GPS or Global Positioning Systems is a term that most commonly conjures up images of vehicle navigation systems, space-age satellite technology, and interactive maps for outdoors-types and sportsmen. But the reality is that there are far more applications of Global Positioning Systems beyond GPS vehicle tracking or map navigation that everyday people like us can benefit from. All it takes is a bit of creativity, and some trial and error. Here are a few of the many possibilities that can benefit you right now in your busy and hectic life.
1. Know where your children are using services from companies like uLocate Communications.
2. Keep track of elderly members of your family, so that they don't wander off alone.
3. Plan a road trip around interesting points of interests, landmarks, campsites, diners, etc, and hear fewer "Are we there yets?"- and of course get the most out of that expensive gas.
4. Get emergency road side assistance at a touch of a button from your vehicle, so you can get help exactly where and when you need it.
5. Keep a visual journal and bookmark collection of your favorite hot spots, sceneries, and points of interests, that may not be listed in any travel guide (You can create your own mini travel guides and memories).
6. Find lost pets easily using collars with built-in GPS, better than running around in your pajamas hollering like a maniac.
7. Feel safer with cellular phone 911 calls, so emergency personnel can pinpoint your location once you make an emergency call. Please double check your carrier service to see that it has GPS features and get a primer on how it works if possible.
8. Get to your interview, or any important time sensitive destination or engagement, faster by finding shortcuts and correct directions.
9. Find a good Italian restaurant near your movie theatre on the fly.
10. Track your luggage, laptops, and anything of importance while traveling.
11. Track and find family, friends in a crowded concert, graduation, or any social gathering.
12. When going on a vacation, feel free to separate from group for a while to venture on your own based on your own interests and find them later on with your GPS enabled device- even in an unfamiliar place.
Our ability to use GPS so far is limited by the relatively poor connection to the satellite feeds when we are indoors in buildings, homes, or behind anything that could obstruct the GPS connection. However with the investment and development in a new satellite network called Galileo which should be completed in the near future, these problems should be eliminated drastically. Despite these problems, GPS still offers a world of benefits as mentioned earlier, and with any technology, it will only get better.
In addition to more practical usage applications, GPS will make a great educational and fun gift for your loved one's and friends as well. Consider just two of the many creative and educational uses of GPS:
1. Stay physically active and fit by playing RayGun! A locational based cell phone game based on GPS technology.
2. Become more cultured, make global friends, and learn about the world playing GeoCache, a global GPS based treasure hunt.
With many affordable feature-rich models to satisfy anyone's preferences and budgets, now is as good a time as any to learn more about GPS technologies, which are surely to become more assimilated into the mainstream within the decade. One day we will take these things for granted just like we do now for the internet and cell phones. The key is to dive in, without paralyzing yourself with the overwhelming array of choices in the GPS market, and enjoying some truly amazing technology.