Alternative forms of GNSS are named according to the promoters of the satellite constellations: the existing GPS system properly named, Glonass, Galileo (still in deployment), and COMPASS. On devices equiped with tuners capable of hearing multiple constellations, it may be possible to get more precision and better coverage than what can be done today with just the GPS alone (some newer constellations will provide additional services not limited to one-way geolocating, such as Argos-style emergency signals for search and rescue). AGPS is an abreviation for Assisted GPS, and is usually an enhancement for GPS-enabled cell phones. It allows receivers quicker startup time, as well as continuing to give positions with weak or missing satellite data.

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GPS device review

A good way to get involved in the OpenStreetMap project is to upload GNSS (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou/COMPASS, etc.) traces. Recorded by your satellite receiver or mobile phone, the typical trace is a record of your location every second, or every meter (“tracelog”). Convert it to GPX format if it wasn’t done for you automatically. The collected data can be displayed as a background of thin lines or little dots within the map editor. These lines and dots can then be used to help you add map features (such as roads and footpaths), similar to tracing from aerial imagery.

Thinking of getting a GPS receiver to add data to OSM? These reviews are here to help. If you think about other mapping related hardware too, look at the Hardware Guide.

If you buy a GPS unit via any of our retail partners then up to 10% of the purchase price will be donated to OpenStreetMap. This helps to help keep our servers running. See the Shop for details.

The correct term is GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), though the most common system GPS have become the name most people use (if you go to your local shop and ask for a GNSS, the clerk will probably not know what you mean).

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