Map with toy car

$700 for a GPS to explore off road?

Maps and the GPS signals our phones use to place us on them are one of the most useful tools on modern smartphones, with hundreds of millions of people navigating their way around the world with the help of Google Map, Citymapper, Here Maps or one of the other numerous map apps for iOS and Android. As smartphone with GPS maps have become ubiquitous however, where does that leave makers of more traditional GPS devices like satnav systems?

Garmin, which is perhaps more famous these days for its smartwatches than navigation systems, it taking a stab at keeping satnavs relevant in the smartphone era with the introduction of the Garmin Overlander – a $700 (£600) device targeting the more adventurous off-road explorers amongst us. The satnav comes guidance off-grid and built-in topographic maps covering public land boundaries and 4X4 dirt tracks across North and South America. The maps also come loaded with camping locations and adventuring points of interest – all of which are available offline.

On the safety front, the Overlander can integrate with the company’s optional inReach satellite communicator for sending messages in places where mobile phone signal is not a possibility, and you are able to send an SOS distress signal at the touch of a button. The device also comes with a digital compass and a barometric altimeter to see just how high up that mountain you have managed to drive your off-roader.

The included Garmin explore app will let you wirelessly sync your routes, waypoints, and tracks from the device straight to your phone over WiFi, or you can update as with any other Garmin device using the firm’s Garmin Express tool.

Whether enough drivers will see the value in the new device is yet to be seen, but it is great to see a company trying something a bit different and targeting a niche but sizeable part of the population that love exploring off the beaten track.

Photograph by Pexels