Gone are the days where a person had to use a paper travel map in order to find out how to get from one place to another. Now there is new technology called GPS systems, or global positioning systems. These devices, which have been used by the military for many years have recently become popular with the public. These are electronic devices that come in different forms, from handheld models to display models that are mounted or even a permanent fixture of some newer cars. These devices, which are controlled by satellite, work by punching in a starting address and the final destination address. Once that information is put into the GPS, the GPS will guide the person step by step, turn by turn until the person has arrived at his or her destination. Some GPS systems will actually talk to you and tell you exactly where to turn and when, others are simply an interactive map that will show you on a display when and where to turn, but will not give verbal directions. Along with showing or telling the person where to turn, it also says where you are at, at which direction you are currently heading.
These global positioning systems, or GPS, are very handy to drivers since the driver does not need to be hassled with a large map while he or she is trying to keep their hands on the steering wheel and their eyes on the road. This is particularly true for those drivers that are driving without someone else to navigate for them. These GPS systems are also very handy if a person does become lost. Because the system will tell the person where they are at, they could call for help and be able to tell another person their direction and exactly where they are.
Not only are GPS systems useful for drivers, but they are also very useful to anyone that is unfamiliar with any location that they are at. Take for instance hikers. With hand held GPS systems, they can make the most of their hike and again, if they get turned around, they can find out how to get back on track if they know which direction they should go in relation to the direction they are currently headed.
Of course, this new technology is very handy and can save a person a lot of hassle, but it is important to understand how to use the particular system, and to understand that not all GPS systems work exactly the same way. It is also important to know that with any technology, they may not always work and it is still a good idea to have a traditional back up travel map, just in case.
Whether using an electronic device such as a GPS, or using a traditional map, it is a good idea to become familiar with it and familiar with your destination before you actually leave for any trip. Maps, whether traditional or electronic are only as good as the person that knows how to use and read them.