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GPS

GPS Q&A

We make it easy to find the right GPS for your needs. Whether you just want to get from point A to point B, or learn why a GPS might be a better choice than using a smartphone, or even improve your golf game, get your answers here.

How can I familiarize myself with my new GPS receiver before taking a trip?

For your first outing, instead of plotting a course to a far-off destination filled with unfamiliar turns and landmarks, plot a course to someplace you go regularly. This gives you the opportunity to see how your GPS receiver delivers information on roads and points of interest in the real world, without the distraction of being in a new location.

More tips for getting started

Be patient: The first time you turn on your GPS receiver it may take a few minutes to get a signal.

Go outside: To help ensure you get a signal, avoid trying to set up your new receiver in your home or garage.

Call a friend: When you're ready to give your receiver a real-world test, take along a friend and let them drive while you familiarize yourself with the GPS unit and its controls.

Ensure a clear signal: Your GPS receiver needs clear line of sight to three satellites in order to pinpoint your location. Occasionally, something as small as a tree can block the signal from one satellite. If you're having trouble, try locating a clearing to get a better signal.

Still need help? If you have trouble setting up your GPS receiver, let us show you the way. Learn more about GPS or talk to a Geek Squad® agent at a store near you.

How does an outdoor GPS help with hiking and other outdoor activities?

A handheld or outdoor GPS helps you get where you want to go in the great outdoors. Most come with a set of preloaded maps. But if you really want to get off the beaten path, you can update your GPS with topographical maps, many of which include detailed trail maps and U.S. National Park maps, marine maps for boating, and detailed street maps to get you wherever you're going. GPS technology can also help you determine altitude and barometric pressure, provide an electronic compass, hunting and fishing calendars, sun and moon information, and tide table charts. Keep in mind that certain factors like dense foliage, canyon walls, and other obstacles can affect the accuracy of a GPS. So if you anticipate these conditions, you may want to choose a GPS receiver with Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). This information can be found in the Specifications tab on the product page.

Does my GPS need a lot of memory to add detailed maps?

If you require detailed maps, you may have to consider how much space they take up versus the space available on your GPS device. Our recommendation is that you first determine what type of maps you'll need. Then, select a GPS that has enough space to store those maps. Keep in mind that most GPS units come preloaded with simple base maps, while more advanced models may already contain extensive topographical maps. Others have hard drive space to download maps from the Internet. And higher-end models may have memory card slots to create limitless map space, since the maps reside on very small SD or microSD memory cards.

How can a GPS help with my fitness routine?

Fitness GPS units help you do more than just determine your route. Many will let you track your distance, pace and calories burned. Many units include a heart rate monitor, too. Some fitness GPS devices allow you to store personal data and track your progress on the device as well as on your computer. Still others allow you to mark waypoints and train with a virtual competitor to maximize your fitness routine. You can even find models that attach to your bike with a separate mount.

Can a golf GPS really help me improve my game?

Golf GPS units can help you take the guesswork out of your next shot. They offer precise information instantly, including distances to the green, bunkers, hazards and other course-specific information.

Why buy a GPS unit when I have a map function on my smartphone?

There are a couple of reasons that a portable GPS unit is preferable to using the maps on your smartphone. First, if you don't have an unlimited data plan on your phone, you might be surprised at how quickly you'll reach your data limit when using maps. GPS units don't require a data plan. Second, with most GPS units you have the flexibility of adding maps for specific areas and countries, U.S. National Parks, waterways and more. With a lot of GPS units you'll also get lifetime map and traffic updates so you don't have to worry about always having the most up-to-date maps, and lane-assist functions like Junction View that offer detailed information about which lane is best. Screen size, the ease-of-use, and the ability to integrate a GPS unit into your car might be other reasons to consider a GPS over a smartphone.