Consumers and GPS
GPS technology has become an integral part of how we live, both in work and in play. There are more than 500 million GPS receivers in the U.S. alone, and more than one billion receivers worldwide.
Millions use it every day to aid in driving, flying, fishing, boating, sailing, hunting, hiking, running, biking, geocaching, working or exploring. Location-based services are expected to deliver $700 billion in value to consumers and business users in the next decade.
Safety: Consumer GPS devices play a key role in saving lives and property every day. They not only assist travelers exploring unfamiliar locales and help prevent risky situations from developing into crises, but they also play a major role in public safety search and rescue operations when full-fledged emergencies occur. GPS devices dependably put their users in the right place at the right time to save lives and protect property.
Automotive: Millions use GPS devices in their automobiles that provide drivers with the location information essential for safe travel and efficient navigation, leading to considerable fuel savings, just as they do for motorcyclists and truckers. This leads to considerable fuel savings. A recent study commissioned by Google estimates these technologies have reduced travel times by more than 1.1 billion hours per year worldwide, placing the annual economic value of the time saved at $5 billion in the U.S. and $17 billion worldwide. Further, the study estimated that the more efficient travel times reduced global fuel consumption by nearly 1 billion gallons, creating an additional $4.8 billion in fuel savings each year.
In addition to location and route information, the devices also offer emergency information such as the closest hospital or police station, as well as traffic and real-time traffic camera information, roadside assistance, gas prices, weather and much more.
Recreation and Fitness: GPS technology enables outdoor and exercise enthusiasts to stay aware of location, heading, bearing, speed, distance and time. It's a highly valuable aid in pursuing outdoor activities such as hunting, hiking, fishing, geocaching and golfing. For fitness enthusiasts, GPS technology offers running and cycling devices, measurement sensors and web portals to track and share performance data. Sensor technology monitors biometrics to improve the health of users and save lives.
Marine: GPS offers a wide array of devices for both boaters and the maritime industry. GPS options include chart plotters, sonar, radar, real-time weather, autopilot, networking capabilities, multi-function displays, and 3D mapping views with detailed satellite imagery.
GPS technology plays a vital role in enhanced safety in the operations of all types of watercraft. The United States Coast Guard mandates that most boats have a VHF radio enabled with Digital Selective Calling, which in turn depends on GPS to send accurate position information over VHF frequencies in marine emergencies. GPS not only informs mariners of their location, it provides the critical information of where they are relative to fixed hazards like rocks or shorelines, and their proximity to bad weather. Marine collision avoidance systems, and rescue operations and distress safety systems also depend on GPS.
Smartphones and Tablets: GPS is increasingly offered as a function in today's smartphones and tablets, providing location information that assists in tasks ranging from the best walking routes to locating goods and services. In today's increasingly wireless world — the U.S., with 327 million cellphones, now has more cellphones than people — GPS technology continues to innovate and its role will grow even greater.