A More Sophisticated Navigation System

Many people assume that all GPS systems function in essentially the same way. They operate under the assumption that there is no real difference between systems designed to be used by cars and those constructed specifically for use in a marine setting. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are distinct variations in these models that allow them to perform different functions and stand up against different kinds of conditions that one will experience. Understanding the differences in GPS hardware can allow you to determine exactly what type of GPS system is ideal for your needs out on the water.

First of all, GPS units designed for marine applications function using different sets of data and variables for navigation. Additionally, the actual construction process for the unit itself differs. Units designed for use in automobiles are not built with the same kind of durability in mind. GPS hardware that is appropriate to use on a boat is designed to withstand moisture and the salty conditions that one often encounters when using a boat. Marine GPS units are also loaded with aquatic maps that account for water depth, topography, and other kinds of information that is not included in units designed for cars and trucks. Now that these differences are understood, one should consider the specific characteristics of a marine GPS system that will allow it to meets their exact needs.

Every GPS unit depends on using a set number of satellites in order to provide accurate navigation. A minimum of 12 is required for the most basic units. However, the more satellites a unit is capable of using, the better the navigation response will be. The highest-quality units will be relying on at least 24 satellites. The size of the screen should also come into consideration. While the majority of quality units provide a great deal of information on the readout, it is important to have adequate display room so that maps, coordinates, and other specifics are clearly visible.

Marine units are also capable of incorporating new information such as additional maps, stored routes, and other upgrades. However, this information is usually added by connecting the unit to a network or computer in the form of a SD card or other device. Ensure that your unit has this ability so that it can grow to meet your needs as your exploration of the open water expands. Many of the lower-end units come with a built-in, internal antenna. The higher-grade units will either come with an external antenna or a port that allows you to attach an accessory of this kind. An external antenna allows for faster, more accurate adjustments to maps and coordinates in addition to providing you with access to more accurate weather forecasts.

Different types of systems come with various types of mapping capabilities as well. Different systems are appropriate depending on the use of the boat. The most common system uses base mapping to provide users with an overhead view of their position, waypoints, and routes on a map. Advanced mapping systems offer three-dimensional views, include depth finders, feature more detailed maps, and offer access to additional features such as weather alerts and radio functions.