• Min H. Kao, Chairman
  • Clifton Pemble, CEO

Garmin Ltd.. is a Swiss manufacturer of GPS receivers for satellite- based positioning and navigation. After its founding in 1989 by Gary Burrell and Min Kao (hence the name Garmin ) the company soon became known for the miniaturization of their GPS receiver. Meanwhile Garmin manufactures products for the aerospace and consumer electronics products for the road navigation, outdoor sports, sports and marine.

Are the manufacturer Magellan and TomTom competitor of Garmin On the consumer market.


Garmin International Inc. is a member of the group Garmin Ltd.. in Schaffhausen. The production is located in Kansas and in Taiwan.

The European representative of Garmin is located in Southampton, UK. Since 2007, builds the Garmin Ltd.. its presence in the European market: In January 2007, Garmin bought the French distributor; In July 2007, the German distributor, the GPS GmbH. This has been operating since the takeover as Garmin Germany GmbH. The new company kept its location in Graefelfing and the management and has nearly 100 employees today. Devices for the German market will still be sold through Graefelfing; from here also takes the warranty processing. In Europe, Garmin has offices in the UK, Munich, Paris, Barcelona, ​​Milan, Lisbon, Graz, Brussels, Lohja and Copenhagen. In all other countries exclusive general agents for sales, marketing, service and support on site are responsible.

Besides the usual GPS devices for land use and for sports activities Garmin also offers models for road navigation and computer components that can be used for example in PDAs. In addition, there is equipment for ships - combined with sonar - and for the aviation industry to integrated electronic flight instrument system. The products for the aviation industry, there is the support of an airport database as an option. For industrial users, sells Garmin OEM boards that can be incorporated into products such as car radios with navigation function. Differential GPS signals can be evaluated with produced by Garmin gear.

Garmin developed and its devices traditionally produced in our own manufacturing facilities, three of which are for products of consumer electronics in Taiwan. In Olathe Garmin Aviation produces its own products. More than 1400 engineers working in the areas of product development, production, quality assurance, cartography and language development. Sales of Garmin in fiscal year 2008, about 3.49 billion U.S. dollars. Garmin has been profitable since the company was founded and registered in 2000 an annual sales increase of 36 percent.

Garmin has moved its corporate headquarters on June 27, 2010 by the Cayman Islands to Schaffhausen in Switzerland.

On July 26, 2011 Garmin acquired the German manufacturers of navigation devices Navigon.


While early devices - as with other manufacturers too - only traditional position data without direct reference card, soon followed, as in the model 12XL with newer software version, local databases, which facilitated a classification of their own position in the wider community. Navigating with such devices without the help of digitized maps is relatively complex and requires additional conventional paper maps and extensive knowledge of the matter. However, may be useful, with which one can make to a previously traveled route the reverse route show to the starting point without maps, for example, the function of backtracking. In the meantime, is also found in many handtools high-resolution color screens that represent your position on a map. However, the associated higher energy requirement of displays and processors resulting in shorter battery run times of newer handsets.

Many devices can be connected via the serial interface or USB to a computer. In this then the data can be recorded as roads and waypoints displayed and evaluated, for example.

Initially, the company focused almost exclusively on the production of robust equipment for the maritime and aviation and to a lesser extent also for the " outdoor " area. Although the know-how and the technology was available in principle also for street navigation (eg " GPSmap V"), the potential of mobile devices for vehicle route guidance was not detected until very late, so that new competitors faster in this emerging mass market walk could take. Meanwhile, Garmin also offers here a very wide range of models. In this latter category, the original equipment functions for outdoor navigation in favor of a simple operation have been greatly reduced. A simplified mechanical structure, the absence of a robust water-resistant construction that significantly greater numbers and increased competition have led these devices at significantly lower prices.

In the second Gulf War, the Allies were equipped with handheld devices from Garmin.


To view our map, enabled outdoor handhelds are usually delivered with a so-called base map that contains many villages and more important streets of the entire continent (depending on sale America, Asia or Europe including Africa ) with limited accuracy. This map data is not sufficient for a general overview, but for precise navigation. With appropriate optional memory cards or CDs or DVDs ( and using PC) but can be accurate, regional maps (or map sections ) reload ( card size depending on device memory). For more and more countries, there is for topographic maps with detailed terrain features such as woods, streams, contours and hiking trails (sometimes also third-party ). However, these cards since they were created by different authors, a different quality; Resolution and depth of detail do not always have a consistent signature. Available are those, for example, of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Spain, USA, Canada and some other countries.

In addition to the commercial cards, there is the possibility of freely available, customized for your Garmin device maps from the OpenStreetMap project download. In terms of roads, trails, buildings and POI they are depending on the area often even complete or up to date than commercial cards. For newer Garmin devices also raster maps can create based on tiles of special maps of the OpenStreetMap project and use it.

, A routing function, inter alia, an exact house number Route guidance is possible with many handsets for the " outdoor " use. Appropriate data material for street navigation is available for most industrialized countries since the late 1990s and now also for some emerging countries are available.

In addition, worldwide for many marine areas and some inland waters special charts available (so-called Blue Charts ).

The base card included in many devices (see above) includes in devices for the U.S. market North and South America, for the European market called the Atlantic basemap (Europe, North Africa, Middle East) and for devices for the Asian market, large parts Asia and Australia. The fact that this card is permanently stored in the device, has long been commonly held view. Meanwhile, however, it is known that this card as well as many other data is in the flash memory, and thereby can change or replace later as well as other cards, but are in a different region of the memory ( ).

Some acquired in the U.S. units are delivered without German menu (GPSMAP 60/76C (S ) x). These can change garpatch by replacing the base card against European or with the software on the language you want in the menu navigation. The standard PC software ( for data management of the recorded with the device waypoints) Trip and Waypoint Manager also includes in import devices the entire globe, but in a low resolution. For higher resolutions and more card details specific maps must be purchased.

The mapCenter database makes it possible to upload self-created maps and thus to provide other interested users. There now are maps of 140 countries with very large differences in quality, detail and coverage. These can be loaded with the help of freeware programs directly into the GPS devices.

Maps Trails is a database that integrates both databases above and beyond accommodating other databases and pages. Maps Trails does not offer any maps to download, but refers to the respective sites that offer maps of the country or continent looking for. Maps Trails thus refers to more than 350 cards in over 150 countries.


EcoRoute is developed by Garmin software to help car and truck drivers going as economically as possible and efficient to drive. The software adjusts the route by route calculations, which should lead to a more fuel efficient possible driving style.

EcoRoute HD, consisting of software and hardware, the development of ecoRoute and can determine actual vehicle values ​​. The ecoRoute HD module is connected via the standard port of the vehicle for on- board diagnostics (OBD II). In real time the module receives the data of the vehicle. In addition to these vehicle values ​​ecoRoute HD is capable of Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC ) read, which can usually be obtained only in the workshop. All vehicle values ​​are transmitted via Bluetooth to the navigation device. Using ecoRoute HD is the pilot so to an on- board diagnostic computer.


Garmin manufactures equipment for the outdoor and road navigation for pedestrian and air navigation, equipment for ship navigation and cycling computer.


Since June 18, 2008 Garmin is sponsoring the former professional cycling team " Slipstream - Chipotle " and this led initially under the name "Team Garmin - Slipstream " on. In the meantime, it was called " Team Garmin -Transitions ." Sponsoring partner was the U.S. manufacturers of ophthalmic lenses, Transitions Optical. In 2011, the team was merged with the Cervélo TestTeam and since then called Garmin-Cervélo team.