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  1. #1
    jatraveler Guest

    Default GPS car navigation system needed ??

    Will be traveling from CA to New York and back to CA thru Canada next year. Does anyone have a opinion on a portable GPS system ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    They're verry cool but they don't replace maps.

    They often do not give you the best directions from place to place. My GPS is not sophisticated enough to give me maps (I use it for hiking and geocaching) but I know plenty of geocachers that have the ones with downloadable maps for roadtrips. I have heard repeated stories about how it gets you to your destination but often via very round-about ways.

    Also, I have heard tales of folks who plug in directions from one place to another where they already know the best route. Again, it gets you there but via some strange ways that aren't usually the quickest or easiest way.

    Of course, maps can sometimes mess you up on those things, too, can't they?

    My take is this: if you want one and like to play with gadgets, get one. They're fun and can be useful tools. But I would still take maps along.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy
    They're verry cool but they don't replace maps.
    I beg to differ. I haven't looked at the atlas I carry in my car (which I still have just in case my GPS goes kaput) since I bought my Garmin StreetPilot III four years ago.

    They often do not give you the best directions from place to place. My GPS is not sophisticated enough to give me maps (I use it for hiking and geocaching) but I know plenty of geocachers that have the ones with downloadable maps for roadtrips.
    I think that may be a part of the issue--before you buy a GPS, you should consider very carefully what you are going to be using it for. Mine is great for driving, but would be near-useless if I wanted to hike or boat with it. I'm not surprised that the ones that are designed for hiking purposes are poor for driving directions.

    Also, I have heard tales of folks who plug in directions from one place to another where they already know the best route. Again, it gets you there but via some strange ways that aren't usually the quickest or easiest way.
    I've had cases where my GPS receiver picked a different way than I would have chosen, but when it does the two routes are nearly equal in driving time.

    My take is this: if you want one and like to play with gadgets, get one. They're fun and can be useful tools. But I would still take maps along.
    As someone who does most of his roadtripping solo, I would find it very very hard to go back to paper maps--being able to glance at a screen and see where you are and where you're going, and having it speak and tell you how far it is to your next turn, and what direction to turn and so forth is about a thousand times easier than trying to read paper maps while driving. If you usually have a companion with you who can navigate, paper maps might be reasonable then.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Different Strokes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck C
    I beg to differ. I haven't looked at the atlas I carry in my car (which I still have just in case my GPS goes kaput) since I bought my Garmin StreetPilot III four years ago.
    Chuck,
    I am little like Judy in that I love to look at paper maps. Paper maps have the advantage of the map-maker's personality and one can find things on them that I have never seen on electronic versions. Which isn't to say that I don't have ample electronic gizmos in my road trip vehicles. I purchased the one of the first GPS units that was ever produced for consumers -- it is still operating and fully-functional -- albeit slighty larger than the nifty ones available today.

    In the western states, I always use the Benchmark maps and as I write this memo, I can easily reach the nearly 100 paper maps that I use more-or-less every day working for RTA.
    As someone who does most of his roadtripping solo, I would find it very very hard to go back to paper maps--being able to glance at a screen and see where you are and where you're going, and having it speak and tell you how far it is to your next turn, and what direction to turn and so forth is about a thousand times easier than trying to read paper maps while driving. If you usually have a companion with you who can navigate, paper maps might be reasonable then.
    I do about 50/50 solo/companion traveling and I think I would miss-out on all of those "wrong" turns if I were listening to an electronic voice-generated routing system.

    But it is always great to hear your "take" on this evolving technology.

    mark

  5. #5
    jatraveler Guest

    Default

    Thanks for the info. We will probably use a GPS and road maps for our trip. Since I am a member of CSAA, I will take advantage of their Triptik service also

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default

    I think that may be a part of the issue--before you buy a GPS, you should consider very carefully what you are going to be using it for. Mine is great for driving, but would be near-useless if I wanted to hike or boat with it. I'm not surprised that the ones that are designed for hiking purposes are poor for driving directions.
    The ones that most of my friends use for geocaching are actually the type that are designed for roadtrips with downloadable road maps. These type work for both purposes. A few of them also have permanent GPS systems that came installed in their vehicles. A friend in Seattle gets very frustrated with her system when it comes to going from point-to-point in Seattle because it takes her via ways that have horrid traffic patterns, etc. It doesn't work well there at all. She said that when she used it in Vancouver BC driving from a friend's house there to a restaurant, the friend said that the directions were garbage and not the best way. A friend and I got lost in Sante Fe depending on his PDA-style GPS (Ipaq? or something like that).

    Of course, maybe you have a better system or are just more adept at using it? Not all GPS's are alike. I'm glad you've had such good luck with your's. I just hear from many folks that they have had mixed experiences depending on it. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that the experiences of numerous folks I know is not as positive as your's. They all think it's a good tool and use their GPS a lot but still have maps as back-ups and use them fairly regularly as well. Different strokes, maybe?

    And, like Mark said, most GPS screens that I've seen lack the detail of pointing out things like parks, etc. to stop at like you can see on a map. And you aren't as well able to just look at a map and see what's in all directions to determine just where you want to go next. However, if you're driving strictly point-to-point and not planning on that type of exploring, maybe a paper map isn't needed?

    I know I'd sure like to get a GPS with downloadable roadmaps someday just so I can play with it. It does sound like a fun gadget.
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 08-05-2005 at 01:58 AM. Reason: fix typos

  7. #7

    Default

    Not meant to bring up an old post, but I'm looking to get a GPS unit when I travel around Nevada and would like to input some points and maybe have a memory feature that records my route, which would be best? I've looked at a couple of the garmin units and they seem to be pretty good but what do you guys think? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  8. Default Personal experience...

    Before I give my experience, what do you want to do with it? If you're looking for an in-car navigation system you'll want something with a reasonably sized screen and possibly the voice feature that says "Turn left here!".

    I have Garmin eTrex Legend, which is a small handheld device. I use it for both camping and in the car, and wanted the small size for light weight while camping. I do use it roadtripping, but the small screen makes it necessary for the passenger/ navigator to read the screen, although once it's set for a waypoint it produces a fairly sizable arrow pointing to the waypoint and a distance estimate.

    I use it with mapping software to log my trips -- it records a waypoint about every 100 meters or so and I download the way points to my computer to get a record of where I've been. The mapping software in the handheld GPS is pretty good -- shows local streets down to the major street level, and includes some information beyond that.

    A couple of comments -- you'll want to some accessories with the GPS, so plan for them. You'll want a vehicle power cord, else you'll be burning through batteries (mine last about 18 hours of continuous use). You'll also want to get something to mount the GPS unit on the dash or thereabouts -- GPS needs a clear view of the sky. I use a clip-on cell phone holder which clips on one of the air conditioning vents in the middle of my dashboard (about $20 from Radioshack). You may want to get a case for the GPS (for hiking).

    If possible, get one of the GPS units with a USB connection -- mine is an older one with a proprietary attach cord going to a slow serial port. Loading down several days of waypoints can take an hour...

    Also, you need to remember to turn the unit on. Mine won't turn on if it sees external power, so I have to remember to reach over to the unit when I start up the car after stopping and turn it on to log the route.

    But all in all, its a really cool toy.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default We published an article about that....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeebs View Post
    I'm looking to get a GPS unit when I travel around Nevada and would like to input some points and maybe have a memory feature that records my route, which would be best?
    Here is an article that addresses some of those questions.

    Mark

  10. #10

    Default TPS in US?

    Since the cost for renting a GPS from a car rental company seems to be very high (aprox $10/day, and no discount for long periods) I have start to think about buying one instead.

    Some of the more advanced GPS navigation systems is also equipped with TPS-RDS. Is that something useful is US, or is just Europe using it?

    The alternative for a separate GPS, is to use my laptop. I will need it for storing photos, sending mail and so. But it´s big, and my wife says she don´t want it to be in her knee for six weeks. So, the money I save will be used for a 5"-screen somewhere in the front, connected to the computer from the backseat. I guess that will be a real backseat driver when the voice from there always says "When possible, make a U-turn" :-)

    I have checked Tomtom GO 910 with both European and North American maps. The price is about $550. Has anyone some experience from that?

    Bernt Bergkvist
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Last edited by berrafromsweden; 02-11-2007 at 08:10 AM. Reason: corrected wrong tomtom-model

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