Garmin Unveils New Terrain-Aware Portable GPS

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Garmin last week introduced its latest new gizmo, the GPSMAP 296 aviation handheld, which combines GPS position and altitude readouts with topographical maps. The color display gives pilots a clear depiction of potential terrain hazards, Garmin says. "Terrain awareness really sets the GPSMAP 296 apart from other aviation handheld devices," said Gary Kelley, Garmin's director of marketing, in a press release. The unit features a look-ahead warning function that alerts pilots to terrain or obstacle conflicts along the current flight path. The units go on sale next month at Sun 'n Fun, for $1,795. Topographic data is depicted as shaded contours in sectional-chart-like detail. An extensive Jeppesen database is overlaid on the topo maps to show the flight path in relation to navigation aids, special-use airspace and obstructions. Pilots can also use the portable unit in marine and automotive modes.