Automotive GPS and the Evolution of the Road Trip

I remember the days when I was a kid when my mom would take her three boys to the local travel office before we went out on one of our family’s summer vacations. She would end up spending about an hour there while we languished in uncomfortable chairs talking to an attendant and getting us one of those magical Trip Tics, a hand-held flip map that highlighted our route and told us where to go. This was years before automotive GPS devices hit the consumer market, but that is exactly what these devices would become modeled after.

Today, you don’t need to spend any time at an office to learn about all the different places you should stay on a road trip. All you need to do is take your trusty Garmin, TomTom, of Magellan with you on your trip. These powerful navigation computers are utilize information made available on the Global Positioning system (GPS) and are now much smaller, much more accurate, and much easier to use than old local travel office Trip Tics.

Automotive GPS has literally replaced every single aspect of the Trip Tics functionality, even the voice from the passenger seat directing the driver where to turn. Most modern GPS will come with turn-by-turn driving directions that will lead you directly to your destination. Some models even let you hear your directions in over 30 different languages and in over 50 different voices.

An automotive navigation GPS is also going to help you get a better picture of where you are at on your trip and how long it will take you to reach your destination than a Trip Tic will. Taking information from the satellites spinning around the earth, the GPS receiver can pinpoint your location to within a three yard radius. Constant monitoring of your location can tell the device how fast you are traveling. These two bits of information are then used along with the known distance between you and your target destination to calculate an estimated time of arrival.

Automotive GPS has dramatically changed the way that people vacation and navigate their world. The technology behind these devices is constantly being integrated into all sorts of other gadgets, creating navigation GPS out of many new and interesting items – like the cell phone. The future of GPS navigation is with the cell phone.