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Old 04-18-2013, 01:41 AM   #1
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GPS What Do You Recommend

I searched the Forum and can't find much on GPS recommendations, so I am wondering what your experiences have been. I have seen posts on Tom Tom, Garmin and Magellan but most of these were from 2007. What is the latest on these and what are the best features of each?
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:22 AM   #2
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I searched the Forum and can't find much on GPS recommendations, so I am wondering what your experiences have been. I have seen posts on Tom Tom, Garmin and Magellan but most of these were from 2007. What is the latest on these and what are the best features of each?
All of those come preloaded with maps/support but when your "year" runs out, you have to download new maps and support for $$$. I have had TomTom and Garmin and felt like I was getting ripped off. Finally got a smartphone and download apps for free or $1-$3 total, even live traffic alerts. Same apps will go on tablets.

If you want GPS locator, get a Spot locator with emergency email option. You can see yourself on maps and so can those folks you want to see your progress.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:33 AM   #3
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I got a Garmin 450LM recently. Some models come with free lifetime map updates. I had an earlier GPS which ran on my laptop. The new Garmin functions much better and is fairly easy to operate, when standing still. It is not recommended that you make entries while driving. If you have a computer knowledgeable copilot, then you could search for roadside services or attractions while on toute. It still does not pick the optimal route for traveling with a trailer. It is good to locate intown addresses, when you do not have a map. It does not completely eliminate the need for maps.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:45 AM   #4
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I got a Garmin 450LM recently. Some models come with free lifetime map updates. I had an earlier GPS which ran on my laptop. The new Garmin functions much better and is fairly easy to operate, when standing still. It is not recommended that you make entries while driving. If you have a computer knowledgeable copilot, then you could search for roadside services or attractions while on toute. It still does not pick the optimal route for traveling with a trailer. It is good to locate intown addresses, when you do not have a map. It does not completely eliminate the need for maps.
Good advice, dwightdi, I didn't know they came with lifetime updates now. They must have gotten alot of pushback on those downloads which I recalled were pricey. And you're right, big flaw is lack of route selection options. My map apps on smartphone do allow that. And another good feature of the newer apps is the turn by turn voice directions which I find very helpful for solo navigation. And I too still have my paper maps when all else fails!! :-) Hope all this helps!!
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:00 AM   #5
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I searched the Forum and can't find much on GPS recommendations, so I am wondering what your experiences have been. I have seen posts on Tom Tom, Garmin and Magellan but most of these were from 2007. What is the latest on these and what are the best features of each?
I recommend avoiding Magellan. Their units are good enough, I guess, but their customer service department sucks hard. Their answer to every problem is "Send it to us FedEx, at your own expense, and we'll send you a new one." Except they send you a remanufactured one. And that remanufactured one naturally will not have any of the waypoints you've previously entered, or any of the map updates you've already downloaded, so you've got to do everything all over again.

The problem I had that required customer service was that a particular map and firmware update caused the unit to lock up and become unusable. When I received the replacement unit, I had to do the download again, and it locked up the replacement unit as well. After the second repetition, I finally got so disgusted with them that I smashed mine with a hammer, and went out to buy a Garmin. Never had a problem with Garmin.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:17 AM   #6
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LOL!! I can relate. I like my smartphone. With a backup tablet. Haven't had a problem in 18 months and the apps are free or a couple of dollars. And it's one less piece of equipment to purchase and carry.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:30 AM   #7
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I have a Garmin 2555LMT. It took me a while to figure out most of the amenities. But I come from the last century.
The Garmin uses GOOGLE maps as far as I know. So it is only as accurate as Google.
It has a limited number of options for route selection. Usually to do with the shortest, fastest or most economical route.
If you live in a rural area like we do. It doesn't know exactly where we live. Because Google does not know either. We just pick the closest town to us and it works OK.
I recently programmed it for our 4,000 mile trip to Canada and back. Since it only looks for the options above. I picked the roads for the route we will be taking, by selecting the towns and cities on my preferred route. We try to travel between 300 and 400 miles a day and off of the beaten path, no interstates if we can avoid it.
I would not rely on any GPS totally. And will also carry paper maps. And even printed maps are not 100% accurate. Most state maps do not show all of the roads, especially in the western states.
There was a piece on 60 minutes a while back about a woman using her GPS. She almost died in the desert because the GPS took the shortest route home. It led her across back country roads. Some are no longer in existence because of outdated maps that were used.
You need to have a relatively good idea of where you are going, so something like this won't get you in trouble.
I do find the voice command to be helpful when approaching interchanges and so on.
Was it worth the $$$. I'm not sure yet. We have only travelled about 700 miles so far using the Garmin.
I am somewhat of a gadget freak even though I am a dinosaur. This kind of device fascinates me.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:40 AM   #8
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The Garmin uses GOOGLE maps as far as I know. So it is only as accurate as Google.

I do find the voice command bit be helpful when approaching interchanges and so on.
Not sure Garmin uses Google maps. I think they have their own proprietary ones, because I've found differences between Google maps on my tablet computer and the maps on my Garmin.

It is important to download map updates when they're available (usually quarterly for portable models, annually for built-into-the-dashboard ones), but even if your maps are completely up-to-date, your GPS might try to route you the wrong way down a one-way street, or tell you to turn left where there's no left turn, so there's no substitute for paying attention to where you're going.

As a solo traveler, the voice command is indispensible for me, since I don't have anyone riding shotgun to look at a paper map. Fortunately, when I have a better idea where I'm going than does the GPS and I only have it on to remind me of upcoming turns, it doesn't talk back when I ignore it, just recalculates the route like a good little slave and tries again. Don't think I could ever find a real live navigator who would be so accommodating.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:15 AM   #9
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I have garmin 1350 as my son an over the road truck driver also has this model. the other drivers for the co. that he drives for also have this model, replaced there other brands with this model. Lifetime map updates, less money than other models still has all bells & whistles, other friends I recmd. to also pur. this model all very happy
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:21 AM   #10
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I would NEVER rely 100% on any GPS. I do use one and trust it ( mostly). Several years ago we were traveling with 30' AS in Colorado. We were going to a campground in Lake City and had been there before so we knew the route to travel. While there I was talking with the owner of the CG and he told me that he gets calls all the time from travelers following GPS and coming from the Ouray \ Silverton area inquiring about following their GPS. He directs them to take the LONG way around and to stay on the blacktop. The GPS wants to take them through the mountains on the jeep trails. They are shown as numbered roads and the GPS picks them up. Now this would be a disaster if followed by a unit in tow or a motor home. So the 30 mi GPS shortcut becomes the 150 mi long way around.

Bottom line, they are good and I use my Tom-Tom regularly but I research my route ahead of time and always, always have my paper maps to refer to.

That's my story and I'm stickin to it. See ya on the road sometime.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:29 AM   #11
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Check out the Rand McNally GPS designed for RV's. You can set it to avoid dirt roads, tunnels, ferries, U-turns, etc. And it comes loaded with camp grounds and dump stations.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:48 AM   #12
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I have the new Rand McNally unit that is supposedly RV friendly. The truck has a built in GPS which is a pain at times to use. I also have the Garmin nuvi 3590LM that I take when I travel for rental car use. My motorcycles have Garmin GPS units as well. I use a TomTom in the UK. I prefer the Garmin for it's consistent operating system andn the map planning software on the Mac. The Garmin units have been consistently reliable.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:49 AM   #13
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About 3 weeks ago I just bought our first GPS since I saw a deal on a refurbished model. It is a Magellan 1700LM. This is a basic GPS, no real bells and whistles but the screen is 4 x 7, it has a wireless camera option and lifetime maps.
I have about $190 into the GPS and wireless Camera.
I'm still getting used to the GPS unit but seems pretty good so far. The battery life isn't much so it must be hooked up to power if in use.
The wireless camera is mediocre at best. There is a small lag time when you put the vehicle in reverse, it is black and white, works best in the bright daylight and it is about worthless after dark. I think one of the problems is that it is mounted on the truck license plate which is directly behind the hitch so the camera seems to be confused on where it should focus and that makes the picture blurry. I will probably upgrade the camera some day and maybe mounting the camera up higher.
Even with all the drawbacks I was still able to hook up to various utility trailers and the Hensley on the Airstream without any help or getting in and out of the truck several times.
A better camera location would help out. I have used a truck that has a factory camera next to the tailgate handle and it was much, much better for seeing the truck and trailer hitch.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:49 AM   #14
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LOL!! I can relate. I like my smartphone. With a backup tablet. Haven't had a problem in 18 months and the apps are free or a couple of dollars. And it's one less piece of equipment to purchase and carry.
Yup,we tossed the Garmin and use an Iphone with Bluetooth and Siri. With voice command no need to look at a screen and you can ask about traffic conditions, best fuel prices, rest stops, local attractions, campgrounds and make reservations, tell people where you are, make phone calls, connect to the internet, and Siri will read aloud your text messages.
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