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Old 03-08-2006, 08:47 PM   #1
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Navigation Systems, what's your experience?

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.

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Old 03-08-2006, 09:03 PM   #2
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go garmin.....

hi artlink, you ramblin man......

first i'll disclose some connections to garmin.....
so my view is biased
toward the best products!

models are a moving target....but

they have got a great assortment....

big screen.......... steet pilot 7200/7500

mobile 20

newest features and bluetooth....510/550

wanna use it jogging or biking.....forerunner 205/305

i think they are even trying to do something for the mac slackers.....

i'm currently testing the next will be sweet

but any of the street pilot series are fine nav units.....
and keep in mind you'd like to use/upgrade for a while with the same hardward right?

without naming names (not microsoft) there is another system out now with many features and look/feel of garmin...but don't expect long term support because they are being sued.....since it's a little tooooo close to patiented garmin technology.


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Old 03-08-2006, 09:12 PM   #3
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Garmin IQue 3600

I have the Garmin IQue 3600 which is a palm based PDA that sits on the dash with a nonslip cradle that plugs into the 12V outlet (cig lighter). It's great and has saved me many times finding retail locations such as CG's, restaurants, gas stations, art supply stores, quilt stores, etc. It's best used in locations you're not familiar. It also serves as a date planner/phone/address/memo/calc if you're into that (which I am).
The screen is easy to read and turn prompts are voice activated well in advance, so you can get into the correct lane ahead of time. I gave Doug&Jamie on these forums a rec for this and I think they are also happy with theirs. Garmin has come out the M5 which I know nothing about that is supposed to replace the IQue 3600.
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:17 PM   #4
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Santa brought me a TomTom 300 this past year. I love it. Just plug in where you are going and done, instant trip map. If you go off of the plotted trip it remaps from where you are. Before I got this, I used Streets and Trips with my laptop and a handheld GPS also. Nice program, but too many wires and mess. This is all one unit with a nice suction to the windshield mount. I set mine up to also display the current speed (very acurate) and compass. Also has an easy to change brightness adjustment for night time. I have been very happy with mine!


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Old 03-08-2006, 09:20 PM   #5
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Santa gave me the TomTom 700 this past year

It's very good. Plug and play. Provides next exit and cross streets. Many other features I have not even tried out yet including an interface with your bluetooth enabled cell phone.

I like the different voices. I use "Ken", his is my boyfriend.
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:37 PM   #6
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ok you guys......

santa may have given you a knock off.........

i guess those pre holiday shopping ads paid off.....

thanks for the set up.....

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Old 03-08-2006, 09:49 PM   #7
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Once you have a GPS that puts out a serial NEMA sentence, you can use a laptop for some really sophisticated navigation. I use Oziexplorer, a great shareware program from Austrialia, that is both user friendly and a technological marvel. Go to their website and check it out.

It's laptop based and can do moving map displays. It interfaces with most GPS units to upload waypoints and download tracks. I can't live without it. I'm going to do a demo at the Denver Unit maintenance rally in May. It really excels at displaying USGS Topographic DRGs.

And if you use Ozi on a laptop you can also do Streetfinder kinds of programs for those who insist on exploring the asphalt jungles around us...

Ozi has an excellent user forum on Yahoo. Topic range from using CE devices, intefaces, to hard core geodetic and geospatial theory. You will learn datums and projections and host of things that inquisitive minds want to know....

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Old 03-09-2006, 05:29 AM   #8
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We use GARMIN (old EMap unit) and move it from vehicle to vehicle. On our TV we've mounted a small, semi-permanent base to the dash and on another vehicle we use a suction cup mount on the windshield. We've used GARMIN GPS systems for years and while they were not particularly 'User friendly' at first, the system is now a 'no brainer'. Every year and a half or so, GARMIN makes new software available for downloading from your PC into the GPS. We find the unit very helpful when on the Interstate Highway system as we can locate favorite upcoming facilities such as fuel, food and other services along our route and then flag how far and the exit #. We love other features such as sunrise/sunset times, average speeds, elevations above MSL, backlighting at nighttime. For the serious outdoorsman the unit can put you right on your favorite fishing spot or locate your favorite hunting spot deep in the woods or high on a mountain top. Prior to a trip, we download detailed map software along our route from our PC and do it quickly with GARMIN's USB Data CArd Programmer. We can load detailed maps along routes from Texas to the east coast for example, showing very small details and every minor road, along with banks, restaurants etc. We store favorite spots, restaurants, campgrounds etc. as WAYPONTS so we can locate them again with no difficulty. We never travel without our GARMIN. Good luck with your decision.
BTW, GARMIN offers great customer service, warranty and support services.
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Old 03-09-2006, 05:47 AM   #9
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I am currently using MicroSoft streets and trips on a laptop with the GPS sensor mounted to the windshield. I find it works well however the laptop and the cables can be a real pain to deal with.

My dream system is the Pioneer AVIC-N2. It is not portable but boy is it cool.
I have had a chance to play with it at a local RV dealer and it seems to have it all. What I really like is the fact that the screen retracts into the unit, so when not in use it looks like a normal dash mount CD/Radio. I am not comfortable leaving a screen sitting on the Dashboard of my car or truck I feel it may be a bit to tempting and may walk away if you know what I mean.
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Old 03-09-2006, 05:54 AM   #10
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My navigation system is an atlas, I like the ones that are spiral bound. I occasionally enhance the standard data provided using a non-orignial manufacture data entry device (normally Bic) and customize the appearance with dehydrated essence from plants of columbian extraction.

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Old 03-09-2006, 06:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
My navigation system is an atlas, I like the ones that are spiral bound. I occasionally enhance the standard data provided using a non-orignial manufacture data entry device (normally Bic) and customize the appearance with dehydrated essence from plants of columbian extraction.
I hope you are talking about the Juan Valdez stuff...


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Old 03-09-2006, 06:46 AM   #12
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Another alternative I am considering is this, I have a laptop with a video out. Use this video out, to an LCD mini display. I have seen these on Ebay for around $50. Keep the laptop and receiver under the seat, (you will need a unit that has an antenna connector and external antenna) running your favorite mapping program, hooked to your GPS receiver. Mount the mini LCD wherever you chose........
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Old 03-09-2006, 06:55 AM   #13
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Have the garman.... actually use the MS with laptop. Simpler. Bigger view,. Back that programing with an older version of Rand McNally I prefer, and we're good to go.
The garman does give us portability and take along while walking help.... but the print is small to read and use for me.
And you may be amused that I'm one that actually stilluses print media maps. I especially love to order those county maps, and study them! County road systems are amazing things. And I talk to the maintenance crews abot roads and so on.....they can point out some real gems of places if asked... they don't volunteer well, though.....
I like the fact I can get an overview at night... and glance at the overview for the next day, take a look at alternatives... and have room to take it in by using the laptop.
And before you ask, yes indeed we can, and did, do the same thing with garmin..... but I don't like thier programming, and I sure as heck did not like having to always purhase units of maps.... got pissed with the amount it was costing me to their software!
So, MS for me unfortunately..... reasonable cost and works for me. Sigh more money for Bill. HATE that.

Elizabeth in Iowa
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Old 03-09-2006, 07:51 AM   #14
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Thumbs up Garmin Streetpilot!

When I retired the folks took up a collection and I got a digital camera and a Garmin Street Pilot. I really love the Street Pilot! We always have a laptop with us and I can lay out several routes using several programs if I want. Currently using Street Atlas. Then I can upload the route for tomorrow into the Garmin in the evening and away we go.

Have been playing with Ozi and like it a lot but, the govt as of Feb. 1 quit letting us download maps for free. Now you have to buy them and they cost about $100.00 a state. That is $5000.00 for the whole country! I am still looking for a source for cheaper maps.

The Garmin has made traveling a lot more pleasant. When traveling my Wife always controlled the Atlas. She would work away on her lap top and forget to tell me when the turns came up and would usually exclaim, "Oh, that was our turn we just passed"! The Garmin took the navigation out of her forgetful hands.

I also like to use the garmin for a speedometer. It is very accurate. It also keeps a lot of data on our trips. Driving time, miles traveled, average speed, stopped time, ect.

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