by Paul Sanders
The basic features of most GPS devices will help you navigate roadways and trails, but GPS navigation is capable of giving you much more. In this article, you'll learn more about the advanced features available from many of the latest GPS navigators.
Traffic updates: Live traffic data can help you plan smarter routes, especially during peak driving times. Car GPS navigation can automatically plot an alternate route or give you detailed information on different areas, including average speeds and a history of traffic in that location. Your GPS navigation system may require that you sign up for a subscription to receive traffic updates, or you may be able to purchase a lifetime of subscription-free updates.
Estimated time of arrival (ETA): Knowing how long it will take to get there is almost as important as knowing how to get there. A properly equipped GPS navigation system will give you constant updates on your arrival times, adjusting for traffic conditions, route changes and driving speed.
Lane assist directions: Complex highway interchanges used to be a thorny issue in GPS navigation. Now you can get detailed, spoken, turn-by-turn directions from GPS navigators, telling you which lane to be in and which ramp to take. Lane visualizations and spoken directions combine to make GPS navigation easy, even on complex roadways.
3D maps: Sometimes a flat map of the area isn't detailed enough to help you find your way around. GPS navigation systems with 3D maps can give you a birds-eye perspective of the buildings and terrain in addition to the roads. The 3D maps for portable GPS navigation can be especially useful when you're hiking, providing you with altitude and topographical guides.
Voice-activated features: True voice commands make your GPS navigation system simpler to use by freeing your hands and eyes to focus on the road. Even more advanced GPS navigators will feature voice-activated Internet browsing and calling abilities, allowing you to use look up businesses, find addresses and make calls without ever touching the screen.
Bluetooth connectivity: Some of your Bluetooth devices, such as a headset, may be compatible with your GPS navigator. Once connected, you can use your wireless devices to control GPS navigation, calling and Internet features.
Internet access: You may need a subscription with your wireless carrier or with the GPS manufacturer to use Internet features. Once connected, you'll be able to check online for addresses, business websites and online maps for your GPS navigator.