A GPS system for your motorcycle can also help to make your journeys as comfortable, and stress-free as possible. If you fancy a break, or you’re running out of petrol, your GPS can help. More importantly, your GPS unit can guide you back to safety when you get lost, or accidentally take the wrong turning. With voice guided directions, and software brimming with points of interest (POI), such as petrol stations, restaurants, service stations, and hotels; your GPS can guarantee you a journey of uninterrupted enjoyment.
The Global Positioning System’s constellation of orbiting satellites is managed by the United States Air Force 50th Space Wing. The unit is the host wing at Schriever Air Force Base, located in east Colorado Springs, Colorado. They are responsible for tracking and maintaining the command and control, warning, navigational, and communications satellites for Air Force Space Command as well as the Global Positioning System satellites. Full Operational Capability was declared by NAVSTAR in April 1995 (NAVSTAR is an acronym for NAVigation Satellite Timing and Ranging, and is the official U.S. Government name given to the GPS satellite system).
You can ask both retailers and GPS experts what the best units are. However, when choosing a GPS Receiver, your needs may differ from the needs of another, so, you should determine which unit you want to use on your own, based on exactly what your GPS specs are.
There are 3 types of GPS units for motorbikes; portable outdoor units, GPS units designed specifically for your motorcycle/ scooter, and GPS/PDA hybrids.
If you also enjoy outdoor activities such as mountain biking, rambling, or even camping; a portable GPS that can be taken anywhere with you would be ideal. As well as navigating your off-road pursuits, versatile Sat Nav’s, like the Garmin Quest 2, operate in any vehicle. As well as motorcycling, you can take it in your car, on your boat, or even on a plane with you.
GPS devices designed exclusively for motorcycles can offer you some very impressive features. Especially designed with you, the motorcyclist, in mind, units like the TomTom RIDER have tough, weather-proof casing, touch-screen options for gloves, and anti-glare screens. One of the latest features introduced by TomTom for effective communication, is a system which transmits your spoken instructions via a built-in Bluetooth audio system, using a headset that sits inside your helmet.
In 2004 the United States signed an agreement with the European Community establishing cooperation with Europe’s planned Galileo system. Galileo is a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) that is currently being built by the European Union and is separate from but complimentary to the United States Global Positioning System. The European Union’s Galileo system should be operational by 2013. The European Community’s political aim is to provide an independent GPS system that the European nations can rely on in times of war or political disagreement, because both Russia or the USA could disable use of their national systems by others (through encryption).
In order to understand what kind of GPS Unit you want a brief overview of how they work is necessary. A GPS receiver uses a triangular technique to pinpoint your exact location on a map. The triangular formation uses three or four satellites at one time to send a signal to and from the GPS receiver. It does not matter whether you are using a Portable GPS Unit or a Handheld GPS Unit, you will need to be able to make contact with the satellites in order for the GPS receiver to work.
Once the satellites and the GPS receiver send signals, the distance from each of the three satellites to the receiver is computed and a location is determined. This happens quite fast, since these signals travel on radio waves. In fact, it must travel as fast as a nanosecond in order to work sufficiently and alert you as to your exact location.
In essence, your choice can be reasonably simple: Buy the most expensive GPS that you can afford, that suits your needs.
It is important, using my pointers above, to decide which features are most important to you. If you want an up-to-the-minute GPS for your motorcycle; with features like real-time, on demand traffic information, hands-free calling, turn by turn voice instructions via bluetooth headsets, alerts for speed camera locations, plus thousands of useful points of interest, GPS sytems like the TomTom RIDER start from approximately £550 inc. VAT.
If, however, you are looking for more of a toy to play with, and a GPS that will simply get you from A to B, then a hand held device could be a better choice. With a range of features, like simple voice guidance, compass mode, MP3 player, and essentially portability, GPS devices like the Mio 268 and the Garmin Quest 2 are ideal for motorcycles, and a range of outdoor activities. The Mio 268, and hand held GPS units with similar features, start from approximately £250 inc. VAT.