Who needs an automotive GPS? A better question would be: who doesnít? Itís a total no-brainer if you travel by car a lot. But GPS even comes in handy if you just drive around town. Like most guys, I hate to ask for directions (hey, they are generally useless anyway), and with a GPS I donít have to.
Remember those old American Express commercials where they said, ďDonít leave home without it?Ē I feel the exact same way about GPS. I have one in each of my cars and I have another, small one I picked up at an online GPS store a few months ago that I take with me when I travel. The latest units take hardly any space at all, and they really come in handy when youíre in a strange place and donít know your way around.
Truth be told, I used to be a GPS skeptic. Early units were often so complicated that you needed a degree in computer science to use them, and the mapping software was almost impossible to figure out. I thought GPS was okay Ė for those who already knew where they were going in the first place. And those people obviously didnít need a GPS. But the progress in Global Positioning Systems technology over the last three or four years has been phenomenal. Between the much better maps, new features, smaller units, and vastly better ease-of-use, I am a believer now.
Todayís GPS units are just too convenient and useful not to have one in your car. My latest one even plays music, shows photos, and lets you play games. GPS has become so simple and reliable that I even use it around town, like when I need to pick up something at a store or mall I havenít been to before. Iíve also used GPS to find ATMs, my favorite types of restaurants, and parks, airports and museums when I travel.
I also like other features that you generally find in most modern GPS units: They display how fast youíre going and I compare that to the (optimistic) speedometer in my car. They tell me how far I am from my destination, and how long it is likely going to take me to get there. I can even enter my preferences, such as using highways, avoiding toll roads and so on. And some of the latest models show everything in 3D, which I find more useful than just looking at a map. Finally, some units can be used not only in cars, but also when you go hiking or geo-caching.
So if you donít have one yet, buy a GPS. Check them out on the web. In my experience, itís easiest to find a GPS online. Many GPS websites offer both new and refurbished systems in different categories, like automotive, marine, recreational and so on. When it became time to find a GPS for my car, I did my research first, and then bought from a GPS store on an auction site. One of the units was refurbished, but like new, and I bought it at greatly reduced cost. The other was new, but I won the auction and got it for a steal.