GPS Navigation Systems: The Real Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread


It’s really hard for me to imagine, having grown up in the age of technology, how business travelers got around in the past. Before I got my navigation system, I had to spend HOURS printing out MapQuest maps in the exact route I intended to take.

This meant maps went from Point A to Point B, from Point B to Point C, from Point C to Point D. In this situation, if your “Point C” appointment cancels, you have to do something like call your office to get revised directions from Point B to Point D. Or have to own state and city maps to cover your entire territory.

My territory, by the way, is the eastern half of the United States. It isn’t really reasonable for me to have maps for every place I go. The on-line maps were a whole lot of headache.

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Lucky for us, there are more companies producing navigation systems these days than you can shake a stick at. And now you can even get the same turn-by-turn directions on your mobile phone. I don’t know what the cost/benefit ratio of buying a system verses using a phone would be.

You can get an on-board system with newer cars, but those are only good in YOUR car. If you do a mix of driving to your destinations and flying in and renting, a portable device is the way to go. Many rental agencies have GPS systems for rent with their vehicles, but most are portable systems and are only available on a first come, first serve basis.

There are a whole host of bells and whistles for these systems. I have a Garmin model which is already obsolete, but it definitely gets the job done. It does turn-by-turn, as well as locates gas stations, restaurants, hotels and lots of nifty points of interest. It is a little weird to me that it locates schools, though. Garmin started in the marine navigation industry, but has been a leader in the automotive switchover.

This is one of those industries that changes faster than the speed of light, like PCs or mobile phones. There is no way for me to keep up with all of the brands and models, if you’re looking for a system I suggest going to Buy.com or Amazon.