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Auto Navigation Systems

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Auto Navigation Systems Offer Unparalleled Assistance

In this day and age of personal assistants, personal shoppers, personal chefs,
and all too personal personals it only makes sense that now we have what is
jokingly (in many cases) referred to as a personal navigator. Many newer cars,
particularly luxury models, are beginning to offer auto navigation systems to
drivers as incentives to purchase or as part of luxury packages and upgrades.
The idea of that little extra security and luxury is quite appealing to many
drivers, especially those of us who could get lost in the mall parking lot if
exits weren't clearly marked.

The truth of the matter is that even if you elect not to pay the premium
upgrade costs that car makers are adding to the price tag for the luxury of
those devices it is quite possible to have the protection and peace of mind
that auto navigation systems afford drivers on even the most meager of driving
budgets. Facts are facts and getting lost costs time and money while stopping
to ask for directions is a risk in and of itself. If you spend a lot of time on
the road you really can't afford not to have some sort of navigational device to
assist you in getting safely and securely to your next destination.

If the fact that you can purchase these devices rather inexpensively isn't
enticing enough for you, I should add that most are quite simple to install
yourself. Many of them require nothing more than the ability to stick a suction
cup to your windshield and plug an adapter into a cigarette lighter. I did
mention that installation was simple didn't I? For those who would rather have
a more elegant look in their automobiles you are perfectly free to pay a lot
more for an in dash system and installation by professionals. You can
occasionally get a good deal on installation if you purchase an auto navigation
system from certain retailers.

You should keep in mind however, that in dash systems tend to cost a great deal
more than those you install yourself and you can't take them with you when you
sell or trade the car. For these kinds of systems you need to consider the
value to you verses the value improvement to your vehicle. Will the in dash
system raise the value of your car when you are ready to trade in your car or
will it make no real difference in the value of you car? If the answer to that
is no, then it may be a poor decision from a financial point of view. However,
if having a system that isn't part of the dash will lower your perceived value
of your automobile then it is a worthy investment. Ultimately, you are the only
one that can determine whether this is worth the price and the investment.

If you decide not to go with an in dash auto navigation system you might be
delighted to know that there are a world of options available to you. Not only
do you have the stand-alone navigation systems that are already loaded with all
the data and information necessary to operate but you may also choose software
and hardware that can be added to your PDA or laptop as well as handheld
navigational units that can be upgraded to operate as mapping units in addition
to basic GPS units.

When all is said and done you must decide which type of auto navigation system
you want for your car and your lifestyle. Decide what your actual navigation
assistance needs are and choose the device and assistance that is best for your
family. If you've ever been hopelessly and utterly lost I believe you will agree
that there really is no price too great to pay in order to never experience that
feeling again. I know I am perfectly willing to pay top price for my personal
navigation assistant, though I will continue to search for the best possible
bargain for my navigational dollar.

Save Money by Buying the Right Auto Navigation System for Your Needs

With so many GPS (global positioning satellite) devices and auto navigation
systems on the market today how on earth is someone supposed to choose the
system that will be best for you? The answer to that question isn't as
difficult as you might think. It all lies in deciding what you will be using
your GPS device to accomplish. You need to know where you will be using your
device in order to use it properly. By this I mean will you be using your GPS
system for driving, biking, hiking, boating, or 'off-roading'?

Occasionally you will find that your goals and desires of your auto navigation
system or GPS will require use in more than one of these instances, the good
news is there's a device for that too! Seriously, there is a device that is
suitable for almost every possible need and use. If you plan to use your auto
navigation system exclusively for driving your automobile, you should probably
choose a system such as one of the following: Magellan RoadMate 2200T Portable
Navigation System, Garmin StreetPilot c530 Automotive GPS, Tom Tom One, Tom Tom
GO 910 Automotive GPS System, or Navman iCN 750 Vehicle Navigation with Camera.
These systems each offer something unique to consumers while also delivering
some of the same popular features that consumer's love. Some of those features
include turn-by-turn directions, landmark identification, important stops and
destinations along your route, and popular restaurants along the way.

If you want something that is a little more versatile than your typical
stand-alone navigation system or GPS then you might want to check out the many
options afforded by the handheld GPS systems on the market today. Many of these
will require an upgrade of some sort in order to be useful for turn-by-turn
destination information but are excellent for those taking the fun off the
beaten path and off road. For those who love adventure in the great outdoors
the following handheld GPS systems offer an excellent choice for keeping you on
track and in the know: Garmin eTrex Vista Cx Color Handheld GPS Unit, Magellan
eXplorist 600, and Lowrance iFinder Hunt Color.

For those who currently own a laptop or PDA software and hardware add ons can
turn your device into a GPS system. These offer a more affordable option to the
stand-alone navigation system and are an attractive incentive to many potential
consumers. You will also find the widest variety of features within this
particular category. Most of these devices offer the hardware as well as the
necessary mapping software as part of the package. This allows them to have
relative portability while also offering the full features of the stand-alone
navigation systems. Some of the laptop or Palm systems that you may wish to
consider are the following: Garmin CF Que 1620 Compact Flash GPS, Tom Tom
Navigator 6 Bluetooth, DeLorme Earthmate Blue Logger, and the Garmin Mobile 20
Smartphone GPS System.

These are by no means all inclusive of the many wonderful and exciting products
that are available in today's market for those interested in purchasing an auto
navigation system. You should also keep in mind that new technologies emerge on
a daily basis. With that in mind, prices on existing technologies are steadily
decreasing, as prices on new items are often still quite high. It is very
possible to get a great deal by shopping last year's top of the line navigation
toy and skipping the high-end navigation gadgets of the current year.

Another way to save money on navigational aids and devices is not to shop among
the top of the line devices. Instead of shopping for those that are priced
highest, elect devices within the middle of the price range. These devices
generally offer the same excellent quality as the more expensive devices
without the over inflated price tags. You should also remember not to pay extra
for features that you won't be using. Having an extra feature or two shouldn't
be a selling point if you won't be using those features.

How Do Auto Navigation Systems Work?

Have you ever given serious thought to the incredible benefits that having an
auto navigation system will bring to your life and your travels? The truth of
the matter is that the more sophisticated systems on the market today provide
much more than simple directions from point A to point B. Today's auto
navigation systems are your one stop travel shop when it comes to finding
points of interest, restaurants, fueling stops, and places to sleep along the
way.

If you've never given it much thought, perhaps learning a little more about how
an auto navigation system really works will give you something to think about
when you get around to considering the impact that a device such as this can
make in your life and the lives of your family members. The thing to remember
is that not all GPS or auto navigation systems are equal. There are different
manners of creation along with different manners of functionality and design.
However, they all work on very similar principles.

GPS systems use satellites that orbit the earth in order to send signals that
are received by the GPS device. The system has software that interprets the
signal and uses that data in order to form conclusions about the current
location based on the time it took to receive the signal from the satellite,
and the exact location of the satellite that sent the data. By combining that
information a conclusion can be drawn by the GPS or auto navigation system as
to the exact position of the GPS device. Three satellites are used in order to
determine the point of intersection and a fourth satellite insures the accuracy
of the data.

Auto navigation systems are more sophisticated and much more functional than
the original military GPS devices that were used. You can not only get
directions to guide you on your trip, to make up for detours, and get you back
on track after wrong turns, but you can also get information about local
destinations, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and a few other points of
interest along the way. Many auto navigation systems have upgrade packages that
allow you to purchase a subscription, which will provide you with up to the
minute information about traffic, weather, and construction along your route.
The subscription costs for these services may be a deterrent for the casual
driver but will prove invaluable to those who rely on correct directions and
being on time while traveling extensively through work.

Be sure that whenever you purchase a GPS or auto navigation system that the
system you purchase is not only full upgradeable but also easily upgraded. It
does no good to have a system that is capable of being upgraded if you can't
figure out how to upgrade it. Many of these systems can be upgraded by using a
something as simple as a CD or DVD in order to deliver the information and
upgrades. If you can't upgrade your system it will become obsolete in time as
new roads are constantly being made and old roads are often closed for
construction and upgrades. If you do not have the latest data on roads you are
essentially driving just as blindly as you would be without an auto navigation
system.

The Obvious Benefit of Auto Navigation Systems

If you've been in the market for a car, truck, or SUV recently, then I'm sure
you've seen the vast number of vehicles sporting shiny new auto navigation
systems as part of this or that package upgrade. These systems are delightfully
handy when you find yourself stuck in traffic that is moving slower than the
snail that just passed by or that roads are closing due to nasty weather or
traffic pile ups. The truth of the matter is that they can come in equally
handy when faced with every day driving if you allow them to be.

Many people unfortunately purchase these systems because they seem like a good
idea at the time and then never really get their money's worth. Very few
investments in technology are worthy if you aren't going to at least get your
money's worth. Auto navigation systems are great when you find yourself lost in
the woods so to speak, but they can help you find alternate routes when traffic
is busy on your traditional drive to the grocery store. They can help you avoid
roads that have been closed for maintenance, or even find a quick way around
work that is being performed along your route. These devices can also help you
find shorter routes to events and such than you may have been aware existed
before and they aren't commanding nearly the price they brought in a mere two
years ago. In other words, this convenience is becoming much more affordable.

One thing you must keep in mind when considering a new car or a new auto
navigation system for an existing car is how much you think you will actually
use your system. Even if you save it for emergency use alone, it is quite
possible that in an emergency this nifty device will be worth ten times what
you originally paid for it because it could save jobs, time, or even lives
(particularly if you are lost and searching for a hospital). For me, it is hard
to put a price tag on the comfort that owning a device such as this would bring
but it is definitely worth the $500-$1,000 that is currently being charged.
Keep in mind that when these systems first hit the market $1,000 was on the
ultra low end.

If you never use this system and only get it because it looks cool, then you
definitely are not getting your money's worth. Technology is only good when
it's useful to someone. Sitting there unused it is assisting no one and is
essentially a waste of money. On the other end of the spectrum however, you
have people like me. By 'like me' I mean those of us who could get helplessly
lost and flustered finding our way out of the driveway on dark and moonless
nights. I use my auto navigation system like an extra pair of eyes. My system
is not the top of the line system that advertises an uncanny ability to help
you parallel park your car, but it is nice enough to help me figure out where I
am and how to get where I'm going from there. For me, that is exactly enough to
be worth every penny.

Beyond that, my navigation system doesn't require tricky folds or my pulling
off onto the shoulder in order to read. It talks to me (without losing it's
temper) and tells me where to go, I love that about my system. I don't know
about the rest of you, but map reading is not something I've ever been gifted
at. That fact may have a little to do with the fact that it was not something I
was ever terribly interested in. Couple that with my poor attention to landmarks
and I was a driving disaster. Literally, I got lost at least once, if not twice
a week before making the move into the modern world of navigation. I have
absolutely no regrets and while I can't promise that you will love your auto
navigation system as much as I love mine (all systems are not created equal), I
can pretty much bet that your driving, particularly on long road trips, will go
much more smoothly than without one.

Auto Navigation Systems have Many Talents

Today's auto navigation systems aren't just for the car, truck, or SUV. More
and more manufacturers are discovering that offering drivers the option of
taking their navigation systems off road is an incredible boon to sales. With
this realization they are delivering on many levels previously unheard of.
There are even GPS and navigation systems that are designed in order to assist
in finding a great catch. Perfect for the fisherman in your life.

Seriously if you're looking for creative ways in which to justify the
expenditure of an auto navigation system, perhaps the following activities and
ideas can help:

1) Biking. Biking isn't limited to sidewalks and roadsides any more. People are
becoming much more adventurous and demanding of their bicycle travel today and
taking the tour off road. This means that there isn't always a clearly defined
path to guide you to your destination or even to find your way back to
civilization. A good GPS or auto navigation system can help you find your way
back home no matter how far you've strayed.

2) Geo Cashing. This is a relatively new pass time activity that seems to be
taking on a life of its own. For those who enjoy this activity I am sure you
are well aware that it occasionally takes you well away from the ordinary
beaten path. Not all of us are as observant as we should be while looking for
something and discover all too late that we have no real clue as to how to get
back to the point we began. You will use your GPS system for the purpose of geo
caching, but if you purchase a minor upgrade you can also use it to guide you
back to your point of origin should you find yourself lost in the woods.

3) Hunting. There is no rule anywhere that even remotely indicates a necessity
for navigational skills in order to make an excellent hunter. In fact, I've
known more than a few hunters who have a difficult time finding their way home
some days. For these fellows and femmes, there is hope and a way to save face.
Navigational assistance is a great way to discover where you are, where you've
been, and get your where you want to go.

4) Boating. If you've ever been in the open sea I'm sure you'll understand what
I am saying when I say it is very easy to become disoriented as to where you are
headed. Now, those who are seasoned at navigation will tell you it's a piece of
cake. I'm here to tell you that they must have learned it at their daddy's knee
because I certainly tried to learn as an adult and it still seems completely
Greek to me (of course, perhaps it is, I've heard that the Greeks are
phenomenal sailors). Regardless, GPS and auto navigation systems can make your
journey by sea a much safer experience while helping insure that you reach your
destination, preferably without incident with any sandbars in the region.

By car, land, bike, and sea auto navigation systems have a great deal to offer
the savvy consumer. Take the time to study the many options for GPS equipment
and find the one that will suit the inner explorer in you. You will find it is
well worth the investment if you use it often and use it well.

Four Great Reasons to Buy an Auto Navigation System

If you are one of the many people around the United States of America and the
world that has debated whether or not to purchase an auto navigation system for
your vehicle perhaps this article can help you understand the major benefits of
owning such a system. There are many benefits but there are four that seem to
take precedence over all others. I believe you will find many of the four
reasons quite compelling and may even change your mind about the need you and
your family may have for a device such as this.

1) Safety. We live in a day and age where we can no longer rely on the kindness
of strangers when it comes to stopping and asking for directions. Admitting you
are lost to a stranger is sometimes more dangerous than actually being lost.
Even in the modern day of cell phones there are areas in which even those can't
be reliable and they aren't really much help if you have no idea where you are
in order to get directions to begin with. Safety is an even greater issue if
you are a female traveling either alone or with small children. You do not want
to make yourself a target whenever you can avoid it. Having an auto navigation
system can definitely salvage your trip despite wrong turns, detours, or bad
directions to begin with.

2) Security. This goes along with safety to some degree but takes it one step
further. Not only do you have and added degree of security from harm or the ill
will of other men, you also have a layer of security when it comes to things
such as getting to work, court, important meetings, job interviews, dates, or
anniversaries on time. You will no longer have the worry of costly traffic
delays, particularly if you subscribe to upgrade services, which provide
minute-by-minute traffic analysis and areas to avoid. There is also the
security of a lower stress commute to your destination even when you aren't
certain of where you are going. Morning commutes are often filled with stress,
adding uncertainty to that stress is not the best way to start off your day.

3) No more maps! This one is a huge bonus to me when it comes to my driving
habits. I am not the most gifted reader of maps. In fact, I seemed to have
received no gifts when it comes to that particular talent. My auto navigation
system saves me the hassle of carting around multiple maps for long road trips
while also providing the security of knowing I will not have forgotten an
important one only to discover it is missing all too late.

4) Having the country at your fingertips. Literally! A good auto navigation
system is like having a map to the entire country on hand at all times.
Impromptu road trips are the word of the day and no longer require the
painstaking planning of days long past. You can even get door-to-door
directions to arrive safely and quickly at your destination.

Of course these are not the only reasons that buying an auto navigation system
is a great idea, but the certainly make the decision a little easier. As the
technology required for these systems evolves prices are dropping almost
weekly. Now is the perfect time to buy a great navigation system for your car,
truck, or SUV at a terrific price!

Why Install an Auto Navigation System?

Auto navigation systems are wonderful tools to have when you need them and face
it, we have all been utterly and completely lost at some point in time or
another during our driving histories. Of course, some of us get lost far more
often than others. I will be the first to admit that I'm one of those who are
continuously lost. More than I hate the feeling of being lost, I really hate
stopping to ask for directions, which nine times out of ten only result in my
becoming more lost than I was to begin with.

The truth of the matter is that in today's society, being lost is more than a
waste of time or a simple inconvenience; it is actually quite dangerous in many
places. I know when traveling it is very easy to take a wrong turn and end up in
the wrong part of town. Even for those with decent map reading and navigation
skills, simple detours can still lead you astray as maps don't usually come
with a 'this is the bad part of town' sort of disclaimer.

The fact that being lost can be a frightening situation is intensified in
situations when women are either driving alone or with their children. Not only
is there the uncertainty as to where you are or how you will get back on track,
but there is also fear of anything going wrong because you do not know the area
and there are no familiar landmarks. These situations and that sort of peace of
mind are the very reason that auto navigation devices are a great idea for
anyone who travels-period.

These devices aren't useful only to those who travel frequently but to anyone
who uses a car on a regular basis. We all find ourselves at some point in time
needing to take detours for road construction, traffic jams, chemical spills,
parades, and countless other details. The paths that are little out of the way
of our ordinary paths, often rob us of familiar landmarks and it is very easy
to become completely and utterly disoriented which could result in us going in
completely the opposite direction of where we intend to travel. If we have some
sort of mapping system onboard that can help us find our way, we will find that
we arrive much more quickly and with far less stress than trying to find our
way, read maps, or asking strangers for directions, which in and of itself is
taking a risk.

I know that there are a lot of people who find that personal navigation devices
are quite useful as well. I seriously recommend having an auto navigation device
installed in your vehicle for many reasons. First of all, you won't have to
worry about the battery failing at just the right moment. I know my cell phone
battery always seems to die when I actually need my cell phone. The same holds
true for flashlight batteries and weather band radio batteries too. It only
makes sense that this would be the case when it would come to navigation
devices as well. Having one installed in your vehicle means that as long as
your vehicle has power, so does your navigation device.

Another reason I recommend installation is this: how many times have you walked
out of your house without your cell phone, purse, keys, drivers license, or any
other document or piece of equipment you need? I do it all the time and often
find that I'm halfway to my destination before I remember that I left what I
needed. Finding yourself lost is the absolute worst time to realize that you
left your navigation assistance device at home and is generally the one time
you need it. Having it installed in the car means you never have to take it out
and as a result will never have forgotten to bring it with you. As you can see
there are many excellent reasons to have an auto navigation system installed in
your vehicle. I hope that you will find it provides you the same safety and
peace of mind it affords me.

Different Types of Auto Navigation Systems

It is true that auto navigation systems installed by automakers look completely
natural and integrated into the features of the vehicles we purchase. For that
reason alone, many people opt to pay several times over what the system would
have cost to have installed by someone other than the maker of the automobile.
It is truly amazing how much of an impact aesthetics makes when it comes to
purchasing your next dream car, or even your first dream car. The thing is,
that even if the system doesn't seem to flow with the look of your car, there
are very valid reasons for getting one in the first place and the safety and
security that they provide travelers is very well worth the sacrifice of a few
aesthetic features.

It isn't exactly necessary, however, to completely sacrifice aesthetics in
order to have the safety and security that auto navigation systems provide. As
a matter of fact, some of the most popular brands of these systems are actually
installed to the car by use of suction cups rather than cutting into the
dashboard or removing the ever so important stereo from your car, truck, or
SUV. Keeping price conscious consumers in mind, manufacturers are offering many
options well under the $500 benchmark while also affording consumers the luxury
(or lower price, however you decide to call it) of installing these devices
themselves.

It is important to remember that not all GPS (global positioning satellite)
devices are meant to assist in auto navigation and make your purchase according
to your specific needs. When shopping for one of these devices it would be
comparing apples to oranges to compare a tool that is widely used for
activities such as geo caching, hiking, biking, or boating. Each of these will
bring in different price tags while offering greatly varied features. You need
a device that is meant for mapping directions if you plan to use your device or
system for driving.

I try to keep pointing out the fact that not all GPS or auto navigation systems
are created equal this is very important to remember. You run the risk of
purchasing the wrong system without proper planning and thus having a bad
overall experience. Even among systems designed specifically for the automobile
that offer mapping and navigation assistance there are different types that will
appeal to different needs and uses. There are three types of auto navigation
systems. Those three types of systems include: Navigation systems that are
designed to stand alone, handheld systems that suit multiple purposes, and
systems that are designed to work with laptops, PCs, pocket PCs, and PDA
systems.

Each of the types of auto navigation systems and devices offers different
benefits and drawbacks. It is ultimately up to you to decide which will suit
your needs most. The stand-alone systems are often the most popular choice and
are excellent for those who need driving directions and nothing more. They
offer a steady power supply, turn by turn direction (in many cases), the
security of being there at all times (no worry about whether or not you
remembered to actually bring it along), and verbal directions along with
landmarks that should let you know you are on the right path. There is a reason
that these are the most popular.

For those who want to take their navigational tools off road on occasion other
devices might be much better suited to your needs. Handheld devices often
require additional software in order to work well with door-to-door types of
directions or regular driving directions, however, they offer portability for
those who wish to go biking, hiking, or kayaking and need the confidence that
directions and navigational tools can provide. For those who have laptops or
PDAs, the software that is available for these provide an excellent service
when it comes to navigation both on and off roads and the beaten path. The cost
is offset greatly if you already own your laptop or PDA and well worth a little
extra investment, particularly if you will use this particular tool on a
regular basis.

As I've said before, there is no perfect navigational solution for everyone,
but there are quite a few that are nearly perfect for all who will dare to use
them.

Auto Navigation Systems are Great Tools for Geocaching

Geocaching is an excellent way to maximize your use of a handheld auto
navigation system. There are so many wonderful activities and events you can
use your system for and geocaching is a way of combining many activities into
one use or event. In addition to being a great way to get out and see the world
this is a great way to work physical fitness into your fun regimen. The reason
is that there is generally some degree of work involved in finding your hidden
treasures.

So what exactly is geocaching? Glad you asked. This is a sport really, kind of
like a fox hunt without the dogs and foxes. Seriously, it is a merry chase in
search of a small token or treasure. The idea is that you take something, leave
something, and make a note about it in the log. You use your GPS or handheld
auto navigation system in order to find the treasure you are seeking. You find
the caches and stashes by getting the coordinates from the Internet. This is a
very popular pastime and you will find all kinds of spectacular prizes and
goodies in the cache stash as well as phenomenal flops when it comes to prizes
as well. All bets are off really, some stashers leave great goodies and others
leave pranks or silly items. It is completely up to you which treasures you
will leave behind (do keep in mind that this is often a family activity and
keep your tokens family friendly as people of all ages enjoy the sport).

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to geocaching and new games are
created all the time to keep the fun alive and the sport much more interesting.
Check the Internet for caches hidden in your area, you might be amazed at the
vast number of treasures and treasure hunters that live near by. I always have
a tendency to think of geocaching as my own form of treasure hunting. Not all
caches are created equal but the thrill of the hunt is really what it's all
about. There have been some incredibly zany and humorous caches in addition to
the wonderful stashes of actual cash. Enter into this with the idea of having a
lot of fun and you might be surprised at all the wonderful gifts and goodies you
find. Be sure however to always leave something behind if you take an item.

Don't be deceived by the fact that you are using GPS or other auto navigation
systems in order to find the stash, you may find yourself getting quite the
orienteering workout. Not only will you need to climb, hike, or bike on
occasion you may need specialized equipment such as scuba equipment or rock
climbing equipment in order to reach some caches. You may even begin your own
cache by finding a creative location in which to stash your trinkets and
treasures and loading the coordinates to your local geocaching website. If you
keep an eye on your stash you may find all manner of interesting goodies and
ideas coming through.

Even if you haven't really considered how exciting it would be to go on a real
treasure hunt since you were a child, isn't it about time you did? Geocaching
is the modern day treasure hunt with a twist-rather than "X" marking the spot,
you will find your way with beeps and blips.

Auto Navigation Systems Meet Tough Competition-Lower Prices Ensue

More and more automobile manufacturers are electing to offer auto navigation
systems as options and upgrades to their customers. Gone are the days when
these convenient systems were only offered to those buying ultra luxury
automobiles. Today you can find these systems as standard upgrades on many
vehicles that are in the middle of the price range. Even vehicles such as the
Ford Explorer are offering these systems to consumers as part of an upgrade
package that is fairly standard.

If you happen to be wondering why we are seeing these options more and more
often on fairly standard automobiles within reasonable price ranges it is
because the technology, which was once cutting edge is now more commonly made
and as a result falling victim to the old adage of supply and demand. More
companies are making auto navigation systems, which means they are pricing them
more competitively, this is a win-win situation for consumers who travel often
but found the luxury car price tag that once went along with the auto
navigation systems to be more than a little restrictive.

Consumers are also electing to have auto navigation systems installed in their
automobiles at the retail level. Some stores offer these systems and discounts
on their installation to savvy consumers. It's quite possible to get a much
better deal doing it this way for many and you manage not to pay the hefty
interest costs that are associated with financing automobiles. Having your own
system installed allows you a much greater degree of choice when it comes to
not only the price but also the bells and whistles that come along with your
navigation system.

While it is fairly safe to say that not every driver will need the top of the
line system, it is a good idea to get a fairly decent quality system that can
at least provide you up to date information about the route upon which you are
traveling. Most of us spend many of our days hurrying off from one point to
another and are well aware that every minute counts. A good quality auto
navigation system is one that will save you precious minutes during traffic
delays, detours, and when faced with unexpected road construction. You may also
be delighted to find that your navigation system can on occasion show you a much
quicker route to your destination than you may have anticipated.

While manufacturers are offering auto navigation systems to automobile
consumers as an upgrade and for an added cost, check the pros and cons before
deciding to go that route with installation. In this day and age of comparative
shopping, ad match programs, and high competition it is very possible to find a
much better deal outside the confines of your automobile dealership. You can
find many that offer deeply discounted or free installation of their products,
which will look as good as if it were factory installed if that is a concern
(and for many it is a major concern). You should learn all you can about the
particular model of auto navigation system a particular car maker uses and all
of the features that come along with it in addition to any monthly fees that
may be associated with the service.

Auto navigation systems that offer no subscription fees may have fewer bells
and whistles but may be completely adequate for your personal needs. Only you
can decide which will be best suited to your needs. Some find the peace of mind
that comes with knowing you have up to the minute and accurate (according to
some manufacturers) information about road conditions, closures, detours, and
routes is worth the monthly fee that is associated with owning the device and
receiving the service. Ultimately you alone must decide whether or not one of
these systems would be a wise investment and how much system you want for your
money. I personally find that the very peace of mind they provide when
traveling is well worth the price.

Auto Navigation Systems that use Laptops or PDAs

You may or may not be aware of the many options on today's market when it comes
to auto navigation systems. Take my word for it there are now more options than
ever before with new options appearing daily. Among the many options that are
available for those of you who are interested in obtaining equipment that will
assist you in finding your way on long and short trips there are options that
can be used along with your laptop or PDA devices. If you currently own and use
on a regular basis a laptop or PDA the software or other devices and receivers
that are required in order to utilize your laptop as a GPS device aren't nearly
as expensive as purchasing a stand alone auto navigation system.

In fact, as far as money savers go, this is a great way to save money on your
purchase and receive the same great benefits that some of the top of the line
auto navigation systems has to offer. You will find these types of devices that
are geared towards as many different budgets as the actual stand alone systems.
Some of the more popular of these tools include the following:

1) US Global Sat BU-353 USB port GPS Receiver. This nifty device costs less
than $100 and allows you to turn your laptop or pc into a GPS. This is a great
feature for finding directions and attaches to your laptop through the USB port.

2) DeLorme Earthmate LT-20 GPS. This is also a little less than $100 and gives
your laptop fully functional navigation features. This not only works with
laptops but also with Palm OS. You will experience rapid satellite acquisition
and you have the Street Atlas software to guide you towards your destination.
The software is included with the Earthmate. This software will even
recalculate your directions should you miss a turn along the way. For the
price, I highly recommend this if you have a PDA or laptop already.

3) DeLorme Earthmate Blue Logger Bluetooth Wireless GPS. This is another nifty
tool by DeLorme. This device will allow you to receive a real time image of
your location but requires an unobstructed view of the sky in order to
accurately record its current position. This device also works with Street
Atlas software in order to assist you in charting your course and giving proper
driving directions.

4) Tom Tom Navigator 6 Bluetooth. If you are looking for feature rich
navigation then this is certainly the tool for you. This is useful with laptops
and Palm systems. Not only will you find mapping technology that is quite
superior but you will also find useful things such as parking garages, fueling
stations, and restaurants along the way.

You will notice a great variety of prices and features with these devices. The
important thing to remember is that you want the same or better features for
less with this type of equipment since you are providing either the laptop or
the PDA. If you already have the laptop or PDA you should be able to save a
tremendous amount of money over the costs of purchasing a stand-alone auto
navigation system. If you aren't getting an incredible bargain you might want
to debate whether or not the system you opt for really is the best system for
you.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is the fact that your laptop
or PDA can become an important tool in keeping you on the right track when
traveling. You may be one of the lucky few who has never gotten lost while
traveling (or one of those who refuses to believe they are lost) however, if
you aren't then perhaps it is time to seriously invest in either software,
equipment, or devices that can help you find your way whenever you are lost.
Laptop and PDA equipment offer great alternatives for those who need
navigational assistance but need to remain within a strict budget.

5 Ways Auto Navigation Systems and GPS Technology Improve Lives

Global positioning technology is used in most of today's GPS and auto
navigation systems. The truth of the matter is that this technology while once
reserved for the wealthy is now trickling into mainstream America. We are
seeing this technology in cell phones in order to assist with 911 calls. We are
seeing this technology in automobiles in order to track and possibly retrieve
them if they are stolen. We are also seeing this technology used to help lost
animals find their way back to the homes of their families. The truth of the
matter is that there are many ways in which GPS technology is currently making
our lives easier.

Below you will find a great number of uses for GPS and auto navigation system
technology that currently exist. Even more amazing is the fact that new
discoveries for these technologies are being made every day and over time there
will be an even greater variety of methods to utilize this technology for the
benefit of society.

1) Keep track of teens and children by using services such as uLocate
Communications. This technology allows you to track members of your family by
their cell phones. With the click of a button on your cell phone or simply
tracking from home via the Internet you can find all members of your family
that are carrying their cell phones. The benefits of this feature to your peace
of mind alone are well worth the monthly subscription fee, which can be as low
of $4 a month depending on which service you choose.

2) Keeping track of the elderly. This is especially useful if you have a loved
one that suffers from Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. Technologies
are improving continuously and will hopefully reach a point very soon where ID
bracelets much like the medic alert bracelets will allow GPS tracking that is
even more reliable for the elderly. The relief of knowing that you can find
your loved one even if he or she has wondered off and forgotten how to get home
is something that you really can't put a price tag on.

3) Lost pets. I mentioned this earlier but it is worth repeating. The
technology exists to have your pets implanted with chips or even to have chips
placed in collars that allow you to readily locate your precious pet without
spending endless hours of searching and whistling. The real beauty of this is
that you won't have to spend hours comforting sad children; you can take them
to the computer and let them help you track Fido.

4) Finding shortcuts along your route to work, job interviews, important
meetings, conventions, and personal appointments. This is great if you are
running into a time crunch or worse need an alternate route as the result of a
traffic jam or road closure.

5) GPS technology allows security and safety in many cars that utilize On Star
technology as well. This technology cannot only track the location of your car
but also be used to call for help in emergency situations. This device is
activated by the push of a button and can even be used by small children in
emergency situations.

There are many great ways that GPS and auto navigation systems and technology
are being used each and every day to improve our lives and provide peace of
mind. The methods mentioned above are simply icing on the cake.




4 Great Reasons to Enjoy Geocaching with your Auto Navigation System

Geocaching is a great way to spend an afternoon, a day, or a weekend. This
activity seems to be taking the nation by storm and is responsible for the
rising popularity and availability of GPS and auto navigation systems on the
market today. Many people aren't simply purchasing minimal systems that guide
them to their coordinates with beeps and blips but investing in complete
systems that can provide much more useful tracking and mapping utilities.

Regardless of whether you are purchasing the bare minimum system when it comes
to geocaching or investing in a top of the line auto navigation system that has
all kinds of bells and whistles, I am fairly certain you will find that
geocaching is a great activity for many reasons. Everyone who participates in
this activity has something special that they enjoy and appreciate about it.
Below you will find some of the more popular reasons that people choose
geocaching as a fun way to use their GPS devices.

1) Being a kid again. You heard correctly, this is my personal favorite reason
to participate in geocaching. I remember going on treasure hunts as a child and
drawing out intricate maps and pretending for days, even weeks on end that I was
a pirate in search of some rare treasure. That treasure usually ended up being
holly berries or a rather large pinecone, but it was the thrill of the hunt
that was important.

2) Enjoying the great outdoors. You may argue that one can do that anytime and
wouldn't really need geocaching in order to do so. You would be correct,
however, geocaching can take you hiking, biking, swimming, and mountain
climbing in search of one little prize stash. Most of us wouldn't tackle all of
those things in the course of an afternoon. In other words it's a way to
experience the great outdoors only intensified.

3) Learning about others. When Geocaching you can find all kinds of neat and
nifty treasures. The idea is that if you take something you should leave
something behind and create a log. You learn about a lot of different people by
examining the treasures they've left behind and reading the logs. You will
experience many different people from many different cultures as this seems to
be a rather universal pastime in which all ages and cultures spend hours upon
hours participating.

4) Being a part of something bigger than us. I remember watching Treasure
Hunters on NBC last summer. They were all off in search of a specific treasure
but kept getting clues at different destinations along the way. Geocaching
might not have a million dollar payoff but there are little treasures along the
way and many people participate which makes the hunt thrilling and fun at the
same time. By participating you are one of many people who will tread the same
ground and seek the same treasure. It is a unifying experience in many ways and
can be excitingly competitive.

If you have never experienced geocaching, I hope you will at least consider
this fun and thrilling pass time as you check out possible auto navigation
systems and other GPS technology that might be good for you and your family.
Geocaching is one of many ways that auto navigation systems can bring more life
to your daily living.

The Privacy of Auto Navigation Systems

There is a great amount of concern about the privacy aspect of GPS and auto
navigation systems and devices. Many people are strict guardians of their
privacy as it has become so sacred and so easily invaded. I for one, certainly
understand that desire to maintain one's privacy and do not endorse on any
level using these types of devices in order to invade the privacy of total
strangers or bending the law and legal protections we have in place in order to
protect people from actions such as this.

On the other hand, it is great to know that if I make a 911 call from my GPS
enabled cell phone, I can be found even if I have no clue as to where I am
actually located. The same holds true for On Star. You can be located by the
GPS information that the company has access to. The really good news is that
you are not completely sacrificing your privacy or your right to that privacy
for the sake of security. There are very strict laws in place to protect your
privacy from invasive eyes, even during a legal preceding and there is also
case law and precedence to support the understanding that your GPS coordinates
cannot be given out even if there is credible evidence or reasonable suspicion.

Privacy is so important in America that it has been guaranteed to our citizens.
In this day and age of big brother and with the fear of the horrible things that
could happen being sensationalized in Hollywood, the idea of privacy isn't as
foreign of a concept as we thought it was.

The idea of privacy and invading privacy is another reason that many parents
are more than a little hesitant about utilizing the GPS tracking capabilities
of their children's cell phones. While we struggle with the notion of invading
the privacy of our children we also know without a doubt that we want to
protect our children from potential harm with every fiber of our beings. That
protection includes protecting them from themselves on occasion no matter how
distasteful that process may be.

Knowing where our children are at all times is one of many ways that we can
help protect them from the evils of the world while also being available at a
moments notice. The flip side of course is that our children can find us
whenever they need us also so we are essentially sacrificing some degree of our
privacy in order to be available to our children at all times and to know where
they are. Be sure to remind your teen or preteen of this whenever they grumble
that you are checking up on them.

The price to pay for these services is marginal when compared to the wonderful
benefits they offer families with children, teens, or even elderly who may need
to be monitored for whatever reason. Protecting our loved ones is one of the
many benefits of auto navigation systems and GPS technology that can't be
measured with a price tag or a certain weight in gold. Whether you decide to
make use of this technology for you and your family you should rest assured in
the knowledge that you aren't exposing your day-to-day travels to any passerby.
Your privacy is still safe from strangers, while your family may be a different
subject all together.

Popular Auto Navigation Systems

While technology is constantly evolving it is fairly safe to say that there are
some toys that are better suited to remain at the top of the heap than others.
The story really is no different when it comes to auto navigation systems.
These systems each have different bells and whistles and while there is no one
system that is perfect for everyone, there are a few systems that are
consistent best sellers.

It is important that you as a consumer know what is available in navigational
tools before leaping and buying the first thing you see. There are many neat
buttons and features that can really turn a girls (or guys for that matter)
head if she isn't sure of what she will actually need and use in her (or his)
travels. Knowing what you need, what you would like, and what you are fairly
certain you can live without will help you get the best possible bargain for
your auto navigation system dollar.

Best Selling Models

1) Tom Tom ONE Navigation System. This system is currently the smallest of the
portable auto navigation systems that technology is constantly changing so this
could be a short-lived accomplishment. Don't let the size fool you however. Tom
Tom may be small in size but it is big on features. The atlas is preloaded so
you do not need to add any software in order for it to be up and running.
Additionally you can subscribe to the plus features if you have a Bluetooth
enabled phone, these features will provide accurate and up to the minute
weather and traffic data while you travel. Tom Tom offers four different
routing options and different views of the map displayed onscreen. Tom Tom One
offers turn-by-turn directions and will quickly get you back on track if you
miss your turn. The Tom Tom commercials aren't a terrible exaggeration of the
great features this little device has to offer.

2) Garmin Nuvi 660 Automotive GPS. This auto navigation system is one of, if
not the most advanced on the market today. Again, technology evolves so quickly
that there is no guarantee this information won't be obsolete tomorrow. However,
for the time being this is the system that has all the bells and whistles that
should set your eyes aglow and get your fingers itching to 'play' with it for a
while. Of course, being the most advanced generally brings the largest price
tag. There really is no difference in this case and only you can decide if the
features available are really worthy of the additional fee. In addition the
typical navigation features Nuvi is Bluetooth enabled and has extra features
for those who wish to subscribe.

3) Magellan RoadMate 2200T Portable Navigation System. This system is another
that is wildly popular at the moment. Some of the popularity of this particular
system is the direct result of its versatility. This unit is small enough to be
used in settings other than the automobile. You will need to purchase an
upgrade in order to use it for driving directions but all indications point to
this unit being well worth the price, including that of the upgrade. This nifty
device also has other functions such as an MP3 player and photo viewer. And is
well suited for use away from the automobile for up to 8 hours. You can also
subscribe to a service that provides reliable traffic updates including
information about traffic snarls as well as road construction. You can also use
RoadMate to point out points of interest, restaurants, and fuel stops along your
route.

Each of the models mentioned above has some feature that sets it apart from the
others and some features that are very much like the others. You will find a
wide range of prices as well as features in all units that you choose to check
out. These are some of the best selling auto navigation systems on the market
at the moment and are a good place to start your search for your perfect system.

Auto Navigation Systems are Aids not Replacements for Attentive Driving

If you are in the market for an auto navigation system you are definitely not
alone. Some people are content to purchase a device, stick it in their windows,
and hope it works well whenever the need arises. For those, it is quite likely
that most stand-alone navigation units will work quite nicely. The thing to
remember is that not everyone is created equal when it comes to primary or even
secondary navigational skills. For that reason alone, not all auto navigation
units are created equally either.

Don't expect your auto navigation system to replace a 'co pilot' by any means
but it should definitely do in a pinch and be more than capable of helping you
get through a few lost moments while stuck in traffic, detouring, or taking a
country drive. You won't have a natural conversation with your navigational
system no matter how much the television commercials attempt to convince you
that this will be the case. You can however get great details about every
single turn of your trip including details about landmarks you should see along
the way.

You should be aware that when you miss a turn the alternate route isn't
immediately forthcoming. Computers contain data and it takes a moment to go
through the mountain of data sometimes in order to come up with an alternate
route. Be patient when dealing with your auto navigation system and it should
serve you well both in times of crisis and during your regular daily driving. I
know this isn't always too terribly easy in high stress situations but when you
look at it, using a navigation system is a far cry better than relying on maps
that must be dug out, dusted off, and translated or an inability to read a map
and ending up even more lost than you were to begin with.

Even the best auto navigation system on the market isn't a replacement for
attention to details, seeing and remembering important landmarks, and paying
attention to street signs and what lies ahead. The good news is that the
technology for these systems is constantly evolving and improving. Data is
synching much more rapidly than ever before and more and more often you are
finding much more intuitive and user-friendly interfaces. The maps that are
provided onscreen (in the more sophisticated versions) combined with the verbal
directions and details work together in order to create a great driving
experience, which would otherwise be filled with uncertainty, doubt, and no
small degree of stress.

Regardless of how effective the auto navigation system you choose is, it only
matters how effective you feel it is. If it gives you the directions and
insights you need in order to reach your destination safely and on time, then I
really can't find fault in the system and would hope that you would not either.
There is no such thing as problem free in this day and age and these systems
are only as good as the mapping data that they have. The really good news,
however, is that data is more often accurate than inaccurate and in most cases
you can easily reach your destination.

When selecting an auto navigation system you should really consider how often
you travel and how often during that travel you wish you had an alternate route
or at the very least an option for your directions, how often you find yourself
lost and clueless and needing to ask for directions, and how often you really
feel you will use the device you decide to purchase. If you don't feel you will
get the most possible use of your navigation device, then consider one that can
be used outside the automobile as well or at the very least one of the less
expensive versions. You want to get your money's worth from whichever device
you choose for your auto navigation system.

Handheld Auto Navigation Systems

There are many different types of auto navigation systems. Among the many you
will find those that come factory installed, those that are attached to the
interior of your automobile through the use of suction cups, and still others
that are handheld devices which can simply be installed by attaching a cord to
your cars cigarette lighter. These devices don't offer quite the functionality
and ease of use as some of the other (need I say pricier) types of navigational
devices but you should not be fooled by features that you might not find all
that useful in reality.

I'm a bargain hunter by nature. There really is nothing I can do to change my
thrifty (some might say cheap) nature. I like having nice things but would like
to get them while spending as little money in the process as possible. For this
reason alone I decided to seriously consider some of the many handheld
navigational tools on the market today.

There are many reasons I find these devices attractive. First of all, they suit
many purposes. Not only are they useful when traveling by car (if you purchase
the right software of course), they are also quite useful when taking your
travels off road as well. You can use them four wheeling in the country, riding
horses in wide open spaces, hiking in the hills and mountains, or when getting
away by bike for the day. My personal favorite use for these nifty tools
however is on the water. I'm a horrible navigator and a mapping handheld GPS is
just the thing to keep me on track and on target.

I don't know about you, but I hate feeling as though I am completely and
utterly lost. It is a frightening feeling that is only intensified whenever
there are children on board during those lost moments in time. Only someone who
has ever experienced that feeling while looking into the eyes of her babies and
feeling so alone on top of being so lost can really understand. There simply
aren't adequate words to describe the deep down inside fear that can take hold
in situations such as this if allowed.

The best action to take is proactive. Avoid putting yourself in situations
where you will feel lost. This of course, hasn't always been possible in the
past. Having a navigational device on hand at all times can go such a long way
towards alleviating that fear and calming any qualms someone may have about the
need to travel to unfamiliar places at time. Since we must occasionally stray
from the world we know, love, and are familiar with it is great to know that
there are devices to help us find our way in many situations.

If you are looking for a great gift to give almost anyone on your Christmas
list this year, a nice handheld GPS system with mapping capabilities is a great
gift to give. Of course, you do not really need to wait until the holidays in
order to give a gift such as this-especially if you are giving it to someone
whose safety is of great importance to you. I think anyone who drives, bikes,
boats, floats, hikes, or rows could find a great deal of use for tools such as
this, particularly females who enjoy these activities and occasionally enjoy
them alone.

No matter what your specific needs in auto navigation systems may be, there are
many systems that could suit them quite nicely. Take the time to study what is
available and reconcile your needs with your budget in order to find the one
that will work best for you. Handheld GPS systems with mapping abilities offer
a highly affordable option along with some surprising extra features, which
will make them attractive in and out of the automobile. Good luck in finding
the perfect auto navigation system for you. It's out there somewhere.

Pros and Cons of Auto Navigation Systems and GPS Devices

Auto navigation systems and GPS devices are everywhere you turn in this day and
age. You can find them in your car, boat, plane, even in your purse (if you have
a PDA or cell phone with GPS capabilities combined with the right software
and/or subscriptions). If that isn't enough for you, you also have the option
and capability of turning your laptop computer into a GPS device if that is
your desire. The thing that most people forget to check out or ask about when
looking at all the nifty features of unit A over unit B is how easy is the unit
you are considering to use?

Handheld GPS and auto navigation systems offer sensible solutions to common
travel related problems. They will not have all the answers all the time but
are a great help most of the time. There are many styles and types of GPS and
auto navigation systems that are available in today's market. Some people may
not fully understand all of the neat tricks you can do with your GPS system.
Here are a few things you may not have realized you can do with your GPS device.

1) You can always find the spot where you parked your car by marking it. Talk
about a treasure hunt where "X" marks the spot!

2) You can track your route while hiking, biking, or horseback riding so that
you can retrace your steps in order to find your way back where you started.

3) Some GPS devices can even allow you to 'go it alone' by offering the option
of a digital compass rather than telling you step by step where to go (if this
interests you, check the package details to see if this is available on the
unit you are considering).

Keep in mind however that GPS and auto navigation systems aren't fail safe.
There are a few problems that the brochures, boxes, and salesmen might neglect
to mention.

1) You still need to carry around an Atlas or road maps for backups as there
are occasions when the data for GPS units may not be current or accurate.
Remember that roads are built, close, and in need of repair and maintenance all
the time. It's nearly impossible to have one that is always correct up the
minute.

2) These devices do not typically work well inside buildings or under dense
forest cover.

3) Batteries, batteries, batteries. These are worse than digital cameras when
it comes to burning through batteries. This is one reason that people tend to
leave them charging at all times if you're leaving your car with your unit be
sure you have extra batteries for backup as it is quite likely that you will
need them at the worst possible moment.

4) GPS units do not recognize the existence of mountains, rivers, and other
obstructions in your path so the directions and coordinates they give can
occasionally be misleading.

There are many pros and cons when it comes to not only auto navigation devices
but also for handheld GPS devices as well. Be sure that you try out the model
you are considering before you buy it if at all possible. This will make your
decision much easier and allow you to see whether or not you will be able to
easily use and understand the auto navigation system you choose.

5 Ways to Utilize Auto Navigation Systems and GPS Technology While Traveling

If you have managed to do any research on auto navigation systems I'm sure
you've come across countless nifty features that these devices have in common.
While not all devices utilize the very same technology, it is great to know
that cell phones today in addition to handheld auto navigation systems are
utilizing technology that make travel and locating lost children, pets, and
other loved ones a little bit easier to manage in today's hectic world.

There are many ways that the technology that drives GPS can improve our lives
both at home and while we travel. Below you will find some great ways that this
technology helps improve your overall travel experience.

1) Trip Planning. Not only are auto navigation systems great to have while on
your trip, they are also quite useful when planning your trip. You will not
have to listen to endless whining about whether we are there yet or how much
fathers. Your children can listen along with you as you plan your trip and find
out fascinating places to stop, view scenery, and get some great chow along the
way. You should also be able to quite easily find out about neat shopping,
shows, and other points of interest en route as well. Finding something for
everyone keeps the entire family happy on your trip.

2) Finding restaurants, theatres, and nearby malls. This is very important not
only when traveling to your destination but also once you've arrived. Many of
the nicer auto navigation systems on the market today are able to sort
restaurants that are nearby. These systems are much more than simple software
that is designed for the sole purpose of giving directions. They are fully
functional navigational tools. Some of them even have entertainment features,
which will allow them to be used as ebook readers and/or MP3 players.

3) Keeping tabs of family in crowded situations. Even in the mall, you can have
family members going off in different locations and keep track of them all. This
is also true at graduation ceremonies and other events, which may call for
family members spreading out over a large amount of space leaving some out of
sight at times.

4) Security when away from home. The idea of being away from home, particularly
with teens can be very frightening. We want them to be independent and at the
same time we want to never let them out of our sight. Having a cell phone that
allows GPS tracking of your teen is a great way to have the best of both
worlds. You can keep a watchful eye on where they are without having them in
your direct line of sight. This allows them the freedom to pursue their own
interests and you the security of watching that happen.

5) Tracking important items while traveling. This may not seem like such a big
deal until you've dealt with lost luggage a time or two. The truth is that this
is a huge load off the minds of many, particularly when it comes to laptops and
electronic devices that have important information.

If you haven't considered these reasons for purchasing an auto navigation
system or making use of the many options for safety and security that GPS
Technology allows in your life, it is time to give these things some serious
thoughts. Our children are the most important thing in the world we can protect
and it is well worth the minimal investment in the software required to assist
in keeping them safe.

Choose a User Friendly Auto Navigation System

With so many options on the market when it comes to auto navigation systems how
do you choose the one that will best suit your needs? This question may seem
very simplistic; unfortunately the answer is not nearly as simple as the
question. There are many things to consider when selecting a personal
navigation system not the least of which is what purpose you will be using the
system to achieve.

Many people consider auto navigation systems for their automobiles and no other
purpose. The truth is that these devices can have many very practical uses in
your every day life. If you are a person who spends a lot of time outdoors, you
might find that a handheld GPS device with mapping capabilities is better suited
to your personality and your needs than a stand-alone type of auto navigation
system. The reason being that these devices can not only be used for
turn-by-turn driving directions but also for off road travels, geocaching,
boating, hiking, biking, and mountain climbing among many other popular
activities. Handheld devices are perfect because they can be easily removed
from your vehicle and taken along with you. The portability makes them perfect
companions for just about any activity in which you choose to participate.

Many newer models of cars, trucks, and SUVs are coming equipped with in dash
auto navigation systems. Don't for a second think you aren't paying for these
glorious goodies. In fact, the chances are that you are paying quite the
premium price for these lovely features and aren't even aware. The worst thing
though is that if you are financing the cost of your car you are also financing
the cost of your navigation system. If at all possible avoid getting into this
situation unless you are particular enamored of the look of the in dash systems
as they really offer no better coverage than you can find in many stand alone
systems that you can easily install and cost significantly less. The thing to
remember about these systems is that they are only good as long as you are in
your car for the most part. You may find some that can last so many hours away
from a power source (if you have a system that you've installed yourself rather
than a factory installed system) but most of them aren't going to offer the
greatest features for activities such as geocaching or fishing.

Before you buy, seriously consider and have in mind the activities for which
you will use your device. Don't buy a device that charges for features that you
aren't likely to use and avoid at all cost an interface that isn't easy to use.
Remember you will be using this while on the road most of the time and you want
a system that won't require a concentrated effort in order to operate. We have
quite enough distractions to deal with while on the road without adding a
difficult to operate auto navigation system.

Auto navigation systems are great to have when you need them and even at times
when they simply come in handy though you could have survived without them. For
me the security of knowing that I will never be truly lost again is well worth
the investment I have made in mine, I honestly believe you will feel the same
way about your system once you decide which one is best for you.

Auto Navigation System Provides Less Stress Travel

Have you ever found yourself frustrated with slow moving traffic only to reach
a certain point (an hour or so later) to find that the problem seems to
suddenly fix itself? Have you ever been sent on a poorly marked detour during
road construction only to find an hour or two later that you are hopelessly
lost and have no clue where to go from there? Do you travel often and find that
road signs are often obstructed or missing all together? Have you ever found
yourself late to important meetings as the result of bad traffic, bad weather,
or poor directions? If you have answered yes to any of these questions you are
a prime candidate for purchasing an auto navigation system for your car, truck,
or SUV.

You may think that only people who travel extensively need these incredibly
useful devices and systems. The truth of the matter is that anyone who spends
any time during the average day in a car could seriously benefit by owning an
automobile navigation system or device of some sort. The problem often lies in
deciding which of these systems would be best suited for your specific personal
navigation needs.

Stand-alone Navigation Systems

These types of systems offer the most complete and thorough mapping utilities.
You will often find extended or subscription features with these systems that
offer vital information about daily weather, traffic, and construction issues
in the areas in which you are traveling even going as far as offering alternate
routes in order to avoid possible delays along your route. You can purchase
systems that either have maps already loaded or that require you to go online
in order to download the maps the system will use. These systems are usually
great at not only offering detailed driving directions but also information
about landmarks you should see along the way. They are the best buy for those
that will rely heavily upon them for directions and travel details.

Multipurpose Handheld Navigation Devices

These auto navigation systems are by far the best for busy active families.
These devices don't offer the same turn by turn directions as the stand-alone
navigation systems but software can be purchased that will enable them to do
so. The primary benefit of these devices is that they can be useful both in and
out of the automobile. They are excellent choices for those who spend a great
deal of time outdoors. If you get your thrills hiking, biking, horseback
riding, mountain climbing, or row boating down the way you will find that these
devices offer a great number of options to the average consumer and are an
excellent choice for those who want more from their navigation dime than a
system that can only be used inside an automobile.

Laptop/Palm Based Systems

Technology improves continuously and often by leaps and bounds. It should come
as no surprise that our laptops and Palm Pilots could quite easily be turned
into personal navigation devices complete with turn-by-turn directions and many
other bells and whistles along the way. Some of the devices that make this
happen cost less than $100 which makes this an excellent choice for those who
travel extensively with Palms and laptops in tow. In fact, if you already own
the Palm or laptop it seems almost a waste of money to invest in more extensive
auto navigation systems when you can have all you really need for a minimal
investment. Of course, there are those that can be quite costly and the
ultimate decision is yours alone. I happen to be the bargain hunter type (which
often translates to cheap).

Regardless of which type of auto navigation system you ultimately select I
believe you will find that having this type of assistance in your travel offers
a certain level of safety and security that you may not have enjoyed previously.
Take care and enjoy your travels, I hope you find that things go much more
smoothly and confidently with the assistance of your auto navigation system.

Auto Navigation Systems are for Work, Play, and Everything in Between

Back in the dark ages, it was nearly impossible to navigate the shark-infested
waters of Main Street or big city USA without the assistance of a road map or
some other major navigational aid. Back then if you found yourself lost you
either had to stop and ask for directions at a convenience store along the way
or drive along until you found a payphone you could use in order to call for
better directions. This process became a little easier once cell phones became
prominent and affordable to the masses. Today it has become even better if you
can believe it.

Gone are the days when you drove around in circles hoping to find a place to
stop and get directions to take you back to the beaten path before your gas
tank uses the last of its fumes. Now you can simply use GPS tracking to find
out where you are and then get directions to the nearest destination of choice
or simply find your way back towards your destination. You can actually go on
vacation now without taking a massive road atlas or a half dozen maps of a half
dozen states along for the ride. Gone are the days of needing a tour guide in
order to fold your maps back into their former positions.

Vacations are now much more relaxed as a result of the lack of stress involved
in merely getting there. Not only is getting there easier with the use of auto
navigation systems, but getting around once you reach your vacation destination
is much easier to handle. This makes the entire vacation experience much more
enjoyable to all involved and helps build memories that aren't marred by
serious adult conversations about the lack of road signs and a few expletives
about the fact that armadillos seem to be the only ones around to ask for
directions.

Beyond the vacation factor, business meetings were always a step away from
potential disaster before the advent of auto navigation systems that exist to
help you find your way in the jungle that has become corporate America. The
good and the bad of corporate America is that it isn't only on one coast or
another but scattered throughout the country. This means that there are times
when you will find it absolutely necessary to take drives in places you may
have never considered visiting at any other time in your life. Cornfields, I
assure you, begin to blend together and all look alike after a while. Only the
most keen of observers can tell at any given time one cornfield from another.
This is one of those times when it is almost necessary to have an excellent
tool to assist you in navigating throughout the countryside en route to your
business destination, particularly if it is in the Midwest.

Many times being late is not an option and being lost in the middle of nowhere
is even less of an option. An excellent auto navigation system will help you
avoid this possibility all together while also helping you in other instances
where weather, road construction, and general traffic delays could cause you to
be late for those oh so important meetings.

You will also find that even when your job isn't on the line there are plenty
of reasons to make use of your auto navigation system. Work and play aren't the
only reasons to make use of systems such as this. Getting to your daughters big
day at school or your son's big soccer game even when traffic is snarled to a
standstill is another great reason to use this type of technology. In fact,
there are situations almost every day in which this technology will prove quite
useful if you are of the mind to utilize it. It doesn't really matter what you
are using your auto navigation system for as long as you are using it widely
and faithfully you are getting your money's worth.

Things you won't be told about Auto Navigation Systems

Auto navigation systems have come such a long way since their inception. It's
hard for many to see the product that exists now and realize exactly how far
these devices have come since their origins in the U. S. Armed Forces. The
thing to keep in mind and remember is that they still have a long way to go.
These devices are far from infallible and still have some serious faults that
prohibit us from canning the compass and maps all together.

One thing to keep in mind is that there are almost always problems of some sort
with electronic equipment. This is especially true when it comes to equipment
that is run by software. If anyone doubts the validity of this statement, check
out a computer that is run by Windows? We often find ourselves at the mercy of
the limitations of the software we are using. The same holds true when it comes
to software driven auto navigation systems and GPS devices. This fact alone
makes them a little unreliable. For those times when reliability isn't at its
best keep in mind that for the most part the system works well. It's just
difficult when the times you need it to work well are the times when it is
malfunctioning. The good news is that the units themselves are often quite
resilient and even able to withstand the manhandling a typical rough and tumble
two year old can dish out.

It is also important to keep in mind that GPS technology isn't meant to replace
the use of maps or of common sense when driving. You can only store so much
information on a GPS device and roads are constantly being built, changes,
constructed, improved, and moved. For that reason alone it is nearly impossible
to guarantee that any device will have 100% accurate information at all times.
You should however, choose a device or auto navigation systems that allows
frequent and simple upgrades to the maps provided. Updating regularly and
immediately prior to any large trips will go a long way towards saving some
serious hair pulling while you travel.

Another thing to keep in mind with your auto navigation device is that it isn't
all that reliable whenever you don't have a clear view of the sky. For that
reason there may be times when you aren't able to get a clear signal. Tunnels
are a great example of one of those times. It's not just about one signal, the
device must be able to lock onto three satellites at the very least in order to
be 'seen'. A fourth satellite is usually required for verification of the data.
This means that in some situations where you have a clear view of the sky, you
may not be in a position where all four satellites have a clear view of you and
more importantly your device.

GPS and auto navigation systems are still a far cry better than trying to read
dusty old maps for most of us. Despite that, it is always a good idea to go
into a buying situation with all the facts in hand rather than thinking you've
discovered the next best thing to sliced bread only to find out that the crust
is a little hard and crumbly at times. This technology is wonderful and affords
many benefits to those who are willing and able to make use of it. It will never
sacrifice common sense or map reading skills however and that is important to
understand.

Auto Navigation Devices Offer Many Installation Options

Auto navigation systems are offering many options to a growing number of
consumers each and every year. From systems that are factory installed into
automobiles by the automakers themselves to those that simply plug into the
car's battery adapter to use on the go and take along with you, there is a
little something for every type of consumer when it comes to these nifty
devices and systems. Even those who don't limit their travels to automobiles
can find a device that would work for them as well. There are even devices that
are made with water travel in mind and famous for their endurance of less than
optimal weather conditions.

While you are not limited to auto navigation systems in order to find your way,
they do make being lost a lot easier to handle. In fact, you are never truly
lost if you have a reliable auto navigation system. These systems are designed
to help you navigate back roads, country roads, city roads, main streets, and
out of the way high ways like a pro and they deliver on their promise for the
most part.

There are a few glitches just as there are with road maps, the major difference
between a common atlas and these navigational devices is that they have up to
date information that is quite reliable in most instances (unless there are
unannounced road closings and such) and you are limited to the data at the time
an atlas or road map was printed when relying on those for directions and
navigational input. Additionally you are limited to the combined map reading
skills of those in the vehicle. Map reading is a lost art for many and is
becoming less and less emphasized as a growing number of people are turning to
navigational devices for direction and guidance.

For aesthetic reasons, many consumers opt for auto navigation systems that are
installed by the automobile manufacturers. These systems come at a premium
price but offer a seamless integration to the interior of the car. This of
course makes perfect sense as those devices were literally made for the cars.
In the long run it is quite likely that you will pay the most for these
devices. Not only are you paying a higher price for the device initially but
you are also paying for the service of installing them and the interest on both
of those fees. It is a completely personal decision as to whether or not this is
the option that is best for you.

Many savvy consumers have discovered that they can have these systems installed
in their automobiles by professionals without paying the hefty price tag that
comes with interest when purchasing a system and installation along with the
vehicle. If you choose the right people to install your navigation system you
will find that you save money and have a system that appears natural within the
interior of your automobile. You can have the best of both worlds when it comes
to auto navigation systems. You do not have to sacrifice your budget in order
to get a nice quality system that looks great in your automobile.

For those who are seriously limited on funds but have a real need for the
security that an auto navigation system affords there are still many options
that might very well fit your needs from a navigation system. You can purchase
installation kits and make the installation yourself. This alone could
literally save a few hundred dollars on the system. There are also installation
kits that include the device at very reasonable rates. Keep in mind that some of
the lower priced systems may require a monthly fee for the service. However,
many people that cannot afford a large amount of money up front for the system
might very well be able to put $20-$50 per month towards the service.

The truth of the matter is that as competition grows among makers of auto
navigation systems so do the options available to consumers. Along with growing
competition we also see falling prices. It's a great time to be a consumer when
it comes to auto navigational devices.

Auto Navigation Systems are not One-Size-Fits-All

Have you ever gone for a long country ride with a man who simply did not
believe in getting lost? It happens and often results in hours and hours of
driving by the same tree or creek twice and a desperate fear of running out of
gas miles away from civilization. At least that was always the case for me. I
am not afraid of adventure or trying new things. At least not for the most
part, I am however, deathly afraid of being in situations where I have no idea
where I am or how far I am from familiar places and things.

I grew up in a little town off I-55. No matter how far from home I am, I always
feel safe if I am on I-55 because it is familiar. I know this road. I may not
know this particular stretch of road, but I know that if I remain on this road,
it will lead me home. There is safety and comfort in that knowledge. This same
sort of safety and comfort can now be bought. It is called an auto navigation
system and will always tell you which road leads home. That for me is a feature
that is truly priceless.

Auto navigation systems are becoming much more common as people are practically
living in their automobiles. We bring our work into our cars; our kids sports,
lives, friends, and family go along for the ride. Knowing that our children and
their safety depend largely upon our ability to get from point A to point B
without getting lost somewhere in between or taking a decidedly wrong turn
makes the decision to purchase a vehicle with an auto navigation system a much
easier decision. The good news though is that you don't have to go out and buy
a new car, truck, or SUV in order to get a very decent auto navigation system.

There are many systems on the market today. With the numerous systems available
are plenty of options that will suit all manner of budget as well as the innate
desire that men (and some women) are well known for: a desire to have plenty of
buttons to push and play with. More and more of the systems offer much more than
simple directions. Many offer turn-by-turn instructions while others promise a
truly intuitive navigational experience. Regardless of what type of system
floats your boat or of whether you prefer the bare bones system that will
simply get the job done, there is a system that is probably very well suited to
your desires and your temperament.

Many drivers today are finding increased uses for their navigational systems.
Some of these uses include: traffic pile ups, weather delays, wrecks, detours,
road construction, high traffic areas that are best to avoid, or even simple
door-to-door driving directions are sometimes in order. Most auto navigation
systems are outstanding in any of the above situations. It is important,
however to remember that not all systems are created equal. You need to have a
list of expectations and talk with a reliable and reputable dealer to see which
device or system would best suit your specific needs.

You should also keep in mind that while a system might not be the right system
for your needs doesn't mean it wouldn't be the ideal system for someone else
you know or love. We all have different needs, desires, and tastes. Don't push
the system you purchased on others as it may not be the best suited for them
while it works wonderfully for you. This is another reason that it is important
to study the various systems available and make an informed decision from the
start. The fact that one system doesn't meet your requirements doesn't mean
that no system will. Take the time to find the best system for your needs from
the beginning in order to be a truly satisfied customer.





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