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halac
09-11-2012, 11:15 PM
I'm looking for an automotive type GPS that will work with mapping software I can install on my computer. I would like to be able to create trip maps ahead of time at home that I can download to my GPS.

Any help or experiences out there?

danlb
09-11-2012, 11:43 PM
The Garmin line will allow that. I use one of the Nuvi models and like it.

In the last year or so I've used google maps on my android phone since it does a really nice job and will even give pretty accurate estimates of the impact of traffic on the trip's time.

Dan

MrFluffy
09-12-2012, 06:26 AM
I have dedicated gps's that I can download waypoints to, and for a while I was using a intergrated computer (carputer...) in the dash with a garmain hvs25 gps. But... in the past year or so I've moved to just having my android phone on the dash running iGo since the maps are a bit better here and it does turn by turn directions better as a result. Its just a lot more convenient.

SteveF
09-12-2012, 08:21 AM
Here’s what works for me.

Go to Garmin's web site, pull up the product info page for the GPSs you might want based on screen size or whatever, and click on the Specs tab. Under Maps & Memory there is an entry for Routes, if the number is greater than 0, it will accept imported routes from your computer. Buy that GPS.

Next, download the Garmin Communicator plug-in from Garmin’s web site. This allows your PC to send info to the GPS.

I use MapQuest but supposedly this works with Google Maps also.

First concept to understand is that Mapquest and your GPS will calculate the optimal route using their own algorithms. So what you see on the computer screen is not guaranteed to be what the GPS will recalculate when you load the route info. It will almost certainly be the same, but it's possible to have some variation. Make sure the Fastest/Shortest option is set the same on both.

Second concept is that if you enter your start and end addresses, and drag the route to wherever you want, the Communicator Plug-In will only transfer the start and end addresses and the GPS will recalculate the route using only that info. Thus, all your route dragging will be lost.

The way that works is to pull up your start address, then zoom out the map and right click on a point on the route you wish to take. Then click on Directions and that address will be added as a Route Stop. If the MapQuest route that is calculated isn't exactly where you want to go, add another Route Stop between that point and the one before it.

Keep moving and right clicking along your intended route until you get to the end address.

Then when the Communicator sends the info to the GPS, it will include all the addresses identified on the left side of the screen and you get your custom route. If the GPS recalculates the route slightly differently from what you saw in Mapquest, add another Route Stop to fix it. I've done some local routes where I wanted to use certain back roads and had 15-20 route stops to get the GPS to go where I wanted.

But it works, doesn't require loading any software except the plug-in and it’s free.

Steve

Mike Burdick
09-12-2012, 01:20 PM
Like someone said previous...

If you purchase a Garmin then you'll be able to download MapSource for your computer. What's really nice about this, the map in your unit will be the same one used in the free MapSource program! MapSource makes it really easy to trip plan and download those routes and waypoints to the vehicle unit.

CCWKen
09-12-2012, 05:42 PM
Does the display actually show a map with map-graphics or do they show cartoon looking roads with signs? Every ad I've seen for the new GPS units seem to be aimed at five year-old idiots. I've got an older hiker GPS. I've been in the market for a new/bigger GPS but can't seem to get that question answered. I want one that will actually show a real map and indicate current location.

armedandsafe
09-12-2012, 06:13 PM
Does the display actually show a map with map-graphics or do they show cartoon looking roads with signs? Every ad I've seen for the new GPS units seem to be aimed at five year-old idiots. I've got an older hiker GPS. I've been in the market for a new/bigger GPS but can't seem to get that question answered. I want one that will actually show a real map and indicate current location.

I agree with that. I am sitting here with 2 Lowrance handhelds, one dead and the other with a streaked screen. I'm going to see if I can take the screen out of the dead one and put it into the one with the streaked screen. Nothing to lose as parts are no longer available and the new ones all have postage stamp screens.

Pops

PixMan
09-12-2012, 09:30 PM
All the new ones have small screens? Could've fooled me. Where I am the screens keep getting bigger, have more features yet cheaper to buy.

I've got a 4 year old Garmin Zumo 550 motorcycle unit. For $79.99 I could update to this year's maps. For $10 more, I got lifetime map updates. My wife's car unit, a Garmin 1490T is only 2 years old (already "outdated"), and I added lifetimemap updates to that one too. These days you can get a basic unit for $100, a pretty good unit for under $250, a fully-featured and fast-processing one for under $400. I don't see the value in rehashing a slow old one if you can get new maps in a new unit at those prices.

I haven't played with her's much, but on mine I can just touch the main screen while it's in 3-D map view mode and it becomes a standard 2-D map view. Once looking at that, I can zoom in-out and pan around. If I've already loaded a map and activated it, I can see and overview of the route. If no route is active, I've got what starts out as a local view with my current position at center. I can then zoom in or out and pan as required.

danlb
09-12-2012, 11:41 PM
It is easy to find a GPS with. 5 or 7 inch screen. That is big. The garmin had a "3d" that is cartuneish and an overhead mode that is like a map.

Try one at Bestbuy, Costco or Fry's.

halac
09-13-2012, 07:13 PM
Thanks guys for all the info.

Before I got a MINI I used to use my laptop with either DeLorme or Microsoft Streets & trips. But using the laptop in the front of the MINI just doesn't work.

I've been using Magellan Roadmate for several years, but miss having the ability to "customize" my trip routes. I'll be checking out what Garmin has to offer.

Has anyone had any experience with Tom-Tom?

PixMan
09-13-2012, 07:36 PM
FWIW, Garmin is apparently no longer using "MapSource" software. That's good because as software goes, that program took "sucks" to previously unseen levels of poor user interface and operability. The new software seems to be "Base Camp". No idea how it is, but I think I'm about to find out. I got a new PC two weeks ago, now running Windoze 7 Pro. All my applications software was 32 bit, and MapSource was one of them. I'm not even going to bother polluting my new mirrored 500GB hard drives with that garbage.

SteveF
09-13-2012, 08:09 PM
FWIW, Garmin is apparently no longer using "MapSource" software. That's good because as software goes, that program took "sucks" to previously unseen levels of poor user interface and operability. The new software seems to be "Base Camp". No idea how it is, but I think I'm about to find out. I got a new PC two weeks ago, now running Windoze 7 Pro. All my applications software was 32 bit, and MapSource was one of them. I'm not even going to bother polluting my new mirrored 500GB hard drives with that garbage.

I had heard that about MapSource from several sources but didn't have any first hand experience. BaseCamp seems to be oriented more towards the off-road crowd so maybe someone can comment.

Steve