File this one under speculation. Earlier this year, Garmin announced Topo U.S. 2008, which offered minor improvements over the previous version of Topo U.S. I've got a review copy and hope to have a full write up on it in the near future.
What I don't understand though, is why they would give this product a name with a year attached. The type of improvements that Topo U.S. 2008 offered aren't likely to sway anyone towards an annual upgrade, unlike City Navigator.
Which brings me to conclude that by this time next year, Garmin will announce a next generation topo product. This would likely include the ability to display one or more of the following:
- 1:24,000 scale topo maps
- USGS topo maps
- Aerial photos
Garmin units, for now, display only vector maps -- data sets made up of lines and points. The last two features listed above would require a unit that can display raster imagery, ala the DeLorme PN-20 and the Magellan Triton series. Raster imagery -- maps and aerial photos -- are image files which eat up a lot of memory. It is likely that an entirely new line of handhelds would be required to display raster images.
Yesterday I wrote about Garmin's failure to innovate. I'm hoping that today's post turns out more prescient than that one. Pure speculation on my part, but I just can't wrap my head around another reason for them to name their product the way they did.