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 800×480 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.
The Quadra has the ability to use any Wi-Fi connection to update its software and databases. You can download Nexrad weather, METARs and TAFs, get the latest temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), and even check e-mail, file flight plans or browse the web at any Wi-Fi spot. All Quadras include a complete airport directory and a 100LL.com fuel price database with 12 months of free updates. No PC is required. To show how little things make a difference, the Quadras include a flight-log feature that uploads to an online logbook. Pilot profiles are stored in the unit.
The simple layout makes finding and changing settings easy. Twelve graphic symbols (six per side) give the pilot everything needed to access all features. Pilots also can choose to turn on sounds and alerts using an external audio jack that can be routed to the airplane’s intercom.
One of the best-conceived features is the Cones of Safety glide prediction system, an idea so unique that Control Vision has a patent on it. Using GPS speed, elevation, wind and preconfigured glide performance data for that airplane (several aircraft profiles can be stored), the Quadra will display what airports you can safely glide to in an emergency using green circles on any of the map displays.
For normal navigation, the pilot selects from six display modes: Sectional, Terrain, Low Enroute, Night, Weather and Emergency. Each mode shows the aircraft and overlays data against a different base display. Terrain mode was my favorite, and shows a 3-D color view of terrain affecting the flight. Terrain appears in high definition because the Quadra displays it in 180-meter resolution—substantially higher than the 270-meter or 1-kilometer resolution used by other units.
Low Enroute mode puts a detailed enroute chart beneath the navigation display, and Weather mode overlays the display with satellite weather information, including Nexrad, surface winds, TAFs and all the products available through XM weather subscriptions. Overlays for all the modes include a very capable, full-featured HSI readout, vertical navigation computing, turn-rate indicator and various configurable alerts and warnings. No need to go to separate pages.
There are so many ways to customize the displays, and so many other features to choose from, that it’s tough to imagine a mission the Quadra couldn’t fulfill. Some of the goodies that come with the Quadra include Taxi Express airport diagrams, victor airways display and the innovative Personal Digital Copilot that allows configuring altitude alarms, flight timers, descent reminders and even esoteric things like spiral dive warnings, oxygen and fuel pump warnings, fuel tank switching reminders and a whole lot more.
Anywhere Map has thought of just about everything and put it into a package that starts at $595 MSRP. Included with any of the Quadra units are two different mounts (for cars and aircraft), a wall and accessory-jack charger, memory card, carrying case, USB cable and everything to get you going immediately. Where I began using the Quadra as a backup to a larger, more expensive GPS, I’ve found that I now use it as my primary flight display. Never mind that the street navigation also is superb. Quadra has hit a home run here.