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GPS Applications for the Common Man

So, what the heck is GPS? What do you use it for or what can you use it for? Is it useful for you? Is it expensive? Questions, questions, questions, hmmmm.Well, think of GPS as an electronic gadget just like your radio. Once you knew how to use your radio, you never had to know how the radio works. The same can be said about GPS receivers – almost. Almost so because radios are cheap, but not GPS receivers. You can buy radios for ten bucks, whereas GPS receivers can cost you several thousand dollars. Expensive items always attract the ‘smart’ marketers. When you are buying GPS it can be useful to know some basics of how GPS works, just enough to get a good deal at the store.For starters let us try to understand what can you use a GPS receiver for. Similar to your radio that can play audio from radio stations, there are several fundamental capabilities of a GPS receiver. Depending on the application, a set of GPS receiver capabilities are used. The GPS receiver is capable of calculating the following:(1) GPS user’s location in terms of X, Y, Z co-ordinates(2) Present time and date(3) GPS user’s velocity, acceleration,..That’s pretty much it. Examples:Car navigation: A GPS receiver used for car navigation would employ capability (1) of a GPS receiver. A map database stored in digital format used in conjunction with capability 1 provides the requisite navigational capabilities.Trucking management: If you are running a business where you deliver the goods using ground transportation such as trucks – lots of them. How you do you plan the route for all the trucks such that, you minimize fuel cost, minimize the time spent for offloading the goods that you are delivering and also reduce travel time. Well now, if you had a GPS receiver in each of the trucks, you would be able to record the delivery location and time for offloading. The next time, when you want to deliver a similar item, you know which truck to load it on based on past experience.Depending on the application, GPS receivers in the market sell in a very broad price range. You can buy one for less than hundred dollars and one with all the bells and whistles for more than a grand. The right thing for you to do is to compare a comprehensive list of GPS receivers in the market and check against your application and budget. Websites like http://www.gadgetknowledge.com/gps1.html can get you started in the GPS arena. What you want to look for is a listing of GPS receivers in the market, a basic understanding of the various features/capabilities that you can expect out of your GPS receiver, a list of accessories that may be useful for your application and a tutorial introduction to what GPS is all about so that you make good use of your GPS receiver.

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