May 31, 2006
So you want to know some more about GPS units and how to use them? Which one is best to buy? What’s right for you? What features are absolutely needed? We can help you out with all of that and more. Essentially there is no GPS unit that is “best” for everything because one that might be best for hiking may not be best for navigating on a long road trip. So, you are going to have to think about how you want to use the GPS before you decide what GPS to buy.
First, if you want to learn a bit about the basics of Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) and the how GPS receivers function, see our Basics of GPS section.
If you are mainly interested in hiking and using a GPS for outdoor sports – see our Outdoor/Handheld GPS Buying Guide section.
If you are interested in navigating around in your car with your GPS – see our Mobile GPS Buying Guide section.
A close relative of using your GPS for outdoor purposes is to use a GPS as a training aid. Strap on a GPS and go exercise, the newest units can help you train – Outdoor Fitness Basics - Coming Soon.
May 31, 2006
There is huge growth in the mobile GPS segment and for good reason – people are getting tired of being lost, and being stuck in traffic. The other big reason that the market is growing fast is that the quality of the products is way up, while the price is coming down. You don’t need an advanced degree to run one of these things, most of the time these things are dead simple to use and work well right out of the box. There are about three levels of units on the market right now, the lower end entry models that offer basic navigation and not a lot of add-on frills, the mid-tier that has rock solid feature sets and a lot of ease of use features and then the high end units that offer a lot of screen real estate and a lot of extras that make life on the road easy.
Continue reading: "Buying Guide: Mobile/Automotive GPS"
May 31, 2006
The US Government essentially needed a way to figure out where its troops, planes and missiles were an where they were headed. So, in 1979 the US government started launching satellites into orbit to act as man made stars that orbit the earth. The first eleven satellites were the proof of concept, and the system was finally completed in 1994 for full worldwide coverage. These satellites send back very low power signals to earth. A Global Positioning Satellite receiver, commonly known as a GPS, will pick up those signals, and when it has a strong enough signal from enough satellites, it can triangulate to see where it is. Right now there are 30 GPS satellites in orbit, but only 24 of them are in active use, the other 6 are back-ups. The launch of the 24th block II satellite in March of 1994 completed the GPS constellation. The spacing of the satellites in orbit are arranged so that a minimum of five satellites are in view from every point on the globe. Not bad, so as long as you can see the sky, you can use a GPS.
Continue reading: "Basics of GPS"
May 31, 2006
May 31, 2006
The folks over a the Garmin Blog have let us know about the ability to upload new icons to either the Nuvi, or the StreetPilot C510, C530 , or C550 GPS units. There are four generic vehicles, a sports car, a 4X4 truck, a compact Mini looking car and a motorcycle, as well as a 3-D pointer arrow. They can be had in 8 colors, and the upload to the device looks pretty simple.
May 30, 2006
So, there is another contest running that will give away the Co-Pilot live that will add GPS functionality to your Pocket PC. So, check out the link to the Engadget site and submit your photo of the electronic gadgets that you take on vacation with you. It had better be impressive because there are some serious gadget hounds over there. Hurry, submisisons are due Friday!
So Baskin Robbins is starting a summertime contest that has you searching for pink spoons, and offers you the potential to win trips to lots of destinations, watercraft, trucks, shopping sprees and weekly prizes that include a TomTom GO 700 mobile GPS. Check it out at www.findthepinkspoon.com
Garmin is running radio spots this year, and they have them available for a listen online. They all focus on troubles that we have all most likely run into; traffic issues, being late due to traffic, getting lost in new cities, or travel to a new location where you have no idea where you are, and neither do others. Have a listen:
May 28, 2006
We just recieved the Mio C310 GPS at the GPS Lodge for review. Both the Mio C310 and the Mio C710 were announced back in January. The Mio C710 will be released here in the States later this year, and comes with added features like Bluetooth connectivity and lifetime traffic feeds. The Mio C310 is a personal GPS that can fit into your pocket to go wiht you where ever your travels take you.
UPDATE: See our Review of the Mio C310
The unit comes with the now popular MP3 playing capability, a touchscreen, on-board battery, built in maps of North America, and the ability to give directions in English, French and Spanish. The unit also has the highly sensitive SiRF star III GPS module which allows it to be ultra sensitive, locking onto satellites in tough conditions. The unit is small and less than an inch thick (measureing about 4.3" x 3" x 0.78"), and pocketable, nice to take with you.
Continue reading: "GPS Review: Mio C310 arrives for Review at the GPS Lodge"
Inrix has been an interesting innovator on the bleeding edge of traffic reporting in the US. They have just announced a major initiative that incorporates information from GPS enabled fleets that radio back traffic conditions to the mother ship which then turns that information into real time traffic reports and ultimately predictions for the rest of us. If you didn't think that getting fancy math to predict traffic conditions was cool enough, how about incorporating information from a half a million vehicles in a commercial fleet to feed you traffic data. Wow. GPS already does directions but the future is traffic incorporation and optimized route navigation based on traffic flow. Right now the future of traffic looks like Inrix.
According to one article online, " Inrix's service will be available soon on web portals like MSN Auto, Cingular cell phones and in-car GPS systems like TomTom." Inrix has a deal with TeleAtlas, which supplies data to TomTom, Cobra and Mio, but not Garmin or Magellan. Uh-oh. Actually, Garmin and Magellan work with NAVTEQ who works with Traffic.com to get traffic feeds based on sensor data. This sensor data is geographically limited, and thus, the Inrix Dust Network has the potential to jump over this sensor based data feed capability.
Continue reading: "INRIX Dust Network - Another Leap in Traffic Prediction"
Press release follows:
Another mapping service has hit the mobile phone market. This one from Rand McNally has the ability to work with your phone to get you from here to there with easy to follow directions spoken from your phone. When I say your phone, I mean the currently available 4 Moto phones that only work on the Nextel service (Motorola i710, i730, ii736, i830, i860). More to come soon.
"With Rand McNally MONA, anyone who needs to get from place to placecan access reliable GPS navigation affordably using the cell phones theyalready have, without spending thousands of dollars on an in-car navigationsystem," said Robert Apatoff, Rand McNally's president and CEO.
The service will set you back $9.99, but if you need directions in a pinch, the price is cheap.
Yes, you read that right, a Polaroid GPS that plays DVD's - and you thought the only thing that Polaroid did was to push out those instant pictures from years ago? Shame on you. Polaroid has been pushing into a lot of consumer goods lately, should it be a surprise that they got into one the hottest electronics categories – the land of the GPS? I have to admit I was surprised to see this, but even more surprised to see DVD playback. My kids have been bugging me for a DVD player in the car, and they know I love GPS’s, but could we both be happy with this? When I told them about the DVD player, all that they could say was "Whoa". Can I navigate and play a movie at the same time? Will they still say "Whoa" if I can get my hands on one?
Continue reading: "Polaroid MGX-0550 GPS Unit with DVD Player"
The US investment fund Shah Capital has made an offer to buy the GPS navigation equipment business of Thales for $170 million. Of that, the first $110 million would be paid immediately and the rest would be paid over five years.
Thales' GPS business uses the brand name Magellan. Shah Capital has already bought part of Thales Electronic Solutions unit, which makes electronic cards.
Wow, first Lowrance and now Magellan bought up. Magellan once owned almost the entire automobile navigation market, and now they are getting eclipsed by others, maybe if the deal goes through the new emphasis will bring about a more competitive company.
There's a pretty good article in today's Boston Globe that talks about the basics of GPS. Not a bad read if you are just getting into the GPS world, as it briefly covers the major points like what to shop for in a mobile GPS for the car, a handheld, and what's going on in the marketplace for the US. If you've been hanging out at the GPS Lodge for a while you probably already know a lot of this, but you may find it interesting to hear from another source.
Continue reading: "Basics on the GPS Market"
May 26, 2006
We know you have a busy life and a busy schedule, and that's why everyone here at BlogPire Productions wants to make it easier for you to get the latest news from any of our sites and not just the one you visit everyday. We've provided below a list of all our sites and a short description along with a link for you to use if you'd like to receive news from any of those sites each Monday morning. It's really easy - just click the link - sign up and you'll get the list of headlines sent to you via email.
May 23, 2006
Celestron and the Boy Scouts of America have announced that Celestron will donate 200 GPS Equipped SkyScout units to the astronomy programs run by the Boy Scouts. About the size of a camcorder and weighing less than 16 ounces, the SkyScout utilizes a consumer-friendly "point and shoot" GPS technology that enables stargazers to instantly identify and/or locate over 6,000 celestial objects in the sky with the press of a button and listen to commentary on the object and its history. The SkyScout also has a "locate" feature that allows users to select an object they wish to view (i.e. Mars) and the SkyScout, using illuminated arrows in the viewfinder, will point the user to the object. Wow, when I was in Boy Scouts, we have dots with lines drawn between them on flash cards. This sounds like a nice step up!
Continue reading: "Boy Scouts Use Celestron SkyScout - GPS Equipped Star Finder"
Industry-leading traffic information company Inrix Inc. today announced it has secured $10 million in Series B funding, in an oversubscribed round led by Boston-based Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from existing investors Venrock Associates and August Capital. They started in 2004 and with about $6 million in first round funding. So with $6 million, they are now hitting national press, are a Red Herring top 100 start up in North America, and look like they are set to turn the navigation and traffic world on its head. Not bad for a 2 year old start-up.
Inrix is the first company to successfully transform a large volume of anonymous real-time GPS vehicle probe data into nationwide traffic information. Only Inrix's proprietary Traffic Fusion Engine incorporates the power of advanced Bayesian analytics to combine GPS probe data with hundreds of other market-specific data sources enabling the most accurate real-time and predictive traffic information and broadest coverage available.
Continue reading: "Inrix Secures $10 Million in Oversubscribed Series B Round"
Signaling the promise that Inrix holds, Red Herring awarded Inrix mention on their Top 100 list of promising companies. Red Herring is all about “delivering informed coverage not on what’s hot and already widely reported, but on what is new and promising, on what’s risky and potentially rewarding. In short, Red Herring reports on what’s new and worth getting in a sweat about—the thrill of innovation and the courage to finance it. It’s the difference between being ahead of the curve and riding it.”
Continue reading: "Inrix Receives Red Herring Top 100 Award"
May 21, 2006
A lot of people have been asking about hacking Magellan eXplorist handheld GPS units. Well, since there is an interface spot on the back of the units that occupies the battery compartment, it’s feasible, just not easy to do. PC-Mobile.net, has posted some directions on how to get around this problem, by creating a PC interface cable for the Magellan eXplorist 100, 200 and 300 GPS receivers. They are retailers of cables, and are happy to help out in this area. There is also a Russian site that has a few tips on hacking the Magellan Units, as well as accessing some secret menus that appear to be used for diagnostics functions.
May 20, 2006
Another Amazon Sale
Last days of the Amazon Electronics Sale: It's time for big savings on thousands of electronics at Amazon.com. For a limited time only the most popular items in GPS and two-way radios are on sale. Treat yourself, or get ready for the summer, but don't pay more later--sale prices end May 22nd.
Complete List of GPS units on Sale - Free Shipping Too!
May 19, 2006
Garmin is running a $100 rebate on their powerful GPSMap 76Cx and GPSMap 76CSx handheld GPS units if you purchased the units between now and July 9, 2006.
If you buy one of these you may also be interested in the Americas Bluechart Map CD ROM that offers detailed marine maps.
The GPSMap 76Cx is a color outdoor and marine handheld (both models float) GPS that features the highly sensitive SiRF star III chipset, and comes loaded with features that rival most other handheld units in the marketplace. This unit features a removable microSD card for detailed mapping memory and a waterproof, rugged housing. The microSD card slot is located inside the waterproof battery compartment. Users can load map data and transfer routes and waypoints through the unit’s fast USB connection.
If you want the barometric altimeter and compass, upgrade to the GPSMap 76CSx.
Access the rebate card here.
TomTom is making their desktop software TomTom Home available for download for folks who have models other than the new TomTom GO 510 and TomTom GO 910. The software allows you to manage your GPS on your desktop computer in ways that make the units more productive and your life a bit better. You will be able to manage your firmware, voices, your maps, Points of Interest, and color schemes.
So, while you get some goodies for your older 300, 500, 700 and ONE, you don't totally get a free pass to everything. Unfortunately you won't be able to prepare trips on your computer and download them to your older unit.
Links to the download page for both Windows and Mac OS X below.
Continue reading: "TomTom Home available for Download"
TomTom and Radio Shack announced that the retailer will start to carry the TomTom GO line of the TomTom GO 510 and the TomTom GO 910. This is another big retail distribution move for TomTom following their agreement with Best Buy last year. As TomTom gains traction in the US market, look for TomTom to start making more of these agreements.
Continue reading: "TomTom GO 510 and GO 910 to be available at Radio Shack"
May 18, 2006
Geocaching is a great way to get out into the wilderness and try out that GPS that's been collecting dust in the house all winter. Well, as droves of geocachers are trudging into the woods, some people start to twitch about the damage that you can inflict on nature as you turn over rocks, logs and leaves looking for that cache. Well, with the Geocaching season starts for those of us in the northern hemisphere, the folks over at treadlightly.org have complied a list of tips that will help you enjoy Geocaching while leaving nature in tact for the next geocacher to come along.
If you haven’t tried out Geocaching, you should. Geocaching has you use your GPS to track down a cache of trinkets that you get trade you cheapie trinket for another cheapie trinket. For me, it’s a great way to get out into nature and enjoy the hunt for a small little find. For more information, check out the Geocaching site.
May 16, 2006
CNet has a quick video review of the new Garmin iQue 3000. The iQue 3000 is a Palm based PIM/PDA that will still perform the basic funcitons of a PDA while welcoming you with the familiar "Where to?" and "View Maps" interface that graces many Garmin devices. It has basic Palm functionality while offering a flip up antenna that will pull down the satellite signals for GPS funcitons. Check it out at CNet.
May 15, 2006
The Garmin StreetPilot line is a popular line in the mid-tier for automotive GPS devices. I had a chance to review the StreetPilot c340 last year, and I thought it was a great GPS. Garmin has announced the StreetPilot C550 model and the first reviews are showing up on the web; verdict is that the new unit is good. Overall, the big news on the new StreetPilot C550 is that it has Bluetooth connectivity, which is something that TomTom has had for a while in their GO line. But that’s not all the new StreetPilot C550 has going for it.
Continue reading: "GPS Review: Garmin StreetPilot C550"
Update: See what we had to say about the Garmin StreetPilot C550 in our Review after using it for a month at the GPS Lodge - ReadMore
Another Amazon Sale
It's time for big savings on thousands of electronics at Amazon.com. For a limited time only the most popular items in GPS and two-way radios are on sale. Treat yourself, or get ready for the summer, but don't pay more later--sale prices end May 22nd.
Complete List of GPS units on Sale - Free Shipping Too!
May 14, 2006
What better gift to give to mom than her independence? She may not know it, but she would really love one of the easy to use GPS units that helps her get anywhere she wants to go with ease. Two units in particula, that are particularly easy to use and powerful, would be the Garmin StreetPilot C330 and the TomTom GO 300. Both have high quality maps, touchscreen ease of use and outright reliable in terms of navigation quality and trustworthiness of operation.
May 13, 2006
Amazon.com is running a big electronics sale and they are also running a rebate on the Magellan RoadMate 800 from now through May 31st.
Final Cost with rebate is $499.00!
That's less than the RoadMate 760 right now; that's a pretty good deal.
Garmin in support of their Edge line of biking GPS units is out there as a sponsor of the National Championships this weekend in Lawrence Kansas.
This news comes out of the Garmin Blog - a new blog put out there from Garmin. They are pretty active and are posting quite a bit on their products and their sponsorships of various races around the country - check them out.
May 12, 2006
Just in case you were planning on biking across the country this summer, you can buy your maps at Adventure Cycling and get your waypoints there too! Adventure Cycling has maps available for you to criss-cross the country in many different routes that will have you in shape in not time. I used some of their maps when I biked across New England a few years ago, and found them pretty good. We used their maps to create routes on the computer and then downloaded the routes onto our Garmin eTrex units that guided us on the road. Well Adventure Cycling has done the work for you and created what they call companion GPS coordinates to be used with their maps.
The route that we used was the Northern Tier route where we met more than one rider who had started in Anacortes Washington about 7 weeks before and biked across the whole country. After the stories of sleeping in the woods, barns and in spare bedrooms of kind strangers, the funniest story was about going into the post office about a week into the ride to mail home extra (heavy) equipment. The postal worker immediately knew that the person was biking across the country, as this particular town was a well known place to mail home any equipment you thought you would need, but after a week had gotten tired of dragging around on your bike.
Magellan has a few rebates going on to start the summer if you buy before July 7th (Valid US and Canada).
Magellan eXplorist 200 or eXplorist 210 - $30 Rebate
Magellan eXplorist 400, 500, 600 or eXplorist XL - $50 Rebate
Magellan RoadMate 360 or 760 - $50 Rebate
Links to Magellan Site for All Rebate Forms:
Magellan eXplorist 200 or 210.
Magellan eXplorist 400, 500, 600 or XL.
Magellan RoadMage 360.
Magellan RoadMate 760.
NAVTEQ says that it has reached another milestone in Eastern Europe by providing a full coverage map of Poland. Included in the data set is over 600,000 km of roads. Not bad; don't know that I'll ever get there, but here you go. I am sure it will help someone out there.
“Achieving this goal affirms NAVTEQ’s commitment to our customers to provide robust map coverage of Eastern Europe”, stated George Filley, Vice President of Product Management, for NAVTEQ. “Our commitment to this region is further reinforced by the presence of two local offices in Poland that will continue to maintain and update the map.”
We know you have a busy life and a busy schedule, and that's why everyone here at BlogPire Productions wants to make it easier for you to get the latest news from any of our sites and not just the one you visit everyday. We've provided below a list of all our sites and a short description along with a link for you to use if you'd like to receive news from any of those sites each Monday morning. It's really easy - just click the link - sign up and you'll get the list of headlines sent to you via email. Thanks again for reading us and check out some of the other great news from BlogPire Productions.
May 10, 2006
So if you missed it, Garmin's earnings are up a ton this year over last for the first quarter - see our article; "Garmin Profit up 86% - Announce Stock Split" Garmin is the maker of such popular mobile GPS models as the C340, the new C500 series with Bluetooth integration, the huge StreetPilot 7200 with a 7 inch screen, the popular eTrex handheld models and the category owning Forerunner series. We'll take a look at what makes Garmin do so well, and if they will keep it up.
Continue reading: "Insight on Garmin's Business Outlook"
May 8, 2006
Tele Atlas and Inrix, Inc. announced today at ITS America that the companies are significantly extending their collaboration to deliver next-generation traffic services in North America. Under the new agreement, Inrix and Tele Atlas will form joint operations to optimally collect, integrate and deliver enhanced Tele Atlas traffic solutions and related map information within wireless applications and personal and in-car navigation systems. Tele Atlas customers will immediately benefit from the expanded partnership through access to Inrix’s industry-leading real-time and predictive traffic information and the ability to develop next generation navigation solutions featuring applications such as traffic-influenced dynamic routing.
Continue reading: "TeleAtlas and Inrix Expand Partnership"
May 5, 2006
GlobalSat has announced the next generation of its Bluetooth GPS receiver, the GlobalSat BT-359. The new top of the range Bluetooth GPS is both stylish and functional.
The GlobalSat BT-359 contains the latest SiRFIII Low Power Chipset for high sensitivity. It communicates with Host Platform (PDA, Laptop, and etc.) via Bluetooth Serial Port Profile.
Want to learn more about the SiRF STAR III Chipset - "What is the SiRF star III Chipset?"
With the Bluetooth version 2.0 and built-in ceramic patch antenna, the BT-359 provides faster acquisition times and improves accuracy in urban canyons and under dense foliage.
It contains a replaceable battery with a large capacity (1700mAh), which enables the BT-359 to operate for up to 11 hours. A slide battery lid makes it easy to remove and replace the battery. It also supports WAAS and EGNOS for even greater accuracy.
This new GPS measures 82.0 mm x 41.0 mm x 13.4 mm.
Tele Atlas announced it has signed an agreement with digital entertainment leader Pioneer Corporation to supply European and North American digital map data and point of interest (POI) content for Pioneer’s current and future in car navigation systems, including the new AVIC-X1BT and AVIC-N3 series of products. We've seen a few of these Pioneer GPS systems hit the market lately and it's no surprise that Pioneer is making a commitment to the skyrocketing GPS category. As TomTom, Garmin and Magellan move their units towards stereos with MP3 players, Pioneer is moving the GPS function into the stereo.
Continue reading: "TeleAtlas and Pioneer set partnership"
May 4, 2006
So, while Europe is well aware of POI databases (Points of Interest), the US is now becoming aware of them with the growing number of speed and red light cameras, and the growing number of GPS units in cars. Well if you need a database of POI's, there is a site that is tracking them and allows downloads for a donation. You can then upload to selected GPS units and set a proximity alert. The proximity alert will tell you when you are within a certain distance to let you know that you need to either slow down or make sure you aren't caught by a red light Camera. Garmin has a POI loader software download (free) that allows you to upload these POI databases to selected Garmin GPS units.
So if you are concerned about speed or red light cameras in your city, and whether it's all of Rhode Island (4 cameras), or the city of Los Angeles (205 cameras), maybe you want to check this site out.
Amazon is running a special Consumer Electronics event where you save 5% off your purchase (up to $100) with the following promotional code: SAVECEEVENTT. This offer runs through May 8th. See: GPS Deals
On top of this, the Garmin Forerunner 201 is currently $99; a pretty good price for this fitness training aid.
May 3, 2006
First quarter profit at Garmin has soared and is up 86% over last year, and they announced a 2 for 1 stock split. Total revenue was up 67%, largely driven by the 252% revenue increase in the automobile segment. Obviously things in North America are going well, with a 53% increase in revenue, where they enjoy very strong market share, but things are going well in Europe too where TomTom is the leader in the market. European revenue was up 102% to ~$102 million, which by my crude calculations are about half of TomTom’s European revenue numbers. With Garmin’s recent move to Bluetooth enabled mobile GPS units, I expect this key feature to help gain market share in Europe where Bluetooth is a key feature and is more widely accepted. I’ll say again, that R&D pays off when done right, and Garmin appears to be putting their R&D into the right areas and making the right moves in this wildly expanding market. (See our article on R&D spending at Garmin)
Continue reading: "Garmin Profit up 86% - Announce Stock Split"
May 1, 2006
Garmin announced a new addition to their expanding line up of Bluetooth enabled GPS units today with the Garmin StreetPilot 2820. The Garmin StreetPilot 2820 is intended to be used for both automotive and motorcycle applications. The Bluetooth features will be a welcome addition in both applications. You want music? Yes, that's in there too; Garmin has included music playback capabilities, as well as FM RDS traffic (or XM traffic), as well as a huge database of trusted Points of Interest and maps. Worried about getting wet on the bike? The unit is waterproof to IPX7 standards, which means it can handle a little rain.
Continue reading: "Garmin StreetPilot 2820 GPS"
“The StreetPilot series is recognized for incorporating features that make customers’ lives easier,” said Gary Kelley, vice president of marketing. “Bluetooth capability is yet another example of our commitment to providing customers with navigation devices with more flexibility and integrated technologies than any other manufacturer.”
Continue reading: "NAVTEQ brings Traffic Service to Magellan RoadMate 700 and 760"
Magellan and NAVTEQ have teamed up to bring traffic capabilities to the masses as they announced today that the Magellan RoadMate 760 and 700 portable vehicle navigation solutions are the first to offer NAVTEQ real-time traffic services via NAVTEQ Traffic RDS (Radio Data System). In addition, all Magellan vehicle navigation solutions introduced in 2006 will provide real-time traffic solutions, even entry-level devices, and will provide the one of the most cost-effective real-time traffic solutions on the market.
The subscription-based traffic service is available immediately for the Magellan RoadMate 760 through the purchase of the Magellan TrafficKit(TM) at the Magellan website or from select retailers. The TrafficKit is also compatible with the Magellan RoadMate 700 when customers obtain a software upgrade from the Magellan website.
Cobra is set to launch the NavOne 2500, the follow-up to the well known NavOne 4500. The NavOne 2500 is set to enter the mid-tier segment of the market with a 3.5" color touch screen, and a new software platform for Cobra. The Nav One 2500 will feature Cobra's iA.S.A.P. (Intelligent Accelerated Satellite Acquisition Protocol) technology, which takes advantage of 12 parallel channels for faster acquisition and uninterrupted satellite signal reception in urban canyons and dense foliage.
Continue reading: "New GPS: Cobra Nav One 2500"
We reviewed the Cobra Nav One 4500 here at GPS Lodge: Check out our Review.