What can you do with a GPS and why would you want one.
Here is a list for drivers and RV owners.
- They are a great deal of fun to use.
- They are useful if you get lost and you have a map that gives
UTM or lat/lon coordinates.
- You can actually follow yourself on a map in real time display which
allows planning turns, stops, etc if your unit has output capability.
- You can answer the question "Are we there yet?"
- Did I mention they are fun?
- You can find where you left your car.
- Lets you tell the AAA where to send the tow truck.
- You can set waypoints and see directions to get there.
- You can record the exact path you took to get somewhere and
play it back later for someone else to see.
- You can prove how fast you were going when stopped by the cops.
- You can use it as a compass (if you're moving).
- When camping, you can use it to find your camp when you go on a hike
or to town.
- You can use it to estimate arrival times.
- Did I mention they are fun?
- You can calibrate your speedometer.
- You can use it as a speedometer if yours is missing or broken.
- You can use it as a trip meter.
- With the right database you can find restaurants and other things.
- You can plan a trip ahead of time and the unit will even tell you
where to turn.
- You can use the info from a GPS to program your dbs satellite receiver.
- If it is connected to a cell phone you can give the police your
cell phone number and they can track your stolen vehicle (some
extra cost accessories required).
- You can locate the spot where the fish were biting.
- You can amaze your friends.
- You can find your altitude within a hundred feet.
- You can find out exactly what time it is.
- Did I mention they are fun?
- You can go back the same way you came easily.
- If something flies out of the window you can mark the spot and return
to the exact place.
- You can amuse yourself on public transportation.
- You can use it to learn something about navigation.
- You can remember the location of that place you only go to once a year.
- It can be a great navigation calculator. For example it will tell
you how far apart two places are if you know their locations.
- Many units can tell you when the sun will rise and set.
Marine users can find plenty of uses from the above list plus a few more.
- If someone falls overboard you can return and find him or her.
- In conjunction with a chart you can avoid shallow water.
- You can avoid submerged objects.
- You can know where you are without any landmarks.
- They are just as much fun on a boat.
- You can find the next buoy in the race or the trip home.
- You can see if your drifting.
- You can hook it to your fish finder.
- You can see true speed and distance over the ground.
- You can win log races (if they let you use it).
- You can use it to drive your self steering system.
Other uses for a GPS include:
- Documenting the location of that neat photograph.
- Having something useful to talk about on your home video.
- Doing some amateur surveying.
- Finding the altitude of your house.
- If you have a combined GPS/cell phone your friends can watch you
move around on the internet if you wish.
- A couple of combined GPS/frs walkie talkies can be used to
keep contact and help if one person gets lost.
- Helps you justify the palm top you wanted to buy.
- Instantly find your location on an electronic map.
- You can use the backlight for a flashlight in a pinch.
- Figuring out where the cruise ship or airplane is.
- Setting your clock.
- Teaching your kids about maps, navigation, and geography.
There are plenty of other users as well. These include aviators, hikers,
bicyclists, motorcyclists, skiers, joggers, fishermen, hotair balloonists,
kayakers, surveyors, astronomers, and lots more.
...And, how about hobbies and Games
A GPS can be used to enhance your hobbies or to develop some new ones.
Here is a list of some unusual items.
- Some folks install a GPS in their model airplanes. Later, after the
flight is over they can download a track and see where it went.
- Ever wonder where your dog goes at night? Install a GPS on his back
and when he returns you can find out.
- You can search for confluences. These are spots on the earth where
the lat/lon numbers all zero out to an exact whole degrees. There are
folks that think these are fun places to find! You can also look for
government survey markers scattered around the world.
- Other folks have set up hidden treasures (called geocaches) that can
be located by GPS. Don't expect to find a million dollars though.
- Maybe your next progressive dinner won't include any traditional
addresses but only lat/lon coordinates. No cheating by saying whose
house it is.
- Some cameras can include location data right on the picture or perhaps
you can just take a picture with your GPS in the foreground.
- Golfers can use a GPS to display the distance to the pin. Useful for
picking the right club to use.
- A hunter might find that deer stand he/she used last year.
- Some of the newer GPS units even have games built in.
What about your job?
Certainly many jobs spring to mind when thinking about a GPS. For
example a surveyor, a pilot, or a ships captain, but how about a few
more unusual uses.
- How about for a rural newspaper route? Perhaps the papers would
even get delivered when you were sick.
- How about a real estate agent who wants to show a house in a
strange neighborhood without getting you and the client lost?
- How about any job that collects field data? Wouldn't the location
where the data was found be useful?
- How about a farmer? Useful to manage those microclimates on your
- Besides, why shouldn't work be fun too?
Other User's Contributions
It seems that some other users have come up with some interesting
contributions for how they might use their GPS. Here are a few.
- Stephan Pataro over at GPS-hotspots.com contributed
the following uses:
- Find your wedding.
- Find the rest of the Atocha Treasure. (Must be one of those hotspots
he is alway hollering about. -dd)
- Locate your house after a Tornado. (Well, your house site at least. -dd)
- Find anything in snow, sand, or darkness.
- Send friends to EXACTLY the wrong place.
- You get to use the excuse "I must have transposed my coordinates."
- A. E. Mathrone is a paramedic and he uses his GPS to let the Air
Ambulance know exactly where the scene is so they can land near by
to pick up the patient.
- Lee Gruenfeld uses his gps to find the extra ski he drops when
he goes slalom skiing. He reports the MOB function is quite useful.
- A woman who calls herself Foopa reports that a hidden GPS can be used
to see what her husband was up to the previous evening. (Probably
not a recommended use for family harmony. -dd)
- John King is a firefighter for the City of Daytona Beach and
during the Wildfires of 1998 he directed the helicopters flying in
water drops by radioing in the information from his hand held GPS.
- John Bennett reports that a GPS can provide guidance data when a
wet snow has covered all of the road signs rendering them
useless. (A GPS should also help at night, I would think, for
similar reasons. -dd)
- An email from Funneman1 says he uses his GPS to find his favorite
ice fishing spot from year to year. "You can also find your
snowmobile if it gets buried in the snow when you go for help."
- An email from Boots says, "I drive tow truck in rural America,
after dropping off costumers in the bay area GPS leads me home
better than customers saying go down to the big safeway, hang a
right and follow the non existent signs."
- Rodd Westwood says, "I use mine as a speedo on my hovercraft, the
only way to get an accurate speedo."
- Chet Long says, "I use my GPS when I go on my daily exercise
walk. It shows my how fast I am walking and if in a new area or
different route I know how far I have gone so I don't exercise too
much. I'd hate to overdo it."
- Murd from nowhere say, "I take my Garmin GPS 12 when I have to
look for a car we have to repossess. I mark the location. The
coordinates are reported and the crew knows exactly where to go. I
also use it extensively in my favorite hobby, ATVing. It has saved my
butt from a long cold night wondering where I was more than once using
How about the rest of you? Do you have any interesting uses?