It's amazing how within just a few years GPS devices have become a staple both in our vehicles and on our persons. As with anything in life, these devices continue to push the limits of what we think is possible. Some of today's newest units feature Bluetooth integration, MP3 players, and even satellite imagery to help guide us to our destinations.
Relying upon a network of 24 orbiting satellites built by the U.S. Department of Defense, GPS technology is one of the most widely used networks in the world. With the ability to track virtually anything that moves, the GPS network is a necessary and integral part of any safe and fun off-road adventure.
Keeping in mind the terrain (street or trails) in which the unit will be used, the intended applications of usage (geocaching, waypoint tracking, or just turn-by-turn directions), and the level of skill of the user are all important issues to address prior to making a purchase. With these and many more factors to consider, we have assembled some of the hottest GPS units available on the market today, with an emphasis on off-road trail usage and recognition. We've also highlighted a few excellent software programs designed for creating your own maps and which go hand-in hand with the featured GPS units.
It is especially important to note that just because you may have a GPS unit it does not guarantee your safety or rescue should you venture into harm's way. As sophisticated as these GPS units are, they should never be used as a sole replacement to the more conventional compass and map. Always keep a compass and maps of the areas you're traveling through with you. Keep in mind that GPS units are electronic devices that rely upon batteries, which can run out, and electronic components that can become damaged.