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Garmin is a navigation company that was founded in 1989 by Gary Burrell and Min Kao. The name “Garmin” is a tribute to them both. They currently have over 11,500 associates and have over 60 offices worldwide. They are known for being respectful to their associates and to their customers, they provide an honest relationship with no sale gimmicks. Garmin has made major investments in navigation and has paved the way for many other navigational companies to flourish in the market. Garmin holds its products to the highest standard and is determined to be an essential part of customers’ daily lives with their superior quality devices.

Types of Garmin Navigation

Garmin has many different navigational devices to choose from. Garmin has devices in many markets including wearable technologies, automotive, marine, outdoor, and fitness. Many customers enjoy that the company gives them a lot of different options for navigation. These devices are able to be synced together so that all of the different devices still work together since they are all from the Garmin family and they have the pretty much the same operating systems.

Garmin Beginnings

After the company was founded in 1989, Gary Burrell and Min Kao started to sell their navigation systems to potential customers. In 1991, they received their very first customer, which turned out to be the United States Army. Garmin now has devices for military use that are available on their website for purchase and just recently The Navy began issuing their F/18 pilots Garmin watches for more accurate alerts to when the pilot’s cabins reach a preset threshold, which should help many dangerous cockpit episodes from even beginning in the first place.

Garmin’s very first product was a GPS system called the GPS 100. The GPS 100 was a marine GPS and was a panel mounted system. It was aimed at fishermen. After creating handheld recievers that were popularly used in the Gulf War by the US Army, Garmin next released a small navigation system aimed a runners called the Forerunner. Next, Garmin released the first handheld GPS, or personal GPS device, in 2000 called the eTrex. The eTrex was a very rugged, lightweight, and waterproof device that was perfect for hikers. The eTrex was powered by two AA batteries and had a battery life of up to 22 hours. The device was replaced in 2007 by another eTrex called the eTrex H which was more sensitive. In 2011, Garmin became the first company to manufacture and distribute worldwide navigation products that supported both GPS and GLONASS. In 2015, the eTrex got an update with a touchscreen and many software improvements.

Garmin for the Automotive Market

Garmin introduced the GPS navigation system for automobiles in 1998. The first system was in black and white. It also did not have a voice to speak to the driver or have any storage space for lifetime maps. Fast forward a few years, and the Garmin that we know and love now is in color, has a voice that tell us directions and other things, and also can store a number of maps with Garmin’s special lifetime map features. Garmin also offers live traffic updates and real time weather information on their current GPS models. They have advanced in many ways since their first version almost 20 years ago.

Garmin in 2018

Recently, Garmin has begun breaking new barriers in the GPS industry once again. They have begun producing GPS devices solely for certain vehicles. For example, the Garmin Zumo GPS device is designed specifically for motorcycles. There are also certain devices designed for RVs and for semi-truck drivers. In 2011, Garmin launched the Garmin App for Apple and Android devices and it is still going strong and readily available today. Garmin has also began producing many different smartwatches called the Fenix, the VIvio, and the Forerunners. In 2017, the Fenix 5 was released complete with heartrate tracker, GPS and GLONASS and over two weeks worth of battery life.

Rand McNally has been a staple in the navigation world for over 160 years. Founded in 1868 by William Rand and Andrew McNally, the company started with publishing maps and now has progressed to producing GPS devices that have earned many awards. Rand McNally is also a well-known publishing company, that publishes educational material for schools, some of which are still the standards that schools go by to this day.

Rand McNally Beginnings

Rand McNally began in 1868 as a printing shop that had agreed to print tickets and timetables to service Chicago’s railroads, which at that time in our nation’s history, Chicago was a national premier railroad hub. The very next year, the first guide, Railroad Western Railway Guide, was published by Rand McNally. In the years afterward, the first Rand McNally railway guide using the wax engraving method was published and the company became incorporated.

In 1880, the company took a turn in a different direction, and began educational publishing. There are many different educational printings that took place and are still taking place today. Rand McNally still publishes the Road Atlas, the Motor Carrier’s Road Atlas, kids’ activity books, Adult activity books (which are sort of like “seek and find” for adults). The company also publishes kids’ road atlas and different folded and wall maps. The company also is famous for its travel pictorials as well.

Rand McNally in the Technology Age

In 1994, Rand McNally began its transition to the technology age by introducing TripMaker software. This software allowed customers to plan trips within the comfort of their own homes on their own personal computers. The software became a great program and won many awards, while becoming a favorite in the software market. After all the success with TripMaker, in 1996, Rand McNally introduced StreetFinder, which was their version of navigation software. In 1997, the Rand McNally website was launched and not too long after that, they launched another software program called IntelliRoute, which was designed specifically for truck drivers and it became the most advanced trucking database in North America. Rand McNally continued their climb up the technology ladder with launching a GPS device for truckers in 2009 and a device specifically for RV drivers in 2011. The Rand McNally iPad app and eBook version of the atlas premiered in 2013, which was followed by an e-login system the very next year. In 2017, Rand McNally created yet another software program called OverDryve, which is designed for professional drivers. 

Rand McNally Today

Today, Rand McNally is still famous for its educational publishing. Many high schools and colleges still use the Goode’s World Atlas, which was originally published by Rand McNally – it is the standard that they still teach. The company offers educational map tools and digital atlases for use on smartboards and other teacher guides.

Rand McNally has continued to introduce GPS devices like clockwork, and many of their devices are specifically aimed towards a certain group of drivers and fitness enthusiasts. They have GPS devices for truckers, RV drivers, hikers and bikers. They have also continued to make many more software programs. They are pretty much the leader in GPS navigation software. They have many more projects that are on the rise and they will continue to further cement themselves as a leader in the navigation industry.

TomTom is a Dutch-based GPS device company that was founded in 1991. They currently have 4,700 employees and are the pioneers of PDA software. After becoming the market leaders in PDA software, the company launched RoutePlanner and Citymaps, which are navigation apps perfect for use on the PDA.

TomTom Devices over the Years

In 2002, TomTom released the Navigator, which was an affordable navigation tool for anyone to have. Making PDAs affordable was a really huge breakthrough in the GPS market at that time. Since the navigation on PDAs was just an application, TomTom realized that there was a high demand for a PND, which stands for personal navigation device. The PND was the fastest-selling device in consumer history and is still a trusted navigation device to this day. 11 years after its launch, 78 million devices have been sold in over 41 countries.

In 2013, TomTom began its cross over to the smartwatch market. Their first version of the device was introduced with GPS navigational abilities. This smartwatch is one of the market’s leaders for sport watches and it took away the need for chest straps and even took away the need for the smartphone itself during a workout. There are currently five different sport watches offered by TomTom and four of them have GPS navigation included. Other features include step counter, calories burned, active minutes, and wireless syncing.

In 2015, TomTom took their company in a different direction with the release of the TomTom Bandit, which is an action camera. It was the first camera ever built with a built in server, making it easy to shoot action videos and share them to social media in a matter of minutes. The camera is similar to the GoPro, in which it can shoot livestream video and is waterproof. It is no longer available on the company’s website but is still available on Amazon and eBay.

TomTom Live Traffic Updates

Many of TomTom navigation devices are equipped with live traffic updates. There are customer reviews that sing high praises of these updates and some even solely depend on these traffic updates to get them to and from work on time. One customer review that was feature on the company’s website stated that the person really did not think the GPS device was anything special and she knew that there were better versions on the market, but she keeps her TomTom “solely for the traffic updates.” She went on to say that she plans her whole day’s drive around the traffic updates from the device.

TomTom live traffic updates are very accurate and they let the driver know what exactly is going on ahead of them, whether it is a traffic jam caused by an accident or something weather related, the driver will know ahead of time. They are even able to predict the upcoming traffic because they have been analyzing traffic patterns every day since 2008. TomTom allows its customers to network to each other by helping others find the best route for them to travel or by finding out about any hazards faster than just seeing them on the road. There are millions of people in this community and they are sure to let people know of any hazards that lie on the road ahead.