According to the U.S. government; "The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a U.S. space-based radionavigation system that provides reliable positioning, navigation, and timing services to civilian users on a continuous worldwide basis -- freely available to all. For anyone with a GPS receiver, the system will provide location and time. GPS provides accurate location and time information for an unlimited number of people in all weather, day and night, anywhere in the world." More details: GPS.gov
For the recreational vehicle traveler GPS devices can provide many useful functions including mapping routes, determining distance and time to locations, pinpointing exact location in case of emergency, finding fuel stations, campgrounds, landmarks or any number of personal interests. In addition to to very practical applications GPS lends itself to fun via treasure hunting such as Geocaching.
GPS devices come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes (Mountable, handheld, etc.) with scope and function varying greatly as well prices. On the positive side once the unit is purchased there is generally no monthly service subscription to be paid for. There may be paid add on's like updated maps and custom POI's (discussed below) but these are optional. Prior to shopping for a unit try and determine what the main needs you will want fulfilled and this will allow you to focus more quickly on the models that are right for you. GPS units are sold via many brands the most popular being Garmin, TomTom and, Magellan.
The devices usually come preprogrammed with maps and various popular locations such as shopping, restaurants, fuel locations, etc. The maps can be upgraded overtime to stay current. In addition to these basic locations, on some units it is possible to download more locations specific to your own interests. For example one could load the unit with "Breweries in Florida", or say "Things to see along Highway 1 in California" or maybe "Campgrounds in Texas". This is accomplished by uploading POI (Points of Interest) files to your unit in a very simple and quick process. Many sites offer such files for free, one of our favorites is POI Factory. This link will take you to a list of files broken down by interest that you can add to your gps device.
Recreational Vehicle GPS Products
List of gps products and resources including mountable and handheld devices.
Search for RV GPS Information
Submit a RV GPS Link to RV Resources