What is a GPS Pedometer?

Marisa O'Connor

A GPS pedometer is basically a technological upgrade to the traditional pedometer. The GPS technology allows tracking of actual distance as opposed to estimated distance based on steps taken with other pedometers. Accuracy of data collected by the GPS is particularly advantageous for runners because it includes elevation and speed. These pedometers are available as separate devices or in the form of applications that can be downloaded to a smartphone.

A smartphone that can be used as a GPS pedometer.
A smartphone that can be used as a GPS pedometer.

A traditional pedometer is a device that a person can use to monitor how many steps he or she takes while wearing it. Depending on the model's specific technological abilities, it may also be able to estimate distance and calories burned. The main difference between a GPS pedometer and a traditional pedometer is that the individual steps are not recorded. Rather, these devices track the actual distance.

Pedometers measure how many steps a person takes.
Pedometers measure how many steps a person takes.

Unlike most GPS devices attached to cars, the GPS pedometer does not chart out directions or routes for trails. Instead, the GPS keeps a record of its wearer's movements so that at the end of a walk or run a person can check the GPS data and see information about the exact trail he or she followed.

Accuracy is one of the main advantages of the GPS pedometer. It uses satellite technology to track real-time distance traveled. It is also especially helpful for runners and cyclists because the GPS allows the capacity to display elevation and speed in real time.

Another great feature of a GPS pedometer is that it usually has the ability to connect to a computer. This is a particularly helpful feature for those who wish to keep track of their overall progress. Depending on the system used, visual graphs and charts may be used to keep track of exercise goals. Keeping track of exercise progress and achievements is a great method to stay motivated.

GPS pedometers are available as unique devices. These pedometers may come in the form of a wrist or ankle band that is attached to the recording device. Some can be carried around in a pocket or handbag for more discreet monitoring. These devices can vary widely in size and features, depending on the tastes and budget of the owner.

Many smartphones, such as the iPhone, can be used as a GPS pedometer. These devices have the capacity to run different applications. Some are available for free, while other, usually more complex, applications can be purchased. This type of pedometer is particularly convenient because the smartphone serves as an all-in-one device for the many different applications downloaded onto it.

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