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GPS Buying Guides

Modern Portable Aviation GPS units come with a wide array of sophisticated features. It is important to spend some time examining which features are useful to you and the type of flying you do, so that you buy what you need, and don’t spend money for features you’ll never use. Let’s examine the more prominent features.

How You Will Use It

Just a few years ago, finding color screens with great resolution, touch-screen capabilities, or the ability to use your Aviation GPS in your car with street maps was unheard of! Now those features are readily available in a number of models. Below, you will find a variety of features to consider as you prepare to purchase an Aviation GPS.

XM Weather Radio

Using Satellite radio technology you can get near-real-time weather updates on your GPS. Graphically displaying weather information on the Moving-Map page of your GPS can make all the difference to the safety of your flight. This can be tremendously helpful, especially on long cross-country flights where weather conditions have time to develop and change significantly from when your flight started. Having this feature will add some cost to the price of the GPS unit, and you will need a monthly subscription service that will vary in price depending on the features you want. Marv Golden gives you the ability to search for XM Weather-capable GPSs here.

Terrain Awareness

Many new GPS units come with the ability to warn you of the possibility of a collision with terrain. The Moving-Map will be shaded yellow or red in areas of terrain you are either in close proximity to, or are going to collide with unless you climb or alter course. Some units expand on this ability to give you alerts relative to airspace as well. These features are especially useful in poor visibility conditions, like night flying over mountainous terrain, or congested airspace areas. You can search for GPSs that offer Terrain Awareness here.

Taxi Diagrams and Airport Directories

All the units that Marv Golden sells come loaded with detailed information on over 850 US airports. These features make thumbing though your A/FD for diagrams and frequencies a thing of the past. Some units feature Taxi Diagrams that will display your position on the airport diagram making it much easier to see upcoming taxiways and runways. This makes taxiing at an unfamiliar airport stress-free. You guessed it – has the ability for you to search for GPSs that offer Taxi Diagrams.

Display / Screen

Another big consideration is user interface. A recent trend has been to utilize touch-screen controls instead of knobs and buttons. This is becoming very popular, but if you don’t like using touch-screen devices, or you wear gloves while flying, a traditional button interface may be better for you.

Screen size and Resolution are other important considerations. If you are going to use your GPS on a yoke mount, be careful how large you go. A big screen may cover your DG and make the yoke unpleasantly heavy to manipulate. If, however, you have a panel mount you can take advantage of the ease of view with a larger screen without the side-effects. Screen Resolution is important for enabling you to zoom-in and still have adequate screen detail. Higher-resolution screens will generally cost more and it will be up to you to determine whether it is worth the extra investment.

Auto Features

There are numerous automotive features that are available for Aviation GPSs today. These include pre-loaded street maps, audible turn-by-turn directions, and Bluetooth capabilities. These features can be very handy if you rent a car at your destination and aren’t familiar with the area! Click to search for GPS units that are Auto-Ready.

International Databases

If you wish to buy a GPS for use outside of the United States, there are a number of options. Some GPS units offer their models with aviation databases that are designed for use in various areas of the world. Some of these also offer automotive databases configured for those same areas. Click to search for GPS units that offer Non-U.S. versions.


There are a number of very useful accessories for Portable Aviation GPSs. Some of these are made by the GPS Manufacturer and some by reputable after-market companies. GPS accessories include extra Batteries, Yoke Mounts, Suction Mounts, Glare Shields, installable Panel Docks and more! has arranged these conveniently within the respective GPS areas and in a separate GPS Accessories area. We have also enabled you to sort by which accessories fit which GPS units. Be sure to explore the “Shopping Options” at the right side of each category page!

Enjoy Shopping

Marv Golden Pilot Supplies carries a wide variety of GPS units - take some time to weigh the options and find the features that work best for your needs and budget. If you do, you will enjoy a piece of equipment that makes your flying simpler and safer.

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