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RVDA, Rand McNally Up Access to Dealer Info

June 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Rand McNally and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) are working together to “provide RVers easy access to RV dealers and service providers across a variety of platforms,” according to a press release.

The information, available this summer, will be included in new mobile phone apps and website maps and directions, as well as on board Rand McNally’s TripMaker RVND GPS units.

“RVers have unique service needs while on the road and providing RV dealer information across North America in a variety of formats will certainly assist them whether it’s an emergency or a routine visit,” said Dave Muscatel, CEO of Rand McNally. “RVers will be assured of top-tier service provided by RVDA member organizations.”

As part of their agreement, Rand McNally will develop a dealer-locator application for iOS and Android mobile phones. The app will enable RVers to quickly access a listing of nearby RVDA member dealers across the U.S. and Canada. Each listing will include critical information such as hours of operation, contact information and services provided, as well as up-to-the-minute deals and specials available. Marketed by RVDA to their membership, this app will be available mid-summer, 2012.

RVDA dealer information also will be provided in Rand McNally’s TripMaker RVND line of GPS devices. The product provides RV-specific navigation as well as services that RVers need while on the road such as campgrounds, pet-friendly locations, rest stops and service centers. The RVDA information will be available on GPS units shipping later this summer and as a download for current owners of the product.

In addition, RVDA dealer information will be integrated into Rand McNally’s Best of the Road website, “Best of RVing” microsite, and into maps and directions on randmcnally.com. Best of RVing (bestoftheroad.com/rv), launched in May, provides content designed to engage and inspire RVers, offering a variety of information for the experienced and novice RVer.

“We are excited to be working with Rand McNally, a trusted source of maps, directions, and navigation content to provide applications and information that is critical to the on-the-road experience,” said RVDA Chairman Andy Heck of Alpin Haus, in Amsterdam, N.Y. “The applications will enable RV enthusiasts to quickly access the information they need in a variety of formats – through phone, online, and navigation products.”

RVDA member dealers will be able to easily update their entries via an online portal specifically designed for the program. Updates will be regularly provided to all products and applications.

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Rand McNally Rolls Out RV-Specific Microsite

May 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Rand McNally has expanded its award-winning travel community “Best of the Road” with a new microsite dedicated to RVers, according to a news release.

The “Best of RVing” site, at bestoftheroad.com/rv, kicks off with a prize-a-day giveaway featuring items such as Rand McNally RV GPS devices, e-reader tablets and campground memberships. In collaboration with the Good Sam family of RV clubs, the site also features an “RV Stories” contest in which RVers can win up to $5,000.

“Following the success of the ‘Best of the Road’ online community of road travelers, it was logical to build a special section just for RVers,” said Dave Muscatel, CEO of Rand McNally. “Rand McNally has a long-standing relationship with RVers, who use our TripMaker RVND RV GPS as well as the Rand McNally Road Atlas, to explore the country. The ‘Best of RVing’ site extends that experience, providing an outlet for RVers to connect, share their stories, learn about the lifestyle, and get practical tips from experts and partners.”

Launched a year ago, bestoftheroad.com is a community of road travelers who review the best stops on America’s highways and byways – including small towns and the points of interest between them. Every year votes are collected for the best small towns, which are then visited by amateur travelers in a Best of the Road Rally. With more than 77,000 “likes” on Facebook, bestoftheroad.com has become the must-visit destination for travelers planning their road trips.

 

 

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Rand McNally Offers Woodall’s Data on TripMaker

February 14, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Rand McNally and Woodall’s are partnering to include Woodall’s campground data in Rand McNally’s TripMaker RVND GPS units for RVers.

According to a press release, the data will be pre-loaded in devices shipping mid-April, and also will be available to current owners of TripMaker RVND devices – both the 5-inch and 7-inch models – via a free download early in the second quarter.

Rand McNally said it will be reaching out to existing owners to ensure that they are able to download the new content.

“Woodall’s is North America’s leading source of campground information for RVers and campers. We are very pleased to offer this very valued content as part of our industry-leading RV GPS devices,” said Dave Muscatel, CEO of Rand McNally.

Highlights of the Woodall’s Campground data include:

• Listings for more than 12,000 RV parks and campground locations, with amenities.

• Family-friendly campgrounds and pets-allowed locations.

• “Big Rig” parks.

• “Green parks.”

• Site information such as extended stay sites available, typical site width and pull-through information.

• Services such as fees, escort to site, dumping.

• Essential information about seasonality and rates.

The data also includes the proprietary “5-W” ratings, which reflect the views of unbiased inspectors who visit and rate every possible private campground each year.

“We are excited to bring together two well-known brands in the RVing community – Rand McNally and Woodall’s,” said Ann Emerson, vice president and publisher, Woodall’s & Trailer Life Directory. “Our carefully researched data will certainly enhance the value of the TripMaker RVND GPS to RVers, especially those who have been loyal users of Woodall’s for decades.”

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Rand McNally: Navigating Your Travels Via GPS

December 29, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

The following is an article authored by Rand McNally offering a review of the proliferation of GPS devices and specific RV applications.

GPS devices have become nearly ubiquitous in personal vehicles. Today, mapping and directions can be delivered via mobile phone, or a device mounted or factory installed in a vehicle.

With so many options, one may begin to wonder what really is the difference between routing solutions? Is it simply a brand preference, or is there more to it? What about “specialized” devices for RVs? Is it worth the additional dollars generally needed for these types of units?

GPS overview

GPS (global positioning system) has become an essential tool in navigation. GPS devices detect a user’s location, thereby allowing the delivery of relevant maps, directions, and other information.

GPS was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense and became fully available to the public in 1994. Satellites orbit the earth, sending signals to GPS devices, which in turn determine the user’s location. By combining satellite signals with digital mapping data, the navigation device calculates the best route to the desired destination. Besides mapping, GPS devices may show points of interest, offer turn-by-turn directions, and in some cases provide information about traffic conditions.

Routing RVs

There are a variety of federal, state, and local laws that govern where large vehicles may or may not travel. Federal law governs: 1) the weight of vehicles on the Interstate System, and 2) the width of vehicles on the National Network. Often state or local jurisdictions will enact additional regulations based on RV lengths and width.

States and local jurisdictions may restrict or allow access by RVs. Physical restrictions occur due to low vertical clearances, such as bridges and underpasses, or due to weight and/or length constraints. Legal restrictions may apply related to items being transported, such as propane on board.

Needless to say, the nationwide collection and update of this data is an exhaustive, expensive and continual process for data suppliers and manufacturers of GPS devices, but critical for safe routing.

Benefits of RV navigation devices

Those using GPS devices for assistance with routing and navigation should employ a device that is designed specifically for navigating the type and size vehicle they are driving – one that contains information about restricted roadways, as well as takes into consideration the size of the vehicle (length, weight, height and load type) as it routes.

Although personal navigation devices (PNDs) – commonly called GPS devices – have existed for years for passenger cars, devices that accurately route large vehicles are relatively new. Part of the delay was in collecting RV-specific information on the roadways, which takes time and money. Unlike car devices, RV-specific GPS devices provide safe routing for such vehicles, ensuring that RVs and campers are not mistakenly routed on roads that cannot accommodate their weight or height. RV devices route to avoid low bridges, illegal routes and too-tight turns.

Drivers of RVs need to consider the ease of turns based on vehicle size (right for smaller vehicles and left for larger ones), and of course height and width. A car would not typically be concerned with this and therefore routing can be quite different.

And using a truck-oriented device is not the answer. RV GPS devices have propane restrictions for tunnels and bridges that are specific to the bottle sizes and volumes commonly carried on RVs.

(As an aside example, Rand McNally produces separate GPS devices for commercial truckers and RVers for this very reason. Although commercial vehicles and RVs may have similar size characteristics, there are distinct differences in routing an over-the-road truck and a motorized or towable RV or camper.)

In routing an RV, it is helpful to receive warnings about what lies ahead. An RV-specific GPS can be used to identify and warn of potential issues on the road ahead – steep grades, upcoming merges and lane changes, dirt roads, and more.

In addition to the safety of the RV, accurate routing for the vehicle size helps protect fellow travelers on the road by avoiding accidents and the delays they cause, while protecting the structural integrity of our highways.

Pay attention to data and signs

When considering an RV GPS device, it’s important to note the data source. Is the company reputable? Does the data have an updated copyright? Are map updates available? The best, freshest data will help with more accurate routing.

Road conditions and status can change. It is important to note that no matter what form of in-vehicle navigation a driver uses, he or she should pay attention to local signage. Local postings provide the definitive guidelines as they will be the most up-to-date.

Providing a great user experience

Robust road specifications as well as municipal and state restrictions are key in producing an RV-specific GPS device. But data collection is just one piece of the puzzle. Besides a route, what else enables an RV driver to be safe on the road and enjoy the trip?

RV-specific stops and points of interest are critical. An RVer may need to know where to find the nearest dump station or where to find overnight parking for a large vehicle.

In an emergency situation, and RVer may need to find the nearest RV dealer – or animal hospital for a beloved pet along for the ride. Campground locations, RV Parks and all the amenities (dump stations, showers, parking, and electric hook up) are also part of the navigation experience for RVs and campers. And since RVers are leisure travelers, useful information for trip planning, such as pre-planned getaways, pet-friendly locations, family festivals, and city information, also helps make traveling easier.

Beyond content, the device itself is important to the experience; RV-specific devices should be large, easy to use, with loud speakers and big buttons.

Putting it all together

GPS devices created specifically for RVs and campers can help take the worry out of routing. Such devices can cost more than their car counterparts, but the RV routing and content they offer is worth the price. The best units offer:

• RV-specific navigation with routing options for various types of RVs and campers;

• Routing based on physical and legal restrictions;

• Thousands of locations with distinct RV amenities (such as dump stations, RV repair, and restaurants and other facilities that allow RV parking), and tools geared just for RVs;

• Additional trip content that works for RVs and campers;

• And the right form factor for the device – large, loud and easy to use.

 

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Rand McNally Develops a Custom RV-Style GPS

December 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Rand McNally TripMaker

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.

Rand McNally markets the product through distributors in Canada and the U.S., such as DEHCO and Stag Parkway.

 

 

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Rand McNally Rolls Out GPS Device for RVers

August 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Rand McNally TripMaker

Rand McNally introduced the latest addition to its award-winning line of navigation devices during this week’s Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 86th Family Reunion. The TripMaker RVND 7710 provides a large, easy to read 7-inch high-definition screen and 8GB of onboard storage for RV-related information.

“Members of the RVing community have been very enthusiastic about our TripMaker RVND 5510. That device designed just for them provides RV-specific routing, stops and amenities that RVers need while on the road, and things to see and do along the way,” said Dave Muscatel, CEO of Rand McNally. “The TripMaker RVND 7710 will further enhance the experience in large vehicles with its 7-inch high definition screen, provided at a competitive price.”

New features on the TripMaker RVND 7710 include: the ability to integrate typical traffic patterns along your route; add custom points of interest such as red-light cameras, special shopping areas, member campgrounds, or any other dataset in a .csv format; and fishing spots found in Rand McNally Editor’s Pick locations.

The navigation device includes RV-easy routing for eleven types of RVs, plus a setting for use in cars. The routing takes into consideration Rand McNally’s proprietary research on bridge height, vehicle length and propane restrictions, as well as turning radius considerations for different types of RVs.

RVers can plan their next stop, or an entire multi-stop trip, utilizing the more than 14 million points of interest – many of which are viewable by amenities available on the TripMaker RVND 7710.

Other Key features include:

• RV campgrounds, RV dealers and service, parking and rest areas including Walmart RV-friendly locations, and travel centers with detailed amenities such as dump stations, propane availability and more.

• Detailed exit information that includes retailers and amenities for upcoming exits.

• RVer Tools such as checklists for set up and take down, maintenance logs, trails back to your campsite, and quick mileage calculators.

• Pet-friendly locations including parks, animal hospitals, and beaches.

• Best of the Road three-to-four day adventures including interesting stops, videos and photos of the locations, maps and more to plan a memorable adventure. Includes the 2011 Best Small Towns in America finalists.

• Regional trips, scenic tours, weekend getaways, and city trips.

• 12,000 Rand McNally selected locations that will make any trip exciting and unique.

The TripMaker® RVND™ 7710, available in North America in October 2011, is fully operational in English, Canadian French, and Spanish. The suggested retail price is $399 plus applicable sales tax.

For more information, visit www.randmcnally.com/rvgps.

 

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Fleetwood Official RV for Rand McNally Rally

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Rand McNally will kick off its inaugural Best of the Road Rally today (June 23) at Liberty Park in Jersey City, N.J., with Fleetwood RV Inc. serving as the official RV for the event.

According to a press release, the rally will feature a cross-country search for the best small towns in America. Celebrating the great American road trip and the official start to summer, five teams of traveling duos will be handed the keys to a brand-new Saab equipped with Rand McNally’s RVND navigation device.

The teams will depart on a three-week adventure looking for the following categories: friendliest, most  beautiful, best for food, most patriotic and most fun towns in America. Each team will be assigned one category for review, which will be unveiled just prior to
departure.

Teams include:
Captain and Clark: Tawny Clark, 25, Bremerton, Wash., and Christopher Staudinger, 25, Pasco, Wash.; a couple who met at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro and dub themselves “modern cartographers,” documenting their travels on their popular blog.
Fun Finders: Jim Parr, 67, and Bonnie Parr, 65, from St. Petersburg, Fla.; a retired married couple who met in clown school and dedicated their lives to “clowning around” and helping others.
Gone With the Wynns: Jason Wynn, 29, and Nikki Wynn, 29, from Carrollton, Texas; a married couple who traded in their Dallas home for a life on the road in a fuel-efficient, sustainable RV.
McNavigators: Daniel Schaub, 36, and JoAnne Schaub, 35, from Cary, N.C.; a happily married couple for 14 years, the Schaubs met in Yellowstone National Park and found that a life on the road brought them together when they were drifting apart.
Traveling Jules and Traveling Jones: Juliana Broste, 28, and Joan Broste, 62, from   Littleton, Colorado; a mother and daughter who have both traveled extensively on their own, but the Best of the Road Rally will be the first time together.

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Rand McNally Launches First GPS For RVers

May 6, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Rand McNally's GPS for RVers

Rand McNally's GPS for RVers

After extensive research and beta testing in the RVing community, Rand McNally has released the TripMaker RVND 5510 – the first navigation device designed specifically for RVers.

“We’ve listened carefully to members of the RVing community, who told us overwhelmingly that they would be interested in purchasing a GPS if it provided RV-specific routing, stops and amenities that RVers need while on the road, and things to see and do along the way.  Our new TripMaker RVND line will solidly deliver on these expectations,” said Dave Muscatel, CEO of Rand McNally.

The TripMaker RVND features:

– RV-Easy Routing with a base of award-winning navigation from Rand McNally, the TripMaker RVND 5510 layers on all the information needed to have an enjoyable and safe trip in an RV.  The routing includes legal (including propane and other RV-only), height and weight restrictions, right- or left-turn preference based on 11 different RV types, and a quick reference to the Rand McNally Road Atlas. Turn-by-turn spoken and text directions keep the driver focused on the road ahead.

– The TripMaker RVND features more than 14 million points of interest – including festivals, and national, state, and regional parks.  Other key information includes:
•    RV campgrounds, RV dealers and service, parking and rest areas, travel centers with detailed amenities such as dump stations, propane availability and more.
•    Detailed exit information and available amenities on upcoming interstate exits.
•    RVer Tools such as checklists for set up and take down, maintenance logs, trails back to your campsite, and quick mileage calculators.
•    Pet-friendly locations including parks, animal hospitals, and beaches.

In addition to routing and tools critical to RVers, the TripMaker RVND features Rand McNally Editor’s Pick Content – proprietary data provided by our editorial staff with video and photos.  The content includes:
•    Best of the Road – three-to-four day adventures including unique stops, photos of the locations, maps and more to plan a memorable adventure.
•    Regional Trips, Scenic Tours, Weekend Getaways, and City Trips.
•    12,000 researched locations that will make any trip exciting and unique.

The Rand McNally Best of the Road program is also being featured this month in a promotion with USA TODAY (for more information, visit www.BestOfTheRoad.com), and in the recently released 2012 Road Atlas.

The TripMaker RVND 5510, available in North America in June, is fully operational in English, Canadian French and Spanish.

For more information, visit www.randmcnally.com/rvgps.

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