Magellan GPS

The device before we disassembled it. 

GPS Split Apart

The device after we got the back cover off. 

Welcome! This project is for University of Mary Washington's Digital Studies 101 class. To further our understanding of where are electronic devices come from, we murdered disassembled an old Magellan GPS my parents insisted on hoarding from 2010. The Magellan Roadmate is a relic from a very brief window of time, between the decline of services like MapQuest and the rise of the technological abilities of smartphones. Because handheld GPSs were only used for a short period of time, it was difficult to find extensive information about their manufacturing and distribution.

This website is the compilation of the information we could find. We separated the GPS into roughly seven parts and tracked down, with varying degrees of success, where they were manufactured. We know that Magellan's parent company, MiTAC Digital Corporation, is headquartered in Taiwan. We know that many of these parts were manufactured in a nearby factory. But, there's a lot we don't know: the circuit board in particular proved difficult to track down, as did the plastic casing. If anything, this project made an important point, that we as a society really don't know -- nor do electronic companies particularly care for us to know -- where our devices come from. 


Kate, Sarah, AJ, and Reannon

Device Completely Disassembled

The device after we took it apart completely. 

Taking the Device Apart

Sarah and Kate hard at work disassembling the GPS.

The Group Taking Apart the GPS

The group on disassembly day! This video shows the moment we finally got the back cover off.