In addition to providing you with longitude and latitude readings, some GPS devices come preloaded with maps of specific areas. For example, the Garmin GPS Oregon 400t---the price starts around $600---comes preloaded with topographic maps that allow you to chart a course using street names and trail numbers. If you get lost in the backcountry, this device helps you reach the next major highway, street or city by the shortest route. Advanced models allow you to upload your own maps, which make these GPS receivers versatile tools when traveling to other states or foreign countries.
Specially designed GPS components transform basic signal units into SOS beacons or home-base contact systems. An example is the SPOT Satellite Messenger---its starting retail price is $150---that provides backcountry hikers and cross-country backpackers with the option of signaling distress, signaling that all is well or merely transmitting a current location for loved ones back home who are keeping track of your trip progress. This eliminates dependence on cell phone coverage and signal strength.
Compatible with Peripherals
GPS technology offers the added benefit of making itself available to external devices. For example, the Suunto GPS Pod, which retails for about $160, targets athletes, who wish to rely on global positioning technology to provide live, streaming distance data to a receiver. This information allows coaches and other support people to analyze speed, consistency, distance traveled and potential terrain difficulties. The device is so small that you can carry it with you, attach it to your bike or clip it to any other moving apparatus.
Another example of a versatile peripheral is the Garmin GPS Forerunner 50---it retails starting at $200---that tracks your heart rate during any athletic endeavor. This may make it a crucial component in athletic training, health recovery or fitness and endurance training.
GPS Business Application
You find other benefits of GPS systems in commercial fleet operations. Companies that operate delivery fleets or run service trucks depend on GPS technology to track individual vehicles, notify customers of anticipated arrival times, and log departure times for billing purposes. This eliminates time-consuming log preparation by drivers.