A waypoint is a position or location that is entered and stored in the GPS by the user at any given time. An example of waypoint may be a check point on a route or a feature such as camp, a vehicle, a fork in the trail or just a favorite spot.
GPS receivers allow you to name your waypoint or identify it with a symbol. The number of waypoints that can be stored depends on the unit; the smaller receivers can store approximately 500 while some larger receivers can store up to 1000.
A route is group of waypoints that are entered into the GPS receiver in a sequence that will get the user from one specific location to another.
GPS receivers equipped with auto routing will automatically route the user to a specified destination using specific turn-by-turn instructions.
A track log is similar to a bread crumb trail. It marks the trail as the user travels and allows the user to retrace their path in either direction.
Non-Mapping/Base-Mapping/Mapping GPS Receivers
Non-mapping GPS receivers are the most basic and generally have no map detail. The plotter screen shows the path by tracking waypoints, routes or track logs from one to another. Non mapping GPS receivers will also note the time of day, latitude and longitude similar to how a compass works.
Base-mapping GPS receivers have the same tracking, plotting and route features as non-mapping units, but include a map to help determine location. Base-mapping units will typically show state, interstate and U.S. highways, major thoroughfares in metro areas, lakes, rivers coastlines, airports and exit locations. They can also determine current location, speed of travel and direction of a destination. Base-mapping GPS units are good when a map is unavailable, but necessary for determining the final location of a destination.
Mapping GPS receivers can capture information that is entered into the receiver and transmit it to a computer through a USB cable. Depending on the amount of memory available, a mapping unit can be personalized by uploading area or road maps from a DVD or memory card. Please note that because the amount of memory varies from GPS receivers, it is important to choose the receiver and software carefully.
Is necessary for downloading or adding maps to the receiver. Depending on the GPS model memory is either fixed and cannot be added to or expandable and can be added to by using a MicroSD/SD card.
Varies anywhere from 16-24 hours on 2 "AA" batteries in handhelds or 5-8 hours for a lithium ion rechargeable battery in driving GPSs. To find out what the expected battery life for each unit Gempler’s carries please see our GPS Product Comparison chart
Is also a consideration depending on application. For the screen size of each GPS receiver please see our GPS Product Comparison chart
Gray Scale or Color Screen
Receivers are available in both gray scale or color and one may be preferred over another depending on the application. If the receiver is being used for basic mapping or area calculation applications black & white may be adequate and less expensive. If the receiver is being used for hiking or hunting applications a color screen is nice because the color shading shows changes elevation and formations.
There are a variety of the handheld GPS receivers that can be used to calculate area or acreage to an accuracy of plus/minus 3 meters. To see which receivers will calculate area, please see our GPS Product Comparison chart
An electronic compass does not rely on satellite signal or movement to determine direction; instead it will give direction even if a GPS signal is not available. This feature is especially useful in applications such as hiking in unfamiliar or heavily wooded areas where satellite reception may not be ideal.
Will give accurate elevations ranging from -2000 to 30,000 feet. A barometer can also be used to track weather patterns; a falling barometer that may result in rain, a rising barometer that means the weather is clearing. It is a good feature for outdoor applications such as hiking or hunting and is often available on a GPS receiver along with an electronic compass.
All GPS receivers are able to interface with a computer by using either a serial or USB port. To find out which type of PC interface each GPS receiver has please see our GPS Product Comparison chart
The majority of the receivers have an internal antenna built into the unit. An external antenna may also be required when using the receiver under dense cover, in areas where the GPS receiver does not have a clear view of the sky or when more satellite contact is necessary for a greater amount of accuracy.