I know this may sound daft, but i want to purchase a GPS approx £150 price rang, is it ready to use straight away, or do i then need to go out & buy more mapping software to upgrade it. I have looked on google but cannot seem to find a answer on google.
my map reading skills are basic, so want a unit i can use alot, but only to double check i am where i think i am on my map.
is it ready to use straight away
Tempting though that is to just head off, you need to read the instructions and get properly familiar with its operation first. That probably sounds patronising so apologies for that, but it really is very important.
Mapping software shouldn't be necessary to get a fix on where you are. What will be important is that you set up the unit to give you units that mean something: i.e., British/OS grid datum and co-ordinates rather than longitude and latitude, and that will come up in the instructions.
If you're buying a mapping capable unit you'd be a bit daft not to get some maps: otherwise save your money and get a cheaper one. Note that digital mapping for a computer can be used with non-mapping GPS for putting in tracks, waypoints etc., but again you don't need that if all you're using the GPS for is a "where the hell am I?" check. You can get that for much less than £150.
if you only want to use the gps for a where am i then get the cheapest one you can find.
hone your paper map reading skills - and a gps really does give you some confidence in refining and improvinfg rapidly - and when you're happy you can get about without getting lost too often then think about upgrdaing the cheap gps to a better one. by this stage you will also have a better idea as to what you would like your gps to do and will make the more expensive choice better informed. and next year or the year after you will possibly get a much better spec one for the same money as now.
to reiterate what peter has said - you must ensure you understand how the gps works in its basic mode (especially trackback)
but get your map reading skills honed up.
> I know this may sound daft, but i want to purchase a GPS approx £150 price rang, is it ready to use straight away, or do i then need to go out & buy more mapping software to upgrade it.
Handheld GPS recievers come in two basic flavours:
1 those without mpaping
2 those with mapping.
The former (no mapping) will provide you with a position (for instance, an OSBG grid reference), and most will allow you to connect to a computer an load a route plan into the receiver. There are free websites that will allow you to plan a route using online mapping, and export the file to your GPS (wheresthepath for instance). You will not be able to transfer the map to the receiver, only the route. The receiver will help you to follow the route by telling you which direction & distance to go to the next point in the route.
The latter (mapping) will display your position on a map shown on the screen. The unit will usually come with a low resolution mapping (say entire UK at 1:100k), but, if it uses OS mapping, you will have to buy map data for areas you are interested in. This can be quite expensive. Some units will use non-OS mapping and may be cheaper. Some units are able to use open-source mapping such as OpenStreetMap or the SMC maps (not that these are purely topographic, and don't feature roads, footpaths, town, rivers, etc.)
All GPS receivers are they come out of the box will give you a position fix, without needing any additional software. Most modern receivers will also come with software to allow you to tranfer data to and from the receiver. You may have to configure the receiver to present positions in an appropriate gird system (e.g. OSGB36 for UK).
The instruction manuals for the three satnavs that I have owned have been deporably unhelpful for a beginner.
I suggest that you buy a book that will take you through the basics in a structured way. The best title that I have come across for somone in your position is GPS for Walkers; an Introduction to GPS and Digital Maps by Clive Thomas published by Jarrold in association with the Ordnance Survey. It was published in 2006 and therefore does not cover the latest developments in a fast-moving technology, but it takes you by the hand, assumes that you know nothing about the subject, and will guide you on your first steps into the world of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).
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