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Welcome to Sat Nav System UK a resource to help you buy a new sat nav system. On the site you'll find the latest sat nav products, available to buy from some of the leading sat nav online stores in the UK. Sat nav technology has advanced greatly in recent years, and even the cheapest sat navs offer you comprehensive mapping and clear voice direction, making them a necessity for anyone who does significant mileage. Sat navs can also inform you of safety camera locations and make your journey more enjoyable by bringing you points of interest.
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How do sat nav systems work?
A sat nav system receives signals from multiple satellites in the Global Positioning System. Receiving multiple signals allows the system to use the mathematical procedure of triangulation to establish the exact location of the sat nav unit. Cross referencing this to stored maps enables the car sat nav units we are familiar with today.
What are the best sat nav brands?
TomTom Sat Navs
TomTom sat nav systems have gained an excellent reputation, have good build quality and are probably the market leaders (as at July 2008). They are reliable, their software is responsive and easy to use, and the On Screen Display is detailed, with good 3D realtime representation making directions easy to follow. Online management and updates are easy. As TomTom sat navs have proved popular, obtaining spares and accessories is no problem.
Tom Tom sat navs are easy to update with safety camera locations, with a TomTom Safety Camera subscription being available from their website.
Garmin Sat Navs
Garmin sat nav systems have the best hardware and mapping, but TomTom probably beats them on software. Garmin sat nav units are easy to use and offer rich information on their displays. Garmin sat navs offer good value for money if your budget can't stretch to a TomTom. Garmin products normally look great, being sleek and slim.
Navman Sat Navs
Navman sat navs are keenly priced and have many satisfied users. Navman sat navs usually have good postcode search functionality.
Sat Nav FAQ
What features are found on sat navs?
- Points of Interest.
- Maps for Europe.
- Full postcode search.
- Traffic detection and redirection.
- Safety camera location via a subscription service.
- Text to speech functionality, where it can read the street names out.
- More expensive sat navs come with Bluetooth, which will give you hands free phone operation if you have a mobile phone with Bluetooth.
- The more expensive sat navs have an FM transmitter. This means the sat nav can broadcast its instructions to your car radio, so you can hear them more easily over the car speakers. These top of the range sat navs will usually also have the ability to store MP3 files, allowing the sat nav to function as a music player, beaming your favourite MP3 music to your car stereo.
Are car sat nav units portable?
Yes, they come with a rechargeable battery so they can be used out of the car, and most are small enough to slip into your pocket.
Can last year's sat nav be updated with new maps?
Yes, you can normally update older sat navs by downloading new maps from the manufacturer's website, but there is normally a charge for doing this.
How do sat navs get traffic updates?
Traffic updates can be received either by connecting to a mobile and using GPRS, or by using a Traffic Message Channel RDS radio data receiver, which some models come with or can be added as an option.
How do sat navs detect speed cameras?
To detect speed cameras, sat nav units use a database containing the GPS co-ordinates of known speed camera locations, and can therefore alert the driver when they come into a given range of these locations. Updating your sat nav with speed camera locations can be done by downloading updated databases from the web.
My mobile phone says it's sat nav capable, will it do a good job?
Mobiles such as the Nokia N95 8GB or Nokia N82 can be used for sat nav, but usually dedicated units will do a better job, especially for driving purposes. Mobiles tend to take longer to lock-on to the GPS signal.
I have a limited budget and I'm looking for a cheap sat nav, what would you recommend?
If looking for a cheap sat nav that offers good usability and performance, then as at Jul 2008 we would say that the TomTom One range is hard to beat. Also, whilst it may not be the very cheapest sat nav, the Navman S30 is a great budget buy. With clear and bright 3D maps and good spoken instructions, this sat nav provides commendable performance at a very competitive price.
Remember, when buying a sat nav, you may be able to save a little more by using discount codes when making your purchase. These are now available from many of the internet's best retailers.
What do sat nav traffic monitoring services do?
Sat nav traffic services are usually an additional paid option. They can be enabled to receive the Traffic Message Channel (TMC) and can then alert the driver to traffic problems and suggest alternative routes.
What can we expect from sat nav in the future?
We can expect a rapid uptake in the use of GPS applications, and more novel GPS applications, e.g. the new Nissan GT-R can autosense when it's at a racetrack in Japan and this removes the performance limiters on the car.
What are popular sat nav accessories?
Popular sat nav accessories include carry cases, subscriptions to traffic monitoring services and smartcards with Points of Interest data.
What else can sat navs do?
Sat navs can add to the enjoyment of your journey by providing Points of Interest information, whereby it tells you about interesting visitor attractions in the vicinity, or useful services such as petrol stations and banks.
Some sat navs can tell you your average speed, can play MP3s and can function as audio book players.
You'll find a sat nav particularly useful when you are driving on unfamiliar roads, e.g. when you hire a car.
Sat Nav Glossary
GPS - Global Positioning System, the American satellite navigation system, which consists of at least 24 orbitting satellites which transmit microwave signals to allow a GPS receiver to determine its location. The system was developed by the US Department of Defense, but made available for the common good in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, after Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down by the Russians for straying into their airspace.
POI - Points of Interest. Anything that may be of interest to the traveller, such as visitor attractions, supermarkets, campsites etc etc. You can download databases of Points of Interest so that the sat nav system can alert you as you travel.
TMC - Traffic Message Channel, a RDS radio data service providing traffic information. Some sat navs come with a built in TMC radio receiver, and for others it is an option. Many Tom Tom sat navs have a built-in TMC receiver allowing them to alert you to any traffic build-ups.
Overview of Sat Nav Technology
Currently, all sat nav systems rely on the United States' Global Positioning System (GPS). This sat nav system consists of 24 to 27 satellites orbiting in six different planes. The satellites in the network emit radio signals so that a sat nav system on the ground can take data from a number of different satellites to provide itself with a location fix. Europe is now developing its own sat nav system called Galileo. The first satellite of the Galileo system was launched on December 28th 2005 and the European sat nav system should be operational from 2008. Galileo has been designed to be operational with the next-generation GPS system, which is scheduled to be operational by 2012. This means that next generation sav nav systems will be able to combine radio signals from both Galileo and GPS networks, producing much greater positional accuracy.
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