A GPS (Global Positioning System) device is a hand-held receiver that picks up signals from satellites circling the earth, enabling you to locate your current position to an accuracy of 10-20m. Most modern GPS devices can then show that position on a map and, if you have stored a pre-programmed route, help you navigate along it.
GPS devices are similar to the SatNav devices now used by many drivers. However, while SatNavs use information about the road network to navigate step by step towards your destination, there is no equivalent “dataset” of information about off-road paths and access areas for walkers. So although the GPS can help you find your way, it won’t give step by step instructions like SatNavs.
Many walkers find GPS devices a useful gadget but they aren’t a substitute for traditional maps and compasses in outdoor navigation. This is because:
Some things to bear in mind when buying a GPS