Marine GPS is an important marine equipment for boats, yachts, and ships. Helping in smoother navigation, it is based on the principle of its older counter parts which included paper maps and compass. However, with times there has been technology good enough to take faulty compasses and dubious maps out of picture and present you with a complete secure way of making sure you are not lost in the vastness of sea.
A GPS navigation system helps you with just that. But it is important to make sure that you put your trust in the correct device and here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Why you want a GPS navigation system?
Well, how about because you will be out on ocean where being lost is very easy and it would be best to know where you are exactly at all points. But besides these seemingly basic reasons to get this marine product, you should also consider the specialized purpose you need a marine GPS for. You can find products which can offer you a simple GPS location, GPS plus fish finder application for fishing enthusiasts, external linkage to multiple satellites for better weather forecasts for those planning long expeditions. The use would be the primary factor deciding the kind of GPS navigation system you would need.
2. Voice enabled or radar operated
Look for the voice feature in a GPS navigation system before buying it. The voice feature allows you to give verbal commands to your GPS along with verbal directions instead of having to go through entire screen hassle. However, the radar operated GPS is just as efficient even with a lesser interactive interface.
3. Non mapping or base mapping or mapping system
Most of the GPS units come in a choice of mapping system. You can choose from the non mapping types which do not offer a view of maps of a location. You can, however, get an overhead view of your location. With a base mapping system, you can take advantage of basic features of a mapping device like standard points. However, the mapping system enabled GPS is one of the best marine electronics to go for since they offer the best combination of marine maps and GPS.
4. GPS to view engine data
Some of the best marine electronics dealing with navigation tracking and marine charts allow you to view vitals of your engine data through a NMEA connection. Check for this feature before purchasing as it can be very handy especially on longer expeditions.
5. Prefer a 3D view GPS
Get an even better view with 3D viewing of maps. This is a feature available on a limited basis currently. Chances are you might need to spend in a few extra bucks to enjoy it but considering the advantages of this feature; it could be an investment worth it.
6. Storage of personal way points
One of the most important features to look for in any GPS product would be storage of personal routes and way points. Check for storage of data, waypoints, routes etc along with storage capacity, time span after and for which you can save your tracks and ease of doing so. After all, you don’t want to be lost in a complex system of menu options and complex guidelines.
7. Computer connectivity
Check for connectivity of your GPS unit to an external computer. In most cases, this can be done through an SD card that can easily be used in a computer or laptop for better accessing of your maps, personal routes and waypoints.
8. Check the maps provided in the GPS to be correct
If you decided to choose a device with marine maps and GPS together, make sure the maps offered are correct and to the scale. Sometimes, the maps may not be as accurate as you’d like them to be depicting land in place of water and vice versa. Make sure your GPS device does not make the same mistake.
9. Coordinate systems
Marine charts and maps provided in your marine GPS device should follow the coordinate system of your area. A standard coordinate system which has been checked for orientation is a must.
10. External antenna connection for better reception
Also, check for a port for external connection to an antenna for better reception of satellite signals. That way you can enjoy quicker and more accurate weather forecasts, music and much more.
Buying a marine product is always a question of making a wise decision but if you know what you are looking for, the decision becomes much easier.