GPS Basics

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Some Background on GPS

GPS is a technology for determining a location using signals from a network of satellites that orbit Earth. It works pretty much anywhere around the planet, including remote locations. All that's needed is a GPS receiver and a clear enough view of the sky to receive signals from at least three or four GPS satellites.

Common uses of GPS include vehicle navigation, tracking the location of business assets, mapping for outdoor recreation (e.g., hiking, hunting, and fishing), and even a sport known as geocaching.

Popular brands of consumer grade GPS receivers include Garmin, Magellan, Tom Tom, and Lowrance. Prices range from about $90 for a basic handheld model to over $1,000 for a high-end vehicle navigation system. Key differentiators include built-in maps, computer connectivity, and the ability to automatically calculate routes to a destination address.

Looking for answers? - Start with our FAQ or glossary.

Popular Pages

How does a GPS receiver determine its location?

What's the difference between a basemap and a detail map?

What is geocaching?

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May 22, 2018

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