Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is a satellite based system which was primarily set up to ascertain the geographic position and assist in navigation from one place to another.
Previously, GPS receivers were seen as tools for the surveyor until the popularity of the car GPS changed that perception. The moment GPS trackers started becoming a rave, other recreational applications of this tool became very evident.
Hence we decided to post up some recreational uses of the GPS receiver so as to stimulate interest in them for in our local market.
Trekking, Jogging and Hiking – Many of us know the feeling we get after a good hiking trip or early morning jog or trek. It does wonders for the soul and body, keeping one in shape-body and mind. Well, strapping a GPS receiver along can also add more fun by allowing you to gather some statistics about your regular walk namely, your distance covered, elevation model of the terrain, time taken to cover the distance amongst others. You can also plot this on a map and compare your different routes over time.
Geo-caching– this recreational use was developed by users some years back. Geo-caching involves documenting and sharing geographic coordinates of different Points of Interest and then tasking each other to find these spots. The activity became so popular that GPS manufacturers started to add a Geo-caching menu to their devices and softwares.
Car GPS- By far the most popular recreational use in the world. Motorist in most countries now use the car GPS to navigate addresses within the city and even countries. By the broad term navigation, I mean things like, choosing the best routes, information on traffic and road repairs. The biggest limitation for expansion in that area locally is our over-generalized post code system, poor road network information and poor attitude to data generation.
Adventure– Using the GPS receiver on adventure trips is also a growing recreational niche. Users are able to document onto the internet real time the spatial and non-spatial character of their favourite historical sites, cultural centres and other adventure based themes to an audience continents away.
As the niche of recreational users grow, so also are the manufacturers adapting to the needs of this all important market. Recent versions of even mid-range GPS receivers now have features only seen before in high grade GNSS devices. Inbuilt digital cameras, online connectivity, satellite imagery download, custom maps and Bluetooth capability. The handhelds are lighter and are more aesthetic in body design, touchscreen and even possess near field wireless communication protocols.
On the technical side, recent technological advancements have produced recreational GPS receiver units with far less error rates than before, thereby giving the users almost accurate locational data. Faster processing chips make them to locate and track satellites much faster than before, making them much easier to use on the go.
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