How Much Battery Does GPS Use and How to Make It Last?

GPS-enabled devices have littered the market, from the smallest watch to the biggest GPS tracker you can ever see. And yes, they all come with features that make one want to know how much battery does GPS use and is there a way to make it last longer?

In its core, GPS uses satellite signals to triangulate a location and provide that as an output through LCD or LED screens, allowing users to visualize what they are seeing from two dimensions into three, and vice versa. Now, with this kind of technology, it should be no surprise that it would take a generous amount of juice to power all those circuit boards and connectors to come up with a cohesive performance.

But, again, how much battery does GPS use?

Uses for GPS

Before answering that question, let’s look at how GPS is being used on a daily basis. Global Positioning Systems are flexible pieces of technology that runs round the clock without stopping, and these technologies, once converted into small devices, can be adapted for several industries. Here are a few examples:

1. Navigation

The first and foremost use of GPS in a person’s day to day life is navigation which is especially useful when driving through unfamiliar locations or busy urban streets. GPS combined with accurate mapping software and an operating system that would update it regularly equals an efficient tool for getting around, more known as TNVS.

Taxi and other similar transportation companies have begun using GPS-enabled devices that are attuned to existing TNVS network to supplement their income and improve their services by finding the best route from point A to point B. This system also allowed for a more efficient way of hailing your cab in the middle of anywhere.

2. Tracking

The ability of GPS devices to pinpoint the general location of its wearer accurately means that it is a great tool for tracking expensive equipment as well as vehicles and other items. Freight companies have begun installing lo-jacks or industrialized tracking devices that will turn on once it left the starting point and will continue tracking until it reaches the destination.

These devices would send alarms once the device does not pass a predetermined checkpoint, as well as when the device is removed from the vehicle by force or whatever means necessary. GPS tracking is not limited to freighting services as it can also be used for a variety of industries and purposes as well, following the same principle.

3. Mapping

Global Positioning combined with detailed mapping services equates to pinpoint accurate maps of whatever terrain you are going through. It does not even matter if you are sailing across the ocean or trekking across the Himalayas, GPS mapping can show you where you are, where you have been and where you are headed.

This particular application of GPS technology spans more than just recreational activities as fishermen have taken the device out to sea, even rally enthusiasts and cyclists, too. Not only does GPS mapping services show you the world, but it can also let you create it, a visual representation at least.

4. Sports

With cycling and rally racing in mind, the world of sports is one of the first to benefit from this amazing technology as it allowed organizers of long-distance races to track their participants and chart their courses. This lessens the chance of cheating and racer substitution, as well as vehicle tampering.

Sports fishing also benefits from GPS as it allows fishermen to find the best spots using fishfinders. Probably the best use of GPS in sports is the way it records and stores data which is always useful for planning and training purposes.

5. Geocaching and Hiking

Hikers benefit a lot from GPS devices as it allows them to plot their route using pre-plotted waypoints which help them get a better sense of direction. Avid hikers and urban adventurers have even developed a game called geocaching wherein waypoints are scattered across the globe with “treasures” affixed to each point.

Of course, these are not real treasures but log-books or notepads that allow the tracker to log their names when they spot it. Some have even gone virtual and asks cachers to take a photo with their waypoint emblem or insignia instead.

How Much Battery Does GPS Use?

Going back to the first question, how much battery does a GPS device really use? To help with the visualization, GPS runs consistently, and it never goes on a sleep state. It just runs and runs and runs.

The reason behind the constant operation is that it sends out a signal to at least three satellites every second to approximate its location. These signals need a lot of power to sustain its travel from the ground up past the stratosphere.

So, to answer the question, it takes a decent amount of battery charge to power the microchips inside a GPS device. It can be equivalent to a day’s worth of charging or a couple of battery packs.

Saving Your Battery Life

Knowing why a GPS device requires much power leads to the question of how to save the battery life of a GPS-enabled device. Here are a couple of ways that you can do so:

  • Turn Off the Add-ons

GPS-enabled devices that come with additional features like advanced mapping and the LED screen should turn these off when not in use. This reroutes the power back to the GPS chips and conserves the rest for the power-punching startup.

  • Sleep Mode

Most GPS-enabled devices come with a sleep mode that allows most of its functionalities to enter into a hibernation-like mode that help conserves power.

  • Plug It In

Of course, if you need to use the GPS round the clock, as the case for sports and fishing, then you might want to consider plugging the GPS device directly to an alternating current power source. Most models would have adapters that let you transition quickly.

Final Words

GPS-enabled devices have become part of the normal day-to-day life of the modern citizen, with mobile phones and other similar devices enabled to deliver your most accurate location to those who want to know. Keeping it operational round the clock means having access to a lot of power and never letting the battery die down.

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