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How GPS Tracking Watches Function

Aug 1, 2008
Long gone are the days when humans had to rely solely on the stars to know their general position on the earth. Today we have the highly accurate GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites that rotate around the earth, constantly transmitting information. This information can then quickly be analyzed by computers to trilaterate the receiver's exact position to within a few yards. That is information much more accurate than looking at starts.

This technology has rapidly advanced since it was initially created. Since then we can now put one of these GPS receiving devices in something a small as a watch, bringing GPS technology down to the personal level.

A GPS tracking watch will do all the normal things a watch can do - fit on your wrist, tell the time, and look really cool for all the ladies (or gentlemen). But GPS tracking watches also allow you to do some other things that really can enhance certain aspects of your life, like your fitness routine.

It can do this because GPS technology enables it to track and record things like your location, velocity, and altitude. This basic information can be used to generate maps within the watches computer so that you know the location where you started and the course you took away from that starting point if ever you want to return. Not only can you save a starting point, but you can also set "way points" as you find interesting objects or landmarks.

Since GPS watches are also computers they have the ability to record and receive additional data. This is particularly useful to the person training for some type of athletic event. Triathletes, marathon runners, kayakers, cyclists, and even sprinters can benefit from one addition piece of equipment - a heart rate monitor.

A heart rate monitor does exactly what you might expect, it measures the heart rate of the person wearing it. These are normally bands that you wrap around your chest underneath your shirt as they require direct skin contact. Then they transmit your heart rate information to your watch which it then records along with all your other data.

This can be very useful in analyzing which parts of your workout or training regimen works your heart the hardest. It can even help you during a race to help you pace yourself or to become aware that your heart rate is getting to high and that you need to pull back a little to ensure that you have the energy to continue. The more information that you have the better equipped you will be at making the right training and race day decisions.

Once you have all this information (distance traveled, speed, heart rate, change in elevation) it would take forever to process all of it yourself. Here again the GPS tracking watch has you covered. Most makes come with some type of analysis software or easy to use web applications. These are really useful for seeing graphic representations of your workouts and they are gr
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