Do you drive trucks for a living? Do you spend a lot of time traveling through remote areas? Maybe you want to use a top GPS navigation system to map or survey a specific location. In such cases, a smartphone or tablet won’t do; you need a standalone device. The best GPS navigation systems haven’t declined in popularity even though there’s been a rise in mobile and internet navigation apps like Google Maps.
Some GPS receivers are so accurate they can identify their position within one centimeter or 0.4 inches. This is far better than any smartphone or tablet. Today you’ll learn about GPS navigation systems and how they differ from the GPS you use in your mobile phone.
Table of Contents
- What is a GPS Navigation System?
- How do GPS Navigation Systems Work
- Advantages of GPS Navigation System
What is a GPS Navigation System?
GPS navigation systems consist of a receiver and audio/video (AV) components. Although the rise of free navigation apps integrated through smartphones has led to a decline in the use of dedicated GPS navigation systems, there’s still a huge market for their devices. Besides, not everyone wants to use their phone for navigation. Many industries rely on GPS services daily, so they need dedicated devices to help them do their jobs. A good example is fleet management.
Fleet manager with a digital tablet
How do GPS Navigation Systems Work
The system works through a trilateration process, calculating location, velocity, and elevation. Satellites orbiting the earth send signals to read and get an interpretation by a portable GPS device located on or near the earth’s surface. Trilateration is often mistaken for triangulation, which measures angles instead of distances.
In vehicles, the GPS receiver draws up the car’s location as it’s moving on a digital map. This map gives a clear direction to where you’re going. Both the location and the vehicle routes plotted use satellite data.
Driving on a highway with a GPS receiver
Unlike your smartphone, standalone GPS navigation systems don’t eat into your data plans. You can store the maps in the device, accessing them as and when needed. Moreover, it’s excellent for remote or rural areas, where a smartphone GPS would become useless without cell service. Unless, of course, you downloaded and saved the maps offline.
Most people, especially those who travel frequently, will agree that a dedicated device containing geographic information is far more practical than using your phone.
Advantages of GPS Navigation System
Longer Battery Life
The best GPS navigation systems have long battery life, at least compared to your smartphone. GPS devices used in cars typically last a few years without needing a replacement. On the other hand, portable GPS navigation systems last 6-12 months without active tracking.
A man holding his smartphone phone with a low battery
More Accurate Data
Generally speaking, the GPS features in your smartphone are pretty decent. They’ll help you find directions to most places, like nearby malls, restaurants, and roads.
More Reliable Performance
With a portable GPS, you’ll never have to worry about rude surprises while plotting a route in a place with poor or non-existent cell service. You can also access maps stored in the navigation system at any time, which is very handy when you’re in a location with no service.
A man holding a GPS receiver
Better User Interface
Portable GPS devices have bigger screens than smartphones. Many models also offer backup cameras, hands-free calling, live-traffic updates, and turn-by-turn directions, and you can interact with AI assistants.
Besides, having a standalone GPS car or handheld navigator is more convenient, leaving your phone or tablet free for other uses as needed. Furthermore, you can call, text, and browse the web without having to exit the navigation app on the device. No more expensive data use or rapidly drained batteries. Not when you’ve got a receiver that’s got more accurate tracking and plotting abilities.
What Is the Difference Between GPS and GNSS
GPS refers to the U.S. government-owned and operated satellite navigation system. GPS comprises other navigational systems like Russia’s GLONASS, China’s BeiDou, and European Galileo. GNSS is an international, multi-constellational satellite system.
Why Do People Use GPS Trackers When They Have Smartphones?
Many people prefer standalone GPS devices because they offer more features such as AI assistants, offline map services, bigger screens, and more flexible user interfaces. Others would rather have their phones free to make calls and use the internet, not draining battery life and data on navigation systems.
What Is the Future of GPS?
As more countries continue to develop their versions of GPS, the applications in the future will grow. From natural disaster management and prevention to healthcare and mining.
Who Makes the Best GPS Navigation Systems
The portable GPS sector has many brands. Users choose what works best for them, as with other things in the tech world. Garmin is one of the most recognized brands for making accurate and durable portable and vehicle GPS navigation systems.
You’ll want the best GPS money you can buy for accuracy, reliability, and convenience. Standalone GPS devices do everything your smartphone navigation apps do, plus a few extra features to make your journey smoother. They’re using a Garmin or Tom Tom receiver; you know you can count on it to get you where you need to go as quickly and safely as possible.