GPS SYSTEMS

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Ned

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The Garmin series of GPS devices are very popular and work well.  It all depends on how much you are willing to spend.  If you are going to use a notebook computer for navigation, then the popular mapping programs like Streets and Trips and Street Atlas are available with inexpensive GPS receivers.  The selfcontained Garmin models are quite a bit more expensive, but don't require a computer for use.
 

Tom

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When it came time to replace our Garmin Streetpilot, I took my wife to Fry's Electronics and had her play with all the different makes and models. She kept coming back to the iWay 500C made by Lowrance. It has a 5" touch screen and a hard drive containing all the maps. It also has 20GB of space for music or other files. The price was approximately half of the nearest equivalent Garmin.

I've been using the standalone iWay alongside the StreetPilot and several mapping software packages on my PC for the last few months and can't see any reason the Garmin should be priced so high.

One of the features I like on the iWay (can't recall if it's also on the Garmin) is the dedicated RV menus, including campgrounds, Flying J, Love's and Pilot truck stops, Cracker Barrel and WalMart locations. These are in addition to the automotive/traveller menus containing things like gas stations, restaurants and numerous other things you'd expect from any decent GPS unit.
 

Ron

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Tom,

After seeing your iWay it would be high on my list should we purchase a new GPS.? We have the Garmin but have become VERY disappointed with the Garmin mapping software called City Nav.? Too many errors that have not been corrected since the first version was released.? Therefore I can no longer recommend the Garmin GPS mainly because of their what I feel is very poor mapping software. I guess if I was to replace the 2610 we now have the Garmin product would be on the bottom of the list.

Garmin appears to have such a low confidence in their City Nav software they will noteven consider giving  a money back Guarantee.  Appears to me they are aware of its inadequacies.
 

Tom

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Ron,

Having listened to/read your story and similar ones from other folks, it appears that Garmin is losing (has lost) sight of the needs of their customers.
 

DougJ

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Ron,

When you comment on the Garmin GPS you usually state your unhappiness with City Nav.

A little over a year ago I bought a Garmin 2610 and it came with MapSource--I don't have City Nav--and am quite happy with it.  May be our personal reactions reflect the different software or my greater tolerance on the criteria you use.

Ciao,

Doug
 

John From Detroit

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If you have a laptop computer I would suggest you look at one of the software GPS combinations

Myself I use one of the cheaper Garmins (The E-trex, the cheapest one would do) with a data cable and MicroSoft Streets and Trips or Rand McNally Streat Finder (Depending on the computer)

My brother, a professional truck driver, uses the first combination (Same Garmin,MS Streets and Trips) in the cab of his rig, Both of us use Thinkpads
 

Tom

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John In Detroit said:
I use one of the cheaper Garmins (The E-trex, the cheapest one would do) with a data cable ....

I did that with my eTrex for some time, until I eventually bought a smaller GPS receiver (no screen). The eTrex and my StreetPilot III with data cable are currently in the Private For-Sale area.
 

Ned

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We use an old Garmin GPS III to drive the notebook computer.  It also gives the driver a nice display of compass heading, accurate speed, and altitude as we have it mounted in the dash in front of the gauge display right in front of the driver.  You can probably find Garmin GPS II+ and III units on eBay for a very reasonable cost.  With the combination data/power cable, it runs off of the coach 12V system and doesn't need batteries.

These are also pocket sized units and can be used for hiking too.
 

BernieD

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DougJ said:
A little over a year ago I bought a Garmin 2610 and it came with MapSource--I don't have City Nav--and am quite happy with it.  May be our personal reactions reflect the different software or my greater tolerance on the criteria you use.

Doug

Mapsource is the Garmin software running the GPS system. City Nav is the mapping program that has all the streets and addresses. Garmin usually comes out with an update to
City Nav each summer, currently it is v7 and sells for $75. Updates for Mapsource are freely downloaded from Garmin"s website.
 

Ron

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Tom said:
Ron,

Having listened to/read your story and similar ones from other folks, it appears that Garmin is losing (has lost) sight of the needs of their customers.

IMHO you are absolutely correct.  It also appears to me that Garmin has lost focus on their customers wants and needs.  It is a very poor when my several year old Metroguide is more accurate in many cases than my last version of City Nav which is version 6.  We got tired of buying the latest version hoping for improvement and finding the same errors.  The lastest offered is version 7 which probably still will try to route one where there is no road a few miles before reaching a destination of Parker AZ.  My old copy of Metro guide never had this problem.  IMHO Garmin is fully aware of City Nav deficiencies and therefore will not offer a money back Guarantee on a new version of City Nav.
 

AlGriefer

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If all you need is a bare bones GPS for use with a mapping program, I'd recommend the Garm GPS 18.? It's the size of a hiockey puck and comes standard with a suction cup mount for the windshield.? The bundle includes Mapsource City Select, but the OEM version is just hardware and considerably cheaper.? It comes in either serial or USB models, see http://www.garmin.com/products/gps18/# for more info.

Of course, you now can't use suction cup mounts on windshields in some states according to Garmin,

"NOTICE TO DRIVERS IN CALIFORNIA AND MINNESOTA: State law prohibits drivers in California and Minnesota from using suction mounts on their windshields while operating motor vehicles. Other Garmin dashboard or friction mounting options should be used. Garmin does not take any responsibility for any fines, penalties, or damages that may be incurred as a result of disregarding this notice. (See California Vehicle Code Section 26708(a); Minnesota Statutes 2005, Section 169.71) "

Al
 

Tom

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AlGriefer said:
Of course, you now can't use suction cup mounts on windshields in some states according to Garmin,

Well I'll be darned. I didn't know that Al.

Maybe I could do a modeified version of Dave's fast talking and explain to the officer that it's safer for me to listen to the glass-mounted receiver than be distracted by looking at paper maps  ;D
 

Tom

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Thanks for the link Al. Now Chris has no excuse for not following the law while driving.
 

DougJ

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Hi Bernie,

Garmin usually comes out with an update to City Nav each summer, currently it is v7 and sells for $75. Updates for Mapsource are freely downloaded from Garmin"s website.

Well. I've found one source of my confusion:  when I open up MapSource and then go to "about MapSource" under the "help" menu on the tool bar, and then look under "product info" I find that it is indeed City Nav, version 7 in my case.

So obviously Ron and I are speaking about the same underlying mapping software: he's dissatisfied and I find it acceptable FOR MY NEEDS.

Ciao,

Doug

PS:  I've also got Topo 4 and an old Map'n'Go on my notebook when I travel.  Of course Topo 4 does not offer anything for Canada--not at least that I've been able to find.
 

Ned

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Doug,

I'm with you, I find City Navigator sufficient for our purposes although the points of interest database is not up to DeLormes.  But we don't use the Garmin for that anyway.  The routing it does is usually as good as Street Atlas, and sometimes it has roads that SA doesn't, and vice versa, of course.  There is no perfect mapping or routing software or device in the consumer price range.

I did get MS Streets & Trips but only for the Canadian road coverage.  I still haven't figured out the user interface.  DeLorme did a much better job in the usability and flexibilty area.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The price was approximately half of the nearest equivalent Garmin.

May I ask what that price was?  And which Garmin model you were comparing to?  The lowest prices I came across on the 500c are around $625-$650, whereas I was able to get my Garmin 2620 for $530.  I'm not all that impressed with the Garmin 2620 (my second Street Pilot) and would be willing to give the 500c a try.  Especially if I could get it for half the price of a 2620!
 

Karl

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Ron,

If you have a 2610 then most likely you also have that what I consider lamb duck mapping software they call City Nav.

I don't know how you can say that. Why last year it planned a route to Alamo Lake for me that even the Arizona Highway Department didn't know existed!! ;D ;D ;D How's that for innovation?

BTW: what's a lamb duck - anything like a buffalo pigeon? ::)
 
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