differentiating one model from another may be as simple as screen color and size. As GPS price increase in more sophisticated models the difference may be in the internet services provided or up to the minute traffic updates. If planning to use your new portable GPS receiver outside the country were you purchase it; be sure the manufacturer offers the appropriate maps.

With today’s technology advancing at breakneck speeds we will not try to keep up with the latest features on the new auto GPS systems. But the following is a list of some of the features available today. It might give you an idea of how versatile today’s new top GPS units really are.

In all cases safety should be a concern. Your new portable GPS receiver should have a large viewing screen that does not interfere with your view of the road. If you plan to use your new auto GPS system a lot (e.g. traffic updates on a daily commute); a hands free voice activated setup should be considered. 

Check out the great features you'll find on today’s New Top GPS receivers:

3D navigation
3D view is not especially useful for highway navigation, but it is useful for providing an overview of the area, and for judging the size of hills and mountains you may drive through.

Advanced Lane Guidance
Alerts you to complex exits and intersections, and shows you which lane to be in.

Automatic rerouting
A function of GPS road navigation software that calculates the best route following a missed turn or maneuver.

Bluetooth technology
Cell phones and portable GPS receivers are linked via Bluetooth technology for hands-free calling.
POI dialing allows you to call your destination, such as hotels and restaurants.

Color touch-screen display
A monitor screen that can detect and respond to something, such as a finger or stylus, pressing on it.

Complete maps of the US and Canada
Self explanatory.

Enhanced Positioning Technology
(EPT) uses inertial sensors to feed position data to the GPS display when you cannot receive a satellite signal, such as when you are in a tunnel or among tall buildings.

IQ Routes™ technology
IQ Routes, which calculates routes based on real average speeds measured on roads, rather than posted speed limits.

Lane assist with junction view
Alerts you to complex exits and intersections, and provides graphic details showing you which lane to be in.

MicroSD media card slot
Additional memory and/or new maps can be used for road GPS navigation.

Multi-destination routing
Allows the driver to plan a series of destinations.

Points of Interest (POI)
These are locations, typically business storefronts, found preloaded in auto GPS devices. A POI could be a gas station, a hotel, a restaurant, a shopping mall, or a historical location.

Preloaded base maps 
All GPS navigation devices come with preloaded maps. Select the map you want when you purchase the device. (i.e. USA, Canada)

"QuickSpell with SmartCity Search" will help you narrow your search as you type in the letters of the street name.

Real-time traffic updates
Depending on where you live and the GPS navigator you own, traffic information can be available in three formats:
  1. Receive traffic alerts via FM radio broadcasts in the United States and Europe.
  2. Receive traffic reports and other dynamic content via an FM signal from MSN Direct in the United States.
  3. Receive XM NavTraffic™ information along with weather and radio via satellite broadcasts in the United States and Canada.

Spoken directions including street names
Speak the destination address rather than using the touchscreen keyboard.

Text-to-speech is a term describing the capability of converting digitized word text into machine-synthesized audible speech. This is a useful feature in GPS devices, because it provides precise audible directions. For example, a GPS unit without text-to-speech would announce an upcoming turn with the phrase "Turn right, 100 yards." A text-to-speech equipped GPS unit would announce the same direction as "Turn right, 100 yards onto West Elm Street."

Voice prompts,
Voice prompts are the most common form of cues on auto GPS systems. A voice prompt will typically give information such as the distance you need to cover and the direction you need to go in. For example a voice prompt might say “In 500 feet, turn right” and then at the turn say “Turn right”.

Voice address input
Speak the destination address rather than using the touchscreen keyboard.

Wide Area Augmentation System is a system of satellites and ground stations that provide GPS signal corrections, giving you even better position accuracy.

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