If you happen to be suffering from this medical disorder called mazeophobia — that constantly gnawing fear of being lost — then the GPS receiver with Garmin maps should provide you with some great psychological boost. Garmin products, of course are not only for the mazeophobics, as for 20 years already these Global Positioning System devices have found extensive use in aviation, marine and general consumer applications.
Portability is the main feature of some of Garmin’s current models of GPS receivers. These portables include the GPSMap series which is suited for aircraft as well as other uses, and has seven models to choose from. There is a monochromatic GPSMap 96 and its color version, GPSMAP 96C, combining an operating system which is pilot-friendly and with powerful navigation tools, enabling the user to always keep on track.
Aircraft situational awareness is enhanced by these models through its Jeppesen built-in database and a database of US obstacles overlaid on a map. From these Garmin maps, alerts are raised when potential obstacles ahead are determined. GPSMap 96 is operated through a simple keypad; its design is streamlined to enable users to literally have GPS capability within the palm of their hands.
Bright, four-level gray scale display readable in sunlight makes reading the receiver’s Garmin maps easy. These Garmin receivers also enable pilots to automate their logbooks to track flying hours and to record locations of departure and arrival automatically. A navigator for air, land and sea rolled into one, GPSMap 96 has these three navigation modes and an autorouting built-in basemap.
This feature allows the user to switch either from plane to boat or to car or to on-foot use. It has a memory of 23 megabytes and a port for a mini-USB wherein GPS maps data can be stored from a wide array of optional MapSource products. For road navigation, for instance, MapSource detailed street maps may be accessed and uploaded. On the water, the Garmin maps could be switched to marine cartography. Two AA batteries can serve as the GPSMap 96’s power source, and hence, this device can likewise be a great companion on hiking trips.
Garmin, indeed, has come a long way since it introduced its first product which is solely designed for the marine market. This was a GPS 100, a panel-mounted GPS receiver which was launched in the 1990 International Marine Technology Exposition held in Chicago, Illinois. Priced at $ 2,500 the product became an instant sensation, leading to the introduction of other Garmin products with the now de rigueur GPS maps.
One of Garmin’s early portables was a handheld GPS receiver that GIs carried in their 1991 Gulf War campaign. Another popular device was launched in the early 2000s, and was designed specifically for recreational runners (and hence its brand Foreruner). These wrist-worn GPS devices offered waypoint projection and two-dimensional tracking, features that were also adapted to another model, the Garmin Foretrex that gained popularity among mountain bikers, hikers and sailboat racing enthusiasts. Another popular GPS product, an in-car navigation system, was developed later in the StreetPilot, one model of which features 16-color Garmin maps.