When you're a dentist or doctor, you don't want to spend all day driving around trying to find the right road to get to a hospital or clinic where you're consulting. Unfortunately there aren't many people left who are able to read maps confidently, at least not while they are driving. For these people there are GPS systems, which are also useful in many other situations. Here are some common uses of GPS, or the Global Positioning System.

Driving

If you have a GPS system in your car, you no longer have to worry about whether you'll be able to find the art store you want to visit, even if it's in a city or town you've never been to before. Car based GPS systems are loaded with road maps of various locales (you may need to buy more map sets if you're going on vacation) and use a computer voice to tell you when and where to turn. All you have to do is make sure you program your destination correctly.

Hiking

GPS can also help you when you feel like you want to leave your loft behind and get back to nature for a little while. Handheld GPS units designed for hikers utilize special topographical maps to let you know where you are and where you've been so you can easily retrace your steps to get home. You can also program in destinations. Lots of people, from Girl Guides to families, use their handheld GPS devices to play a game called Geocaching, where hikers search for hidden treasure troves via GPS.

Tracking

When you own a GPS enabled device, you can often track it via your computer, as can the police if anything bad happens to you while you are in possession of the device. Tracking the GPS in someone's phone is one way to know how to tell exactly where they are. The GPS in your vehicle or cellular phone can also tell emergency services where you are if you've been in an accident or lead police to the home of a thief who steals GPS enabled devices.

Mapping

The world has been mapped out already, but often these maps are filled with points of general interest, not the locations that are useful to the consultants who buy the maps. If you want a special map, such as one with the locations of all your workplaces or a route guide to finding your family's cottages, you can create your own map on your GPS by tagging locations of interest and storing them in the unit's memory. You can even use your GPS to tell you how far you have to go and how fast you have to drive to get there on time.




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