Garmin 696 Gets Geo-Referenced Plates

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Garmin made several announcements at an AirVenture press conference today. The biggest item is for GPSMap 696 owners who have complained that the approach plates don’t show the position of the aircraft on the approach. Soon they can. The software upgrade for the 696 to support georeferenced charts is available now and the charts with that data will be available by the fourth quarter of this year. The upgrade is free to all 696 owners and there will be no change in the chart subscription price. Garmin’s Jim Alpiser hinted that having access to this georeferenced data may allow Garmin to “sneak in some other cool features in the future.” Garmin also added approach charts to their PilotMyCast weather and flight planning software for no additional charge. Jeppesen users can also get charts on their 696 and won’t have to wait.

Jeppesen ChartView is available today for the 696. The upgrade to the GPS is $499 plus the applicable Jepp subscription fee. Jepp charts are the only option for many international users. International customers can also now get weather and text services through the newly announced GSR 56, which communicates via the Iridium satellite network. Garmin also announced the GDL59, which can download engine data to from the aircraft via a nearby wifi network, and gave more details on their Electronic Stability and Protection system that uses the autopilot servos to “nudge the pilot back to safe flight” when the autopilot is off but the system senses the aircraft is departing controlled flight.