GPS has been one of the most transformative technologies to come along in recent years. Indeed, many drivers can hardly remember what it was like to use standard maps anymore.
But while everyone has heard of GPS, not everyone knows what WAAS is. So here’s a guide to this amazing technology that has helped to make driving easier for everyone.
Quick Overview of WAAS
WAAS stands for ‘Wide Area Augmentation System,’ and it is part of the GPS system. Its job is to provide signal corrections, which essentially increases the accuracy of GPS by as much as five times, making it very useful where greater accuracy is needed.
In fact, if you use a WAAS receiver, you should be able to get an accuracy of within three meters most of the time.
It was developed for flight approaches by the FAA because GPS was not accurate enough, but now it is found in many GPS receivers that are used by drivers.
How Does It Work?
WAAS comprises a number of ground reference stations located all over the United States. The job of these stations is to monitor satellite data for the GPS system.
There are then two WAAS Master Stations (WMS), one of which is located on each coast. These collect data from all of the reference stations and correct it to provide greater accuracy, and any GPS receiver that is WAAS-enabled can read it.
Can You Use WAAS?
Anyone in North America can use WAAS as long as you have a WAAS-enabled receiver. However, it is not available elsewhere, so keep this in mind if you take your car abroad. This is because there are no ground reference stations anywhere else.
However, other countries around the world are working on similar systems, so soon everyone should be able to use it.
Look for a GPS Unit with WAAS
Now that you know what WAAS is, you might see it mentioned next time you search for a GPS receiver, so look out for it when you pick up your next GPS unit. It will provide you with a more accurate location no matter where you are, making it a useful option.
If you are thinking about buying a new car, you might want to find one that has a GPS unit installed that has WAAS. So search around to find a car within your budget that has the technology you are looking for.
Do You Need WAAS?
While WAAS is an amazing technology, and you may be keen to use it, the truth is that you might not actually need it. So don’t be too concerned if you can’t find GPS with WAAS.
The fact is that GPS is already excellent for finding your way around, especially if you use a good app on your smartphone or a dedicated GPS unit to provide you with directions when you are driving.
The most important thing you need to consider is the quality of the GPS unit or the app on your phone that you use to navigate. Google Maps is free and provides an excellent service, so don’t worry too much if you can’t find a GPS unit with WAAS because you’ll still be able to get around just fine.