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Topic: Is there a GPS that's actually any good?  (Read 13803 times)

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sprint_st
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« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2016, 12:48:58 PM »


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.

Been around GPS since the first birds went up.  Had Garmin's since they first sold them. I run a county Geographic Information System and we make the roads, and other stuff, that GPS's use.  That's the resume and background.  IMO, no GPS has good routing software, period.  Some are just a bit better than others.  Why?  Because the mathematics that drives routing AIN'T easy.   If I want a "perfect" route, I build it in BaseCamp and meticulously track it from end to end zoomed way in.  The only map on the fly I use is put in a bunch of points of interest along the general direction I'm going and pick them as a destination along the way.  After all of that, I keep paper maps for when I really want to go where I want to go.
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2016, 06:07:39 PM »

True.  GPS should be one tool in your kit, along with paper maps and word-of-mouth reports from other riders, and maybe a guide book and an iPad.  Each has specific benefits, but only a human brain (or confirmed gear head) can put it all together and make it work.  
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« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2016, 06:35:24 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.


I long ago lost my patience with any of my GPS units and stopped trying to plot things in Base Camp, set routes or waypoints.  I use the map to tell me where I'm going.  When I'm on the bike, there's no GPS that can plan a route for me, unless I'm in a hurry and trying to get from A to B.  The GPS is only there to confirm where I am and to help me find my way to details, hotels etc.  Also can be handy for unexpected detours.  Maps are my number one planning tool.  But, even though I'm not relying on the GPS for most of my travel, I still can't find one that I have any faith in.  The map management and installation software is essentially useless, the maps that were supposed to load aren't always loaded.  I just want something simple that I can rely on.  So bloody frustrating.  Like I said originally, don't care about bluetooth, music, route or waypoint planning, traffic alerts or any of that extra stuff.  Just want a reliable electric map!!
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« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2016, 06:57:39 PM »




I long ago lost my patience with any of my GPS units and stopped trying to plot things in Base Camp, set routes or waypoints.  I use the map to tell me where I'm going.  When I'm on the bike, there's no GPS that can plan a route for me, unless I'm in a hurry and trying to get from A to B.  The GPS is only there to confirm where I am and to help me find my way to details, hotels etc.  Also can be handy for unexpected detours.  Maps are my number one planning tool.  But, even though I'm not relying on the GPS for most of my travel, I still can't find one that I have any faith in.  The map management and installation software is essentially useless, the maps that were supposed to load aren't always loaded.  I just want something simple that I can rely on.  So bloody frustrating.  Like I said originally, don't care about bluetooth, music, route or waypoint planning, traffic alerts or any of that extra stuff.  Just want a reliable electric map!!



I generally use my GPS as a means to ensure I'm going the right direction, and take all the roads that look more fun, or that I know from previous rides, suggestions, or map investigation ahead of time. I usually tell my GPS to avoid highways and interstates when I'm enjoying the ride, and most of the time it takes me on a pretty enjoyable route on its own.

The idea of forcing the GPS to do something it's not designed to do... I gave up on that long ago.

If I say "take me to such-n-such motel in Lewisburg, WV" and I know that I-81 is the devil, it's not hard for me to find some nice roads on Google Maps or something akin to that, then simply map them out or build a route sheet, and take the roads I want to take, all the while the GPS is ensuring it'll get me to the hotel/motel, or whatever.

I don't need the GPS to tell me "Turn on Route 219 in 2 miles." I already know I'm taking 219. As an example. I think people put too much energy into having the GPS say "turn here" without already knowing where they're going, even if only in gross overview. Shrug
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« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2016, 10:47:23 PM »

I loved my 2720's except for the touch screen getting glitchy on two that I had. Other than that I loved my GPSMAP 60cs. It was supposed to be a hiking model but I could see it in the sunlight and I could hear the beep for an upcoming turn over my earplugs. I bought a Nuvi 550 and still have it but don't rely on it like I used to. Part of me wants to see where the road takes me and not map out every turn. I mostly use it to see where on a road I am on. What I don't like is that on the newer models I can't easily get the data I really want like sunrise and sunset. Now you have to flip through various screens. With 2720 I could program the data fields to show that data.
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« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2016, 10:04:38 AM »

I usually just build routes in the GPS with teh assistance of looking at Google maps on the lap top. I also find that the routes are better when you get into settings and tell it to avoid highways and such. Can be cumbersome, but works for me.
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« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2016, 05:55:56 PM »

I always have the GPS on the bike. If I just have the map running I use it to warn me of upcoming corners and intersections. If I need gas or food, I just pull over and search for it on the GPS. I may try to incorporate my phone for doing this (I use Waze in my work vehicle since my "car" GPS died). The GPS allows me to concentrate on the road, instead of trying to figure out where I'm supposed to turn, how far, etc. No, I'm not one of those morons who drives into a lake 'cuz "the GPS said to turn here". It's just a tool, sometimes it's wrong, mostly it's right. I also dig the dead-on speedo. No need to do speed calculations in my head. I seldom even look at the bike speedo.
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« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2016, 07:02:51 AM »


I always have the GPS on the bike. If I just have the map running I use it to warn me of upcoming corners and intersections. If I need gas or food, I just pull over and search for it on the GPS. I may try to incorporate my phone for doing this (I use Waze in my work vehicle since my "car" GPS died). The GPS allows me to concentrate on the road, instead of trying to figure out where I'm supposed to turn, how far, etc. No, I'm not one of those morons who drives into a lake 'cuz "the GPS said to turn here". It's just a tool, sometimes it's wrong, mostly it's right. I also dig the dead-on speedo. No need to do speed calculations in my head. I seldom even look at the bike speedo.


Oh, for that kind of driving, a GPS is immeasurably useful. My comments previously were definitely in the context of bike -> vacation riding.
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« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2016, 07:09:44 AM »

+1 on using it as a tool.

I had to have a GPS ONLY after I took a cross-country trip with maps only.  Every time I got "lost" it was because it was either too dark or raining to look at my maps and direction notes.  GPS makes it so much easier.  A quick glance and I know when I should expect a turn.  Rain or darkness, I can still see how I'm doing without having to stop and fish out a flashlight (or shelter).

Up until then, I lived off of maps and pre-drafted instructions.
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« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2016, 07:39:42 AM »


If I want a "perfect" route, I build it in BaseCamp and meticulously track it from end to end zoomed way in.  The only map on the fly I use is put in a bunch of points of interest along the general direction I'm going and pick them as a destination along the way.  After all of that, I keep paper maps for when I really want to go where I want to go.

How else would you do it.  On a bike anyway.  Punching in an addy and machine routing is find for just getting there  but it will never take you down the good roads.  You have to zoom in and set the waypoints for that

I also agree that the original Stret pilots were the best.  There has been zero significant improvements to navigation since then.  Sure lots of bells and whistles.  But navigation.  Not much. 

But my Street Pilot gave up the ghost long ago.  My Nuvi 550 both of them had the dreaded power problem.  Now my Zumo 550 is dropping its mapset while in route.  I keep paying more money and getting less and less. 

I also think the map update thing is a,racket.  Roads do. Or change all that often and the good back roads even less.
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« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2016, 07:42:18 AM »


I also think the map update thing is a,racket.  Roads do. Or change all that often and the good back roads even less.


I tried to go at least 3 years before buying a map update.  I went ahead with the Lifetime update only because it was on sale for the same price as a regular update, and I'm keeping this GPS until it no longer works.

Definitely don't care for being pushed up update every few months.  It's too long and slow of a process for such minor improvements.
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« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2016, 09:01:41 AM »



I also agree that the original Street pilots were the best.  There has been zero significant improvements to navigation since then.  Sure lots of bells and whistles.  But navigation.  Not much. 


I also think the map update thing is a racket.  Roads do not change all that often and the good back roads even less.

The new Tomtoms have 'winding roads' option and the new Garmins have 'curvy roads' - If it works, I'd call that a significant improvement.

True, the roads don't change much, but the business do.  A few years ago my gps took me to 3 restaurants in a row that were out of business.  I ended up buying a new GPS because a refurbished one was just a few dollars more than a map update.
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« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2016, 08:14:08 PM »

lol...I pull over, take out my phone and look at google maps for a few seconds to get my bearings and then start driving again.  a separate GPS is very 2005  Embarassment
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« Reply #33 on: February 08, 2016, 10:32:08 AM »

What they aren't telling you about the updates is that it isn't that the roads change a lot, especially the back roads, they are targeting the folks that want restaurants, gas stations, a other miscellaneous "STUFF."  The biggest thing IMO about choosing a GPS is understanding what you want to use if for.  Is it music, call your mom, or God forbid, navigation.  I use the the GPS to tell me exactly where I am at, to get me through confusing areas where I manually define my route on a computer, and help me to decide how long it will take me to get somewhere.  If you want an entertainment center, that's fine, but don't whine if the GPS you choose isn't like the Enterprise's computer.
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« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2016, 03:54:01 PM »

I've been a map user for years.  I also don't need Bluetooth, phone, music, etc.  Around Christmas I found the Garmin 660 for $289 shipped.  Bought it all excited.  Then worked with BaseCamp.  Wow.  That is one horrible program.  I understand there are some that figure it out and love it.  Not me.  I was to the point of sending the gps back.  Then a friend mentioned "tyre" mapping software.  No instructions, and I had a route mapped in 10 minutes.  Now I can do it in 2.  So simple.  I'm sure Basecamp offers more features, but I just want to go from A to B but using the roads I map, which Tyre does splendidly.  

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« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2016, 05:18:07 PM »


I've been a map user for years.  I also don't need Bluetooth, phone, music, etc.  Around Christmas I found the Garmin 660 for $289 shipped.  Bought it all excited.  Then worked with BaseCamp.  Wow.  That is one horrible program.  I understand there are some that figure it out and love it.  Not me.  I was to the point of sending the gps back.  Then a friend mentioned "tyre" mapping software.  No instructions, and I had a route mapped in 10 minutes.  Now I can do it in 2.  So simple.  I'm sure Basecamp offers more features, but I just want to go from A to B but using the roads I map, which Tyre does splendidly.  




Gonna check out "Tyre". Thanks for the tip!
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« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2016, 09:32:25 PM »

I'll have to check that out.  I just spent some hours figuring out base camp...it isn't so bad once you figure out all the ultra tidious features.  I bought a multistrada with a zumo ducati kit on it, otherwise I'd use my phone.  OSMand app with a gpx file made from Google maps/gpsvisualizer is my preferred phone setup.

If youwwant to learn base camp, watch lotsoof youtube tutorials...have fun.  It's tedious but quite capable

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« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2016, 11:29:46 PM »

I want one that looks like a waterproof iPad and works like my zumo.


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« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2016, 02:14:42 PM »

I put a 7" screen Nuvi 2797 on my FJR.  Love the big screen; however, Garmin decided not to put a good Bluetooth system in it.  What that means neither Sena or Cardo units work with it unless you do some serious mods.   I did get a Zumo 660 on sale for $309 and although the screen is small it works with my Sena 20S just fine.  I pair the 20S with my Galaxy S5 and the Zumo 660. Got route info, tunes and tell the wife to have dinner waiting.   Nothing new there, but I did make a discovery.   When I loaded a route into the 660 that had a track of the route as well, the compiled route in the 660 did not match BaseMap.  Sometimes it would not follow the road and go cross country on me.  The solution was to put the route in its own folder and copy that into the 660.  If you don't want the babe in the box telling you to send you the wrong way when you are out in the boonies, you really need to zoom in tight to the route and check it every step of the way.
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« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2016, 02:54:39 PM »

I've been a fan of the smaller handheld "hiking" GPS's from Garmin for years. (I've never felt the need to have a giant screen on the bike.) But yeah, Garmin's whole thing of requiring you to use 6 different apps to do 6 different things is idiotic (Basecamp, MapSource, Garmin Express, Garmin MapInstall, Garmin MapManager, Garmin Communicator, etc.)

I recently replaced my Oregon 450 with a newer Oregon 600. The screen is a thousand times better, brighter, and more readable...except...the drag is that it's now a capacitive touchscreen (like a smartphone) so you can't use it with any gloves. (GRRR.) But I've adapted just by having a little touchscreen stylus velcro'd to my tankbag—it's easy to grab while riding and tap the screen with it.

And Garmin did a few other inexplicable things with the newer model—like now you can ONLY have 4 data fields on the map screen...whereas on the older ones you could have 2 (which saves screen space). That was incredibly stupid.

And as Garry said earlier, I've also learned to carefully plot out and "force" the GPS to route exactly where I want it to via carefully-ordered waypoints. I've been burned several times when you create a route, upload it to the GPS, and once you're on your ride the GPS does something completely idiotic like try to send you around the route backwards...or just reroute on-the-fly for no reason.

And as Garry also mentioned: a HUGE FAIL of both printed maps and digital ones is not identifying paved vs. dirt roads. This is just stupid. Dirt roads don't get paved so quickly that it's impossible to keep that info up-to-date.

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