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Marine GPS Chartplotters & Accessories

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GPS Chartplotters How-To's

How to Navigate a Boat, and Types of Navigation (Video)
A video presentation by the Boating Guy on how to navigate a boat and the types of GPS navigation units. Presented by Discover Boating ... read more

Video Transcription

Hello ! I am Keith ,the boating guy. My topic today is navigation. Being able to find your way out on the water is important but thanks to modern GPS technology it is easier than ever. GPS stands for Global Positioning System. GPS units receive signals from the United States Government satellites that use to determine your location.

Now depending on the unit, the GPS can pin point your position in up to 3 dimensions. Latitude, longitudes and altitude. The remarkable thing about GPS is that satellite navigation information is available to anyone, anywhere and the best of all of all it is free of charge. Of course you need to buy a GPS receiver to use this data. Now that’s a pretty small investment when you realize how much information that you get for free.

Let’s talk about the types of GPS units available. Number 1, there’s battery powered hand held GPS. These are ideal for small boats because they don’t require much space you can take up the valuable room to your boat. Number 2 is mountable or portable GPS receivers. They have a larger display screens bigger buttons and more features than a hand held unit. Most GPS’s in this category operate on batteries or maybe even 12V external power. They come with brackets, They can mount them right upon your dash, out of the way for safe keeping when you are done crushing. The 3rd kind is fixed mount GPS receivers. They offer the largest displays, the most features. They’re meant to be installed permanently. Your 4th and the final kind is the stand alone GPS. They are often referred to as chart plotters. The mini fixed mount GPS units combine satellite navigation with Fish Finding functions.

Most GPS units comes with Basic Maps preinstalled. To expand your GPS’s knowledge base or access detailed regional data, you can purchase or download maps CD-ROMS or data cards. GPS offers almost endless possibilities for that high tech boater. In fact the technology to network a GPS with radar, Sonar ,VHF or your boat auto pilot system is already available.

GPS is a wonderful tool. However, like any piece of equipment a GPS unit is not perfect. So my best advice to you is, learn to navigate with a compass and a chart, just in case. It will give you more confidence to explore and make the most of the water. Hope to see you out there. And safe boating.
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About GPS Chartplotters

What Can a GPS Device do for My Boating Experience?

GPS-Chartplotters are any GPS units that utilize maps rather than just coordinates for location details, which is the vast majority of GPS we offer. If you're looking for a dedicated GPS unit or GPS/Fish-finder combo, with options from brands like Garmin, Lowrance, Sitex, Standard Horizon, Raymarine and Furuno, we're sure to have the unit that matches your needs and your budget. Additionally we offer all the most important accessories for your safety and convenience, such as external GPS receivers & antennas, brackets and mounting kits, and all types of digital maps for your unit.

Frequently Asked GPS Questions

What GPS device is right for me?

The answer depends on what applications you want to use your GPS for. If you primarily want to use it to aid in your driving and for finding locations you are traveling to in your car than an In Vehicle Navigation Unit. If you want to use your GPS device for hiking or off-roading than a Handheld Unit would be the best choice, and depending on your level of map reading ability, a mapping unit may better suit your needs. If you want a GPS for your boat than a Marine Unit would best suit your needs.

What areas do my GPS unit function in?

The Global Positioning System Units function all over the world, the units are capable of giving a latitude and longitude reading anywhere on the planet. However the mapping software included with the unit usually works only in the Americas, although after market mapping software is available for many regions of the world.

How accurate is my GPS Device?  The Global Positioning System supports accuracies down to 3 meters. However it can be as large of a range as 12 meters.

What is WAAS?

WAAS stands for Wide Area Augmentation System, which basically means that the GPS unit receives information along with its GPS signal that allows it to calculate the error in its coordinates and correct accordingly. If your unit is WAAS enabled, then it is accurate to within 3 meters other wise, the range varies up to 12 meters. Three meters may seem rather inaccurate, however when viewing your location on the built in maps if applicable, or plotting your latitude and longitude on a map, no distinguishable error or deviance is noticed.

What maps come on my “mapping” unit?

Usually the included basemap is of North and South America, showing things such as major roadways, interstates, highways, rivers, lakes, towns, hospitals, etc. However in some cases more detailed maps are included on in car navigation units.