Garmin barely met their March deadline for rolling out BirdsEye aerial imagery. It showed up late yesterday in the form of updates to their BaseCamp software and firmware updates for eligible units — the Colorado and Oregon series; there remains some question about whether both Dakota models are compatible – the Dakota 20 is for sure (more on that below).
EDIT: We’ve learned that Garmin decided not to support BirdsEye imagery on the Dakota 10, due to its lack of an expansion card slot.
To get started, run WebUpdater and download or update BaseCamp. Once you start BaseCamp and connect your unit, you should get a message asking if you want to create BirdsEye imagery for your device. You can download a low-resolution demo for free or pony up $29.99 for a year of downloads.
I’m posting a couple of images here. I haven’t used them out in the field yet, but they appear washed out on the screen of my Oregon 400t. The one at left is Panther Stadium in Charlotte; below is a high elevation bald in the Rocky Fork tract, a new 10,000 acre public land acquisition near the NC/TN border. The resolution available for that area does not allow me to pick out forest roads, limiting its usefulness. This is an early test though; other areas may have higher resolution imagery available. In more open terrain (e.g., western US), you might be able to pick out trails and 4WD tracks, even at this resolution.
I’m still left with some questions and I’ll try to find answers to them. One, as mentioned above, is whether the Dakota 10 is compatible or not. It’s not listed as such, though the Dakota series was mentioned in the original news release announcing BirdsEye imagery, so hopefully it’s just an oversight on Garmin’s part. I’d also like to know the resolution of the imagery in meters/pixel.
Chime in and let us know what your experiences are with BirdsEye imagery.