GPS maps are an important part of GPS systems. It's the maps that allow you to find your way. While the GPS actually receives information from satellites circling the earth based on longitude and latitude, the maps allow that information to be put to practical use.
Without GPS map data, GPS systems would only offer coordinates and would be fairly useless for things like driving directions which they're most often used for today. Every GPS system has its own built-in navigation GPS maps and mapping systems that allow it to offer driving directions and directions to certain points of interest that may be programmed into their specific systems. You can also obtain maps from other sources for a variety of different reasons.
Freeware GPS Maps
There are a variety of places online where you can download freeware GPS maps. These maps are available to you at no charge and often have special features like easily accessed directions to things like landmarks, restaurants, stores and points of interest in a given area. These free maps for GPS systems are usually sponsored by the GPS companies or other organizations. Basic maps and maps that show general points of interest like stores and restaurants are almost always free.
Maps that you can purchase include things like NavTech GPS maps, Navigon GPS Maps and PPC GPS maps. These are advanced maps and services that offer features beyond basic directions. People who travel frequently or that need to use the GPS systems for more advanced applications may opt to purchase these types of maps.
Built-In GPS Maps
For most users, the built-in GPS software like Garmin GPS map software or Magellan GPS map software will be enough. These GPS maps offer easy access to directions to things like airports, train stations, bus terminals and stores and shops.
They also offer turn-by-turn, spoken directions to any destination found on the maps. Most people won't need anything beyond these basic maps systems but may opt to purchase different maps that focus on different areas like amusement parks, museums or other specific locations.