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Topic: Is there a GPS that's actually any good?  (Read 13822 times)

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Scoop
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« on: January 30, 2016, 07:22:03 PM »

I have an old Garmin Nuvi 550.  It's waterproof and has a pretty good touch screen.  It does pretty much everything I want it to.  Except that it's really stupid.  And the supporting software is really stupid.  I have got Garmin Base Camp, Garmin Express, Garmin MapInstall, Garmin Map Manager, Garmin Road Trip, and Garmin WebUpdater on my computer.  Each piece of software wants to do something different.  None of them can really tell me which maps are actually installed, or what updates have been done.  It's hit and miss every trip.  More than once I've ended up somewhere that isn't on my device although I thought it was.  I have an SD card, so can install all of North America at once.  Sometimes it's there, sometimes it isn't.  
I would buy another GPS.  There's lots out there for bikes.  I don't care about bluetooth connection, MP3 player, weather, traffic, pics, or any of that other crap they load on to make the device seem more attractive.  All I want is a relatively intelligent electric map.  With software that is clear and user friendly and effective.  I don't want to fight with it, I just want to be confident that the maps are loaded and are up to date.  
Any suggestions?  So far, nothing I've seen from Garmin is designed to work well.  I just wish I could have my old Street Pilot back.  
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2016, 09:45:39 PM »

I have to say it. Yeah, there's a good GPS. If you belong to AAA they give out all the maps you want.


I had a GPS once and the thing sent me to a lot of places incorrectly. Went for a ride with the neighbor the other day and she programmed in an address. Stupid GPS took us out of the neighborhood and one extra mile out of our way! No thanks.  
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2016, 10:54:56 PM »

I have a Street Pilot and Ram mount system I might could be talked out of...   Bigsmile
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2016, 11:09:09 PM »

GPSs in general and the Garmin zumos in particular, have improved a lot in the past ten years. The nuvi 550 was pretty basic in its days.
The latest bike oriented 390 and 590 work much better with basecamp and express. Are they perfect? Not quite IMO but slowly getting there.
They don't replace maps either but they do complement each other very well.
I now combine a zumo 390 and maps.me maps app on an android tablet, when I travel. I wish they could talk to one another, but it's not realy feasable.

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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2016, 08:34:50 AM »

I think the Garmins are as good as it gets. I'm happy enough with my Montana 600 (and the zumo 450 before it). Are the devices perfect? No. Could the support software be improved? Sure. Are the maps accurate/up-to-date? Mostly, but dirt road vs paved road can be a crap shoot in some areas.

I think they certainly qualify as "good" (for my needs anyway), but with room for improvement.
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2016, 09:47:43 AM »


I have a Street Pilot and Ram mount system I might could be talked out of...   Bigsmile


Details. Interested.
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2016, 09:48:05 AM »


I think the Garmins are as good as it gets. I'm happy enough with my Montana 600 (and the zumo 450 before it). Are the devices perfect? No. Could the support software be improved? Sure. Are the maps accurate/up-to-date? Mostly, but dirt road vs paved road can be a crap shoot in some areas.

I think they certainly qualify as "good" (for my needs anyway), but with room for improvement.


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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2016, 09:54:50 AM »

The best routing garmins were the streetpilot series. I had lots of zumos over lots of miles. They had plenty of features but had really poor routing. The 660 series were the worst. I have a 590 now and a tomtom rider. The 590 has loads of whistles and bells and whilst it is the best zumo so far for routing, its still flawed and makes mistakes. The user interface for the tomtom is awful and requires a lot of messing about to get the most out of it. But, if I come to a junction and the zumo says go right, and the tomtom says go left, I go left, the tomtom routing is super reliable.
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2016, 10:18:16 AM »

GPSs aren't realy designed for the type of routing we riders expect. They're designed to get you there by the best route (quickest, shortest, detour, avoid, etc). If you want it to follow a specific road, you need to add lots of waypoints or use a track instead.
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2016, 01:46:34 PM »


If you want it to follow a specific road, you need to add lots of waypoints or use a track instead.


Exactly. Which is why I carefully craft every mile of every route I ride. The only time I let the GPS come up with a route for me is detours or finding dinner/gas/hotel once I'm at my destination.

The Montana does tracks well, which is why I bought it instead of another zumo (dual sport use).
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2016, 04:21:27 PM »


GPSs aren't realy designed for the type of routing we riders expect. They're designed to get you there by the best route (quickest, shortest, detour, avoid, etc). If you want it to follow a specific road, you need to add lots of waypoints or use a track instead.



I agree.  I don't use the GPS for most of the ride.  I depend on my maps more than anything.  But, when I get to a city or town and need to find the hotel, that's when I want it to work.  Or a specific address.  
I like to keep track of mileage and time to destination etc.  I just wish I could reliably load maps and count on them being there.  
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2016, 04:21:50 PM »


I have a Street Pilot and Ram mount system I might could be talked out of...   Bigsmile


I'd be interested, but hard to get supports for that anymore.
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« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2016, 07:04:44 PM »


I don't use the GPS for most of the ride.  I depend on my maps more than anything.  



Same here. Paper maps and my GPS Map 76 is more than adequate. Wife carries a tablet in case we need the motel/gas/etc. info.
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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2016, 09:08:54 PM »

I'm still rocking a Garmin Streetpilot 2720.  Unless I'm in an urban area, I never use  the GPS to navigate for me.  I use the GPS as a moving map to make sure I'm headed where I want to go.  I plan out all my routes using paper maps, but not at the province / state level.  I prefer using paper maps showing smaller areas so more detail (twist roads) are shown.  
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2016, 11:39:34 PM »

2720 was my first GPS device. Gawd, I must have been spoiled from that experience. Every one since has been a let down, but I'm getting there.

What I'm doing now is pinning my hopes on the off shore stuff that is based on a Windows CE mobile operating system and then you install IGo Primo, etc. as the basic routing and mapping software. Guys with the programming know how are modifying the screens to make it more rider friendly and taking suggestions on improvements.

I like to plan my routes at the desktop computer and load them in. But mostly I end up just calling on those when the day is getting late and I don't feel like screwing around anymore. I have to be someplace by a certain time and I'm not sure how to get there. Call up my pre-designated route that keeps me off the main highways where I don't feel as safe and when it's too dark or rainy to see the street names. The rest of the time my riding credo is 'All who wander are not lost'
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2016, 07:59:38 AM »

Still using my old 2820.  I haven't ever updated the maps and it seems I no longer have that option (to big).

I'd give the nod to the Montana but it doesnt' haven't bluetooth and I dont' want to mess with dongles 'n shit.

The 660's and bike specific ones are just to damn expensive.

So my 2820 + CAA lives another year.
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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2016, 08:55:37 PM »

Like others have said- use the map for routing.  Unless you want to get somewhere ASAP don't use the GPS.  Or set the end point, but trust your map.  Eventually the GPS will reroute.

When traveling from point A to point B I use the GPS, or as others have mentioned, to find gas or something.

I'm still running Cobalt's 2720.  Between that and my android, there's plenty of coverage.
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2016, 12:23:26 AM »

'All who wander are not lost'



What terrible sentence construction.  It would seem to say that everybody who wanders knows exactly where they are and where they are going, but that's simply not true.  Certainly some of them are indeed lost.  It would have been more accurate (but perhaps a bit less poetic) to say "Not all who wander are lost."
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2016, 12:35:23 AM »




Details. Interested.


Cobalt & Scoop - tossed out off the cuff, but... I will start a separate thread with some info on what I have. Don't want to hijack the OP's thread any more than I already have.
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2016, 12:05:42 PM »

If you don't need "waterproof," there are options other than Garmin, but it isn't so much the GPS being "stupid" but to keep your route the way you desire, you need to program waypoints to ensure you stay on the correct roads.  Otherwise, as has been pointed out, the GPS is looking to give you either the "fastest" or "shortest" route between A and B.

I'm still doing good with MapSource (works with my Zumo 660), but I use Microsoft Streets & Trips to plan first because it works a lot faster and isn't prone to crashing.  Once I find what I like, I go into MapSource and reproduce the route.

Any GPS that makes it hard to program in the waypoints will be a pain to own.  Those that won't sync with computer-drafted routes will make you input intermediate stops in the route which can take a lot of time and patience.
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