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Old 03-09-2006, 10:39 AM   #15
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I've worked with a lot of GPS equipment over the last 20 years, from PCs to PDAs, handhelds and cockpit units, and even the very first GPS survey instrument ever made. To make a long story short, I think the best thing for vehicle navigation would be one of the latest Garmin units designed specifically for road vehicles.

For the money, they are just superior to the competition in almost every way. I'm so impressed with the company that I bought some Garmin stock two years ago, which has appreciated quite nicely.

Having said that, we have a Magellan Roadmate in our tow vehicle, primarily because we got it for a really outrageous deal. Like 50% under a comparable Garmin. Now that I've used several other current units, I'd say one area where Garmins are definitely better is in the way they categorize searches, say for types of businesses. I use also use Streets and Trips for planning long moves, but I wouldn't want to deal with it while driving. If I had a huge motorhome with lots of space to mount a laptop with a really bright screen, I might think about it, but the interface in the dedicated nav units is just a lot more sensible to deal with when you're operating several tons of RV.

Be aware that all of the vehicle nav units are subject to the errors in the road data they contain. They pretty much all rely on data that comes from the same survey/collection company. You can't expect perfection, due to new construction and so forth, and there are also some other hysterical problems we've encountered in certain places. For example, you'll sometimes find contiguous road segments that aren't connected in the data. The device will invariably suggest you turn off the road, then turn around and get right back on. No device or software can overcome those kinds of basic data issues.
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Old 03-09-2006, 04:19 PM   #16
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Thumbs up Street Pilot

I should add that I use the unit for much more. I fabricated a mount that sets the street pilot on the dash just to the left of my road view. I can see it very well as I drive and I have it on 12 volt power from the motor home.

I also transfer it to my car when I stop for a while and use it to navigate around cities. Works very well.

I also transfer it to my boat and use it to find spots on lakes and rivers. I came in one night on Lake Vermillion here in Minnesota with a storm brewing and it guided me through rocks and obstructions very exactly. You see it leaves a "crumb" trail wherever you go and you can even mark spots to avoid.

You can use it as battery powered or on vehicle power. Just plugs into a cigar lighter.
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Old 03-09-2006, 05:40 PM   #17
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CooperHawk,

Here's some info I got from the Ozi forum:
----------------------
You have already gotten the best advice for the short haul, but I read
the full policy statement on the USDA website and it seems the
Government is doing it's best to be "helpful" in the GIS age. They also
seem to be concerned with recovering bandwidth costs.
http://datagateway.nrcs.usda.gov/USDA_SCA_geodata_policy_2005.pdf
<http://datagateway.nrcs.usda.gov/USDA_SCA_geodata_policy_2005.pdf>

It seems all of this data is supposed to be moved to www.geodata.gov
<http://www.geodata.gov> but the site is woefully incomplete and has
that "gee-wilikers Marth Look at this!" interface that brings up
memories of Google Earth and the deconstruction of geo-referenced data
sets in favor of "eye candy."

They go out and pull data becasue they don't want to have duplicaiton in
the Government, but the new agency's website that is supposed to
integrate all of this data isn't fully operational, and incomplete.
Typical. Thank goodness I live in Texas, where www.tnris.state.tx.us
<http://www.tnris.state.tx.us> serves all my mapping data needs.
------------------------------------------------
I also use the GIS Data Depot, which really is very cost effective if you don't want to download every durn map in a state. Getting all the 250K topo maps for the entire country would probably be around 3 gigs, and maybe 3 times that much to get all the 100K topo maps. OK, went and looked at the zip file sizes and it looks like the average 250K or 100K topo is a little under 5MB. So for the $109/gig price, you could download maybe 185 maps. I know you want the east coast--you can get all of it in 67 1:250,000 maps, covering everything east of a line running north from New Orleans to quite a ways west of Chicago.

By the way, you can get the FAA sectionals for free from

http://aviationtoolbox.org/raw_data/FAA/sectionals/

but they are kind of weird to drive with because the roads don't show up as nicely as they do on the topo or highway maps.

For others who haven't seen our other posts, I'll just say here I've got all the highway, 100K and 250K topo maps for the western 11 states on 2 DVDs (8.5 gigs) for a nominal pain in the butt fee of $15, which includes priority USPS mail. I've also got the Quads (7.5 minute topo maps) for Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho and California--Nevada doesn't quite fit on one DVD and California is bigger (not quite through calibrating all the California Quads). Some of the Quads aren't complete, like who wants the topo maps for the flat parts of eastern Colorado and Montana, or the Indian Nations where you can't go off pavement without special permission?
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Old 03-09-2006, 06:26 PM   #18
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I bought the Garmin iQue 3600 as a gift for Doug last year on jordandvm's advice. We love it!!! It's everything it was recommended to be and we can move it between the truck and car, wherever it's needed. Doug also takes it on business trips to use in his rental car in cities he's not familiar with. Last week I took it to Rhode Island when I started taking classes in an area I don't know very well. I accidentally got off the highway in Providence on the way home (my fault, I didn't bear left where I should have) and Ms. Daisy recognized this and got me back en route in a matter of minutes. We've never been steered wrong by it. We also like and use the PDA capabilities of the iQue .

-Jamie

p.s. Thanks again, jordandvm!!
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:41 PM   #19
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Portable nav system (specialized)

Quote:
Originally Posted by artlink
I'm considering a portable nav system for my TV. I currently use my lap-top based Microsoft street and trips.
I travel around 15-20K a year with my Airstream and was wondering what the Airstream Forum members are using.
I've heard about the Tom Tom-700 and Garmin 330.
Lost in America
Michael
There are many choices that would be satisfactory for a single traveling unit as have been mentioned by other posters.
However, there is one esoteric device that has some unique advantages for a carvan/rally leader that wants to keep tabs on other units.
It is the Geosat4TRAVEL from AvMap, an Italian outfit. See their site;
http://www.avmap.it/index.php?sec=1&sub=349&lang=en
It is just recently being imported into the USA. The USA model will come with a 2GB memory card that will contain maps of the entire contiguous US along with a DVD with maps for Alaska and Canada.

In addition to all the normal GPS functions, it also alerts you to to traffic problems ahead via "the TMC function* that keeps you informed about the traffic conditions. *Optional external hardware needed."

It also has an input for the APRS capable Kenwood TH-D7 ham radio that will put your call sign icon on the map along with any others similiarly equipped. This lets you see where everyone else is, which way they are going and how fast they are traveling. If someone is going the wrong way, you can see who it is and send them a message. It could aid not only caravan/rally leaders but also search and rescue teams and of course the America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race and the Gordon Bennett Cup.

This unit is not for everyone but ham geeks will want it.
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:42 PM   #20
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well folks i do like using paper maps like gen dissarry suggests.......they is reliable and have no batteries......

garmin just released 3? new models yesterday.....these are part of the streetpilot series and are blue tooth enabled.......

as i understand these new models connect or allow phone calls, hands free talking (that's an odd idea isn't it) and cell phone uplinks...or some such thing......

as others have noted garmin has great customer service and help available....which is becoming rare in the binary world.....

i like the looks of that ozi thing with the usgs type maps, 3is' mentions.....

i'm gonna surf and check it out too......

if i can just find my computer..........without a map....

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:29 AM   #21
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3isnotenough
CooperHawk,

Here's some info I got from the Ozi forum:
----------------------
You have already gotten the best advice for the short haul, but I read
the full policy statement on the USDA website and it seems the
Government is doing it's best to be "helpful" in the GIS age.
By the way, you can get the FAA sectionals for free from

http://aviationtoolbox.org/raw_data/FAA/sectionals/

but they are kind of weird to drive with because the roads don't show up as nicely as they do on the topo or highway maps.
You are a one man GREAT resource on this subject and I do indeed thank you for your help! I am embarressed to admit that I retired from FAA Air Traffic and should have thought of the Sectionals myself. I thank you for all your research and will probably want to buy the cd's from you for the Western states.

I am having fun with OZI downloading topo maps of Minnesota Lakes from our DNR and plotting sand bars and deep holes to fish. With the Street Pilot I intend to have an unfair advantage on the fish.
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Old 03-10-2006, 11:41 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airstream25
It is the Geosat4TRAVEL from AvMap, an Italian outfit. See their site;
http://www.avmap.it/index.php?sec=1&sub=349&lang=en
It is just recently being imported into the USA. The USA model will come with a 2GB memory card that will contain maps of the entire contiguous US along with a DVD with maps for Alaska and Canada.
What is the cost?
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Old 03-10-2006, 12:53 PM   #23
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Garmin 3600

Have a Garmin 3600 PDA/GPS. It's great, I travel with it constantly... Tom
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Old 03-10-2006, 04:59 PM   #24
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You all are light years ahead of me....I'm still using my Rand McNalley atlas.

Ironic that I deal with technolgy all day long and I haven't embraced GPS yet.
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Old 03-11-2006, 09:44 AM   #25
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Thumbs up

You live in Chicago and don't use GPS?

My last trip down there to my Wife's family reunion without the GPS, she did her famous "Oh, that was our turn I guess", and I ended up downtown before I could get turned around.

I don't know what it cost me in tolls pulling our car all that way, but I said that was it and got the Garmin when I retired.

It has saved many a day for us. I can program in a full days driving the evening before and it is very convenient.
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Old 03-11-2006, 02:10 PM   #26
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I just picked up a Palm Tx and added Tom Tom Navigator. This is a great and simple to use unit for City driving - any city! It will get you where you want to go. For over-the-road I still like the Laptop based Delorme unit for trip planing and so I can watch the miles roll by on a larger screen
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:46 PM   #27
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Our 2005 Nissan Titan came equipped with a built in Navigator. It really is convenient being built in. It uses the radio speakers and has a great data base for various types of locations.
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Old 03-13-2006, 03:02 PM   #28
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I have a Dell Axim x5 pocket PC that I originally bought for its ability to interface with Outlook, etc. Since I already had that, I later purchased the package from PocketMap Navigator. That included the Compact Flash slot GPS unit, the software, holder/recharger and additional antenna. It works well, but the maps are huge! I added a 512MB SD card and still must be careful about how many states I load.

Having said that - it is wonderful to go into a strange area and arrive at your destination without worry. My "voice" and next-best-friend on the road is Penelope.

But PocketMap doesn't do Canada - so I will likely look for different software before we leave for AK this summer.

Pat
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