E-navigation comes down to earth

Nov 1, 2000
Outside Magazine
It's not the first time contour lines have graced an LCD screen, but the GeoDiscovery might just yank outdoor computing out of the geeksphere and into the realm of usefulness. The navigation system has a GPS receiver that snaps into the Handspring Visor PDA (seen here), and software that merges the satellite data with more qualitative information. The result: topo maps that hyperlink to so-called "geo-encoded" content, such as Foghorn guides, which list some 50,000 campsites and 1,000 hiking trails per state. In the woods, simply tap the screen to find out where you are, the distance to the trailhead, the history of the area, and—critically—the name, description, and location of the nearest bar. The software also works with Palm PDAs, but the Handspring-only Geode is appealing for its digital compass and two memory slots, which let you plug in cards that hold a region's worth of guidebook info. The complete GeoDiscovery package runs about $250 (www.geodiscovery.com; 888-206-6444), so until the company releases its promised waterproof casing, you'd best keep it in a Ziploc. 

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