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GPS devices are wonderfully capable but also complicated for the new user. GPS Primer provides GPS info explained in simple, everyday terms to get you started on the right foot in your travels.

Top Five Things GPS Can Do

1 Tell you where you are.
Your GPS can tell you exactly where you are on the face of the planet within a few feet. This is the first thing that your GPS will do after you fire it up. Put the batteries in, turn it on, and stand outside. The GPS will do the rest for you. There--you've just learned how to use your GPS! Well, there's more, of course, which is what the GPS Primer is all about.

2 Tell you which way to go next.
You can load your destination coordinates into your GPS, and the GPS will tell you which way to go to get there. Loading this information and using it to travel is the most important part of using a GPS. Learn more about how to get started in our GPS Basics Tutorial section.

3 Tell you where you have been.
This is called tracking and involves recording waypoints. We explain these terms and the other must-know GPS jargon in our incredibly brief GPS Glossary.

4 Tell you the time with atomic accuracy.
Time is what your GPS receiver uses to determine your location. Our How GPS Works FAQ is an easy to read summary of how the Global Positioning System works. Understanding this helps the peculiarities of GPS receivers make sense.

5 Enable you to go GEOCACHING!
A cool pastime, a hands-on way to get to know your GPS, and a way to connect with other folks who enjoy the outdoors. Get an introduction on our Geocaching Tutorial.

But that's not all...most GPS receivers can also:

  • Tell you how far you are from your destination
  • Calculate how fast you are walking
  • Record how far you have travelled
  • Display your altitude
  • Store detailed maps.

Some can calculate your heart rate, tell you which exit to take and even find fish for you! For a run down on all the cool kinds of GPS units there are, visit out our Garmin Demystified page.