Sunday, March 18, 2012

2011 – The GPS year in review

Rear-view-mirrorI thought it might be interesting to do a retrospective before we jump into the new year. Take a look and see if you missed anything!


Ah CES, the show where the tech giants roll out their new introductions. Garmin unveiled the nuvi 2400 series, the dezl trucker series and their GTU 10 GPS tracker. The SPOT Connect was introduced, and to many people’s horror you can now tweet from the backcountry. TomTom announced the VIA series, HD traffic and the Nike+ SportWatch. Meanwhile, Magellan introduced the eXplorist 310 and  the 7” RoadMate 9055. Quite the way to start the year, huh?


I trashed the Satmap Active 10 TREK (deservedly so, IMHO), while over on the auto side, we got some great features not seen on many units since the old Garmin StreetPilot series.


In one of the biggest stories of the year, we learned about a company named LightSquared, which I called the biggest GPS jammer ever. And Garmin introduced their Trailhead series for the AT and PCT.


In another big story with broad implications for society, the US Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to rule on warrantless GPS tracking. And I predicted a new eTrex line with a dedicated geocaching unit (hey, I was half right!).


Magellan jumped on the lifetime map bandwagon and Garmin announced the Montana series and a new eTrex line. I also gave folks an early peek at Garmin BirdsEye Topo.


Garmin announced an updated Rino, a new Astro dog tracker, and the 62s(t)c series. We learned of the DeLorme inReach and Garmin agreed to acquire Navigon. Last but not least, the US Supreme Court decided to hear that warrantless GPS tracking case.


LA dealt with carmageddon and Garmin rolled out their lifetime map updater.


I reported that Garmin had retired the venerable 60CSx (and MapSource too). In new product introductions they rolled out the StreetPilot Onboard app and unveiled the nuvi 2012 line. Not to be left out, TomTom announced that they would bring Twitter to your dashboard.


While there wasn’t a lot of big news this month, I did get my grubby little hands on an eTrex 20 and showed off its GLONASS capabilities.


Call it fitness month as Garmin announced the triathlete-friendly Forerunner 910XT and unveiled their Fit apps and ANT adapter. Motorola introduced the MOTOACTV and we caught wind of the Magellan Switch UP. In other news, the FCC cracked down on folks selling GPS jammers and TomTom decided to focus more on non-PND opportunities.


SCOTUS heard the warrantless GPS tracking case (a ruling is due in 2012) and the Garmin StreetPilot app got live traffic cameras. Meanwhile, in handheld news, the Montana series got some new data fields.


TomTom underwent a reorganization, the feds asked for a 50 state ban on cellphone use in the car, and GPS spoofing may have brought down a US drone.

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Mal Sillars says:

    Just received a Garmin 62s for Christmas…through you actually. Have loved my 76CSX…but decided on the upgrade after reading your articles. I am having a problem with the altimeter and thought you might have seen it before. I have a standard 1640 vertical assent trail that I use for training. The 62s had 2040 total assent when I got to the top, about 2500 when I got back down. I turned the unit off and when I got home, turned it on and the vert assent read 60139 ft with a max elevation of 65616 ft. Any ideas?

    • Did a cold front come through in between?

      In terms of improving readings in general, I’d suggest calibrating it if you haven’t. I’ve also become aware that tracklog interval can affect these readings, with the one second interval giving the best results.

      • Mal Sillars says:

        Thanks, Rich. I have calibrated the altimeter a number of times but will play with the sampling rate. Next trip I’ll take both units and compare. Happy New Year!

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