GPS digital navigation map data

GPS navigators such as TomTom, NavMan, Garmin, Magellan etc. become increasingly popular.
Is there a common standard for the digital map data to be used on these type
of small embedded devices in which optimal route calculation can be calculated?
Is it possible to access this data through some API, to use it in a PC application?
Ray
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Don't know about standards, but I wouldn't expect any - they each want to protect their turf. More seriously, I was browsing a boating magazine in my doctor's rooms recently, & hit an article in which a yachtsman nearly ran smack into Diego Ramirez Is. (near Cape Horn), because it simply wasn't shown on the electronic chart he was using. Don't trust your life to one of those electronic charts, would be my conclusion. (I doubt the land maps are much better).
Ray wrote:

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Tell that to aircraft pilots who do "trust their lives" to the accuracy of the GPS info.
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"Everett M. Greene" wrote:

This seems an apples to oranges comparison as I imagine the data used in personal GPS receivers is less accurate, less often updated, and no where near as trustable as that used in the GPS receivers used in aviation.
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Michael R. Kesti wrote:

Is all this a apples-oranges comparison?
Would not a pilot be interested in exact location of airports and various beacons? would there be any equivalent of uncharted shoals?
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writes:

I'm afraid you misunderstood Michael. As I read him, he stated that aviation GPS units base on much more reliable data than "personal" GPS's (though I'm not sure what this latter amounts to). So "apples" = personal GPS units' data, "oranges" = aviation GPS units' data. Confirming your idea that pilots want and generally get quite correct info from their GPS units.
As for uncharted shoals and their aviation equivalents: what about danger, restricted, and forbidden areas? In certain countries these are in almost permanent change, requiring an alert database manager and frequent updates.
For myself, I should much welcome the advent of a community driven database of pilot's navigation info, a bit like DAFIF but more up to date, that could be used by public domain GPS software. And am much willing to contribute to any such initiative within the limits of my poor abilities.
Best rgds & season's wishes, KA (student pilot)
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karel wrote:

I, too, think that this is the case.

I am referring to the handhelds that sell in the 100's of dollars range, such as those such as the Magellan unit I own, and for which there is no way to obtain updated data.

That is precisely what I meant and I cannot imagine that pilots trust their lives to the former. This is evidenced by the disclaimers that are displayed every time I power up my Magellan.

Correct.
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On Sat, 24 Dec 2005 13:37:28 -0800, "Michael R. Kesti"

I can't speak for Magellan, but maps can be uploaded to Garmin units, and updated maps are periodically available. Firmware updates are usually free.
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<snip>

Hummm...are you talking about pilots trusting their lives to personal GPS?
Handheld aviation GPS units are remarkably accurate, and are great at facilitating navigation. But that is as far as the 'hand held' variety goes, I know of no pilots who actually trust their lives to the hand held units. think of it as a way to verify and cross check other nav aids.
My own flying, I use it to supplement the regular aviaonics...and the hand held is much more accurate than the standard VOR type units. <Panel mounted LORAN is pretty slick as well, almost as good as GPS>
<snip>
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says...

A pilot is not using a consumer-oriented GPS. He is using an aviation GPS, with a Jeppesen database of beacons, approaches, and airports, that is maintained via a monthly subscription.
--Gene
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writes:

Is he (and/or she)? Each one? Really? Sure and guaranteed? How can you know?
On my side I HAVE seen pilots fly with "consumer-oriented" GPS-units, though not as a primary means of navigation, luckily.
And don't come and tell me about "certified" units: unless I'm much mistaken not any single GPS unit has been certified by any single European civil aviation authority.
KA
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snipped-for-privacy@zeverSKYNET.BE says...

They're the ones who DON'T fly into the terrain, or stray into controlled airspace, or radio traffic control asking "Where am I?"

I didn't. Aviation units are designed to display the information of interest to pilots, and to easily integrate with the other avionics aboard the aircraft.

..but that probably has more to do with the lack of European manufacturers than any inherent problems with the devices themselves...
--Gene
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On Sat, 24 Dec 2005 21:58:41 -0500, Gene S. Berkowitz

Yes. I use a handheld to double check position. I do not navigate with it [see below].

Aviation units compute location much faster. AFAIK there aren't any consumer oriented units that can reliably locate themselves while moving at 150 knots ... many turbocharged and/or multi engine aircraft can cruise faster than that.
Also aviation units with navigation plot great circle courses rather than straight lines.

I think it's more because GPS is controlled by the U.S.
George -- for email reply remove "/" from address
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On Sat, 24 Dec 2005 22:08:30 -0000, "karel"

Would you do an approach without much assurance of the GPS satellite signal quality ? Assuming that the SA would be suddenly switched on during the approach (or a satellite would experience some sudden problem), this could have quite serious consequences. For any critical navigation, you really need some assurance about the signal quality.
A differential-GPS station can constantly verify the signal quality from all satellites and broadcast this signal quality information to nearby users (in addition to the differential correction). Without a DGPS transmitter at every airport, I don't see how you could make a safe approach with only a GPS receiver.
Paul
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Paul Keinanen wrote:

Google "WAAS".

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On Sat, 24 Dec 2005 16:52:22 -0500, Gene S. Berkowitz

I think the relevent term is "should" be using an aviation GPS. Unfortunately as more comsumer oriented devices comes on the market, the chances of pilots using inapropriate quality GPS systems increases. This is very much equivalent in the embedded market where general prupose PC based systems are employed where they have no business of being empoyed.
Regards Anton Erasmus
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Richard Owlett wrote:

... snip ...

I seem to remember a plane crash a few years ago, attributed to failure to show a mountain on some electronic chart. I think it was in S. America.
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I was flying my Twin Cessna 310 out of Pheonix at night going east. North east of Tuscon, while Flight Following, VOR, and GPS had me in a valley, I was sure I saw rocks in the sky ahead. Cross check of altimeter and GPS also showed us higher than local terain, but we could definitely see mountian peeks on each side of us, towering maybe thousands of feet higher than we were. It just didn't look like we were going to clear the next ridge ahead. No stars to the horizon there, as there were many other places around us, only blackness. So dispite assurances of all instruments and data, we advised Flight Following we were going to error on the side of caution, and climbed. They understood. Did we avoid anything? We'll never know. We lived through it, though. That was enough.
Ultimately the aircraft pilot or ships captain is responsible for the craft's and passenger's saftey. Pilots often die when they get fixated on one source of information, and ignore any data to the contrary. Nature often corrects their impression on how it "has to be" by instead being "what it actually is".
I think what has been confused in this conversation is 1) the position data from the GPS, which should be remembered is just data, one point of reference in a suite of navigation instruments, and 2) the information in the data base. Any functional GPS gives pretty good position data within the limitations of spec'd accuracy. The map is another issue entirely. Generally people don't put up new mountains to run into, but they sure do build new TV towers, etc. A pilot should have a current sectional, and be checking it for highest projections from the ground, that's makered specifically by area. The idea that your GPS database map is a substitute for a recent sectional is pretty dangerous thinking.
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Guess I proved how little I know ;) Thanks to all who answered.
Randy M. Dumse wrote:

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<SNIP>

While there is nothing to prevent a pilot from taking any "NAV AID" he wants on a plane including a toy compass and a 30 year old map, there are regulations regarding NAV AIDs designed to be mounted/installed in aircraft. Any device to be used for navigation must be designed against certain standards such as RTCA DO-178B for software and then "type certified" by the FAA (US, other countries/other agencies) for use in that type of plane.
In addition, data to be used in the NAV AID is covered by RTCA standard DO-200A - Standards for Processing Aeronautical Data. All data to be used in aviation must be handled in accordance with this standard.
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Scott
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