What Is a GPS PDA?

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  • Written By: Daniel Liden
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
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A GPS PDA is a personal digital assistant (PDA) equipped with a global positioning system (GPS), typically used for navigation. A PDA is a multi-functional, mobile device that can have a wide range of purposes, from scheduling appointments to Internet browsing. A GPS PDA, then, combines the many functions of the PDA with the location-finding abilities of the GPS.

One can use a PDA's global positioning system for many different purposes; some use it for recreation while others use it for business. Many simply use it for navigation, as these systems tend to have maps and the capability to offer directions on roads and through wilderness. Others use the GPS for recreational purposes, such as geocaching. In geocaching, people hide boxes—with trinkets or notebooks inside—in various outdoor locations and post GPS coordinates on the Internet, allowing others to hunt them down.

The other uses this this device are comparable to those of a personal computer and a cell phone. Most use some form of cell phone network for both phone and Internet service, so they can be used both as phones and as Internet browsers. Some are also equipped with digital cameras and camcorders, though they usually have relatively low quality. Most can be used as calendars and alarm clocks when needed as well. Many can be used to play music and videos, and are equipped with sizable hard drives to facilitate such tasks.


A GPS PDA combines the functionality of a GPS with that of a PDA, all in one small device. This saves one from carrying many devices at all times and from needing to print maps. One can research a location on the Internet through the online capabilities of the device and figure out how to get there with its GPS system. There are often applications available on the device that can recommend restaurants or shops based on the location of the device as well.

There are many limitations from which any GPS PDA suffers. Because of its size, the space that each of its internal components takes up is limited. This usually results in highly limited processing power, a relatively small hard drive, and a limited amount of memory. The processes run on the device tend to run slowly compared to processes on a full-size personal computer. Additionally, the screen size of a GPS PDA is usually quite small, limiting its multitasking capabilities.


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