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Map Maker
7/30/2014
GPS technology can show you the way to your ancestor's church, courthouse or cemetery. Consult our buying guide before you gear up.
You've just learned where your great-great-grandfather is buried, and you'd like to make a trip to the grave site. But you've never visited the cemetery, and trying to read a map (especially one with tiny print) while you drive can be a little scary — for you and your fellow road warriors. Luckily, thanks to Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, you don't need a good sense of direction or an extra set of eyes to find your destination.

Developed by the US Department of Defense, GPS is a network of 24 satellites that orbit the earth and constantly measure and broadcast their positions. A GPS receiver then collects the satellites' signals to determine your current location. In recent years, a number of companies have developed affordable GPS devices that you can use to get to an appointment in an unfamiliar neighborhood or even find your ancestor's county courthouse across the country. These devices can work with your laptop computer or personal digital assistant (PDA), or you can buy a stand-alone handheld GPS device. Read on for help finding one that will work for you.

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