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Magellan Meridian Gold GPS Navigation System - Product Review

Posted in Product Reviews on April 1, 2002
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Great explorers have always kept careful records of their sojourns. And today, this has been made much simpler with handheld GPS units. One of the newest to arrive on the scene is Magellan's Meridian Gold. While closely related to the M-330, the Meridian Gold is superior on a number of fronts. It features WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) technology, which provides accurate positioning to within 3 meters. And it is the first handheld GPS unit to use Secure Digital Memory Cards to significantly expand the memory capacity for downloading and storing data.

The Meridian Gold comes equipped with a 16MB U.S. database of maps that covers interstate highways, major roads, parks, and waterways. But this can be dramatically expanded upon with the optional 8, 16, 32, or 64MB memory cards, which will provide adequate room for the wide range of Magellan MapSend maps: Streets USA, Topo USA, and Streets and Destinations USA.

The Meridian Gold is more than just a digital map, though. For those off-road journeys and hiking trips, it can record as many as 500 waypoints and 20 reversible routes with as many as 30 legs each. And because the Gold is fully PC compatible, all of the information that you record about locations, landmarks, and routes can be downloaded to your PC for storage and editing.

Weighing only 8 ounces, the Meridian Gold is designed to be rugged and easy to carry. It even floats. The gray-scale display screen measures 1.75 inches wide by 2.2 inches high, and both the screen and the keypad are backlit to make them easy to read in any conditions.

Map Send Topo USA
Based on the U.S. Geological Survey DEM data, Magellan's new MapSend Topo USA CD-ROM is a comprehensive database that includes nationwide street maps, trails, lakes, rivers, points of interest, and Woodall's Campgrounds data. And what makes this program unique, not to mention fun, is that it is fully interactive and fully searchable, both on your PC and on your Magellan GPS unit.

Topo has really been designed with outdoor enthusiasts in mind. The control functions are designed to allow users to search through a wide range of POIs, including lakes, mines, canyons, caves, waterfalls, bridges, parks, and more. Best of all, you can create waypoints and routes on your PC and then download them directly into your Meridian unit, complete with all the pertinent3D topographical data, where it will be at your fingertips out on the trail. Likewise, the waypoints and routes that are created on the Meridian unit can be downloaded to MapSend Topo later.Contrary to DeLorme and Garmin, MapSend does not offer real-time tracking capabilities. But this seems a small price to pay for the flexibility of being able to upload both large and small map sections at your discretion.

Interesting Features
*Waypoints and tracks can be turned on and off either individually or globally.
* An elevation profile of the trail directly ahead can be displayed (with Topo map).
* There are eight sequential user screens, any of which can be turned off.
* Either fixed elevation (2D) or GPS elevation (3D) can be selected.
* A GPS Fix alarm can be activated to sound upon arrival

Sources

Magellan Corp.

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