GPS Position Plotter

As new electronic devices grow increasingly complex, and innovative, well thought out product design, engineering and ergonomics are crucial. New technology always has to be shaped to interface with people and to meet market needs. Surveying specialists Geografix approached Goodwin to undertake two new product design and development projects to help them diversify into very different markets, the first was a positioning plotter for leisure boats and the second, an offender tagging and monitoring system.

The design challenge for the positioning plotter was to incorporate traditional navigational methods with advanced technology, a problem we solved by creating a liquid crystal screen that acts as a 'magic window' through which the user sees the map or chart on which it is laid, so they can relate their position, speed and direction to all the information on the map at a glance, an elegant ergonomic solution to the problem of assimilating so much complex information very quickly. The Vision GPS shows not only the vessel's current position but also its past route, allowing the user to mark up the chart with past and present positions so they have a hard copy for added safety in emergencies and as a record for future voyages.

Despite its sophistication, it is simple enough for even the most technophobic sailors to use because it has just 5 operating keys and all the information is fed back to the user on the screen. Not only that, it's portable, rechargeable, weather resistant, visible in all lights and even floats!

We handled the total design, from conducting feasibility studies, developing electronics and software to seeing the injection moulded components through to manufacture. The Vision GPS received instant market-place recognition, and won the German Design Zentrum Red Dot Award for innovation in form and function.

We then went on to design the offender tag and monitoring system, using Geografix's position detection expertise from the electronic surveying market to give positioning data to the base station. The transmission and detection of signals down fibre optic cables in the wrist strap is used to detect any tampering with the unit. This new product has helped Geografix move into the growing security products market.

With all these products, we put together a team of specialists to develop the necessary software, design the electronic circuitry and to organise the component manufacture and assembly.