GPS For Dummies

Front Cover
John Wiley & Sons, May 29, 2007 - Sports & Recreation - 408 pages
GPS For Dummies gives new meaning to finding yourself. In fact, with a GPS (global positioning system) receiver, you can determine precisely where you are anywhere on this planet. If you’re are planning on buying a GPS receiver or if you have one and want to get your money’s worth, this guide tells you what you need to know, including:

Basic GPS principles and concepts such as waypoints, routes, tracks, and coordinate systems

  • Recommended features for GPS receivers to be used in various types of activities, including hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, geocaching, hunting, ATVing, mapping, and more
  • How to do digital mapping on your computer, including software packages you can use to work with aerial photos, topographic maps, and road maps
  • The main providers of digital map data for the U.S. and their Web sites
  • The scoop on geocaching—a high-tech treasure hunt

Written by Joel McNamara, avid outdoorsman, adventure racer, search and rescue team member, and author of Secrets of Computer Espionage, GPS for Dummies is ideal for both ordinary travelers and exotic explorers. It covers a world of GPS info such as:

  • Choosing features for a GPS receiver, including the screen, an alarm, built-in maps, an electric compass, an altimeter, antennas, interface modes, and more
  • Systems for traveling on the main roads and systems for exploring off the beaten path
  • Using GPS with a PDA (personal digital assistant)
  • Computer requirements for different mapping choices
  • Topographic map software from Maptech, DeLorme, and National Geographic that’s for off-road use
  • Using Web-hosted mapping services, including street maps, topographic maps, aerial photos, and U.S. government-produced maps
  • Incorporating GPS receivers into outdoor workouts, with tips for specific sports including cycling, golf, rowing, and more

A companion Web site has links to all kinds of free maps and resources. So explore on your computer and then explore for real! With GPS for Dummies, you’ll find yourself having adventures!


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I gave it as a gag gift. Dont know if it was received well. Read full review


All About Digital Maps
Dissecting Maps
GPS Fundamentals
Grasping Important GPS Concepts
Selecting and Getting Started with a GPS Receiver
Using GPS with a PDA
Digital Mapping on Your Computer
On the Ground with Maptech Terrain Navigator
From the Air with USAPhotoMaps
Creating and Using Digital Maps with OziExplorer
Going Three Dimensional with 3DEM
Using Webhosted Mapping Services
Navigating Web Road Maps
Exploring Web Topographic Maps
Overhead Image Web Sites

Interfacing a GPS Receiver to a Computer
Using GPS Manufacturer Mapping Software
Finding Places and Coordinates
Converting Coordinates
On the Road with DeLorme Street Atlas USA
Ten Great GPS and Map Web Sites
Ten Tips for Athletes

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About the author (2007)

Joel McNamara first got involved with digital maps in the early 1980’s. At the time he was studying archeology and instead of going out and playing Indiana Jones, he found himself in front of a computer monitor trying to predict where archeological sites were located based on LANDSAT satellite data.
The lure of computers ultimately led to his defection from academia to the software industry, where he worked as a programmer, technical writer, and manager; eventually ending up at a rather large software company based in Redmond, Washington. Joel now writes and consults on technology he finds interesting, such as GPS and digital maps.
Over the years he’s had practical experience using GPS and maps for wildland firefighting, search and rescue, and disaster response and planning. He’s also an avid user of the great outdoors (which means there’s way too much gear in his garage), competes in adventure races and other endurance sports, and so far has always found his way back home. In his spare time he volunteers for a federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team.
This is his second book. The first was Secrets of Computer Espionage: Tactics & Countermeasures (also published by Wiley), a reference guide for computer security practitioners and anyone interested in stopping sneaky spies.

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