Maptech's Outdoor Navigator Iraq SD Card
Very Detailed Street-level Maps for Palm Powered Handhelds

Reviewed with the Garmin iQue 3600
iQue Screen Shots Provided by LinkeSOFT
(10 Mar. 2005) Text by Jack Yeazel
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This SD card is truly "plug and play".  Just insert the SD card into the card slot.  As soon as the card is inserted, the handheld’s screen will show the program icon and program name.  The program name, “OutdoorNavSD,” may be clipped depending on how your handheld is configured, but the icon will be the only one present.  Tap the icon to start Outdoor Navigator, Iraq.

Detailed maps are provided for these areas: Amarah, Kut, Sulaymaniya, Baghdad, Basra, Diwaniyah, Irbil, Karbala, Kirkut, Mosul, Najaf, and Tikrit.  Less detailed maps are provided for: Amarah, Qa'im, Rutbah, Gharbi, Salman, Baramadad, Najaf, Fallujah, Ghalaysan, Khanaqin, Khrsiu, Khurmal, Nazdur, Qayyarah, Samana, Sinuar, Salman, and Turaybil.

The SD card is available (HERE) for $300.  This version of Outdoor Navigator is only compatible with Palm Powered
devices, including the Garmin iQue which has a built-in GPS. There are also GPS add-ons for most handhelds including Bluetooth GPS antennas that transmit your position wirelessly to your handheld.

The GPS software lets you quickly view maps, lat/long coordinates and more. Connect a GPS (or use the Garmin iQue's built-in GPS), and you'll see your position right on the map. If you move, your position on the map moves. Data boxes can be configured to display key navigation information including speed, direction and lat/long position.

Outdoor Navigator has re-assigned certain iQue keys.  (From left to right) the "Date Book" key brings up the Data Boxes at the bottom of the map.  Pressing on each box will show:  AVE SOG, COG, GPS POS, WPT RNG, WPT BRG, WPT TTG, PEN RNG, PEN BRG, PEN POS, RTE XTE, RTE DTG, RTE TTG, or SOG.   The PEN boxes refer to where the stylus is placed on the map, and the WPT boxes refer to the Active waypoint.

Next, the "Address" key will select a less-detailed map (if there is one), the "To Do" key will select a more-detailed map (if there is one), and the "Map" key activates the Follow Mode (causes the map to pan as you go along).  If there is a red circle around the black present-position icon, the unit is not in the Follow Mode.  If the icon is outlined in red, satellite reception is lost.  The "Up and Down" key zooms the map as usual.  After panning, pressing and holding the Follow button causes the position icon to stay fixed on the map.  This is useful if traveling long distances in the same direction.  One can also pan the map by double-clicking on it.

The lower icon to the left of the scratch pad is the main Outdoor Navigator drop-down menu.  This menu accesses: Options, GPS, and Help.  From Options: Maps, Marks (waypoints), Routes, and Preferences are accessed.  Dragging the stylus across the map causes it to pan.  (Then the Follow Mode must be activated to resume automatic pan).

Waypoints are created by pressing the stylus on the map.  This waypoint can be made either Active and/or Locked.  If Active, then a blue bearing line from present position to the Active waypoint is shown.   If not Locked, then the waypoint can be moved around the map with the stylus.

Routes are created by marking the first point and classifying it as a New Route.  Continue to Add Waypoint Here at the various route points.  At the last point, select Add Waypoint and Save Route.  From the Routes menu, select the route name and Edit it.  Two options are to Activate the route and/or Lock the waypoints.  Activating the route will also activate the RTE data boxes.  The route lines are in red (whether activated or not), and a blue bearing pointer always points to the next waypoint.

Until now, there were very limited GPS maps to offer our troops being assigned to Iraq, the most common being Garmin's WorldMap.  After coming across the Maptech maps, we purchased a Garmin iQue 3600 to provide a platform for evaluating them.  The iQue has a relatively short battery life and should be considered mainly as a vehicle installation.  A "car kit" provides an installation bracket and cigarette-lighter cable for charging the battery and operating the unit.

The map data was provided by LeadDog consulting.  LeadDog has GIS maps of Iraq that are used in professional applications like ESRI's ArcGIS.  Maptech turned the map data into maps compatible with Outdoor Navigator.

Garmin WorldMap and Approximate Location of the Ministry of Information

Maptech 1:25,000 Baghdad Map (Shows a Waypoint at the Ministry of Information)

Garmin WorldMap of Fallujah

Maptech's collection also contains 1:250,000 Maps, Shown Here of Fallujah

Palm - any device with these: Palm OS v4.0 or later, Color screen, Memory card slot.

The program doesn't allow hiding the scratch pad nor show tracks.  Although one can create waypoints by pressing and holding the stylus on the Outdoor maps, they can't be uploaded from a database.

Future Developments:
We talked with Maptech, and there are some new developments coming for the standard Outdoor Navigator  program, but not the SD version.  These include the ability for Outdoor Navigator to read Maptech's CD maps and charts.  Once released, the recommended offering for Iraq will be: 1) Outdoor Navigator software for $19.95 and 2) Terrain Pro, Iraq CD for $299.95.   This will put Iraq maps on Windows Mobile Smartphones and Pocket PCs as well as Palms.  It will also allow free software upgrades as new features like tracks are included.

One of the best affordable GPS maps of Iraq -where not getting lost is a matter of life or death.  A solid moving map display software for Iraq, easy to install and use, but limited in expandability and interaction with other data sets.