Garmin GPS w/ weather overlay on the map display

Received a question from someone wondering if Garmin offered a product which could display a weather overlay atop the current map layer.  I knew this was available in the fixed mount marine products, but wasn’t sure about the portable products.

Well, they do build them… The cheapest one I could find… GPS Map 430SX GPS for $599 + GXM 31 antenna $264

The NUVI series is uing MSN Direct (over FM radio) which only works in some cities.  The full on satellite weather info is coming thru XM, and it appears Garmin is only putting that on the Marine and Aviation products.  Some of the discontinued StreetPilot models were XM Weather capable, but I can’t find anything to confirm if the StreetPilots would overlay weather radar on the map display.

Here’s the link to the XM Weather service:     According to the XM website, the 2009 Accura includes XMNavWeather in it’s navigation package.  Might be interesting to go look at one just to see.  Doesn’t say if it’s full radar display; might be just a collection of dumbed down weather icons displaying on the map.

This is the first time I’ve thought to look for bluetooth XM recievers… they’re certainly not as abundant as bluetooth gps recievers.  Did find several avaition related vendors offering gadgets to connect a hardwired XM Weather reciever to a PDA via bluetooth.  These guys,, offer an iPaq kit with maps, bluetooth gps reciever, and what appears to be a bluetooth XM reciever for $1,495. 

The biggest obstacle for now is probably the XM subscription costs.  The “Marine SkyWatch” subscription is $9.99/month, but it’s pretty limited.  The more comprehensive weather runs $30-$100 per month.  In comparison, the full featured XM Radio subscription tops out at $20/month.

If I understand what I’ve read so far, the XM Weather recievers and XM Radio recievers are both listening to the same spectrum.  It’s just which portion of the signal stream they’re configured to decode.  Some of the high end nav units offer both Weather and Radio.  So it’s probably just a software code.  Ug, yep, XM radio is all digital, only takes one antenna to recieve the entire signal range.  The radio signal wouldn’t tax a modern processor. Neither would the data stream for weather; so yeah, those cheap little portable xm radio recievers they sell at walmart should have more than enough processing power to decode both weather and audio in real-time.  (By the way, the hardware manufacturers can by those little XM receiver chip for about 10¢ apiece.)  

Would be interesting to find a bluetooth XM receiver supported by one of the currently available, GPS enabled, smartphone products.  



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