A satellite navigation device, also known as a satnav, is a device that utilizes global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) to determine its location and provide navigational assistance. There are currently four operational GNSS systems: the United States GPS, the European Union’s Galileo, Russia’s GLONASS, and China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) and Japan’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) are also in development.
A satnav can access location and time information from one or more GNSS systems in any weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth’s surface. However, the device must have an unobstructed line of sight to at least four GNSS satellites in order to receive a signal. This can be disrupted by obstacles such as trees or buildings, or by meteorological conditions. Many satnav devices are used in vehicles, while others are built into smartphones using assisted GNSS (A-GNSS) technology, which can use cell towers to improve Time to First Fix (TTFF) in poor signal conditions. However, A-GNSS relies on a mobile network connection, so it may not be available when the device is outside of range.
History of Satellite Navigation Devices
The development of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) can be traced back to the Cold War era when the US and Russian governments invested heavily in satellite technology for military purposes. The US and Russian GNSS programs were expensive, with the cost being justified by military interests. In contrast, the European Galileo system was developed with a purely civilian focus.
The development of the GPS (Global Positioning System) can be traced back to the 1960s when the US Navy launched the Transit satellite-based navigation system for naval navigation. In the following decades, the US military continued to improve and refine its satellite navigation technology and systems. In 1973, the US military began planning for a comprehensive worldwide navigation system, which became known as GPS. In 1983, following the downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 due to a navigational error, President Ronald Reagan made the GPS system available for dual civilian and military use, with some limitations for civilian use. In 1989, Magellan Navigation Inc. released the first commercial handheld GPS receiver, the Magellan NAV 1000. In 2000, the Clinton administration removed the military use signal restrictions, allowing for full commercial access to the GPS system.
In the 1990s, car manufacturers began incorporating satellite navigation systems, or satnavs, into their vehicles. In 1990, Mazda’s Eunos Cosmo became the first production car with a built-in satnav system. The following year, Mitsubishi introduced satnav car navigation on the Mitsubishi Debonair. In 1997, a navigation system using Differential GPS was developed as a factory-installed option on the Toyota Prius. These developments marked the beginning of the widespread use of satnavs in vehicles.
As the demand for global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) grew, the price of such systems decreased and their availability increased. This led to the entry of several new manufacturers into the market, including Garmin, Benefon, Mio, and TomTom. The development of smartphone technology also contributed to the widespread use of GNSS, as GPS chips became a standard feature in most smartphones. In addition to its use in navigation systems and smartphones, GNSS technology has also been incorporated into other devices, such as cameras. The popularity of GNSS devices has continued to grow, with the development of new software and hardware applications.
The American GPS (Global Positioning System) was the first satellite navigation system to be deployed on a global scale and made available for commercial use. However, it is not the only system of its kind. Other countries, such as Russia, the European Union, China, India, and Japan, have also developed or are in the process of developing their own global or regional GNSS systems due to military and other concerns.
Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) have become widely used in various applications. For example, parents may use GNSS devices to track the location and movements of their children. GNSS technology is also used to monitor the movements and behavior of animals, and to aid in law enforcement activities such as car chases and the capture of criminals. One example of this is the use of GPS bullets, which can be used to track the location of a criminal from a distance. Overall, GNSS technology has become an important tool in many different fields, providing a reliable means of determining location and tracking movement.
Best GPS Navigation Systems For Cars
Dedicated portable GPS navigation systems are still popular among drivers because they offer a number of benefits compared to using a smartphone for navigation. One advantage is that a portable GPS does not use up data or drain the battery of a phone, as the maps are stored in the device and it does not rely on a cellular connection. Portable GPS systems also typically offer accurate on-screen and spoken directions, as well as free lifetime map updates. Some models may also have additional features such as a larger screen, traffic information, the ability to connect to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity, and a backup camera connection. When choosing a portable GPS system, it is important to consider the features and price to find the best combination for your needs.
The Garmin DriveSmart 66 is a portable GPS navigation system that stands out for its high-quality display and useful features. It has a 6.0-inch capacitive touchscreen with sharp resolution and multi-touch zooming capabilities, as well as voice control and Wi-Fi for easy updates. It also includes Amazon Alexa capability and can be connected to Garmin’s backup camera. Overall, the DriveSmart 66 is a strong choice for those who value visual and audible directions, as well as additional navigational features.
Pros and cons
The Garmin DriveSmart 66 has a number of pros and cons to consider. One of the benefits of the DriveSmart 66 is its high-quality 6.0-inch capacitive touchscreen, which allows for easy multi-touch zooming and has a sharp resolution. It also includes intuitive voice control and Wi-Fi for easy updates. When paired with Garmin’s smartphone app, it allows users to see live traffic information, weather, fuel prices, and parking information.
However, the DriveSmart 66 is more expensive than many smaller GPS models, and its traffic information may not be as reliable as that provided by Google Maps or SiriusXM traffic. Additionally, updates for maps outside of North America can be costly.
The Garmin RV 890 is a portable GPS navigation system designed specifically for use in recreational vehicles (RVs) and pull-behind trailers. It features an 8.0-inch display that can be mounted either horizontally or vertically and provides custom routing based on the size and weight of the vehicle. In addition to the standard navigation features offered by Garmin, the RV 890 also includes a directory of RV parks and services, as well as information from other RV-related sources. It is a good choice for those who need a GPS system that is tailored to the specific needs of their RV or trailer.
Pros and cons
The Garmin RV 890 has a number of pros and cons to consider. One of the main advantages of this GPS system is that it calculates the best routes based on the size and weight of the RV or trailer, ensuring that the user does not encounter any routing surprises. It also includes voice control, Bluetooth connectivity to Garmin’s smartphone app, and Wi-Fi updating. The RV 890 is also compatible with Garmin’s PowerSwitch, which allows for control of RV accessories.
However, it is more expensive than traditional GPS devices, and its traffic information may not be as reliable as that provided by Google Maps or SiriusXM traffic.
The TomTom Go Comfort 6 is a portable GPS navigation system that offers a number of useful features at a reasonable price. It includes free traffic updates and the ability to sync with a smartphone, making it a good choice for those who want to stay up-to-date on traffic conditions. It also provides free world map coverage, which is a useful feature for those who plan to travel internationally. The Go Comfort 6 is TomTom’s base model, but it is a step up from the Garmin DriveSmart 52 and only costs $30 more. Overall, the TomTom Go Comfort 6 is a solid choice for those who want a reliable GPS system at a reasonable price.
Pros and cons
The TomTom Go Comfort 6 has a number of pros and cons to consider. One of the benefits of this GPS system is its Bluetooth connectivity and Wi-Fi software updates, which allow for easy updates and integration with other devices. It is also compact and portable, fitting easily into a shirt pocket. The Go Comfort 6 has a number of user-adjustable features, including points of interest and road names, which make it easy to customize the navigation experience.
It has a lower resolution display than the Garmin DriveSmart 66, which can make it a bit blurrier. The display is also difficult to see in direct sunlight, and the device does not automatically turn on and off.
The TomTom Go Comfort 7 is a high-end portable GPS navigation system that offers a range of features for drivers. It is available with a sharp 7.0-inch display and provides many of the same features as the Garmin DriveSmart models. One advantage of the Go Comfort 7 is that it can save money on new maps when navigating overseas. However, it may not be as good overall as the Garmin DriveSmart 66, which is considered the top-of-the-line model in terms of performance and features.
Pros and cons
The TomTom Go Comfort 9 has a number of pros and cons to consider. One of the main advantages of this GPS system is that it provides free “world” map coverage, which is a useful feature for those who plan to travel internationally. It also has Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi updating, a multi-touch display, and a slick powered magnetic mount. The Go Comfort 9 provides real-time traffic, fuel prices, and parking information via the TomTom smartphone app, which can be useful for drivers who want to stay up-to-date on these things.
It lacks many of the handy navigation extras that are found on the Garmin models, and after the first year, users have to pay for live fuel prices and parking information. It is also more expensive than most of the other recommended models.
The TomTom Go Supreme 5.0 is a portable GPS navigation system that offers a range of features for drivers. It is a smaller, less expensive version of the 7.0-inch Go Discover model, but it still provides comprehensive “world” map coverage and many of the same features. The Go Supreme 5.0 is available in 5.0-inch and 6.0-inch versions, with the latter costing $50 more. Some of the features of the Go Supreme include Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi updating, a multi-touch display, and a slick powered magnetic mount. It also provides real-time traffic, fuel prices, and parking information via the TomTom smartphone app. Overall, the TomTom Go Supreme 5.0 is a good choice for drivers who want a compact, feature-rich GPS system at an affordable price.
Pros and cons
The TomTom Go Supreme 5.0 has a number of pros and cons to consider. One of the main advantages of this GPS system is that it is smaller and less expensive than the TomTom Go Discover model.
It also provides free “world” map coverage, which is a useful feature for those who plan to travel internationally. It has Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi updating, a slick powered magnetic mount, and real-time traffic information via the TomTom smartphone app. However, the Go Supreme 5.0 has a lower-resolution display than the Go Discover or the Garmin DriveSmart 66, and its touchscreen is not as responsive as the Go Discover’s.
It also lacks many of the handy navigation extras that are found on the Garmin models. Overall, the TomTom Go Supreme 5.0 is a good choice for drivers who want a compact, feature-rich GPS system at an affordable price, but it may not be the best option for those who want the highest-quality display or the most advanced navigation features.