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Old 02-05-2012, 02:35 AM   #1
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Default GPS

Five years ago, or so, I would have simply checked to see if the stereo system in the Chevy or Sprinter had an option of an in-dash factory GPS system. Now I'm not so sure. I can see advantages to the TomTom, Garmin, or Magellin add ins, offering more features at less overall cost.

I'm a bit concerned however, since local police blotter entries hold a rather high number of breakins where the GPS system appears to have been the primary target.

For that matter, I could buy a dash mount and use my cell phone.

Any experience you would like to convey?
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Old 02-05-2012, 02:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: GPS

We use a laptop with gps adapter, and Streets and Trips. We tried regular gps units and such, but they were very hard to program the routes we wanted (not the ones the gps wanted). With Streets and Trips, you can program your route, easily, just like with Google maps, and when you use the laptop as the gps, it will follow the route exactly. If you wander off for a while, it picks up as soon as you are back on route, and will guide you back if you want. The regular gps units we had needed all kinds of extra waypoints, and if you missed one, they would not continue navigating until you went back to get the waypoint visited, or stopped and either cancelled, or marked it visited. We really like all the info you get from the big screen of the 14' laptop.
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: GPS

I'll probably get a new Garmin this year.
You can use a laptop or a smartphone etc. but I still like a portable standalone GPS unit.

Put the portable GPS and its holder away if you are worried about theft. Out of sight, out of mind........ GPS units seem to cost less every month that goes by so they are probably not as attractive to thieves as they use to be. Some are less than $100.

Garmin MapSource software for your computer lets you build and load custom routes. It used to be free and included with their better GPS units. I hope it still is.
http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/cache/ ... /mapsource

Some units now have voice recognition which allows you to operate the unit hands free. That could be handy as many places have "driver distraction" laws with penalties that in operating a GPS.
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Old 02-05-2012, 06:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: GPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
I'll probably get a new Garmin this year.
You can use a laptop or a smartphone etc. but I still like a portable standalone GPS unit.

Put the portable GPS and its holder away if you are worried about theft. Out of sight, out of mind........ GPS units seem to cost less every month that goes by so they are probably not as attractive to thieves as they use to be. Some are less than $100.

Garmin MapSource software for your computer lets you build and load custom routes. It used to be free and included with their better GPS units. I hope it still is.
http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/cache/ ... /mapsource

Some units now have voice recognition which allows you to operate the unit hands free. That could be handy as many places have "driver distraction" laws with penalties that in operating a GPS.

I wish I remembered all the details of the Garmin, as we looked at it a bunch when we were experimenting. As I remember, the Mapsource freebie is not around any more. The other thing that I read was that when you use Mapsource, it just imports your waypoints to the gps from the computer, and actual route you programmed in between may get lost, as the unit will calculate its own route between the waypoints. We had this issue with the TomTom and Tyre program, but maybe the Garmin is better because of the same manufacturer.

As was mentioned earlier, the thing that irritated us so much, besides the way it would change routes, was that if you missed a waypoint (and you could if there was even a tiny roadwork detour) for the MANY waypoints you had to put in, it would not ignore that point once you were back on route, so you had to delete it, which was a real pain. On the Streets and Trips (and also Delorme, I think), you just drag and drop the route, and all the data is used, no waypoints needed, and even if you put a stop (same as a waypoint), if you miss it either intentionally, or accidently, it will protest for a minute or two, and then ignore it.
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Old 02-05-2012, 06:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: GPS

You can buy in dash GPS systems or even order them new with your B. Great West Vans offers the Alpine system as an option. I have always thought they were rather expensive and too many times manufacturers linked them in with packages that included other things like sun roofs, etc. So I never bit on them. However, I am a little bit familiar with them as my daughter has one in her Toyota. I think they are great in metro areas compared to Garmin Nuvi, but once on the open road where we do most of our driving they seem to be a bit of overkill.

We've owned two Garmin Nuvi's. The voice commands enable you to drive without looking at them. As long as you have a passenger partner they work great. They are too complicated to try to use them as the driver.

This coming year we are going to try out a TomTom iPhone app. It is basically the same as the standalone unit TomTom has. You don't need a cellular service or connection to use the GPS apps like the Tom Tom I mentioned on an iPad or an iPhone. So, if you have an iPhone already for numerous other reasons, adding a GPS app to it is cheaper than buying a standalone unit. You can use the TomTom on an iPad with the giant 10" screen without need to subscribe to a 3G service. The problem is right now GPS enabled service comes only with the 3G model iPads.

This is the Tom Tom GPS app I bought: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tomtom-u ... 75661?mt=8

Here are some other GPS apps similar to Tom Tom that I don't have that you may be interested in.

Navigon: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/navigon- ... 06742?mt=8

Garmin: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/garmin-s ... 62555?mt=8

Magellan: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/magellan ... 45236?mt=8

Here is an interesting free GPS app but requires a 3G service connection so probably would not be as good in non-cellular rural areas for Class B RVs:

Waze: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/waze-gps ... 29106?mt=8

The reference apps I use that need a wifi or 3G connection to view the underlying Google Map are these:

This is the Allstays Camp & RV app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/camp-rv- ... 20516?mt=8

This is the RVParking.com app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rv-parks ... 37320?mt=8

This is the Camp Where app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/campwher ... ?l=es&mt=8

This is the Woodall's app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/woodalls ... 68562?mt=8

You can go to the developer's websites from these references. I haven't bothered to check but there should be Android versions as well.
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:40 AM   #6
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Default Re: GPS

Thanks for the great GPS info. I had pretty much decided not to go with a factory in-dash unit, because of the cost and quick obsolescence. We have one in one of our vehicles. They want $350 up upgrade the map each year, or it shows me driving through nowhere. The nav software on our cell phones stays in touch and seems to handle the basic needs. I'll have to check out the Garmin, Tom Tom, and Magellin units.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: GPS

On the open road the inexpensive Garmin and Tom Tom units are more than adequate for our needs. Where the built in dash units excel is in the city with the larger screen 2D view that lets you see a city map and all the streets easier. The Tom Tom app on the iPhone/iPad does have a 2D mode. I am anxious to see how it will work on an iPad but I have to wait until the new iPad 3 comes out to get the GPS enabled model. The rumor is next month. My Garmin Nuvi doesn't seem to have as good of a 2D mode as my Tom Tom iPhone/iPad app. I don't know how a Garmin app compares and I don't know much about Navigon since they don't seem to market standalone units.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: GPS

One of the little factors that makes so much difference when exploring new territory is to tell me, far enough in advance, that my upcoming highway entrance will be to the right or two the left. I shall have to look closely when evaluating.
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: GPS

I've got a voice recognition Garmin nuvi 855 (obsolete, but still fully functional 2 years out).

I use some free POI files from a website called POI-Factory which is free to join, for stuff I might
want to find in a given area, but they're published as is, so they aren't always as precise as the
same poi locations built in to most base GPS unit maps. I use the user created POI files to find things
that aren't yet included in the base maps, like new Starbucks locations, public and commercial
campgrounds, truck stops, Walmarts, and so on. Most of those files are pretty accurate, but I've
had to tweak my copy of one or two to make them more accurate. I usually send poi "miss" info
to the file authors and I've learned quite a bit about the subject of POI files having created a POI
file for Roadtrek Dealers and Service locations last year - with the assistance of Roadtrek service
staff. It's available on here for free, as a download as a .csv file (it may actually be in the Open Office
equivalent format, as I do like free software ) should you own a Roadtrek and a Garmin.

Garmin uses Navteq base maps and they're pretty good. All Garmin software updates are free
downloads and installations. Map updates either have to included in the purchase price or purchased after the fact as an add on when your original base map starts to get out of date.

I only tried using an imported list of waypoints once (created a list of State Capitols for a trip 18
months ago) and haven't bothered since. For the reasons Booster cited. Not really much use, after
realizing that we could make our own variances and side trip decisions on an ad hoc basis. We really
only need/use the Garmin to tell us (and with visual lane assists where applicable) where to be, in
which lane, with enough warning prior to the next course maneuver. We handle the local navigation
ourselves by visual recognition, "ooooh, that looks interesting, let's go there".

If the nuvi model name has L = lifetime, M =map updates, T = traffic updates, W = wide screen
(usually only 4.3" diagonal? and not always used). So a 1490LMT would come with lifetime map and
live traffic updates (where available). Or, you can add lifetime map updates for a one time fee of
US$89. I did recently.

If the unit has "voice recognition" (you speak to it, it speaks to you) it will be mentioned
in the features description. It does help get you around the "distracted driving" laws, although
it takes some getting used to.
I also believe, although I haven't used it for a while, that the Mapsource software and functions are
included in the package when you register your unit. At least one free download, maybe?

Theft: see Markopolo's suggestion. Hide it when leaving the vehicle. I have a weighted base that
stores easily under a seat. Or I just pop the unit into my waist pack and take it with me.

If I ever get a smartphone or tablet, I may switch to a GPS app, but as long as the Garmin still
works, it's the main navigator for our open road travels.
Good luck.
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