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Old 10-23-2012, 05:35 AM   #1
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GPS

I was thinking about purchasing a gps and was wondering what experiences the people here had with different ones and your preferences. I had one and sold it, it didn't seem to have the best maps, they were out of date when it was new. I like the idea of the gps unit but want to get the one with the best functionality and ability to update maps as needed.
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:38 AM   #2
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The Garmin Nuvi line is popular and very good, on some models they offer lifetime map updates for an additional fee.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:05 AM   #3
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I may have mentioned that we travel about 30,000 miles a year in our RV. A GPS unit is a necessity for me -- DW is not that good with maps and I have enough trouble driving without putting a fold-up paper map in my face. In any event, a traditional map does no good at 60 MPH on the expressway in an unfamiliar city... like Dallas. (Or, for matter, anywhere in Honolulu.) We have over the years had three Garmin Nuví models. (In fact, we still have all three in use)

Anyway, our current model is the 3590LMT. It is a little pricey but all of the "bells & whistles" are a Godsend --voice-activated navigation, Lifetime Maps, photoReal junction view makes unfamiliar intersections and exits easy to navigate, and, of course, the large number of built-in POIs (in addition to my own custom built ones).

One of the more useful add-ons is the ecoRoute HD which connects the GPS unit to the vehicle's computer. This feature monitors vehicle performance and provides detailed system data, including engine monitoring, sensor and gauge data, fuel efficiency and engine diagnostics. From the spec sheet: "How many times has your check engine light come on but you have no idea what is wrong? With ecoRoute HD, you’ll receive clear explanations of what's wrong with your vehicle, and you even have the ability to reset your check engine light, saving you time and money spent at the repair shop."
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:36 AM   #4
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I've also had good luck with the Garmin nuvi line. I have a nuvi 250W, a basic model that's no longer made, but it has served us very well. I even take it on trips to use in rental cars, a handy option. It came with one free map update, but if you choose well you can find unlimited free updates these days. Not having the latest maps was never an issue for me, it's not like road/routes change substantially over the years. FWIW, I bought my first Garmin in the mid 90's for my boat, and I've also had three different marine GPS units. So Garmin has a lot of experience with GPS units, I'd recommend them highly.

From what I've seen and read, Tom-Tom is their most viable competitor with other brands less so.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:57 AM   #5
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We have a couple of Garmins the 1490 LMT and the 1450 LMT both with life time Maps and traffic. They are both excellent and the only difference between the two is the 1490 has a bluetooth capabilities so if this feature is not inmportant to you the 1450 LMT is a good buy at around $140.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:03 AM   #6
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Try it, you'll like it.

We haven't bought one for several years but I think most come with lifetime updates now that the market is almost saturated.

Since we don't do a lot of travel in unfamiliar areas we've stuck with the basic models that now go for ~$100, less on sale. For someone who does range farther more often the extra features would be worth the cost.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:05 AM   #7
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I have been resisting this intrusion of technology for some time. I am now ready to cave. Problem one is I need the high powered reading glasses to read maps at 60 mph. On my last vacation I became aware of the other problem when I tried to go off interstate in New England. The state routes / secondary roads are so dense and detailed that the state level Rand McNally cannot record them properly = useless. I confess I got completely lost twice because of this.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:17 AM   #8
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I have a $100 Garmin 255W (old now) that I love.

I'd suggest going to Amazon and reading reviews there. There are literally thousands of reviews and you can search for key words that might affect your decision.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:22 AM   #9
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I have said for some time now that the two greatest inventions in my lifetime were the Cell Phone and GPS units. These two things have made our lives so much safer.

It should be pointed out that, by law, a GPS unit, such as we are discussing, cannot be accurate within less than 9 meters (~30 feet). When the Military agreed to release this technology to the general public they did so with the understanding it could not be used as part of a missle quidance system. I bring this up only because there are those who blame their unit for "lack of accuracy."
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:31 AM   #10
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These websites may help with your decision:

GPSmagazine.com - The Latest GPS Reviews, News, & Buyers Guides

GPS Review : GPS Reviews

GPS Forum and POI Download Zone by GPS Data Team - GPS POI

GPS Lodge
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"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is." ~(perhaps by) Yogi Berra
"Those who have knowledge, don't predict. Those who predict, don't have knowledge."~ Lau tzu
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:34 AM   #11
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I never like carrying a second device. I have a Samsung galaxy III smartphone. It has Google navigation which works very well. I also installed the Co-Pilot navigation application whick keeps all of the maps on the phone. This is just in case you lose phone connection which would stop google from working.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:39 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
I have said for some time now that the two greatest inventions in my lifetime were the Cell Phone and GPS units. These two things have made our lives so much safer.

It should be pointed out that, by law, a GPS unit, such as we are discussing, cannot be accurate within less than 9 meters (~30 feet). When the Military agreed to release this technology to the general public they did so with the understanding it could not be used as part of a missle quidance system. I bring this up only because there are those who blame their unit for "lack of accuracy."
I don't know if this is true any longer. I use my cell phone as a golf GPS device as well as some previous hand held units. While it is not military accuracy, it seems to be within about 3 yards when I compare it to the laser range finders. I thought that I read some time ago that the military now allows some mid range accuracy which seems to hold true.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:47 AM   #13
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it seems to be within about 3 yards when I compare it to the laser range finders. I thought that I read some time ago that the military now allows some mid range accuracy which seems to hold true.
You are probably correct. My point was more along the lines of: "Be careful of negative reviews from users who blame their GPS unit for ending up in the ditch." (Or the more common news reporting such events.)
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryK View Post
I don't know if this is true any longer. I use my cell phone as a golf GPS device as well as some previous hand held units. While it is not military accuracy, it seems to be within about 3 yards when I compare it to the laser range finders. I thought that I read some time ago that the military now allows some mid range accuracy which seems to hold true.
They're probably tracking you with a satellite and, when they see you're playing golf, give you a bit more flexibility.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:53 AM   #15
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After being hopelessly lost in Spain a few years ago, I bought a TomTom GPS loaded with European and North American maps. We have used it in Europe and throughout North America. The odd time it seems to provide directions that don't make sense, but, it has prevented a lot of arguments.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:16 AM   #16
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They're probably tracking you with a satellite and, when they see you're playing golf, give you a bit more flexibility.
I'm under the trees alot, so it makes their tracking more difficult
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:45 AM   #17
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The Garmin Nuvi line is popular and very good, on some models they offer lifetime map updates for an additional fee.
Be careful, that offer is, IIRC, for the lifetime of the device not you. When the device dies, the lifetime maps die with it.

On alternative I have heard talked about, but not tried myself, is to get one of the new 7 inch tablet computers that sell for about $200. Make sure it has GPS, some don't including certain iPads. Then buy map-direction software app for it. Get an app that allows you to download maps into your tablet ahead of time, and does NOT need a constant on-going internet connection to update the maps as you drive or walk about. You now have GPS directions in your car and a small tablet computers to use out of the car.

I should add that I have a GPS unit and use it all the time. Besides location information, it is also useful for those times when the street signs are missing or unreadable due to bad weather, poor lighting, etc.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:59 AM   #18
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Be careful, that offer is, IIRC, for the lifetime of the device not you. When the device dies, the lifetime maps die with it.
We purchased our first Nuvi (a 680) in 2006 and it is still going strong. It is turned on full time while we are traveling and DW uses it primarily to investigate RV parks -- closest or "on the route," etc. We have never had a single problem with it. Our Nuví 785 is about five years old and, again, no problems. Granted that is not a very long time to count as a "track record" but I wouldn't be too concerned about the life time of the unit as I would be the obsolesence factor. (BTW, all three units have life-time maps.)
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:11 AM   #19
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On alternative I have heard talked about, but not tried myself, is to get one of the new 7 inch tablet computers that sell for about $200. Make sure it has GPS, some don't including certain iPads. Then buy map-direction software app for it. Get an app that allows you to download maps into your tablet ahead of time, and does NOT need a constant on-going internet connection to update the maps as you drive or walk about. You now have GPS directions in your car and a small tablet computers to use out of the car.
Yes, that is a popular alternative and well worth pursuing. We have a Blackberry Playbook that can do it this way. However, the Garmin unit sets on the dash directly in front of me -- about steering wheel heighth. The Playbook would be much too large for this. Again, it is the "bells & whistles" that are important to me -- Saying "Find Gas Station" or "Find Rest Area" without taking my eyes off the road is invaluable. As is the photographic images of interchanges at 60 MPH in the spaghetti-factory-roads of most large cities.

In any event, the Tablet application is certainly better than the earlier alternative -- Streets & Trips on a Laptop.
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:12 AM   #20
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I have a Garmin 1490T and love it. Never has led me to the wrong place.......
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