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GPS Navigation System - Amazing Innovation In Your Car

Aug 18, 2007
The invention of the GPS navigation system is not as new as most people believe; they have been around and used ever since the first GPS satellite was launched into space back in 1978. Global positioning satellites have many civilian and military applications, but one of the most pervasive is navigation.

However, using a GPS navigation system inside an ordinary automobile, is somewhat different than using it on airplane. Transportation by car is dependent on the roads that are traveled. In reality, GPS readings alone such as longitude, latitude and altitude are for all practical purposes useless when you're driving to Aunt Mabel's house. When driving an automobile you can end up going through urban canyons and tunnels, where satellite singles cannot get through. So a different type of GPS technology is needed for automobile GPS navigation systems.

There has been potential for years in automobile GPS navigation systems, and industry has tried various ways to implement them. In 1983, Honda introduced an automobile navigation system that was based primarily on an accelerometer, not on GPS. It wasn't until 1990 that an automobile GPS system was released to the public consumer by Pioneer. Automobile GPS Navigation systems had yet to really come into use until Magellan released its version in the US in 1995. Since then more portable GPS systems have been developed for greater ease of use for people.

Automobile GPS Navigation System Components

An automobile GPS Navigation System requires a GPS receiver and a map database. Some systems also have drive train sensors to supplement when GPS signals are blocked for brief periods.

The database map converts the GPS portable systems coordinates into map locations, such as street names and addresses. Some map databases contain GPS coordinates for specific locations, such as points of interest or rest stops. It's the information in the database, however, that directs you to your location, either visually or by voice. Which means your GPS navigation system is only as good as your GPS car systems map database.

Commercial Applications

Many corporations and businesses use GPS navigation system within their vehicles to dispatch and track vehicles. In various cities throughout the US, taxis come equipped with a GPS navigation system. Dispatchers at the taxi company know where all the taxis are located at any given point in time, and can dispatch them more effectively than before.

Commercial shipping companies find GPS navigation systems indispensable. In addition to being able to track where the trucks are whenever they want, they can also give the customer a tracking number, and then the customer would have the ability to track their individual package themselves.
About the Author
Korbin Newlyn is an avid follower in the consumer electronics field. You can find more of his insights at GPS Reviews and at GPS Automotive
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