The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a navigational system consisting of a number of satellites that enables anyone to know their position on Earth. It works regardless of the weather, day or night, using radio signals that bounce between the receiver on Earth and the satellite in space. It is the only fully functional navigation system that can be used anywhere in the world.
Electronics in general has become smaller and smaller, and GPS technology is no exception. Today, you can find many GPS devices which you can hold and operate in the palm of your hand. Most of these handheld devices are designed to be used outdoors such as when you are traveling, hiking or skiing. The GPS unit can not only provide navigational details such as where you are and how to get to where you want to go, but other details such as local and topographic details. Some even provide details on the weather forecast.
Corresponding to the decrease in size has been the decrease in cost. You can find a good quality handheld GPS system at a very affordable price. One small issue with many handheld GPS is the size of their memory due to the need for them to be compact. By spending a little extra, you can usually get a unit which has up to 16MB of memory, and these types are typically more powerful with extra features.
Bikers, hikers, skiers and travelers use handheld GPS units in their activities and there are many devices specifically designed for particular outdoor activities such as biking, golf and hiking. Handheld units are usually very easy to use and have displays that are simple to read. You can even find some GPS units that are voice enabled.
The many different handheld GPS gadgets that on the market today can make it difficult to choose one. Rest assured there are many that will meet your needs. For example, the Garmin StreetPilot 7500 GPS Portable has a 7 inch screen and a wireless remote. It also features maps of US and Canada included, built in antennae, WASS enabled and a MP3 player so you listen to music on the boring parts of your trip.
A palm sized GPS unit is the Garmin eTrex Handheld GPS. The buttons on this gadget are all on the one side to enable you to use it with just one hand and is specifically manufactured to meet the needs of hunters, climbers, hikers and bikers. The software can be updated for free. Another Garmin is the Garmin GPS III Plus which has great reception even in the densest of areas.
A popular Magellan GPS is the Road Mate 2000. Portable, affordable and powerful, it is extremely easy to read the screen with anti-glare and bright features. It also has a battery with a long life.
Buying a handheld unit is very easy. There are many listed in online stores or at your local electronic store. Make sure you do your home work and buy a well know brand that is known for its quality. It is also a good idea to test drive the GPS unit to ensure that you find it easy to use.