Four Ways to Use GPS with Your PC

Four Ways to Use GPS with Your PC

Your personal computer is the perfect companion to your GPS device, but how do you connect your GPS device to your PC? Here are four ways you can integrate these two technologies and experience enhanced functionality anywhere you go.

Get Map Updates

A PC can provide you with an easy way to keep the maps and other data on your GPS device up to date.  For example, the TomTom GO 920 in-vehicle receiver comes included with a USB connection, desktop docking station and software installation CD.  With these components, you can download the latest road maps and other critical data on an as needed basis.  Additionally, several manufacturers allow you to buy, download and incorporate supplemental maps that stem beyond the standard maps that come included with your GPS device.

Plan Routes, Analyze and Log Data

With your PC and GPS working in unison, you can plan routes before you leave, and then download and analyze your trip data upon returning.  Most of the newer GPS receives come packaged with mapping software applications that let you plan routes on a PC and then download them to your GPS device.  This is particularly useful for a long day of hiking when used in conjunction with comprehensive supplemental topographic maps.  In addition, when you return from a workout or road trip, you can upload that data back to your computer mapping software to graph and analyze the information.  If you are an athlete, you can benefit tremendously by storing and analyzing workout data or creating a digital high-tech training diary.

Transform Your PC

Thanks to the advancements in GPS technology, you can also use your laptop itself as a GPS navigator.  "How?" you may.  Many vendors offer bundled packages that come with compact GPS receivers which can be connected to your laptop PC via a USB cable or Bluetooth.  These packages generally include substantial basemap sets and an intuitive program interfaces that allow you to manage the entire process.

Utilized GPS-Enhanced Web Services

Your personal computer is ideal for accessing GPS-enhanced services on the web.  Flickr and other popular online digital photo services allow you to attach GPS location data to your pictures.  These photos can be keyed to a map, enabling the creation of location-based image galleries.  There are also other types of online services that let you upload and route data such as elevation or even heart rate from a GPS device. This data can be mapped and shared with friends, associates or the world.   Sites like Allsport GPS and Motionbased are among several that allow you to display and manage GPS data for various purposes.

These are just four of many ways to partner your PC and GPS device.  All it takes is a compatible receiver to take your computing experience to the next level.  With the right match, the possibilities are almost endless.

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