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GPS devices – high-tech signpost for exciting outdoor adventures
Go new ways and reach your destination safely? GPS devices make it possible – at least when it comes to trekking, hiking, cycling, cross-country running or the like. The small devices are perfect electronic navigation instruments. However, many GPS devices can do much more than just show the map and locate the point of view. In this way, routes can be planned and uploaded in advance on the PC, the completed route can be transferred to the computer or tours can be individually edited.
How does a GPS device work?
GPS devices are electronic maps that promptly show your location. In terms of format, the products are hardly larger than a smartphone. There are even GPS devices in the form of a wristwatch. They use the so-called “Global Positioning System” to determine their position. If many outdoor athletes enjoy this technique on their hikes through peaceful nature today, the original intention to invent GPS was completely different: from the 1970s, this technology was developed for military purposes by the US Department of Defense. The system finally worked in the 1990s and in 2000 the artificial jammers installed by the US government were switched off. Since then, GPS can also be used by civilians with impressive location accuracy. The GPS system uses satellites for data acquisition. The current location of the user is calculated from their signals. In addition to the US GPS system, there are similar facilities in other countries, such as the Russian GLONASS, the Chinese Beidu or Galileo in the European Union. High-quality devices can access different systems.
GPS devices – the right choice for outdoor adventures
Various maps can be loaded and routes can be planned on a modern GPS device. Of course, thanks to appropriate apps, this is now also possible with smartphones. For simple hikes, finding the nearest restaurant or for vacation trips by car, this may be enough. But GPS devices have numerous advantages that often make them unbeatable in the outdoor area. These characteristics can be of crucial importance for the success and last but not least the security of the planned enterprise.
Advantages of a GPS device:
– Location completely independent of the cellular network,
– Reliable reception even in difficult terrain,
– Suitable for outdoor use, moisture-resistant,
– Significantly less power consumption than GPS location via cell phone, – Exchangeable batteries or batteries available for long operation,
– No roaming charges when using abroad,
– robust and insensitive,
– usability even in extreme weather conditions,
– Solid brackets available for secure attachment to vehicles and for attachment to the body,
– Extremely light and small models available.
Get there safely
The leisurely family hike to the forest pond, the exciting exploration of the area during a camping holiday, the challenging mountain tour on the glacier or exciting geocaching in the city – the designs of the GPS devices are as diverse as the areas of application. Even simple models have the most important functions that a GPS device for outdoor use has to fulfill: It shows a map of the area and the personal position. Appropriate software is installed for this, which has different features depending on the model. Additional information, such as more precise map details, selected POIs (so-called “Points of Interest”), self-designated waypoints or the road network of a specific country can also be saved. External sources are used for this. It is therefore a prerequisite for such tour planning that the device is PC compatible and the corresponding software is available. Then complete tours can be planned precisely and individually and transferred to the GPS device.
There are currently two types of cards:
1. Vector maps show a schematic view of the terrain. They are not very detailed, but can be enlarged as desired and still remain sharp. The selection of routable maps is very large and they contain numerous points of interest.
2. Raster maps are comparable to the usual hiking maps made of paper. They are not suitable for routing, i.e. automatic route finding. For this, the environment is given in more detail than with vector maps and the terrain properties are better displayed. When enlarged, the view becomes blurred on many models.
Our tip: Which card is the right one depends on the planned activity. With special software, you can fine-tune the route on the map to the activity, such as whether you’re on foot or by bike.
The right GPS device for every outdoor adventure
Is the GPS device supposed to show the way behind the horizon in climbing luggage on the mountain top, on the bike on the endless country road, or reliably show the snow hiker the route through the glacier landscape? Depending on the intended use, the model must meet very special requirements that should be considered when choosing: Weatherproof, i.e. moisture-resistant and easy to read even in bright sunshine, almost all GPS devices are. But are they easy to use even in icy cold with thick gloves and is the display clear enough that it can be read in pouring rain? Not so important in the city for fun geocaching, but for climbing the summit: an integrated altimeter. Those who like to plan long tours and are on the road for days or even weeks will appreciate a barometer that provides the current weather data. Devices with a backtrack function make it possible to return to a previous point while the track recording is activated.
A magnetic compass improves accuracy and is already standard on many high-quality GPS devices.
The good old paper map as well as a mechanical compass should always be in your luggage for larger activities, especially in uninhabited areas. These aids are even a must for tours in difficult terrain, expeditions into the wilderness and similar outdoor challenges, since only they enable a completely energy-independent orientation.
GPS devices for outdoor use are characterized by numerous properties that are of great importance in many sports and outdoor activities. They offer a long operating time, a mirror-free and easy-to-read display even in sunshine and are robust against external influences such as impacts and moisture. With additional features, tours, geocaching and other outdoor activities can be individually planned, recorded and even archived. We have all tested the GPS devices we offer ourselves and found them to be good, so we included them in our online shop. Of course, it takes a certain amount of practice to familiarize yourself with the GPS devices. It is best to test the GPS device before your big tour on a small tour that you do in front of your front door or in a local park where you are well versed anyway. If you have any questions about the devices, you can contact us at any time and we will be happy to help you.