Abby's Guide to Global Positioning Systems
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Do you need a GPS?

Before you hop in your car and shop for a GPS, ask yourself a few questions.

How often are you in unfamiliar territory in your car or while hiking? If you are a business traveler who is frequently on the road in new cities and towns, the GPS might be a time saver. This is particularly true if you find yourself driving solo more often than not and can rely on the audio voice prompts. If you have your laptop and are in different cars, you might need a system on that computer to help get you from here to there in whatever vehicle you find yourself. Are you often hiking in new terrain and could use a system in your personal digital assistant (PDA)? Usage determines if you really need a GPS for work or pleasure. But then you might just really want one.

The IVNS was offered in almost half of the passenger vehicles in 2004 as standard or optional. However, only five per cent actually rolled off the assembly line with the system installed. This year Honda and GM are the leaders in IVNS, offering real-time traffic data integrated into its GPS technology, a perk that Europe and Asia have already embraced. So, with a 2005 Honda, not only will you know where you are going and how to get there, you will know which routes to take to avoid accidents and backups. Pretty cool.

So your first decision is whether you will be using the system as a part of your own car, or if you need the system to guide you while you walk, hike or bike ride. If you are traveling in different cars, you may want to equip your laptop with a GPS so it can conveniently travel with you.

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