Some GPS Mini Tracker have a simulator or demonstration mode

When it comes to weighing the pros and cons of PDA navigation systems, you really have to examine your needs and planned use. If you plan on using a Personal GPS Tracker exclusively for road navigation, you should definitely consider a PDA. However if you’re going to be using GPS primarily in an outdoor setting, you’re probably better off with a handheld GPS receiver. If you’re leaning toward a PDA navigation system (or already have one) and want to operate it out in the elements, at least buy an OtterBox or some type of protective bag. See the sidebar, “OtterBoxes.” (I also like the Voyageur waterproof and padded bags, see for product details.) I guarantee that your repair and replacement bills will be considerably less compared with stowing your PDA in a jacket pocket.

Finding your ancestors

A lot of people are into genealogy these days, and your Rear View Mirror Navigation Bluetooth can be a helpful tool in tracking your ancestors. When you visit a cemetery looking for long-lost kin, bring your GPS receiver with you to record the exact locations of tombstones and grave plots. You can pass the latitude and longitude on to other relatives doing their own genealogical research. The coordinates can be extremely useful for someone locating a small out-of-the-way cemetery in the countryside, or a relative buried in a cemetery with thousands of plots.

Simulating navigation

Some GPS receivers have a simulator or demonstration mode. This is probably one of the most overlooked (but coolest) features on a GPS receiver. The simulator mode acts as if the receiver is actually acquiring GPS satellite information. You select a speed and a direction, and the GPS receiver pretends you’re moving. Because the receiver isn’t relying on acquiring satellite data, you can comfortably sit inside the house in your favorite chair, getting familiar with your new purchase. Depending on where you live or work, how many windows you have, and your view of the sky, your GPS receiver might (might) work indoors (or at least close to windows). Although you’re limited to what you can do with a GPS receiver indoors, it’s fun to see just how much GPS coverage you can get walking around inside a building. There are lots more things you can do with a Portable GPS besides using it for basic navigation. Think outside the box. Some examples include

Take digital pictures of cool places and record their coordinates with your GPS receiver. You can post them on a Web site or e-mail them to friends.

 If you have a small GPS receiver (like a Garmin Geko), securely attach it to your dog’s collar and track where Fido goes for the day. (You can also find commercial GPS pet locator products on the market.)

 Use your track log to create art. Some GPS users express themselves as artists by using their GPS receiver to record their movements as they walk around trying to create shapes or pictures.

Your goal should be to become confident using your GPS receiver and to have fun in the process.

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