Error in GPS Map Data Prompts Garmin Product Safety Recall

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Blindly following GPS map indications can turn out to be dangerous: For safety reasons, device maker Garmin has recalled maps that gave incorrect information to some of its users.

The 2009 version of Garmin's BlueChart g2 and g2 Vision data cards provides inaccurate indications of the depth of the water off the coast of Sweden and Denmark, according to reports first received by Garmin during the last week of May.

The same issues may affect maps of other regions, so the company has decided to do a worldwide recall of the products, it said. It has also stopped selling CD-ROMs containing the same data, according to its Web site.

The problem was caused by a change in the algorithm that decides how to display depth information, according to Anthony Chmarny, spokesman at Garmin in Europe. The company had to respond quickly to the problem because the boating season has started, he said.

The faulty algorithm creates a risk of boats going aground, which could result in damage to the boat, or personal injury, Garmin said. It has received two unverified reports from local authorities of boaters running aground in the Stockholm archipelago, but does not believe any serious injuries have resulted from these incidents, Chmarny said.

The affected data cards were sold between April 8 and June 3, 2009. When the maps have been corrected customers will be provided with a free upgrade. Garmin isn't ready to commit to a date when the changes will be done, Chmarny said.

In the meantime, boaters will have to make do with a previous version of BlueChart without the faulty algorithm used in the 2009 version. Updates to the 2008.5 version will be available until Dec. 31, according to the company's Web site.

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