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Polaris XTR GPS

October 17, 2014
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It’s no secret Polaris is trying to take over the off-road world and then some. But did you know they sell a product that can literally view the entire planet on a 5-inch screen? The Polaris XTR GPS unit by Lowrance was developed exclusively for use in the RZR XP 1000, but it can be used with any Polaris or other brand product. The tie to the RZR XP 1000 is in the mounting system. The unit is designed to fit in the little cell-phone storage cubby found in the center of the XP1K dash. To mount the GPS to other machines, we have used a Ram mount system that basically installs using one small U-bolt. On other RZRs, clamping it to the passenger grabber is a great spot. Polaris does have a $149 mount that will fit other RZRs, placing the GPS right above the speedometer.

Installation is very quick. All you need to do is connect a red and black wire to the battery. There is a built-in antenna, so there are no extra wires to route or holes to drill in your roof. We did drill a 1-inch round hole in the bodywork just below the passenger grab handle to route the power wire through when we mounted it to the grab handle.

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XTR
This model is considered a chart plotter. It shows big maps with terrain variations, elevations, bodies of water, roads and so on. You can add actual satellite footage of certain areas by purchasing the extra $200 “terrain chip,” called the Topo Insight, for your particular portion of the country. There are seven total chips covering the continental U.S. Using that you can see detailed maps that include vegetation, rocks and so on. The zoom-in view stops similar to how Google Earth works; you’re not going to be able to spot a dollar bill on the trail.

What you can do and what our primary use for this unit is for viewing a particular trail or racecourse and marking hazards along the route. That way, when we race our RZR XP 1000, the navigator can tell the driver not only when a sharp turn is coming up, he can see a particular marking, letting us know an obstacle may be in the way too.

To view the racecourse on the GPS unit, the promoter will make available a digital file that you download onto an SD memory card. Then you slip the memory card into the GPS and drag the file onto the unit. When you call up that file, it will lay the racecourse over the default map that is preprogrammed into the XTR GPS.

What we do for racing purposes is pre-run the racecourse, and when we see an obstacle or danger spot, we mark it with a variety of icons, including stop signs, green lights, hazard signs, etc. The same feature could be used in a non-racing situation to mark a secret trail, a shortcut or a point of interest on a route that you normally take. You can even save and share that information over e-mail to other users of similar GPS units.

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It takes a little time to figure out all the layers the Polaris XTR GPS unit has, but once you do, it can do wonders for you. A feature we didn’t expect this unit to have is the ability to monitor engine temperature, speed, battery voltage and fuel levels with some extra sensors. Not only can that information be viewed while you are moving, it’s possible with even more equipment that you can send that info via satellite to your crew members in the pits or to someone back home watching on a computer.

It looks as though the days of GPS units and computer trackers are here to stay, at least in the racing world. Using the Polaris XTR GPS unit, we found advantages to them in the civilian world as well. Stop by your local Polaris dealer to get the XTR GPS before your next off-the-map adventure.

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