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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 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.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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