Saturday, November 22, 2008

The future of GPS Navigation is here

National Geographic Adventure Magazine has published their annual “Best of Adventure” issue online. One of the articles in this issue listed all of the new and must-have outdoor gear for 2009. The article discussed two new GPS units that highlight how technology continues to evolve and improves our odds of not getting lost.

Here’s some additional information on the details and features of these two new GPS products:

Garmin Oregon 400T 3-Inch Touchscreen Handheld GPS Unit with Preloaded Topographic Maps

With the state-of-the-art 3D elevation perspective and preloaded topographic map data of the U.S., the rugged Oregon 400t provides all the tools you need for serious climbing, hiking or hunting. This high-sensitivity GPS receiver is preloaded with topographic maps, and features a high-resolution, color 3-inch touchscreen that reacts as you tap or drag through menus and options. With its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver and HotFix satellite prediction, Oregon 400t locates your position quickly and precisely and maintains its GPS location even in heavy cover and deep canyons. It's also equipped with a barometric altimeter and electronic compass, and it's compatible with Garmin's heart-rate monitors and speed/cadence sensors.

The preloaded U.S. topographic maps, 3D map view and a built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief give you all the tools for serious climbing or hiking. Map detail includes national, state and local parks and forests, along with terrain contours, elevation information, trails, rivers, lakes and points of interest. In case you're wondering how steep that hill really is, the Oregon's 3D map view helps you visualize your surroundings--giving you a better perspective of the elevation.

The Oregon 400t lets you customize five profiles--automotive, marine, recreation, fitness or geocaching--making the most beneficial features for each activity the easiest to access through quick shortcuts. The tough, 3-inch color touchscreen display is easy to read even in direct sunlight, and the Oregon's easy-to-use interface means you'll spend more time enjoying the outdoors and less time searching for information.

It also plays well with others, allowing for wireless exchange of tracks, waypoints and geocaches between other Oregon units and Garmin Colorado models.

This unit has a built-in electronic compass that provides bearing information even while you're standing still, and its barometric altimeter tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude. You can even use the altimeter to plot barometric pressure over time, which can help you keep an eye on changing weather conditions.

Conveniently plug in optional preloaded microSD memory cards for all your outdoor activities on land or water. The card slot is located inside the waterproof battery compartment, so you don't have to worry about getting it wet. Just insert an optional Garmin MapSource card with detailed street maps, and the Oregon provides turn-by-turn directions to your destination. And with optional BlueChart g2 Vision maps, you'll get everything you need for a great day on the water including depth contours, navaids and harbors.

Garmin's HotFix capability automatically calculates and stores satellite locations, greatly reducing satellite acquisition time so that you can turn the unit on and get going. Geocaching is even easier with the Oregon, which quickly downloads online information for every cache, such as location, terrain, difficulty, hints and description, so that you don't have to tote printouts with you.

Suunto X10M Wrist-Top GPS Computer Watch with Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, and GPS

Small and lightweight, the Suunto X10M wrist-top computer watch combines an altimeter, barometer, compass, and GPS navigator, making it a terrific companion for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. The X10M--which builds on Suunto's decade of experience in creating cutting-edge outdoor devices--stands above most other wrist-top computers thanks to its improved, faster GPS fixes. Even under heavy foliage, you can use the X10M to plot your treks, navigate to a certain spot, or get back to your car, all while keeping your hands free to hold a hiking stick or water bottle. Once back at home, you can share your treks on Google Earth, or use the Suunto Trek Manager PC software to create new routes and plan new journeys.

The Suunto X10M also includes a built-in altimeter, which displays your current altitude and your vertical ascent and descent rate. Accurate up to 30,000 feet, the altimeter is an extremely valuable tool for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and wilderness travel. The altimeter contributes to your excursion in several ways. If you're standing on or near an obvious geographic feature, such as a ridge, trail, or creek, the altimeter can alert you to your current elevation and help you find your position on a topographic map. Similarly, if you plan on climbing a slope to a certain elevation and then traversing, the X10M can help you stay on course. And, of course, the X10M captures all your altitude information in its integrated logbook, making it easy to analyze your performance when creating a training routine.

The X10M's barometer, meanwhile, measures and records air pressure to help you predict changing conditions--from sunny skies to hair-bending electrical storms. The barometer helps you decide whether to bring a soft shell or rain shell jacket when the skies look ominous, or even when to high-tail it back to the car. In general, low pressure brings inclement weather, while high pressure brings stability and clear skies. If you've arrived at camp and notice the pressure starting to plunge, it's probably a good idea to secure the tent and crawl in. Likewise, if you're on a climb, it would be prudent to find shelter and retreat. Even at home, the X10M's barometer can look beyond office walls, skyscrapers, and nearby hills to help you plan for upcoming activities.

And no outdoor watch is worth its salt without a digital compass, a great tool for keeping track of your direction while skiing, hiking, or exploring a new city. Simply point the top of the watch toward your intended destination and lock it in. Other features include an Activity Mode that records your speed, distance, and altitude information, along with any memory points you define along the way; a Track Back mode that guides you back the same way you came; a long-lasting battery; up to 50 routes, 25 tracks, and 500 waypoints; water-resistance up to 330 feet; and all the standard watch functions, including a 12/24-hour display, a stopwatch, a calendar clock, and three daily alarms. As with all Suunto wrist-top computers, the X10M carries a two-year warranty.

If you would like more information on either of these products, or would like to see our full line of GPS, hiking gear and apparel products, please click here.


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