Without a map a GPS device essentially knows only two things; your latitude and longitude. That’s possibly OK if you’re drilling for oil or mapping landscape contours, but GPS devices really come alive when matched with quality maps.
Maps need to be updated regularly to get the most out of your GPS experience. After all, when was the last time you took a long drive and didn’t see new road works along the way? Map updates traditionally come out annually, however map providers and GPS brands are starting to release more regularly.
Map updates can be purchased on disc or SD (Secure Digital) card from retailers, or downloaded from the web. Contact your GPS device manufacturer for more information.
A road isn’t just a path between points; a great GPS map should know speed zones, speed and red light camera locations, and school zones to more accurately plan your route and keep you safe on the road.
Even once you get past the basics of the road, there is still plenty of information your GPS device should contain in order to make your journey as seamless and pleasant as possible. This is where Points of Interest (POIs) come in. Petrol stations and motels are a nice start, but if you’re racing to the airport in an unfamiliar town and you’re not entirely sure where it is, having that data to hand can be a real lifesaver.
The quality of the Points of Interest are also key, and it’s vital to have POIs that have been analysed and tailored to best suit the needs of the people who are going to use them. You probably don’t need to know where the electoral boundaries lie when you’re driving around, but knowing where a nearby restaurant is (and how to contact it) can be mighty handy. With this information embedded into the map data, a GPS device is not only a useful navigation tool, but also a great source of local knowledge – no matter where you happen to be!
The complete solution
For the best navigation solution for your car you should have both a GPS device and a printed map, such as a UBD directory. A digital solution offers the convenience of instant searching facilities – telling you not only where you are, but also where you’re going and the best way to get there – with the paper solution serving as a reliable backup. Remember, too, the world is changing every day, so no maps can claim 100 percent coverage or perfection. Purchasing map updates as they become available is the most reliable way of keeping up to the minute.
Maps are pre-loaded
GPS devices come with all the map data already loaded, so you don’t have to worry about downloading maps on the road. If you’re using a mobile phone-based solution, some data download may be necessary.