Navigation system to the experts

Navigation devices – so that you never lose your orientation Navigation devices have become an indispensable part of modern vehicles. If you want to travel fast, without detours and also without unpleasant standstills in traffic jams, a navigation device is indispensable. In addition to navigation devices for cars and trucks, suitable models are also available for motorcycles and bicycles and even for hikers or friends of sailing or motor boating, the small devices are becoming increasingly important.

Basic function of the navigation devices

Navigation devices basically consist of a GPS receiver (Global Positioning System), which receives satellite signals and thus determines one's own location. The position values of the GPS receiver are compared with the map material stored in the navigation device and then a route is calculated according to the user's wishes. Higher-quality navigation devices also have integrated traffic jam warnings in the form of TMC or HD Traffic modules, which use data sent via the RDS system to ensure that traffic jams can be avoided over a wide area. Also detours can be registered with this system.

Mobile and handy systems

Most navigation devices are available as mobile systems and are built accordingly handy. They are attached to the windshield or dashboard of the car with a suction cup to which an appropriate device holder is attached. Some models are also built directly into car radios. The systems usually have a built-in antenna to receive the satellite signals. They are powered by the vehicle's electrical system or by powerful lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries. In battery mode, the devices can be in continuous use for more than ten hours without running out of battery power.

The screen as a central element

The central control element of all navigation devices is the screen. Depending on the performance class, the devices have displays up to a size of about seven inches (18 cm) diagonal, some of which are also touch screens. On these, not only is the map material visualized in two or three dimensions, but the displays also include operator guidance. If the devices are equipped with a touch screen, you can control them simply by tapping them with your finger. High-quality navigation devices also show conventional topographical maps via the display. The map material is either loaded onto the system by a PC connected to the navigation device via a USB port and stored there permanently, or loaded directly via a removable medium. Most navigation devices not only have a memory capacity of several gigabytes, but also card slots for SD or MMC cards. With these memory capacities, you can easily load not only all current German road maps onto your navigation device, but usually also all European countries and sometimes even maps of the USA and Canada. To prevent the driver of a motor vehicle from having to constantly look at the screen while driving and thus being distracted from the journey, all car navigation devices and truck navigation devices offer acoustic support. The routes and locations are explained to the driver by a computer-generated voice, so that the driver can concentrate on driving the vehicle.

Special functions of navigation devices

Modern navigation devices offer many special functions that significantly increase their utility value. Thus, most of the higher-quality devices are equipped with a hands-free system using the Bluetooth standard and offer voice control. Built-in so-called trip computers enable precise route planning based on "points of interest", i.E. Places of particular interest or interest along the planned route, which can also be specified by the user as desired. Speedometer warnings also ensure that the points account in Flensburg is not unnecessarily burdened. Thus, the devices also contribute to road safety.

Navigation devices for special purposes

Motorcyclists, cyclists and even hikers can also reach their destination faster and better with a navigation device. Special systems are sold for these target groups. As a rule, navigation devices for motorcyclists are ideally suited to the changed operating conditions on motorcycles: they are water-, fuel- and vibration-resistant and are controlled acoustically via Bluetooth. In terms of electronics, they are on a par with their counterparts for stationary operation in a motor vehicle. – Navigation devices suitable for cyclists often have an additional heart rate monitor built in, so that the cyclist does not exceed his performance limits. Navigation devices for cyclists also have special maps stored in them: Since the network of cycle paths in Europe is constantly growing, mainly due to the rededication of disused railroad lines as cycle paths, these maps are indispensable for every cyclist. These sports navigation devices are usually operated by touch screen and have powerful batteries, so that the bicycle tour does not end in nirvana due to premature exhaustion of the battery. – For hikers or runners, navigation devices are usually in the form of a wristwatch. They also have in addition to various clock-. Date functions via a heart rate monitor. The small displays are usually operated by finger pressure. Thanks to powerful rechargeable batteries, these devices can easily handle long hikes without energy problems. – Navigation devices for water sports enthusiasts are technically very similar to motor vehicle devices, but have special map material, with worldwide waterway maps stored in memory. In addition, the devices are generally certified to IPX7, making them waterproof. In battery mode, up to ten hours of continuous operation can be realized. Marine navigation systems all support the NMEA 0183 standard (National Marine Electronics Association), which standardizes communication between GPS receivers and computers. As a rule, they have both touch control and voice command control options at their disposal.

Tips for buying and operating a navigation system

– When buying, make sure that the navigation device has a built-in TMC or HD Traffic module. Simple devices without these interfaces usually do not provide congestion warning, so you can avoid traffic jams only poorly. – If you often drive long distances, the navigation device should offer sufficient battery capacity so that the operating time is not too short in battery mode. – Please keep in mind that also accumulators in navigation devices are subject to wear and tear and therefore should be checked for their capacity at regular intervals. – When buying a car navigation device, make sure it has an external antenna connection. It happens that the internal antennas of the device do not have sufficient reception due to the shielding by heatable glass panels in the vehicle. In this case, good reception can be established with an external antenna.

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