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Four-Wheel-Drive GPS Systems - Never Stop for Directions Again

Posted in How To on February 6, 2007
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Raise your hand if you like to stop and ask for directions. Nobody? For many of us, getting lost can be an adventure which can either leave you feeling accomplished or extremely frustrated; however, GPS navigation tools are becoming as common these days as personal MP3 players. Four-wheelers are choosing to carry everything from a portable handheld device to comprehensive mapping software used with an onboard laptop computer. With so many choices on the market, we thought we would share some of the new and exciting units offering features designed for people like us.

Lowrance GlobalMap Baja GPS Systems
Enjoy your four-wheel-drive adventures in brilliant color with the new GlobalMap Baja 480C. This unit has been constructed with the rigors of Baja in mind with its built-in shock resistance, yet is the ultimate in full-color, high-detail mapping. The 480C also features the all-new, built-in, exclusive Lowrance background map with enhanced detail and nav aidsThe GlobalMap Baja 300C unit contains a 5-inch, 480x480-pixel LCD screen for excellent, glare-free viewing through a high-contrast Film SuperTwist monochrome display with 16-level grayscale definition and advanced white LED backlighting. We've had personal experience with this unit and can assure you that it withstood all of our abuse.All GlobalMap units are capable of navigating you anywhere you desire by delivering full, 12-parallel-channel GPS+WAAS reception provided from the tough, external LGC-2000 Baja receiver/antenna for super-fast satellite lock-ons. All of the units are memory-card-compatible with Lowrance's FreedomMaps software and MapCreate topographical software.

Lowrance iWAY 800C GPS System
The Lowrance iWAY 800C boasts an extra-large, 10.4-inch, TFT color touchscreen - the largest screen available on a portable GPS. The screen has clear, 600x800-pixel resolution, projecting a superb picture of the auto-routing street map in both a 2-D or 3-D view mode.The iWAY 800C includes 20 GB of internal memory, with 10 GB of the memory assigned to the MP3 player which can store up to 5,000 songs. The other 10 GB of memory is allocated for storing the NAVTEQ turn-by-turn auto-routing database of the continental U.S. and Canada and for storing up to 1,000 favorite waypoints.

DeLorme Street Atlas USA 2007
DeLorme Street Atlas USA is an excellent mapping program for planning short or long-distance road trips anywhere in the United States. Version 2007 brings many exciting upgrades, including updated U.S. and Canada street-level maps, 4 million up-to-date places of interest, automatic routing, iPod static map export, and powerful GPS navigation with spoken directions and voice commands.Setting up the software takes just a few minutes, with the option of loading the program from the CD or saving it to your hard drive. One great feature of the program is an on-screen toolbar that allows you to save your routes and maps with ease. You also have the ability to save your routes on the Internet for easy sharing with friends and family.

How many of you have laptops mounted in your rigs? Our Project Grand Caddy has had a Panasonic Toughbook in it for some time and, when equipped with this receiver, has always kept us going on the right path.The Earthmate LT-20 is the newest addition to DeLorme's Earthmate group. This small, yellow GPS is a WAAS-enabled receiver with DeLorme's proprietary Kalman filter for second-to-none accuracy and speedy acquisition. The LT-20 also features a 12-channel, low-power chipset with a cold start time of less than 45 seconds and advanced, high-sensitivity technology providing improved GPS tracking in weak-signal conditions. In addition to laptops, the LT-20 can also be used on a number of today's popular handheld devices, including Bluetooth-enabled PDAs.

Another great way to navigate with your vehicle-mounted laptop is by hooking up the Garmin GPS 18 unit. It features a 12-parallel-channel, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver available in either serial or USB 2.0 full-speed versions, and it comes with an integrated magnetic base. The hockey-puck-like receiver is 2.4 inches in diameter and weighs under a pound, making it a great choice when space and weight are a concern. You can also order your unit with the optional cigarette lighter adapter or even a bare power wire to try your own custom wire configuration.The GPS 18 comes with Garmin's GPS software disks, which automatically provide turn-by-turn directions and voice prompts to get you safely to your destination. The software alone is an outstanding deal. Map details include highways, interstates, business and residential roads, with turn restrictions, speed categories, and other navigation features. It also features more than five million points of interest, including restaurants, lodging, attractions, shopping, emergency services, post offices, and more.

Garmin loaned us a pair of 60CS units awhile back and we did not want to return them. On our trip to Moab, they were a breath of fresh air as we used them to get us from trailhead to riverbed. The GPSMAP 60CS is lightweight and waterproof and uses a 256-color, highly reflective display to provide easy viewing in almost any lighting condition. The TFT technology used provides excellent viewing while maximizing battery life (up to 30 hours under typical use).The 60CS is packed with extra features, including rapid automatic route calculation, an integrated outdoor calendar, a dedicated geocaching mode, and indoor/outdoor GPS games that turn the outdoors into a giant gameboard. In addition to the numerous standard features, the 60CS offers an electronic compass and barometric altimeter for highland adventures. These sensors, when combined with GPS technology, provide enhanced bearing and elevation readings.

The GPSMAP 76 from Garmin features a large, high-resolution LCD display for an accurate image of your location and your intended destination. It also has a 12-channel WAAS GPS receiver for topnotch tracking in nearly any outdoor environment. Through the various screens available, you can keep track of your position on a moving map along with important information such as speed, heading, and distance. The display and keypad are both backlit for nighttime use as well.The 76 has a built-in basemap showing highways, interstates, and railroads, along with a general outline of lakes, rivers, coastlines, and marine navigational aids for the entire U.S. It will also accept up to 8 MB of downloaded map data from Garmin's line of optional MapSource CD-ROMs, including topographic detail, residential street information, and points of interest such as restaurants, lodging, and attractions.

The pocket-sized eXplorist 100 recreational GPS receiver is both powerful and affordable. The eXplorist 100 features TrueFix technology, which takes advantage of 14 parallel channels, supported by WAAS and EGNOS for fast signal acquisition, minimal signal loss, and reliable accuracy to within 3 meters. The unit's incredible versatility allows you to save your trail logs and over 500 points of interest. Its easy, one-button operation makes the eXplorist 100 a popular choice among those new to the handheld GPS market. It also comes loaded with several languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Norwegian.

Magellan FX324 MAP Color GPS
The FX324 MAP Color GPS offers the indispensable capability of GPS navigation and the latest in marine cartography. By utilizing the optional MapSend BlueNav charts, the latest generation of detailed marine cartography may be utilized, making the transition from Baja off-road adventure to Baja fishing trip seamless. The FX324 MAP Color GPS enables the user to scroll seamlessly through numerous vector charts, with numerous details and a huge amount of information, including an extensive list of marinas nearby.SD cards enable the unit to save your marine and land navigational data such as waypoints, routes, and tracks. For additional durability, the unit is waterproof to IEC-529 IP67 specifications and features an impact-resistant plastic case.

Magellan SporTrak Topo
The Magellan SporTrak Topo GPS unit comes preloaded with everything you need to find your way on your next backcountry adventure. This high-tech unit contains built-in nationwide topography, major roads, waterways, and more. The exclusive built-in nationwide topography makes SporTrak Topo the first and only "grab-and-go" topographical GPS unit available anywhere. The best and most convienent feature is that there is no need to download additional topography. An additional 16 MB of memory enables you to expand your mapping capabilities with detailed street-level maps for navigating over roads using additional Magellan software products.The pocket-sized, lightweight, rugged design provides the advantage of GPS navigation, the confidence of knowing where you are and where you're going at all times, and eliminates the burden of carrying bulky equipment and cumbersome paper topo maps everywhere you go. The SporTrak Topo provides superior tracking and accuracy, showing your position to within 3 meters, even in difficult environments such as mountains or dense foliage.

Jeep Trail Guide
The Jeep Trail Guide is a highly versatile GPS navigation system designed for the Jeep Wrangler and built by Garmin. Mounted atop the Jeep Wrangler's dashboard in a sleek custom cradle which contains the power connections for the unit, the loud voice prompts are able to be heard over open-top road noise through dedicated speakers. The unit is also portable for on-foot adventures by simply snapping the unit out of the cradle.Loaded with detailed, street-level maps of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, the Trail Guide contains nearly six million points of interest - including gas stations, lodging, restaurants, attractions, and Jeep service facilities and dealers. The Trail Guide boasts other premium automotive navigation capabilities - like a high-resolution color TFT display, automatic route calculation, and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions - at a price that is significantly less than most built-in navigation systems.Completely waterproof with an internal lithium-ion battery, power can be delivered to the unit for up to 20 hours away from the cradle for activities such as hiking, biking, camping, or fishing. A unique antenna folds flush with the unit when not in use for maximum compactness. The unit also accepts Garmin's MapSource U.S. Topo data for off-road adventures.

We can't tell you enough how easy it is to navigate with the new Navman units. The company's NavPix technology allows you to download images off its website to designate as destinations on your GPS unit. Simply download the selected image, set it to a destination, and when you're ready to navigate, use the touchscreen to select it and go.Both the N40i and N60i units feature a new slim design for enhanced style and added convenience, making them some of the most portable devices on the market. Both models also feature the second-generation SiRFstarIII chipset for rapid satellite acquisition, as well as an antiglare touchscreen.In addition to downloading NavPix photos, both the N40i and N60i also contain an integrated 1.3-megapixel camera, allowing users to easily compile their own NavPix library. With the push of a button, digital images, coded with the exact latitude and longitude of the location, are added to the device. NavPix images loaded on either N-series device can be edited with labels and additional destination information. Users can also upload their custom, geo-stamped photos to the Navman website to share with other NavPix users around the world.

Navman N40i

Providing clear, turn-by-turn voice guidance along with detailed street maps displayed on a 3.5-inch color screen, the N40i is a serious navigator. In addition to NavPix, destinations can be entered manually by entering the street address, intersection, and zip code or by selecting from the extensive list of Points of Interest (POI).With preloaded Tele Atlas map data for all of North America, convenient dedicated buttons to locate nearby gas stations and parking facilities, and exclusive Back on Track technology, the N40i is the key to a simple and stress-free journey.

Navman N60i

The N60i is Navman's flagship Navman device. The N60i contains all of the features of the N40i along with some luxurious additions. A unique 4.3-inch widescreen display allows users to view an unparalleled lay of the land while en route. The photo library can be displayed as thumbnails or in bold, full-screen mode to make browsing and selecting destinations easy. Navman's new navigation software maximizes the widescreen format and enhances the user-friendly touchscreen with shortcuts and soft keys for quick, convenient access to navigation functions. The N60i also comes with a handy IR remote for complete control of the device from anywhere in the vehicle. Each Navman N-Series device comes complete with a vehicle mounting bracket, vehicle power adapter, AC power adapter, USB cable, and deluxe, padded carrying case.

With the technology of a high-end mobile navigation product in a compact design and at an affordable price, Cobra's NavOne 2500 may be the right mix for a consumer buying his or her first navigation system. Key features include a bright, colorful screen, millions of points of interest, a portable plug-and-go system, optional real-time traffic, automatic voice prompts, a choice of 2-D and 3-D maps, 14 levels of map zoom, SD memory card expansion, an address book, and much more. The unit is also made to work at very cold temperatures, which will prove more than handy on the trail during your winter excursions. The optional traffic subscription fee is $59.99 per year.

For those of you who keep close tabs on our magazine, you know we have the Cobra NavOne 4500 securely mounted in our Project X-Blade Nissan Xterra. This has been one of our favorite GPS/navigation units since the day it arrived in the mail. A few of the features we have really enjoyed are: the simple plug-and-go readiness, the real-time traffic with up-to-date traffic information in 48 major metropolitan areas with rerouting options, course plotting for trails or street guidance, the unit's over 7.6 million points of interest, turn-by-turn voice directions, and all 50 states preloaded into the memory. The features don't stop there, but you'll have to pick one up for yourself to discover them all.


Yarmouth, ME 04096
Lowrance Electronics
Cobra Electronics Corporation
Magellan GPS

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