- Paperback: 408 pages
- Publisher: For Dummies; 2 edition (October 13, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470156236
- ISBN-13: 978-0470156230
- Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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GPS For Dummies 2nd Edition
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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
About the Author
Joel McNamara is a technology consultant and author. He first worked with LANDSAT satellite data during an earlier career as an archaeologist, and has used digital mapping and GPS in search-and-rescue missions, wild land firefighting, disaster response and planning, and outdoor recreation activities.
Top customer reviews
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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.
I would recommend it to anyone thinking about buying a handheld GPS or one for the car, whether it be for yourself or a gift for someone else.
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. I would use it only as a reference and study only the sections you need at that moment. Reading it word by word might be wasteful.
I do wish that the author had separated the utility software into a separate chapter so that those jewels could be returned to easily. I found them very useful.
The book is a mixed bag. The software chapters are the best part. The GPS info is not going to thrill you. The reading is pretty easy for a technical book.