Gadgets

If your looking for a unique gift to give to a paddling buddy or yourself, check out this sea kayak keychain cleverly named the Keyak. Manufactured in Europe and made of PVC, they come in 5 colours, blue, green, orange, red and yellow. The great thing is that the MSRP is only $5.99 so it won’t break the bank. Along with being a pretty nifty key chain, I think they would also make a great compact teaching aid for topics like navigation, surfing, currents or really time you would naturally look for a small stick to illustrate your lesson. My buddy, Alan Drummond is just in the process of setting up distribution so if you own a paddling shop, you should drop him a note and bring them in. If you are interested in buying one you can also buy direct from Alan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the Keyak Facebook page for more info.
If you shoot film in the outdoors and looking to get better action shots, you need to check-out this Kickstarter project that is likely going to reach its $20,000 funding goal. AirTracks is an inflatable all-terrain slider designed for DLSR cameras. It can be quickly set-up over (almost) any type of rough ground for super silky smooth sliding shots (say that 8 times). The whole system only weighs a couple of pounds so it’s ultra-portable. I want. Bad. More info: kickstarter.com
Suunto has announced the availability of the Ambit, a new model to their extensive line of wrist top computers. The Ambit is aimed towards backcountry hikers, skiers, mountain climbers and comes equipped with a built in GPS navigation system, altimeter, heart rate monitoring system and a 3D compass. This isn’t Suunto’s first GPS enabled watch (if you can call it that) but it is one of the first that doesn’t look like you are carrying a brick on your wrist. Under the hood of the Ambit has some really interesting technology built in. It has a built in accelerometer that when combined with the GPS is supposed to provide more accurate speed data and a faster response time to speed fluctuations while running or hiking. To help maximize battery life, the GPS and heart rate functions can be turned off. Expect the rechargeable lithium-ion battery to last about 15 hours with every feature running and 100 hours under normal operation. That might not sound like a long time but you need to remember that this is a tool developed for training or multi-use where you can access a charging source on a semi-regular basis. Another cool sounding feature of this unit is that you can download and track your training stats on Movescount.com. They have also developed the ability to upgrade the operating system with new features through the same website. Here are some of the Abmit functions from the press release: Specialized outdoor functions of the Suunto Ambit include: Full-featured GPS (SIRF IV) navigations with Find Waypoint functionality with route planning, tracking and track logging, 100 waypoint creations in watch and Movescount.com, location in multiple coordinate systems, 3D compass (including military scale), barometric altitude, temperature. Advanced training functions include: accurate and highly responsive pace with FusedSpeed™, heart rate functionality, including real-time training effect, recovery time, accurate vertical speed with a barometric altimeter and online sports diary with planning and analysis tools in Movescount.com. Look for the Ambit to be at your local camping store sometime mid to end of March with a price point of about $500 or $500…
  If you are a paddler who dreams of heading out on your next adventure with a laptop or tablet stowed away might be interested yesterdays announcement by Panasonic of two new Android tablets under their new line, Toughpad. Designed to be durable, waterproof and withstand a drop of up to four feet; these tables are going after utility workers, military/police staff and the general public who sees value in having a rugged product. With a price of $1,200, they are clearly not going after the average consumer.   Among the Toughbook A1's mainstream specs: a 1.2GHz dual-core processor; Android 3.2 aka Honeycomb; a "daylight-readable," LED-backlit, 1024x768 touchscreen display; 1GB of DDR2 memory; options for WiMax or LTE 4G wireless networking or more conventional 3G newtorking; a front-facing 2-megapixel camera and rear-facing 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash; ports for micro USB, micro SDHC, and HDMI; and a 33.9 watt-hour lithium-ion battery. It measures 10.5x8.3x0.67 inches and weighs 2.1 pounds. Look for it to be available sometime in the New Year. You can find more info here. Photo credits: Water photo: Stephen Shankland/CNETBottom  Photo: Panasonic
Thursday, 19 November 2009

Garmin Opens up to Custom Maps

People who use GPS maps know that Garmin’s proprietarily maps are pretty good. The only problem is that it can be limiting as they only allow their maps to be loaded on the system. They have changed the game slightly as they have opened up their operating system for your Oregon, Dakota or Colorado handhelds to allow the import of maps you currently own (paper or digital) directly into your unit.  Getting the maps into your unit is a couple step process. After making sure that your GPS has the latest firmware (the operating system) installed, you scan your paper map and save it as a .jpg file. Once done, you just need to georeference your new image via Google Earth by matching key landmarks on your map with those on google earth so the GPS will know where on this planet your map is supposed to represent. The final step is to import the image and georeference information directly in to the unit itself.
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