Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Anywhere Map Quadra

A trendsetter in portable navigators

The portable Quadra navigation unit measures just 4¼x3 inches and fits easily into the small cockpit of author Marc Lee’s Great Lakes biplane.

At first glance there’s not much to the new Anywhere Map Quadra, but therein lies its considerable charm. At just 4¼x3 inches in overall size, a half-inch thick and weighing 6.2 ounces, the Quadra packs an impressive number of features into a tiny package. Ten years of constant innovation by parent company Control Vision have resulted in a new Quadra that accurately fulfills its promise of being one of the most capable portable navigators out there.

The Anywhere Map comes in three flavors: the basic Quadra includes both aviation and street navigation; the Quadra Max adds seamless digital sectional charts; and the Quadra EFB adds Anywhere Map’s Pocket Plates and taxi diagrams, a complete set of low-altitude enroute charts and a 12-month subscription to Pocket Plates updates. A huge selling point of all three Quadras is the 12-month subscription to the aviation database, including fuel prices and airport directory.

One of the first things you notice about the Quadra is how good its high-definition, 4.3-inch screen looks. Part of the reason is that Quadra uses a screen graphics resolution of 800x480 pixels. Screen brightness is impressive and the display can be read easily even in harsh, direct sunlight.

With my background in software design, I’ve become aware of the importance of good user interface, and that’s another area where the Quadra is superb.

The touch screen is simple and accurate. Pilots can use the integrated stylus or their finger, and the resulting tapping is satisfying and fast. Anywhere Map says the touch screen is optimized for rough air and I confirmed that, bouncing around in a biplane on a windy afternoon. Other manufacturers are coming around to the touch interface, and in my mind, it beats buttons and dials by a large margin.

The menu layout and navigation are two of the most important features of any aviation GPS/navigator unit. The Quadra’s engineers did their homework and integrated a decade of experience learning how pilots use their GPS. The layout and navigation are both instantly intuitive. If, like me, you seldom read the manual and like to dive into the unit right out of the box, you’ll be rewarded.

Once you hit the power button (nicely located on the upper-right edge of the unit), the Quadra presents you with options for either air or street navigation or the optional Pocket Plates chart viewer. A quick tap on the screen launches the aviation navigator. Pocket Plates includes Quadra’s digital seamless sectional charts, which look great. It also includes a complete set of approach plates and enroute charts. As of this writing, the Quadra is the only unit with a sharp enough resolution to support geo-referenced approach plates, where you can see your airplane’s position on the plate as you fly the approach. A “doodle mode” lets you make notes on the screen that are saved with that approach plate.


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