If you’re new to GPS technology, using such a device for the first time might seem very complicated. The reality is, though, that these units were designed to be as easily operated as possible, so all you have to do is learn a few simple steps and after you’ve mastered them, you’ll be able to learn the more complicated features of a GPS.
The most important advice anyone can give you about the first use of a GPS is not to plunge with it directly in a cross-country trip, and test it first in nearby areas, so you can accustom yourself with the machine without getting lost.
The second thing you have to do is to set the GPS in a fixed position that will allow you to look at it while you’re driving, without impeding your sight in any way. Furthermore, the modern GPS unit has voice navigation, so most of the times you won’t be needing to look at it very often. Before choosing a place for it, though, check the legislation of your state, or of the states you’re going to drive through, as in some states of the US, attaching a GPS unit to your windshield is illegal.
As GPS units function based on the signals transmitted by satellites, it is crucial that your unit locks into the satellites, so that they can establish your exact location on the map. To do this, you should be under clear sky, as thick canopy and tall buildings will interfere with the signal. A Satellite screen will show you the configuration of the satellites and the strength of the signal. This feature should be present in all the models not only in the best GPS which are also the most expensive.
If you’re going to hike with a portable GPS, the best way to use it is to set waypoints for certain stops you want to make, for shelters or water sources. You can do this before leaving home, as part of a route, or while you’re hiking to mark your trail and make it easy for you to retrace your steps.
Lastly, check to see if the maps on your GPS are updated, and if you’ve paid for lifetime updates, make sure to download them. If your GPS includes a wifi connection, you can also let it update its maps automatically.