Pros & Cons of GPS Systems

Pros & Cons of GPS SystemsGPS units are handy navigation tools for outdoor enthusiasts. While they're a useful addition to any gear pack, they also have some drawbacks. Understand the pros and cons of hiking GPS devices, and tailor your purchase and use of them accordingly.

Pro: Location

GPS units provide you with a simple way of getting to your location. Establishing your coordinates with a GPS is simpler than trying to determine where you are with a map.

Pro: Navigation

GPS devices make navigation easier and provide a bearing and distance to a preset location. When using GPS-based maps, you can also see and navigate according to terrain features.

Pro: Functions

In addition to GPS navigation, many units include such functions as barometric altimeters, an electronic compass, and time and date, allowing you to roll several devices into one.

Pro: Other Features

GPS can hold a variety of map data and routes, so that you have instant access to a lot of information. Some units include digital cameras and weather radios.

Con: System Issues

Since GPS devices rely on satellites, they are not perfectly suited to outdoor use. Interference from dense foliage, caves and deep slot canyons can cut communication off when you need it most.

Con: Reliability

Like any electronic device, GPS units are subject to failure from dead batteries. While you can limit the chances of this happening by carrying spare batteries, it is a concern.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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