Description and Photographs of
Magellan and Garmin
hand-held Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) Receivers

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Magellan GPS 2000 XL and GPS 2000
Magellan Meridian Platinum

  eTrex Legend   Garmin GPS V   Garmin 60Cxs

General Description of GPS including discussion on ways to use GPS, also some warnings. In brief, the Global Positioning Satellite System uses a constellation of low earth orbit satellites that transmit timing and position signals. Your GPS receiver listens to these signals, and in a rather complex process discovers the range to each satellite, and from that and their known positions, can determine its own position. It is truly amazing that a navigator in the palm of your hand can know your position sometimes within 15 feet, but more usually within 100 feet, certainly close enough to find your car in a busy parking lot, or a house, or a campsite, or a favorite fishing spot (and so on). When used with a built in map, it can actually help you choose a route to get to the destination. Hikers can load a topographic map right into the GPS.

*FLASH* The accuracy-degrading "Selective Availability" was turned off on May 1, 2000; at least for selected global regions. Now, your GPS is limited only by its internal accuracy and the geometry of the satellites. White House Press Release

U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center

Manufacturer Links

Where to Buy :

Almost any large department store carries them; but the best selection (and accessories) will be found in outdoor goods suppliers (Gart Sports, Cabela's, places like that). Online suppliers include:

NOTE: GPS come in "flavors" according to the lingo of the buyer and intended purpose: hiking, driving, flying, boating, mapping. These flavors influence the type and appearance of the navigation screens (display options) and the abbreviations you find. One will say HDG (heading) and another will say COG (Course Over Ground). Advertisements seldom indicate which way it is going to be, but the GPS Store has little icons to help you choose the application (icons indicating boating, aviation, hiking, bicycling, etc).


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