The navigator is a product from Australian-owned Hema Maps. It uses their expertise in off-road mapping to create a satnav that can be used anywhere. The hardware is provided by VMS, the same company behind the first in-car satnav.
The features list is pretty long:
- 4.3 inch sun-readable touch-screen and 20 Channel GPS Receiver
- Route 66 Street Navigation with voice guidance, containing the latest NAVTEQ data PLUS it's the first to contain the new Hema off-road data. So voice nav that doesn't stop at the bitumen.
- 2GB SD card is included preloaded with all the maps from Hema's bestselling Australia 4WD Raster DVD, which includes over 30 Hema regional maps and 1:250,000 topo coverage for all of Australia.
- Has Ozi Explorer and Memory Map software pre-loaded.
- 12v, 240 v power supplies plus a USB cable for updates and overseas mapping.
- Comes with a leather-look vinyl carry pouch.
- Strong and adjustable windscreen mounting.
- The user will be able to add their own maps as long as they are compatible with Ozi Explorer or Memory Map (includes ECWs).
- Simplicity: it has been designed to plug and play, with default settings for Ozi Explorer.
- Will feature Australian-based tech support on phone and web.
The Hema navigator should hit shops in mid-June for $990. Which isn't too bad a price for an option that will keep off-roaders very happy. The biggest question though will be just how intuitive the UI is - a solid UI is what makes or breaks a satnav. Hopefully this little Australian model will have what it takes to take on the likes of TomTom.