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What Is GPS?

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Sat navs are often called GPS systems because they use Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) that orbit the earth, helping you calculate routes, speed, direction and distance to your destination.

What is GPS?

Sat navs are often called GPS systems because they use Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) that orbit the earth. Originally GPS was meant for military use by the US Department of Defence, but now has a huge range of everyday uses, and is used in sat navs, aircraft navigation, and even sport.

How GPS works

There are 24 operational GPS satellites that constantly orbit our planet at a height of about 13 000 miles, transmitting a signal down to Earth. A GPS receiver - like the sat nav unit in your car - rather cleverly uses these signals to calculate its location using longitude, latitude and altitude.

This calculation is then laid over a digital road map to show your driving position to within a few metres. Once this has been worked out, sat navs can also calculate other information such as the easiest route between any two points on the map, your speed, direction, estimated arrival time, and the distance to your destination.

what is gps

What is GPS used for?

GPS has a whole load of uses on land, in the air, and at sea. Used by drivers, pilots, sailors, sportspeople and even adventurers, GPS technology is found in:

  • HGV sat navs, Caravan sat navs, and Motorcycle sat navs that have special features loaded for these types of vehicle.
  • GPS running watches and GPS cycle computers which let runners and cyclists keep track of their speed, distance, time, and other useful data.
  • Handheld GPS Systems and GPS Trackers used by hikers and explorers.

Sat Nav & GPS at Halfords

At Halfords we've got a huge range of sat navs and sports GPS systems. What's more, our guys can help you understand the features and benefits of each, with a free demo and set up available for all sat navs in-store.

Use click and collect to reserve sat navs online for collection from your local Halfords, or buy online for delivery if you prefer. If you're buying your sat nav online you can still take advantage of the free set up and demo - just keep your proof of purchase and contact your local store.

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