Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012 – The GPS year in review

2012 GPS year in review

Looking back at the biggest GPS stories of the year

How about a GPS retrospective before we jump into the new year? Take a look and see if you missed anything!


The new year always brings us CES, where tech companies preview all their shiny new wares. This past January we saw Garmin add 5″ models to their 2012 line and introduce their Smartphone Link Android app, while TomTom brought their entry-level START series to North American shores. The sport and handheld side saw new introductions as well, like the Magellan eXplorist 110 and Switch series and the Garmin Approach G6 golf GPS. Yet the tech world taketh as well as giveth, and the Geomate.jr met an early demise. Apart from that there was the little issue of the Supreme Court outlawing warrantless GPS tracking.


We tested the DeLorme inReach, which for better or worse allowed us to Facebook from the backcountry. Meanwhile the FCC saved GPS by killing off LightSquared, and we discovered that Panasonic killed off GPS (well, in China anyway).


Garmin added location sharing to their Smartphone Link app, a Japanese scientist said he could predict earthquakes with GPS, the Feds said moving maps are too distracting for your car, Motorola moved into the golf market, and we evaluated nuvis for pedestrian navigation.


The big news in April was the TomTom bug that kept their units from locking onto satellites for a few days. Garmin rolled out the Approach S3 golf GPS and we went hands on with the nuvi 3590LMT and hit the Appalachian Trail.


May saw a tease that the Geomnate.jr might be revived, Magellan introduced Landmark Guidance and National Geographic topos for their handheld line, and the DeLorme inReach got iPhone compatibility. Meanwhile Garmin brought live tracking to a fitness app and we looked at how to extract mileage reports from your nuvi.


Garmin rolled out a new motorcycle navigator and we went hands on with their Smartphone Link app and the TomTom START 55TM. We also put out a call for writers and are still looking for more, especially on the golf and fitness side.


GPS Tracklog welcomed writers Adrian Faulkner and Bob Mueller to the fold, expanding our geocaching and marine coverage. Meanwhile, Garmin  announced the fenix, GLOBaseCamp Mobile and Alpha, while we went hands on with Landmark Guidance and the Magellan Switch series. We also compiled a set of handheld GPS FAQs and auto GPS FAQs.


We celebrated our 7th birthday, passed the 10,000 subscriber mark, and reviewed the Magellan RoadMate 5230T-LM. Also in August, Garmin announced a motorcycle unit refresh, the Forerunner 10, and their first 7″ model.


Apple rolled out their own maps app to widespread groans, while Garmin also disappointed by releasing their BaseCamp app for iOS only. Truckers hit too many NY bridges, bringing down the wrath of one senator. We went hands on with the TomTom VIA 1605TM and extolled the virtues of a minimalist bike mount.


TomTom  finally released their Android app, only to have folks discover that it didn’t work with the latest models. We posted multiple stories about GPS being linked to deaths, went hands on with the Garmin fenix, and looked at the surprisingly limited ability of 911 operators to locate your phone, as well as the implications of 911 texting on backcountry rescue. We also talked about recovering speed data from your nuvi, using Dropbox with .gpx files, and posting a Garmin Adventure. Oh yeah, Consumer Reports ripped TomTom about their mounts.


To kick off the month, we went hands on with the Garmin tempe, the GPSMAP 541s chartplotter and Magellan’s National Geographic topos. Then we merged our GPS deals site with GPS Tracklog, Garmin discontinued much of the nuvi 1xxx line, and we wrapped the month up with our review of the Magellan eXplorist 510.


In December we gave you a sneak peek at the Garmin nuvi 42/52 line and a new Edge model, and shared what we know about electronic compasses and barometric altimeters, as well as geocaching field notes. We also posted a tutorial on updating Garmin firmware and were foolish enough to post our GPS predictions for 2013.

Coming up

Stick around. The Consumer Electronics Show starts in another week, and we’ll have full coverage of all the shiny new GPS toys. Beyond that, we’ll be bringing you plenty of GPS news, reviews, tips, tricks and deals all year to help you navigate 2013.

About Rich Owings

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

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