If there is any single thing that makes the life of any motorist easier, it is definitely the Global Positioning System. Once a motorist is equipped with a GPS receiver loaded with current maps, he will be able to navigate without even thinking of his route and in most cases, the GPS system will calculate the best and most economical way of getting him to his destination.
All motorists can benefit immensely from having a GPS receiver, especially cab drivers, transport drivers, salesmen and entertainers, who find themselves going to many locations every day. There is nothing more dangerous than a driver juggling a street directory while driving to try and find his way to an address. A good GPS receiver will do the following:
For instance, navigating to the nearest shopping centre or railway station is as easy as pushing a button. Of course, when going to completely unfamiliar places such as interstate towns and cities, a GPS receiver is an extremely valuable tool.
To really save a lot of money and grief on the road, a good GPS receiver is indispensable. The investment in one of these marvellous devices will pay for itself over and over again, from the first time you avoid getting a traffic camera infringement and you find a better route without using toll roads. Once you use a GPS receiver for a few days, you will wonder how you ever lived without it. Remember that every GPS receiver with a current map database has every road in Australia in it, so you will never have to buy another map or street directory.
The amazingly rapid take-up of smartphones with GPS receivers by the Australian public makes these devices ideal for motoring use, rather than using standalone GPS receivers. Smartphones such as the Apple iPhone, Android series, BlackBerry, Motorola and many more brands allows these devices to be used not just in cars for navigation, but available for use while on foot or when arriving in unfamiliar places.
Car cradles are available for literally every model of smartphone, so motorists can mount them on the dashboards of their cars or stick them to windscreens and use them as a very cheap GPS solution. There are many excellent and inexpensive GPS software products, such as MetroView, TomTom Navigator, Co-Pilot, Navman, Garmin and others. These products all use on-board maps and Points Of Interest databases, so they do not require on-the-go map data downloads, as do Google Maps and Apple Maps applications.
The real beauty of using GPS-enabled smartphones over standalone GPS receivers is that other GPS software can be installed on smartphones and run simultaneously with the GPS navigation software. There are many terrific and often free applications, such as geocaching, topography, aviation navigation, marine navigation, magnetic compasses and much more.
With the massive increase in the use of smartphones, most of which have built-in GPS receivers, many people opt for using Google Maps or Apple Maps. Although mostly current maps are available, there are many disadvantages to using these particular applications for GPS.
The convenience of having the entire street directory of a nation stored in a smartphone's memory and accessible anywhere, regardless of cell access, cannot be overstated. It's one thing to download a piece of Google or Apple Maps to view on one's smartphone, but this requires being within range of a mobile phone cell. Standalone GPS software frees the user from this and the GPS will function in the middle of the Simpson Desert if required.
Many GPS receivers have data logging facilities that will record details of trips, including position of the car, date and time of the trip and speed. Apart from keeping data to recall one's trips, if a motorist is wrongly booked for speeding, he can use the data that was logged to show that at the time of the alleged speeding offence, he was driving at or below the speed limit.
There have been many cases where motorists using logged GPS data have beaten speeding fines by proving to courts that they were not speeding and that either the speed camera or speed gun was inaccurate, or the speed gun operator did not use the device correctly. In any event, if motorists are going to spend their money on GPS receivers, they might as well get ones that have data loggers and use them to obtain evidence of wrongful speeding bookings.
However, a better solution is to install a car black box recorder that will record a rolling log of the car's movements, as well as video and audio. Using a car black box recorder to log this data means that the motorist does not have to think about whether his smartphone is doing it at all times, because when the GPS function on the smartphone is switched off, the data logger will not record. But a car black box recorder will gather that data whenever the car is being driven. However, the data logger on a smartphone is better than none at all.
GPS receivers are getting cheaper by the day, although the best ones still cost over $300. Nevertheless, for reasons of convenience, safety and saving money by avoiding being booked by speed cameras, using a good GPS receiver with camera warnings while driving will prove most valuable. Even cheaper is using one's smartphone with very inexpensive GPS software. For instance, the wonderful MetroView GPS application for iPhone is extremely cheap, including lifetime map and POI updates. This wonderful technology has made car navigation a seamless and effortless experience.