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John Stewart

Navigation Benefits Study: Distance Driven with and without Navigation

NAVTEQ Study shows drivers would decrease their CO2 emissions by over .9 tons (metric)

CHICAGO, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- NAVTEQ, the leading global provider of digital map, traffic and location data for in-vehicle, portable, wireless and enterprise solutions, has revealed the results of a proprietary research study designed to assess the consumer impact of everyday use of navigation devices. Previous studies in this field focused more on "getting lost" scenarios versus the benefits to drivers of navigation system use during the course of their normal driving habits.

In a three pronged study which evaluated drivers without a navigation system, drivers with a navigation system, and drivers with a navigation system that included traffic, the results revealed that drivers using navigation devices 1) drove shorter distances and 2) spent less time driving. Conducted in two metropolitan areas of Germany - Dusseldorf and Munich - the study also showed that drivers with navigation devices had a 12% increase in fuel efficiency, as measured by liters of fuel consumed per 100 kms. Fuel consumption among those drivers using navigation fell from 8.3 to 7.3 l/100kms.

This increase in fuel economy translates to an estimated .91 tons (metric) decrease in carbon dioxide emissions every year per driver, or a 24% decrease over the amount that the average non-navigation user emits per year. Stated in terms of grams/km the reduction equates to 25 g/km per car. And with an annualized decrease in driving of nearly 2500 fewer kilometers per driver, 1.19 million tires would also be saved from disposal in Germany due to the decrease in wear and tear.

The participants, who had not previously owned a navigation device, had their vehicles outfitted with a logging device which was used to track the route they drove and their driving speed. The study results reflect more than 2,100 individual trips, more than 20,000 kilometers and almost 500 hours on the road.

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John Stewart

Garmin adds new products to GPS line-up

1490T
Ultra-Thin with 5-Inch Display, Garmin® nüvi® 1490T Provides the Big Picture

OLATHE, Kan./April 16, 2009/Business Wire — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced the nüvi 1490T –  a premium automotive GPS device with a large, 5-inch touchscreen and sleek body style that is 25-percent slimmer than most nüvi models. This large screen, ultra-thin navigator is ideal for those wanting to take advantage of Garmin’s newest navigation features like free, lifetime traffic alerts and lane assist with junction view that gives added confidence when driving roads with complicated intersection and turns. The nüvi 1490T was announced in conjunction with The Gadget Show in Birmingham, United Kingdom, on April 17-19, 2009.

“The nüvi 1490T is designed to give drivers a big picture of the route ahead, while offering every-day conveniences customers want and need to take the worry out of traveling,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “With its enhanced pedestrian navigation capabilities and ultra-thin design, it’s also a perfect companion for travelers in unfamiliar territory who want to explore the city on foot or with public transportation.”

The nüvi 1490T gives clear guidance on the 5-inch touchscreen that details upcoming turns and specific driving directions, including road sign detail and arrows indicating the proper lane for navigation. With the nüvi 1490T, route planning is straightforward because the device will save 10 routes. The multiple-point routing feature makes running errands more efficient because the nüvi will calculate the most efficient route between multiple stops. For trips across the country, drivers will benefit from the automatic time zone transition feature that automatically sets the unit to the correct time zone. In addition, a speed limit indicator displays speed limits for most major roads.

For the ultimate in convenience, the nüvi 1490T also makes it easy for drivers to steer clear of traffic accidents, road closures and construction. An integrated traffic receiver comes standard with the nüvi 1490T and gives free, lifetime traffic alerts without a subscription fee. The free lifetime traffic alerts are from NAVTEQ Traffic and are available in select coverage areas. Lifetime traffic alerts extend for the useful life of the nüvi unit or as long as Garmin receives traffic data from its traffic supplier.

To help drivers make their gas tanks go the extra mile, the nüvi 1490T comes standard with ecoRoute™ that suggests fuel-efficient navigation. In addition to “faster time” and “shorter distance” for route preference, ecoRoute lets nüvi users choose “less fuel” as the best way to save gas and money. Through ecoRoute’s Fuel Report and Mileage Report, drivers can focus on their fuel conservation and find fuel-saving tips along the way.

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John Stewart

RVer confidence remains high

RVers Planning to Travel and Buy Despite Recession Bargain Hunters Can Find Great Deals, RVers Say

RESTON, Va., March 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer confidence may be down, but RVer confidence remains high, according to the biannual Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners, conducted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Fifty-five percent of survey respondents intend to use their RVs more this spring/summer than last year, and 45 percent are considering another purchase.

Only four percent say they'll use their RVs less this year. Three-fourths said they planned to take more mini-vacations so they could escape stress, spend more quality time with family, and enjoy nature and other outdoor activities.

A primary reason why so many RVers will be traveling -- and even buying in this economy -- this spring/summer is that they appreciate the value they get compared to flying, driving and staying in hotels. Eighty-six percent say RVing is an affordable way to travel. Three-fourths save at least 25 percent when they travel in an RV -- more than a quarter save 35-50 percent. These results echo the findings of a study by international travel and tourism experts PKF Consulting, which found family RV trips are 27-61 percent less expensive than other types of vacations.

"RV travel continues to appeal to people looking to save money and cut costs," says Richard Coon, president of RVIA. "By having their homes-on-wheels with them, RV owners receive a bigger bang for their buck than other types of vacations offer."

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John Stewart

Price for USGS Topo Maps Rise

The price of the popular USGS 1:24,000 scale topographic quadrangle map - often called a "topo" or a "quad" - will go up $2 per sheet to $8 beginning today March 16, 2009. Larger format ("poster") maps will go up $3 per sheet to $10. These prices were last increased 7 years ago.  

"The USGS takes this action reluctantly," said Kevin Gallagher, Associate Director of the Geospatial Information Office. "However, recent studies indicated that previous map prices did not allow us to sufficiently recover the actual costs of reproduction and distribution as we are charged to do by longstanding Office of Management and Budget guidance under Circular A-130." 

The U.S. Geological Survey began a systematic program of topographic mapping in 1884 as an aid to scientific studies in geology and hydrology. Since then, the maps have become a signature product of USGS because the public has found them to be a valuable tool for accurately depicting the land surface.

"Even at the new prices, these maps are still a great bargain considering the wealth of geographic information they provide," Gallagher added. 

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John Stewart

Stop that Clanking!

SoftRide Locking Hitch Pin

Does your hitch rattle? Are you wondering if those strange noises are a warning of problems to come while towing your 4x4?

Well, there is an answer for stopping (or at least reducing) the noise from the "toad" behind you.

From the folks at SoftRide comes a product that is touted as quieting the noises associated with towing.

In real life, when you start with a 2 inch receiver and plug in a hitch to begin towing, you have a lot of play (loose fitting) in the connection.  That leads to a lot of movement and rattle in the hitch.  The locking hitch pin from SoftRide does a good job of quieting the noise from the 'toad" behind you.  

Starting with a classic 2 inch receiver and hitch, the locking hitch pin has an internal locking nut that is used to clamp the hitch insert tight to the receiver tube.  I have been using one for a couple of months and find it does as advertised.  The clanking (or clunking) sound while towing is eliminated.

That is the good news.  It does work as stated to reduce excessive movement in the hitch connection.  If you are using the hollow tubing, this process works.  For the heavy duty rated hitches that use solid bar rather than tube stock, this will not eliminate unwanted hitch movement.

Overall, the SoftRide Tightening Hitch Pin is a great product that is well worth the investment.
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