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GPS For Dummies [Paperback]

Joel McNamara
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 13, 2008 0470156236 978-0470156230 2
Need directions? Are you good at getting lost? Then GPS is just the technology you’ve dreamed of, and GPS For Dummies is what you need to help you make the most of it.

If you have a GPS unit or plan to buy one, GPS For Dummies, 2nd Edition helps you compare GPS technologies, units, and uses. You’ll find out how to create and use digital maps and learn about waypoints, tracks, coordinate systems, and other key point to using GPS technology.

Get more from your GPS device by learning to use Web-hosted mapping services and even how to turn your cell phone or PDA into a GPS receiver. You’ll also discover:

  • Up-to-date information on the capabilities of popular handheld and automotive Global Positioning Systems
  • How to read a map and how to get more from the free maps available online
  • The capabilities and limitations of GPS technology, and how satellites and radio systems make GPS work
  • How to interface your GPS receiver with your computer and what digital mapping software can offer
  • Why a cell phone with GPS capability isn’t the same as a GPS unit
  • What can affect your GPS reading and how accurate it will be
  • How to use Street Atlas USA, TopoFusion, Google Earth, and other tools
  • Fun things to do with GPS, such as exploring topographical maps, aerial imagery, and the sport of geocaching

Most GPS receivers do much more than their owners realize. With GPS For Dummies, 2nd Edition in hand, you’ll venture forth with confidence!


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GPS For Dummies + Outdoor Navigation with GPS + GPS Made Easy: Using Global Positioning Systems in the Outdoors
Price for all three: $45.02

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"at over 350 pages you can be sure to find the answers to most of your questions!" (Boat Mart, July 2007) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

You are here. Read on to see how to use GPS to get where you're going!

Got a GPS unit? Planning to buy one? Here's how to get all the benefits from that handy device. Most GPS receivers do much more than their owners realize. This book covers the basics (waypoints, tracks, coordinate systems) but also tells you all about using digital maps and Web-hosted mapping services, so you can venture forth with confidence.

  • Get the latest — up-to-date information on the capabilities of popular handheld and automotive Global Positioning Systems

  • Make sense of maps — learn more about how to read a map and how to get more from the free maps available online

  • A little technology — discover a bit about GPS technology and understand its capabilities and limitations

  • What to look for — when choosing the right GPS receiver for you

  • Compute this — find out about digital mapping software and how to interface your GPS receiver with your computer

  • Where am I? — understand what can affect your GPS reading and how accurate it will be

  • Get me there — find your way around with Street Atlas USA®, TopoFusion, Google Earth, and other tools

  • On and off-road — explore topographical maps, aerial imagery, and the sport of geocaching

  • GPS at sea — navigate the waters using your GPS with fish finders and nautical charts

Open the book and find:

  • The difference between smart and static maps

  • What a Geographic Information System is

  • How to work with map coordinate systems

  • How satellites and radio systems make GPS work

  • What GPS features you need for different activities

  • Why a cell phone with GPS capability isn't the same as a GPS unit

  • How to compare mapping software

  • What you need to start geocaching


Product Details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 2 edition (October 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470156236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470156230
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
(30)
3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for 1st time GPS users, experts can also learn! August 24, 2004
Format:Paperback
I got a Magellan Meridian Color GPS for my birthday and was frankly at a loss for where to begin so I bought this book. The book had a ton of good information to get me started with using a GPS, all the different functions like display and output, finding coordinates and setting waypoints. It was also very helpful with the initial configuration and settings, which I was really struggling with. The pleasant surprise about this book was what I got above and beyond the parts about just using a GPS receiver. The book is packed with great information on free mapping sites and how to integrate maps and GPS. It also had a section on using my GPS with my computer and my handheld, both of which I have done now since buying the book. The book is absolutly just loaded with so much helpful information on GPS, digital and online maps that I have now done several cool things I was totally unaware of before. My friends and I are getting ready to take a road trip and I used the book to map out the trip and set different waypoints that we plan to visit along the way. One of my favorite parts is the geocaching chapter which inspired me to try geoaching - it looks like the same author has written a Geocaching For Dummies book which I plan to order.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but... February 3, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I had recently purchased a GPS and was frustrated by the techno speak in the manual. I was looking for something to help me through the jargon.

Only about 1/3 of the book is specificallly about your GPS. A small section is about cartography and the rest deals with "digital mapping" (more jargon for computer software dealing with maps). All of the information is at least loosely tied to a GPS. There is no glossary section but the author does embed many clarifications of technical terms that are helpful for dummies like me.

The GPS sections are an improvement over my manual but still only partially sucessful. Priorities in choosing and mastering a GPS are miniscule. The cartography portion has information that is both interesting and helpful and does not bog the reader down with irrelevant information. These two topics are discussed in the first seven chapters.

The book then turned to digital mapping and I almost gave up on the book. I had no interest in mapping and I wasn't totally satisfied with the previous sections. Luckily I continued on. The mapping chapters are almost exclusively about mapping software (and little utility programs that help). The software information includes commercial, shareware and freeware programs. It discusses programs for the beginner on up to some heady stuff. You may want to take up the subject as a hobby even if you never were interested before. If I had the time I would be tempted to just play with this stuff because it is so cool.

If you buy the book, I would first just skim this "software" portion of the book when you go through it the first time. I think there are 14 chapters. It is amazing what is available but also sometimes redundant.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for beginners and advanced users August 30, 2005
Format:Paperback
Tons of good information to get started with using a GPS, goes beyond the basics. Really a very good starter book. Once you get this book, I would also recomend "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geocaching" and the Owing's "GPS Mapping". With GPS for Dummies and my Garmins 60CS manual, I was able to hit the trail in a few hours. With the other books as complement, I have become very accurate locating waypoints when I do horse riding or 4x4 trips.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Place to Start August 31, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have had a GPS unit for almost a year now with no hope of understanding just what it can do or how to use it due to the arcane nature of the owner's manual.I have no clue as to why the manufacturer's write such poor manuals but they do. In response to my frustrations I decided to try Joel's book as a means of understanding what this small device could do and just how to get it to do what the promotional materials say it does. After reading most of Joel's book I was able to go to work using my GPS unit and understand how to negotiate its features with relative ease. Realistically it isn't perfect but it sure is a great place to start if you are like me, clueless as to how to interpret the gibberish in the owner's manual.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Outdated June 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
May have been a first class book, but the kindle edition is outdated and urgently needs updating.

While much of the stuff in the book is useful, some links are hopelessly useless, and for 2012 a lot of GPS stuff has improved a lot since the book was written.

It is also very US-centric, and that needs clarifying. For example, the book is not clear that the WAAS is ONLY available for the US and nearby areas, so much of the accuracy claims are irrelevant for most of the world.

However, for newcomers it does provide an electronic option and is written in an easy to read style. Like many electronic books it suffers from a poor ability to move/ flick quickly back and forth over more than a few pages to recheck material or come back to reread areas to recheck how to do stuff. A hard copy book does make that easier.

But overall, a lot of interesting information that is, useful. There are other books around on GPS usage, so this is just average.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
To general in information.
Published 10 hours ago by James L. Mallory
5.0 out of 5 stars Know Where You Are & Don't Get Lost!
I love the plastic protective covering, that the book came in! This is an in depth book, made simple, for most dummies to understand. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bob Crompton
2.0 out of 5 stars Outdated
Should have checked copyright, info outdated, very little that i could use so I am tossing it into the garbage
Published 2 months ago by kimberly kurz
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary GPS Book for the uninformed
I bought a Garmin handheld and was surprised it didn't have instructions and assumed I was an expert. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Thomas G. Berg
3.0 out of 5 stars Cartridge Conversions
The book is well done, especially for cartridges no longer in production. Its major flaw is the lack of cartridge conversion data for many of the modern cartridges such as the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Herbert N. Pedersen
5.0 out of 5 stars Navigable
I had read a library copy of this book and decided that I wanted to have my own copy for ready reference and further study. It arrived promptly, in excellent condition.
Published 6 months ago by Tom
1.0 out of 5 stars GPS for Dummies
I dont think that a "dummy" could get anything from this book. I am a scientist and have a working knowledge of GPS. Yet, I could not get the basic information I was looking for. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Joanne M. Scully
3.0 out of 5 stars GPS For Dummies review
Not nearly as detailed as I expected on how to use hand held GPS. I had hoped for guidance on bearing, waypoint projections, establishing travel distance, etc. Read more
Published 14 months ago by rpronesti
2.0 out of 5 stars Wordy, full of uesless information
Poor quality of the page paper. Too wordy in the contents. Actually this might not be a book for dummies, it is a book full of useless contents, especially something you actually... Read more
Published 15 months ago by M. Lee
4.0 out of 5 stars Information is general book is a good start
The book has basic info. A good start. I plan on looking for more info and building a library. Every book seems to offer something useful.
Published 18 months ago by M.Lajoie
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