What Are the Different Types of Navigation Software?

Jean Marie Asta

Different types of navigation software are used for many kinds of navigation purposes, whether by land, air, or sea. There are devices that allow a user to navigate via a global positioning system (GPS) and can offer different kinds of tools, interfaces and features to allow for easy and convenient travel. Devices that utilize GPS use a built-in GPS chip and a tiny radio receiver, which captures signals from many GPS satellites at the same time. By using these simultaneous signals, the device can compute a user’s velocity, position, and time at the location. The information is encoded and then transformed into readable data.

Smart phones often come with GPS navigation software.
Smart phones often come with GPS navigation software.

Marine navigation employs the use of navigation software, using technology to navigate bodies of water rather than paper charts. Most boats that are frequently used today have GPS receivers, and they can utilize different features and tools for navigation that will help the user. Navigation software in marine GPS receivers, also known as chart plotters, uses electronic marine charts, digitized versions of paper marine charts. The software uses two types of charts: raster charts and vector charts. Raster charts contain digital geo-referenced pictures resembling paper charts, whereas a vector chart is a database of instructions on how a chart must be drawn in a program.

GPS receivers use three-dimensional triangulation from satellites to pinpoint a motorist's location.
GPS receivers use three-dimensional triangulation from satellites to pinpoint a motorist's location.

Navigation software used for mobile phone navigation has increasingly become popular with the increasing use of smart phones. Smart phone devices can be used as replacements for GPS devices that have a single use as a GPS receiver. Mobile devices that employ navigation software have features like 2D/3D mapping, location sharing, and a compass with the cardinal directions for people who like to do outdoor activities like hiking or biking. Other mobile devices have tools catered to driving in a car, such as voice guidance, address location input, a search function for local businesses, and distance calculation. Additional features may include traffic updates and weather condition notifications.

Land navigation is one more kind of navigation software that is employed by entities such as the military, scientists or construction crews. It is used in leisure activities as well, such as geocaching or golf. Golf navigation software can include many features, including golf ball tracking, topography of specific courses, and wind direction. Navigation software for geocaching can be downloaded as an application and used on a mobile device to find “caches” that are hidden in many spots around the globe. Both golf and geocaching navigation tools integrate GPS with the activity that it is being used for, making it simple and convenient for users.

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