Garmin StreetPilot GPS

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Earthmate GPS
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Garmin StreetPilot GPS

If your idea of fun is hanging out in gas stations getting maps or directions, you won't like the Garmin StreetPilot GPS receiver. It replaces a stack of paper maps with electronic data and when you decide where you want to go, it will show you how to get there.

Load the six AA batteries included with the Garmin StreetPilot GPS, attach it to the dashboard with the supplied mount, and you can be ready to go. It has a basemap built in which shows the main driving features for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The map includes cities, highways and main metro roads, rivers, and lakes. If you need city maps, you can get Garmin's MetroGuide map software. Data on this software CD includes city streets and points of interest in and around the cities of North America. These maps are stored on Garmin's 8 MB or 16 MB memory cards. You insert a card in the receiver and upload the data to it from the map CD using a PC and the supplied interface cable.

You view the maps with a 3.5" W x 2.25" H, 4-level grayscale display. The high-contrast LCD has adjustable brightness, contrast, and backlighting for sharp displays under whatever light conditions you face. Without using the backlight, the batteries can power the StreetPilot GPS for up to 16 hours. This is shortened with backlight use, so if you plan a lot of night trips, getting the optional cigarette lighter power adapter will eliminate battery replacement. Also optional, is an external antenna. Sometimes the most convenient place to view the receiver isn't the best for GPS satellite signal reception. If that happens, the external antenna can be placed where there's the optimum reception.

Two main screen displays, or "pages", supply most of the navigation information with the Garmin StreetPilot GPS. The Map Page shows your location and route on the map. To the right of the map is shown the time and distance to your next turn along with an arrow indicating the direction. Turn alerts are also given using text at the top of the screen with the direction and street name. If you're not following a route, a compass image shows your direction and there's text displaying your speed and the current time. With the zoom controls you're able to see more detail over a smaller area or less detail for a larger area.

The other main page of the StreetPilot GPS used most, is the Dashboard Page. This page has two types of displays, the Trip Computer View and the Satellite Status View. The Trip Computer is particularly useful on long trips. It has a graphic image of a dashboard and shows several speed measurements including the current and trip average. Time stopped, total trip time, and distance traveled are also shown. The road you're on, the direction you're headed, and the nearest town is written at the top of the screen. To check on the GPS satellites, you use the Satellite Status View. It has an image of the satellites' position, their signal strength, and an estimate of error in calculating your position. Both views also have an image indicating the battery strength or that you're using the external power adapter.

Creating a route to your destination is simple with the Garmin StreetPilot GPS. Either mark the location on the Map Page, or use the Find function to select a city, point of interest, address, intersection, or stored location. Or if you're repeating a previous trip, you can select a route you've saved. Once you have the destination entered, you choose the roads to take and enter the information. Up to 20 routes can be stored and traveled in either direction.