Rand McNally Develops Custom RV-Style GPS
Representatives of a time-honored, 140-year-old brand name in the road atlas business, Rand McNally, were working the floor of RVIA’s 49th Annual National Trade Show, Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Louisville, Ky.
And while the company’s world-famous atlas is still available in print and digital formats, Rand McNally executives were promoting a product that is nothing short of cutting edge: a custom GPS system for RV and camping enthusiasts called Rand McNally’s TripMaker RVND.
First introduced to consumers in June, the TripMaker provides an impressive level of detail in terms of RV-specific routing and unique features designed for RV and camping travel with safety in mind.
Amy Krouse, a public relations director for Rand McNally who was showcasing the dash-mounted 5-inch TripMaker RVND 5510 ($299) and high-definition 7-inch TripMaker RVND 7710 ($399) in Louisville, says the new system utilizes proprietary data and routing for certain types of RVs.
“The routing is specifically for the size of the RV,” says Krouse, who was working the show with John Peters, vice president and general manager for Digital Strategy and Business Development. “You can choose from 11 different configurations — Class A, Class B, fifth-wheel, toy hauler, etc., – and the routing will take into account the general configuration of that size vehicle. If it’s a larger vehicle, you are always going to have a left-turn preference. If it’s a smaller vehicle, you’re always going to have a right-hand preference.”
Krouse, standing in the Equine Motorcoach exhibit at Louisville, said the new system was under development for a year and a half and takes into account plenty of RV owner input as well as various legal restrictions.
“So, low overpasses, weight restrictions, carrying propane, it will take that into account as well,” she told RVBUSINESS.com. “A general GPS has none of that data in it. In addition to navigation, we also do amenities for the RVers. When we tell you there is a campground, we are going to tell you if it has a dump station, electrical hookups or different size places for you to park.
“If we tell you about a Walmart, we are going to tell you if it has a 24-hour pharmacy or overnight RV parking, and we are going to give you the phone number. So, when you are an RVer on the road and have a breakdown, we are going to tell you about the dealers and how to route there. If you are traveling with pets, we’ll tell you where the pet hospitals are.”
In general terms, Rand McNally’s GPS TripMaker includes amenities and easy search tools for more than 13,000 RV parks and campgrounds, 6,000 travel center locations, dump stations, parking, showers, and electric hookups plus 24,000 pet-friendly locations including animal hospitals and more than 150,000 places near interstates organized by exit and number.
Based on consumer research, this new GPS system also includes suggested RV trip plans – with photography and video – on anything from a weekend getaway to a week-long excursion with places to stop and things to do.
Although Rand McNally is utilizing distributors in Canada, it’s marketing directly to OEM’s, dealers and U.S. consumers through organizations like the Family Motor Coach Association, the Good Sam Club and Equity Lifestyle Properties.