How to Get Better Accuracy with Garmin Handheld GPS


The modern Garmin handheld GPS such as the eTrex 10/20/30 and the gpsmap 62/62s connect to GLONNAS that enables the devices to get better accuracy.

GLONNAS alone won’t guarantee a user accurate readings, to get accurate readings, a user needs to follow basic guidelines of using a GPS.

1. Determine the type of internal antenna in your GPS. This information will likely be listed in a table of “specifications” in the back of your owner’s manual. There are two main types:

  • Patch antenna, and
  • Quadrifilar helix antenna

2. Hold your GPS properly to receive a stronger signal from the GPS satellites:

  •  If you have a patch antenna hold your GPS flat
  • If you have a quadrifilar helix antenna hold your GPS erect

3. Stand where you have a clear view of the sky. Buildings, hills, trees, etc., will block the signals from the GPS satellites. The goal is to receive the signal from as many GPS satellites as possible.

4. Hold your GPS at shoulder height. Even your body can block the signal from the GPS satellites.

5. Use “position averaging”. This is a feature that allows your GPS to take many measurements and then calculate an average position before saving it in the GPS receiver’s memory.

6. Turn on the WAAS/GLONNAS capability. The WAAS/GLONNAS signal is broadcast from several geo stationary communications satellites. The WAAS/GLONNAS signal provides corrections for your GPS measurements and enhances the accuracy of your GPS receiver.

NB. WAAS signal is not available over African continent. So, you won’t pick this signal if you are using your GPS in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Burundi or any other African country.

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