Navigational Instruments Information

Navigational instruments from GENEQ inc. Navigational instruments include global positioning satellite (GPS) systems, compasses, range and depth finders, map measurers, and other items. These instruments are used for surveying surroundings, orienting present location, measuring distance on a chart or map, and determining the best route to a given destination.

Range and depth finders use active measures or trigonometry to measure distance from user to target. Compasses are either held level and read, or sighted along at a distant target. For the most part, navigational instruments are used in conjunction with an analog or digital map or chart. GPS systems rely upon on satellites to triangulate the user's position.

Types of Navigational Instruments

Compass from Brunton Outdoor Group Here are some common types of navigational instruments.

  • GPS systems are used for mapping and surveying, handheld navigation, vehicle tracking/fleet management, and tracking. Field data collection software can be integrated.
  • The most common compass types are baseplate and lensatic.
  • Distance measurers include range finders and depth sounders.
  • Map measurers come in digital and analog formats.

Other types of products include maps and charts, nautical clocks, sextants, and specialized aeronautic instruments.


Specifications differ by product type. For example, there are three grades of accuracy for GPS systems: recreational, mapping, and survey. This video illustrates:

Video credit: GEO-Jobe

Features and Applications

To account for atmospheric distortion, GPS systems rely on differential corrections (wide area) or RTK corrections (local). Some products feature cell phone technology, high res cameras, and collection data software. Purchasers should also consider the GPS system size (hand held, backpack, vehicle mounted), monitor resolution and color, battery life, USB connections, and ruggedization.From lowest to highest accuracy, GPS systems can be used for locating a house, business, vehicle, or route; storm weather tracking; capturing accurate and robust data and getting that data to a GIS/CAD system quickly and easily; shooting inverts of sewer/stormwater pipes; handling ground control for aerial surveys; and mapping accidents for police departments.


Aeronautic Navigational Instruments

Map This! Blog

Marine Navigational Instruments

What are the different types of compasses?

Image credits:

GENEQ inc. | Brunton Outdoor Group


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