Saturday, November 25, 2006


Get Better Accuracy With a Handheld GPS

Inexpensive, handheld GPS receivers such as those produced by Garmin and Magellan are a great aid for anybody who enjoys outdoor activities. There are many factors that affect the accuracy of the positions reported by a GPS receiver. Following these steps should allow you to get better accuracy with an inexpensive, handheld GPS receiver.


  1. Determine the type of internal antenna in your GPS. This information will likely be listed in a table of "specifications" in the back of your owner's manual. There are two main types:

    • Patch antenna, and
    • Quadrifilar helix antenna

  2. Hold your GPS properly to receive a stronger signal from the GPS satellites:
    • If you have a patch antenna hold your GPS flat
      How to hold a GPS with a patch antenna
      How to hold a GPS with a patch antenna

    • If you have a quadrifilar helix antenna hold your GPS erect
      How to hold a GPS with a quadrifilar helix antenna
      How to hold a GPS with a quadrifilar helix antenna

  3. Stand where you have a clear view of the sky. Buildings, hills, trees, etc., will block the signals from the GPS satellites. The goal is to receive the signal from as many GPS satellites as possible.

  4. Hold your GPS at shoulder height. Even your body can block the signal from the GPS satellites.

  5. Use "position averaging". This is a feature that allows your GPS to take many measurements and then calculate an average position before saving it in the GPS receiver's memory.

  6. Turn on the WAAS capability. The WAAS signal is broadcast from several geo-stationary communications satellites. The WAAS signal provides corrections for your GPS measurements and enhances the accuracy of your GPS receiver.



Things You'll Need

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