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Old 07-26-2012, 08:11 AM   #1
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1995 34' Excella
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Another GPS thread

At the risk of opening a big can of worms, I need up to date info on the GPS market. It is time for the “Silver Star” to take to the open roads. I have read many horror stories about how each manufacturer’s equipment has taken someone into an impossible situation.
I would like to know which manufacturer and model is best suited to use on my 1995 Excella 1000 (34’). Putting aside bias for “the one I bought”, which one will keep me out of trouble.
Paul Ploussard
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:48 AM   #2
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I don't think any GPS is fool proof. I still use paper maps in my planning and then rely on the GPS to help while driving. They all have some info that is not up to date or incorrect, but have found them very helpful for getting me to where I want to go where detailed paper maps might not help. I have used Garmin and now use the Rand McNally Tripmaker.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo
I don't think any GPS is fool proof. I still use paper maps in my planning and then rely on the GPS to help while driving. They all have some info that is not up to date or incorrect, but have found them very helpful for getting me to where I want to go where detailed paper maps might not help. I have used Garmin and now use the Rand McNally Tripmaker.
Ditto. Most any major brand should suffice and perform well. The problems are in out dated maps (which most are to varying degrees) and user dependence on the GPS. There are also some geographical idiosyncrasies that sometimes aren't correctly plotted with GPS. My problems occur when I depend on the GPS and I don't stay cognizant of my travel direction, or surroundings.

Think of it this way. If I input 2+2 in a calculator I expect an answer of 4. If I don't pay attention and get 4.2 as an answer then I received incorrect info and should investigate further. The same can be said of GPS dependency. Knowing your general route in advance will help you in determining when something doesn't seem correct. The key is in relying on the GPS rather than being dependent upon it.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin245 View Post
Think of it this way. If I input 2+2 in a calculator I expect an answer of 4. If I don't pay attention and get 4.2 as an answer then I received incorrect info and should investigate further. The same can be said of GPS dependency. Knowing your general route in advance will help you in determining when something doesn't seem correct. The key is in relying on the GPS rather than being dependent upon it.
Well said. I've had a couple instances where our GPS was giving me directions that I knew were odd, but because I was not blindly following it without thinking, there was no problem. I don't take a trip without it, though - on the whole, it's an extremely useful tool. I've seen errors in maps, too, so it's not like they're infallible, either.

Ours are both Magellan Roadmates. Having one that does lane assist can be helpful, although you do have to look at the screen to get that info. Traffic updates are helpful too if you live in an area where that's an issue.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:36 AM   #5
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GPS units are only giving you the information you ask for. What I mean by that is there are user preferances you can input to limit the scope of route searches in most GPS units. If there was a jeep trail between point A and Point B and you did not tell it to keep you on paved 2 lane highways then it will show you the jeep trail as the way to get there. I always view my routes on online services like MAPQUEST that are free, that way I can scroll through the routes and view the road types and verify the GPS plan before I travel. Maybe not always possible but when you are towing a camper it may be a smart thing to do.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:38 AM   #6
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We use a Garmin, but Jan has veto authority over the route. It is most helpful when working through a large urban area when road selection comes quick and often. It will get us in the correct lanes and on our way most of the time.

When working on longer trips we find it is better to select locations that put us on the roads we want and then changing our destination several time during the day's travel.

We tend to avoid the big interstate roads when possible, but the GPS prefers these roads.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:40 AM   #7
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No GPS is foolproof.

It as a tool - nothing more - and like any tool - you need to learn how it works - what it does or doesn't do - and its limitations.

A simple rule of thumb - if it is directing you into places and or conditions you don't expect - then it is time to pull over and figure out what is going on.

In-home pre-planning is smart for any major trip - Microsoft Streets and Trips is a great program for this - it is easy to use and inexpensive.

And Mojo has it right - always use paper maps for reassurance and backup.



Jay
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:54 AM   #8
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I recently switched from a Garmin unit to a Rand McNally RVND 7710. So far very pleased with it. It is set up specifically for RV use or can be configured for auto use with a push of a tab. The map updates seem to be more current that what I had on the Garmin. But still it is a case of garbage in and garbage out. Just like ocean navigation I would never depend on just an electronic device to get me safely where I was going. The large 7 inch screen is a plus.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:35 AM   #9
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When venturing to an unfamiliar destination, I try to compare the GPS provided route with what I can see on Google Earth. In many cases Google Street View is available for the final destination so I can confirm exactly which side of the road it is on, what the entrance looks like and any other landmarks such as billboards or buildings that will assist me in recognizing the location when I get close. I still carry paper maps to get the big picture and to plan for side trips to locations of interest along my route or near my destination.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:05 PM   #10
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like silver goose, i also blend in the use of google maps. i fine it very useful to check out fuel choices to see if i'll be able to get in/out of places near my destinations.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:59 PM   #11
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We use Microsoft Streets and Trips for trip planning; then use Google Earth to check out complicated junctions, back roads and boondocking sites, so we are relatively familiar with these locations before we actually get there.

In addition, we use the navigation system in our Toyota Tundra and a portable Garmin GPS mainly to verify our exact location, and as an aid when we take a wrong turn or get lost. These are also helpful for tracking distance to next stop and calculating arrival time.

The Garmin can also provide directions to attractions, food and fuel when in unfamiliar areas, and is especially useful for locating your tow vehicle at Disneyland when you forgot where you parked.

Note: We also keep a WalMart/Rand McNally Road Atlas in our Airstream as a backup, and to locate the nearest store when we need to restock groceries, etc. and/or buy common RV supplies/parts.
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:30 AM   #12
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Many smart phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3 that I just bought have GPS capability. It came with a Google maps app that works just like a stand alone GPS but it always gets up to date data.

Perry
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