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GPS For Dummies Paperback – October 13, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0470156230 ISBN-10: 0470156236 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 2 edition (October 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470156236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470156230
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #676,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Catherine F. on 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 By Jack Kohout on 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 By M. Perez Garbi on 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 By R. Hanes on 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 By surfie999 on 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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