I've always been a keen walker. I'm not just talking about a trip to the shops, I'm talking about hill walking; the great outdoors. I've been on walking holidays that last weeks and I've walked up and down some impressive hills and mountains in the years I've been doing it. I also try to take part in a few orienteering events each year as well, it's a lot more interesting than running on a treadmill, and it costs a lot less too.
As a result of all this outdoor activity I've become quite a skilled map reader and I have a large collection of maps at home to prove it. Maps of places I've been and places I hope to go one day. Being able to read a map when you're effectively in the middle of nowhere is not only a good skill, it can sometimes be the difference between life and death. You don't want to get lost in a remote and inhospitable mountainous region as night is falling, you might not be found for quite some time. So I take map reading very seriously and always make sure I have one with me no matter where I am walking.
So it was to my surprise on a recent trip with five fellow enthusiasts that I found I was the only person who seemed to be regularly referring to a map while we made our way across a remote stretch of the Scottish highlands. It wasn't until I asked someone why everyone kept getting their mobile phones out that I was told they were looking at maps on GPS enabled devices. I wasn't the only person looking at maps after all but I was the only person with a map!
As a result I've recently been reading lots of GPS receiver reviews in an attempt to bring myself up to speed and into the 21st century. After talking to a few friends about them I've also learned that there are a variety of ways in which I can gain GPS capabilities and consign my map collection to a desk drawer or study shelf. After much study I've narrowed the possibilities down to three options.
Sat Nav - Most GPS receivers reviews cover the area of Sat Nav, in fact for a while I was under the impression that the only devices available were Sat Nav units. Sat Nav devices are designed to be used for car journeys and sit nicely on a car dashboard. Many are fixed but there are some that can be taken out and used in another car and there are some that advertise themselves as truly portable. The GPS receiver reviews I read told me which were portable and I decided if I was to go down the Sat Nav route it would have to be one of these that I chose.
Handheld - There was a crossover and some portable Sat Navs were also reviewed as completely handheld devices which is not strictly true. The truly portable, handheld devices were smaller and generally had more features than the car Sat Navs. They appealed to me the most.
Mobile phone - The most interesting thing to come out of reading my collection of GPS receivers reviews was learning that many mobile phones now have the ability to double up as GPS devices themselves. Unfortunately my phone was as old as some of the well thumbed maps I have at home and so didn't have this capability. However after going through all the GPS receivers review I can get my hands on I have now decide that maybe I can kill two birds with one stone and get a new phone that has everything built into it.
Dominic Donaldson is an expert in the technology industry.
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