Navigating with Garmin

September 20, 2008

GPS . . . What it is

If you are wondering, “What kind of software is used to power GPS units?” And perhaps you want to know how a specific GPS works, say maybe a Garmin GPS. Then you think, “Ummmm—I wonder how much is the average cost to keep up with the latest software with this technology?” To get answers to those questions, and more, you can begin gathering this knowledge by reading further.

To begin understanding this technology, one must first understand what the acronym GPS means. A GPS or Global Position System is a navigation system that functions via a satellite. The U.S. Department of Defense positioned 24 of these satellites as trajectories. Though many people use GPS systems, the initial use of the GPS was for military personnel. However, during the 1980’s this system became available for use by the general public. Because of the strategic position of these satellites, the GPS is capable of operation around the clock, in any part of the world.

Getting a GPS

The subscription costs involved in obtaining a GPS navigation system is zero. That’s right! There are no initial user charges or subscriber fees. Only of course the cost of purchasing the actual unit. I will talk about costs and upkeep later in the reading.

The Garmin Brand

As you would recall the GPS satellites orbit the globe twice daily communicating with the Earth thus allowing GPS users to chart their courses, so to speak, to their individual destinations. For example when in use, the Garmin GPS “uses triangulation to calculate the user’s exact location.” Basically, a comparison is made between the times a GPS receives a signal to that of the transmission by the satellite. The distance of the satellite from the GPS is determined by the time the signal is received. Information such as: altitude, longitude, and latitude are ascertained by the transmission of signals from these satellites to the GPS to providing this information.

Channeling and Frequency

You are probably wondering, “So . . . does a GPS use some sort of channeling system to receive information?” Yes! A GPS unit functions using channel receivers which are parallel. When the GPS is turned on these channel receivers—twelve receivers—holds on to the satellite reading and sustains this reading throughout the operation of the device. Radio signals can be transmitted at 1575.42 Mhz on the UHF band.

  • The software uses three types of information for the radio signal namely:
  • An ID code identifying the satellite that transmits the information
  • Location of the specific satellite including all others in orbit
  • Present time and date: this is of utmost importance for the GPS user’s location.

Mapping Software

  • The Mapping software for the Garmin GPS coordinates with the locational software providing a 2D or 3D map.
  • Voice technology allows the units to provide direction in numerous languages, and voice tones. For example, it is possible to get software that may have the voice of your favorite celebrity
  • Updates to the operating software can be done using the Internet
  • Updates to the electronic maps costs $69.99 and are available by downloading from the Garmin website or by DVD ordered from Garmin. Downloads of operating software are free.

Now, get ready to navigate the globe!

Sources cited:


3 Responses to “Navigating with Garmin”

  1. T Says:

    Pretty neat!

  2. kim74 Says:

    Considering I do not have a GPS system, I had no idea how these worked. It is pretty amazing to me how they can have satellites that can receive the information that you send out, and know the exact location that you need to get to. Then it sends back directions in form that we can understand. Although the cost appears to be minimal at this point, I am still not sure if this is something that I can not live without at this point.

  3. alrosa Says:

    Great post, I never put much time in knowing how my GPS works. You’ve answered most questions anyone would’ve had. I personally love my GPS. I do a lot of driving, and it’s come to the point where I don’t even have to try and remember where a street was, or the quickest route to get there. I just plug in the address and the directions come up. A lazy mans dream come true!I love it!

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