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Old 02-27-2009, 09:39 AM   #21
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Jug, I take it you are happy with the Magellan's routing accuracy? That was my main concern with it. Any feedback on cost of map updates? Oh, and do you use any of the AAA features? I'm an AAA member so that looks like it might be a minor additional benefit...

Thanks...
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:00 AM   #22
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i-phone. there's an app for that. It even works, mostly, though it's too small, sucks the life out of the battery post hasty, and the left handed navigator has a tendency to say right when the other 93% of the world would read left. It's her right. Also, the app cost nothing, and if in need of confirmation we can call up Google Earth and see what the local landmarks are.




Me before GPS:
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:32 PM   #23
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Amazing how far satellite navigation GPS has come. Early seventies on board the research ship RV Vema, we had an antenna mounted on top of the mast, sucker weighed about 80 lb, had radials and a vertical sticking out of it for 3 feet. The receiver was 19" rackmount classified device with seals on it. With all sorts of rules on who can see it.

The pre-rocessor was another rackmount with about 40 plug in cards with discreet transistor flip flops, outputting data to a Freiden tape punch. Which produced typically an 10 foot long tape with holes in it representing the satellite orbit, ID, time etc.

To actually get the data, the receiver's speaker was always on. THe watch standers in the electronics lab had trained ears for the faint whistle, of the satellite coming up the horizon. When heard the nearest tech would leap to the control head and press the oscillator tune until the local oscillator matched the satellite doppler, and lock onto the signal. Then the receiver would track the doppler shift until the satellite disappeared over the far horizon.

During the satellite pass the Frieden punch would be clankin out the the punched tape with the satellie data.

At this point all we knew was that we had sat. data.

Now came the processing part. The good old DEC PDP8 with 2 Kilobyte of memory was standing by, or running some other program. We set the toggle switches on front panel to tell computer that it is to expect a program. Now, feed the program tape int the reader, hit the go paddle (switch), and the machine would read a punch tape with the proper holes, which had the satellite navigation program.

This completed, the PDP 8 would beep,indicating it was ready to accept data. Now we loaded the previously punched data tape ftrom the last satellite pass, hit the go toggle, and for 20 ro so minutes be rewarded with an entertaining sequence of flashing lights on the front panel as the computer was processing the data.

At the end of twenty minutes or so the winking blinking lights would stop for a moment, then the computer started to output the fix (our location) on a teletype machine. with a great amount of clanking.

THus we received four lines of data with latitude, longitude, confidence level and estimated time of next satellite pass. The fix was typically good for a 10 to 12 mile radius.

After all this we walked over to the chart table and plotted our location. And got on the intercom to the bridge and read them the fix.

Anyone for the good old days??

I now have a laptop in my suburban with Street Atlas, a surplus Rockwell GPS receiver, a puck antenna on the roof and can navigate on the go.

I like this newer version better.
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:09 PM   #24
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I am perfectly happy with my Magellan...all but the brand new developments are on the supplied maps. It cost about 125 bucks 2 xmas's ago, and ive used it daily to find new addresses....fwiw
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:09 PM   #25
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I ended up getting very low end Garmin and Magellan units for various household members for xmas. We did some extensive head -to-head comps and both passed, so it became personal preference and other features that mattered more than the mapping and routing. Garmin has a better trip simulator making it easier to preview and customize the route
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:55 AM   #26
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Thanks everyone for the feedback - I think I will go for it and report back on my experience in case anyone is interested...
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:59 AM   #27
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Yesterday our refurbished Garmin 340 arrived. Total with shipping: $85. A little bigger than the newest ones, but that's not a problem. Schwarzenegger won't let us mount it to the windshield, so I'm trying to find a good mounting option that doesn't involve gluing that disk to the dashboard.

It works great. I'm totally blown away by this technology.

We got it for our upcoming trip, but I realize now that the best application is finding garage sales. All those times spent looking up a street name on the map, then finding it in the AE18 square, getting carsick...

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Old 04-15-2009, 09:15 AM   #28
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We have a Nuvi 660. The thing has been great on our road trip. I however still carry a map. Old habits hard to break.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:41 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Yesterday our refurbished Garmin 340 arrived. Total with shipping: $85. A little bigger than the newest ones, but that's not a problem. Schwarzenegger won't let us mount it to the windshield, so I'm trying to find a good mounting option that doesn't involve gluing that disk to the dashboard.

It works great. I'm totally blown away by this technology.

Try the GPS Store (thegpsstore.com). I currently looking to upgrade my map software for my nuvi and looking for a different mount than the windshield.

And you're right, while great for a long trip -- they're the best around town!

-- Rita
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:56 PM   #30
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I have a Garmin. It was a Bday gift. I glued the round thing to the windshield (CA law changed in Feb this year allows the GPS to be mounted in the tiny corner of the windshield), but the device falls off after about 5-10 minutes. The suction thingy doesn't seem to work all that well. (I was hoping the round thing glued to the windshield would help, instead of directly attaching the sunction cup to the glass, but it didn't.)

Any suggestions?

tmm
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:45 PM   #31
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The trick with the suction mount is to make sure that you are firmly pressing it to the glass before you flip the suction lever. I've failed to do that and it dropped unexpectedly.

Don't know anything about the round disk.

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Old 04-15-2009, 02:53 PM   #32
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I have two magellan units one 3100 and one 4250 both work well and I recently updated the firmware on both (free upgrade). I have no complaints except for the occational new road that isn't on the map but that is pretty rare. There is a paid map upgrade that I may consider getting that is about 45$ that could fix some of the new road situtations.

I've always heard the the Nuvi was a better unit but a recent trip when a friend and I both brought our gps units - both worked almost identically. I sure could not see any obvious advantage of one over the other.
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:30 PM   #33
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Well the Magellan 4350 still has a MSRP of $400 so the 40% discount to $240 looked good, but Amazon now has it for $235 so I'm waiting to see if the MSRP comes down...
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:36 PM   #34
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I bought a Tom Tom (cheap) and it has not been great... may times it refuses to plot a path to the destination until you get closer... it has frozen a few times and had to be reset.. it also wants to take you down side roads that can NOT be the fastest way even if you tell it you want the fastest way... tried to update the map and software and got errors that the map was not registered (and it will not let me register it even though I have the proper codes)... very disappointed... but it DOES work about 75% of the time so we still use it at times..

Got a Garmin (bigger screen... as someone said a little bit more screen makes a world of difference)... because the wife needed something more reliable.. have not had a problem with it at all.. I have not tried to update the program or the map as they did not give you a connection to the computer with the unit and I am not willing to pay for one... it is slow to pick up the sats... but so was the Tom Tom... this can be bad IF you do not know where to go from the start... you just sit waiting to get the signal and sometimes wait for 10 minutes...


One 'flaw' in the Garmin is that it 'thinks' you are at the location you last turned it off... so if you turn it off in Austin and back on in Houston, it thinks you are still in Austin until it gets the sat signals... but I guess that might be the same for the Tom Tom, not sure...
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:50 PM   #35
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I do not trust the accuracy of any of the GPS devices. Since I'd end up verifying what it told me against a paper map, might as well save time and money and just stick with the map.

My fear is to be "Garmined" down the wrong road in our RV and end up with and unwanted haircut...

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Old 04-15-2009, 03:51 PM   #36
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Ouch....
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:02 PM   #37
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CA law changed in Feb this year allows the GPS to be mounted in the tiny corner of the windshield
Good to know, thanks.

Next question: Burglary. Is someone likely to break into my car if they see a GPS mount or even the GPS device? (I've stopped worrying about someone breaking in to get my crappy tracfone.)
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:10 PM   #38
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The other useful feature I've discovered is that it estimates when you'll arrive at your destination. That's good to know if you have to be somewhere at a specific time.

Anyone figured out the algorithm it uses?

  • Uses speed limits?
  • Takes into account your current speed?
  • Takes into account your current speed in relation to speed limits?
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:21 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
The other useful feature I've discovered is that it estimates when you'll arrive at your destination. That's good to know if you have to be somewhere at a specific time.

Anyone figured out the algorithm it uses?

  • Uses speed limits?
  • Takes into account your current speed?
  • Takes into account your current speed in relation to speed limits?
My Garmin GPSs have that feature as well. Unfortunately, it's totally useless. The method use is not documented in the manual, but my observation says that the current speed is use.

Sam
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:46 PM   #40
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I do not trust the accuracy of any of the GPS devices. Since I'd end up verifying what it told me against a paper map, might as well save time and money and just stick with the map.

REWahoo, the accuracy (and sensitivity) of today's GPSs are approaching perfection. It's the mapping data that gives the impression of inaccuracy. Keep in mind that roads change, new roads are added daily. Those changes/additions have to find their ways into the GPSs, and that is accomplished by yearly software update.

In my experience paper maps are way more inaccurate than GPSs, and their costs are sky high. I can update my Garmin mapping data for around $50, and that includes every street in the US and Canada.

For me, the only advantage of paper map is the bird view. I still carry an 5 years old road atlas for that purpose only.

Sam
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