Twenty-five years ago this month, Magellan released the first handheld GPS available to the public. The futuristically named Nav 1000 was primarily marketed to boaters in 1989. The handheld unit measured 8.75″ x 3.5″ x 2.25″ and weighed 1.5 pounds. The device was designed to be waterproof, non-corrosive, buoyant and constructed of a durable compound to withstand shock, vibration, humidity and temperature extremes.
According to a press release from MiTAC, the Magellan NAV 1000 revolutionized marine navigationwith its unprecedented size, portability, price and, in particular, its ability to compute GPS information while consuming very little power (running on no less than 6 AA alkaline batteries.) In approximately four minutes, the NAV 1000 provided the user with an LCD readout of latitude and longitude expressed in degrees and minutes. The Nav 1000 is on display in the “Time and Navigation” exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum