November 9, 2010

Garmin Teams up with Rails to Trails Conservancy - Maps of RTC Trails


Nice move by Garmin - they are teaming up with Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) to offer maps of the popular recreation ways all over the country.

The maps cover more than 17,000 miles across the country, offering hikers, bikers, bike riders and maybe just pure recreationalists a way to enjoy the outdoors in easy to access bite-sized pieces.

I've used the RTC system a lot in hiking and biking as a way to either take kids biking in a safe area away from car traffic, or as a way to get out of the city to better, clearer roadways that are more bike-friendly.

The maps are available as downloads to your Garmin device, in six regions that cover the country; each region costs $9.99.

Preview the Maps

You can head over to search, the RTC website, to find trails in your area. If you want to pick the trails one-by-one, you can register there, view the maps and then download them for free as a GPX format. If you instead want to go and grab a whole region, head on over to Garmin to buy the set.

Rails to Trails Map Packages

Via Garmin Blog

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November 4, 2010

Garmin Offers Lifetime Traffic and Maps on Top End Models: Nuvi 3760 LMT and Nuvi 3790 LMT


Garmin listed new models on their website - the Garmin Nuvi 3790 LMT and the Nuvi 3760 LMT, both come with lifetime maps and traffic subscriptions. More and more models are going the route of offering the lifetime subscriptions on both maps and traffic as a way to tie up the upfront expenditure on the consumer's part and lock in loyalty from the better overall experience.

Formerly a pain-point for consumers, out of date maps are slowly losing their sting as many options exist for users to keep their maps up to date, including annual updates, annual subscriptions that include quarterly updates and these lifetime subscription models that also tend to work on a quarterly basis.

The Nuvi 3790LMT is obviously based on the Nuvi 3790T, and charges an extra $50 for the lifetime subscriptions; a bargain considering the cost of even one map upgrade. The beautiful touchscreen, rotatable portrait of landscape layout and revamped menus make this a favorite here at GPSLodge. the lower priced 3760LMT doesn't offer the 3-D building view or the voice activated controls, but still offers a lot of top end features.

More on the Garmin Nuvi 3790 LMT (List $499) and the Garmin Nuvi 3760 LMT (List $449) at the Garmin Website. These are currently listed for Pre-order at the Garmin website.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

October 28, 2010

Garmin Approach S1 - Golf's Smallest Golf GPS


Garmin has announced the new Garmin Approach S1; a watch like golf GPS that tells you the limited information that is important to golfers, namely how far it is to the green. With yardage to the front, middle and back of the green from your vantage point, users should be able to better select a club and see their percentage of shots on the green in regulation go up.

While it leaves behind the maps that you find on the Garmin Approach G5, you do get over 14,000 golf courses pre-loaded on the Approach S1; impressive. The other thing that is impressive is that it only weighs 1.8 ounces; it is hardly there.

Street Price is $249 - More information at Garmin on the Garmin Approach S1

Full press release is below.......

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Garmin Halloween Vehicle Icons at the Garmin Garage


The Garmin Garage has a lot of options for customizing your Nuvi's vehicle icons. The Garmin Garage started a few years back offering icons other than the standard ones that come with the Garmin units. They have one for just about any occasion, and if they don't you can recommend one for them to create.

Head over to the Garmin Garage for the Halloween Bundle of icons to see the full Halloween bundle of six icons, and load them up and enjoy the season a bit more. They are easy to download and install, just check out Garmin's directions for how to install new vehicle icons.  

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 26, 2010

Upgrade for Garmin BaseCamp ver. 3.1.1


Garmin has an upgrade available for BaseCamp, their mapping software companion that allows users to plan trips, add waypoints, download Birdseye Imagery, and generally interact with handheld GPS units in its product line. The software can be powerful and help users get the most out of their GPS but has been criticized in the past for its slow performance, specifically related to Birdseye image downloading and work.

The upgrade is 3.1.1, and adds some nice features to the BaseCamp repertoire, but the main enhancement is the fact that BaseCamp continues to get faster. Garmin has been focused on this for the last several months, which is good, because early on BirdsEye was barely worth using it took so long to download and put onto your device. I am thoroughly addicted to having the imagery on my handheld, and value it not only for hiking but also when I use it for road biking too. Here's a list from Garmin on the upgrades:

  1. Added support for additional BirdsEye products. (This relates to additional country specific BirdsEye products for Europe)
  2. Added ability to select non-rectangular area for BirdsEye download.
  3. Added ability to search through all text in user data for specified string.
  4. Consolidated POI, address and new user data search.
  5. Enhanced display of find results on the map.
  6. Added support for custom waypoint symbols, including ability to send and receive symbols to non-mass storage devices like the GPSMap 60 series.
  7. Added support for address search on maps read from a device.
  8. Made a significant improvement in memory efficiency for BirdsEye images.
  9. Added ability to search for and download Garmin Connect activities. Use Find Garmin Connect Activities under the Find menu.
  10. Added ability to transfer tracks to Garmin Connect.
  11. Added support for a new plug-in architecture that allows users to add new import and export formats. A separate post on these forums will give more details.
  12. Added ability to import TCX files, using the plug-in architecture.
  13. Added ability to export TCX, CSV and tabbed text files, using the plug-in architecture.
  14. Fixed numerous issues reported from the field.

If you upgrade, you will need to allow the BirdsEye products to "update", which can take over 30 minutes. If you upgrade, you will not be able to use the software without doing so. I have a small handful of BirdsEye images, and my computer took 25 minutes running in the background.


Results of Installing BaseCamp ver 3.1.1?

Well, the speed of using the BaseCamp product was a lot faster than I have ever seen. Not as dramatic as some previous updates (moving the speed from glacial to acceptable), but the speed continues to improve and at this point (very good), with speed issues out of the way, I highly recommend it. The $29/yr subscription is well worth it. (I am running the BaseCamp for the Mac currently.)


Problems or issues? Others have reported losing their data in the upgrade, I did not; it was all there. BaseCamp does think that I don't have an active subscription to BirdsEye, but I do, and can still download the images. Doesn't seem to be a problem and may just be a bad flag.

One of the best new features is that you can now download non-rectangular selections of imagery. I previously had to patch together a series of squares to get a long diagonal tract of land, now you can draw a circle with the cursor, or just highlight a series of points in a polygon to indicate what you want downloaded. I drew a polygon around downtown Boston and out into the Back Bay as an example, with a smooth line along the Charles River to the north.

In a few seconds BaseCamp converts that to the underlying (square) images that get downloaded (see below). Much easier to create an efficient download that gives you what you need and leaves out what you don't. In a world where memory is abundant, the images and more importantly the space on your GPS are still limited, so having just what you want is a good thing. The results of drawing an odd shape around just downtown Boston are below.

How to Download the Basecamp Update If you already have BaseCamp, a quick update check will alert you that you have a new version ready. If not, here is the link for the Mac version of BaseCamp 3.1.1, or the PC version of BaseCamp 3.1.1.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 15, 2010

Garmin Chirp - Enhancing the Geocaching Experience


Garmin has worked hard to innovate and bring a better experience to geocaching, from paperless geocaching where to download all of the details right to your handheld from your computer, to the new Chirp device, a small wireless unit that you can program with details, place in your cache and it can alert nearby geocache hunters on their wireless Garmin handhelds.GarminChirpMulti.jpg

I haven't confirmed this, but the Chirp must be running on the ANT+ wireless standard, which also runs their fitness sensors. In my experience, this typically has a range of 30 feet when unobstructed. This also means that you'll need a Garmin handheld that runs the ANT+ system like Dakotas, Oregons but sadly not the older wireless enabled Colorado units. In order to accommodate the Chirp technology and set-up you will need to update your unit via WebUpdater.

So the Chirp is waterproof to IPX-7 standards, and Garmin has a few tips that will make the Chirp perform well.

  • Do not mount the chirp inside a metal container. (Expected, but I love Ammo boxes as cache boxes)
  • Do not bury the chirp. (Shouldn't be burying a cache box anyway).
  • Do not put the chirp in water.
  • A compatible Garmin device should detect the chirp within 10 m. For maximum transmission range, allow the chirp to have an unobstructed view in all directions.
The Chirp runs on at CR2032 size battery, which is user replaceable.

Chirp Wireless Only Caches?

The Chirp is about the size of a quarter, has a battery life of about a year, can be programmed by the owner and is password protected. Costing about $23, the unit can be programmed to broadcast hints, or information about multi-caches. Check-in at the first Chirp-enabled multi-cache and receive your instructions for the next find wirelessly. I could see a day where the Chirp is hidden in a location that doesn't need to be "found" where you can come to the proximity of the Chirp, receive your instructions and move on to the next step of the multi-cache. Sorry, non-wireless cachers.

GPSFix has a nice review up on the Chirp that he published today. Looks fun and fairly straightforward to use.

Full Press Release below.......

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 27, 2010

Garmin: Pair of Skiing GPS Units - Dakota 20 and Oregon 450

Garmin is teaming up with Mountain Dynamics SnowRanger ski resort maps to create skiing editions of their popular handheld GPS units. Paper maps are so 1985 when you have an electronic option available, especially a GPS that can tell you distance skied and max elevation. So, while this isn't a big departure from what types of data are available on a regular handheld, having the mountain maps available on the GPS is a nice addition to the day, especially if you are skiing some of the bigger mountain in the Rockies or over in Europe. The maps offer the lifts, the trail difficulty, and even insight into the topography through contour lines or shading.

"Both have a built-in 3-axis electronic compass, which shows where you're heading even when you’re standing still, without holding them level. And a barometric altimeter tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude. When you’ve finished on the slopes you can review, relive and replay your runs at the free worldwide online community, Garmin Connect"

Full Press Release Below......

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Garmin Buys Power Meter Company Metrigear - More Biking Capabilities

I tweeted about this last week (Follow us on Twitter) but thought I would add the news here; Garmin is adding to its bicycling mecca of capabilities in buying power meter upstart MetriGear, who is readying the Vector power meter for a pending market launch. The ANT+ based power meter will add to the cadence and heart rate monitor sensors that report back to the Edge family of bike computers.


The Vector solution is a pedal based product that houses the sensor and an externally mounted battery pack, allowing it to go about 20 hours between charges, and can easily be moved from bike to bike according to their website. The power meters are currently designed for road bikes and will provide a steady stream of power output +/- 1.5% along your ride. Of course, Garmin Connect will be handling the data set and analysis of your trips. Sounds like a solid addition to the Garmin franchise that has seen a strong surge of support with their Garmin Bike Team sponsorship, their consistent product launches, and their continued positive business results in the fitness segment.

More at Garmin Blog

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 2, 2010

Garmin Nuvi 1695 - NuLink connected GPS - 5-Inch screen, Google Search, Traffic

Garmin just announced the new Nuvi 1695, an updated connected GPS device that has a 5-inch screen. The Nuvi is connected to Garmin's branded NuLink! service, that includes data such as realtime traffic, Google Local Search, weather, fuel prices, flight status and more. They threw in a few more NuThings like NuRoute technology which offers you trafficTrends and MyTrends; two routing features that help you route around known traffic issues and allows the Nuvi to learn from your driving habits and preferred routes, giving it Yoda-like intelligence.

"The nüLink! 1695 is designed to give drivers a full variety of accurate, up-to-the-minute information that they can access quickly, on a full-size, 5-inch touchscreen display," said Dan Bartel, Garmin's vice president of worldwide sales. "When you add the power of Google Local Searches and nüRoute historical information, the nüLink! 1695 delivers the ultimate navigation experience."

The Nuvi 1695 comes loaded with information n board like phone listings and millions of Points of Interest, but also gives you the ability to access NuLink white pages and look up people and their phone number and street address. Pretty handy.

"The Garmin nüLink! traffic feature provides the best-in-class information from NAVTEQ™, a world leader in premium-quality mapping, to help customers navigate in and around congestion. "

The Nuvi 1695 also comes with available NEXRAD radar giving you insight into impending storms. This is something I've been waiting for in an auto format since Garmin launched an Aviation/Auto combo unit (GPSMAP 496) back in 2006.

The Nuvi 1695 also comes with several other features carried over to round out the offering:

  • Bluetooth Handsfree

  • Lane Assist with Junciton View of complex intersections to make on route decision making easier.

  • Text to Speech - says street names

  • ecoRoute - to help you document your mileage and save gas

Expected to be available this month, the Nuvi 1695 will retail for a street price of $449; the first year of Garmin nüLink! is free, and after that, the subscription renewal price for data services is $5.00/month.

Full Press Release after the jump......

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

Garmin Nuvi 2200 and 2300 Series - Affordable and feature packed

Garmin is pushing out a new pair of Nuvi lines that offer a lot of capability in a package targeted at a lower price. These Nuvis can help save time and money according to Garmin through smarter traveling on multi-stop routes and with their ecoRoute feedback to offer more economical driving patterns. All models include text to speech capabilities and millions of points of interest.

Nuvi 2200 Series - 3.5-inch screen
incorporates MyTrends - a new smart learning system that learns about your favorite desintations and the routes you like to drive on, offering a smarter way to travel. The ecoRoute capabilities are available to help offer you the green feedback to help you save gas by driving more economical routes in a more eco-friendly way.

  • 2200 - standard screen display, maps of the US (48 state) plus Hawaii, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and the Cayman Islands
  • 2250 - adds maps of Mexico.
  • 2250LT - Adds Lifetime Traffic "LT"

Nuvi 2300 Series - 4.3-inch screens
Offering a widescreen view, these units come with MyTrends and ecoRoute also, while offering some higher end features that round out the line.

  • 2300 - widescreen display, maps of the US (48 state) plus Hawaii, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and the Cayman Islands
  • 2350 - widescreen, adding Mexican maps.
  • 2350LT - Adds lifetime traffic "LT"
  • 2360LT - Adds Bluetooth Handsfree and lifetime traffic "LT" and the ability to tap into ecoRoute HD - a module that taps into the diagnostics port on your car and gives detailed performance feedback on driving habits.

Full Press Release after the jump.....

ArrowContinue reading: "Garmin Nuvi 2200 and 2300 Series - Affordable and feature packed"

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

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