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Author Topic: In-car GPS  (Read 10151 times)

cranioscopical

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In-car GPS
« on: December 13, 2008, 01:33:23 PM »

Okay, I admit it, I have NO sense of direction.
Put me down at the south pole and I'd try to go south to get home.

I can't tell N from E from W from S.   
My wife always knows where she is on the compass but she can't tell left from right.
Makes for some interesting driving experiences.

Anyone here using an in-car GPS?
If so, care to share your experiences?
When it talks to you is it intelligble?
If you talk to it, does it understand and respond?
Can you actually see and decode the screen while you're travelling (seems a tad dangerous to me)?
What would be desirable features?
Is it any better at folding maps than my wife is? (I think she was an accordion player in another life!)



Josh

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2008, 01:52:41 PM »
I have a Garmin nuvi 750 and I swear by it, although my wife is a different story. Every time I have had to go somewhere it will get me there. The voice is understandable if you are even vaguely familiar with an area, but even if you do not understand, a simple glance and you are on your way. The device is highly configurable and works better than I imagined.

As far as visibility, yes, it comes with a cradle which mounts to the center of your windshield (or dash if you choose) and the screen is very bright and easy to read. The most desirable features I have found in this device is the ability to add user-submitted data to it as that can add items not covered by the already thorough map data provided by Garmin.

I do not have the voice recog model but I have heard good things. After some training, like any voice recog program, I am told it works quite well from a friend who has one.

My wife had a wee incident when she was having car issues travelling from MD to IA and got stuck in indiana but I think that was because this was a very low travelled road and not one that might have been updated in a while in the map data.

That said, the only negative thing I can say is that sometimes the route selection isn't optimal or updated. My issue mainly lies on post because most military posts are NOT indexed for operational security and force protection reasons. I wish it had a feature where you could say "Spend majority of time on side roads" or "interstates/highways".

Other than that, I love it!

cranioscopical

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2008, 03:00:33 PM »
Thanks for taking the time to answer, Josh.  Very helpful!
« Last Edit: December 14, 2008, 11:27:17 AM by cranioscopical »

patteo

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2008, 07:47:13 AM »
Okay, I admit it, I have NO sense of direction.
Put me down at the south pole and I'd try to go south to get home.


I can relate to your "No sense of direction"

I have a very poor sense of direction and likewise for my son.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I visited Sydney and Melbourne with my family and a GPS loaned by my sister in-law sure helped like us feel like local taxi drivers.

TomTom, portable GPS car navigation systems - Car navigation
"GO 730 Australia
• IQ Routes™ technology
• Advanced Lane Guidance
• TomTom Map Share™ technology
• Map of Australia
• Voice address input
• Hands free calling
• QuickGPSfix™
• FM transmitter"
http://www.tomtom.co...?ID=0&Language=8

It was particularly helpful in Sydney and it would have been impossible not to get lost there and probably wasted lots of time and even possibly gotten involved in an accident due to confusion navigating the roads.

I did not have the screen mount but my son used it to help us navigate like pros.

There were a couple of occasions when the GPS got confused because there were too many buildings that obstructed the GPS signals.

When we got into a tunnel, the GPS was unable to receive a signal, but it was smart enough to project where we were based on the speed we were traveling just before we got into the tunnel - that was quite cool.

I think if I had the windscreen mount, it would have help even more as I would be able to tie the voice instructions from the GPS with a quick glance.

My sister in law swears by it and love it.

The voice directions were fairly intelligible and if you combine it with a screen mount, you would probably be able to understand it without endangering yourself.

It does give you adequate warnings like how far you are before you reach the turn and gives you a progressive update before you make the turn.

It also allows you to tell it to avoid certain roads.

It warns you of camera junctions, that you are exceeding speed limits (if it's in the database)

But one thing it does not do is warn you of roadworks - we got stuck in a jam that had roadworks going on.

It would be ideal if it had a link somehow to local traffic conditions database.

In any case, I think a GPS is kind of free since if you have a poor sense of direction, just think of all the petrol you can save with a GPS, not to mention a lower risk of accidents that can occur from getting lost.

I never got around to using voice commands so I cannot comment on that.

y0himba

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2008, 07:56:41 AM »
I simply use my PDA which has a built-in GPS.  I have an HTC TyTN II (AT&T Tilt) which has spoken turn-by-turn directions and realtime traffic data.  If you don't want yet another device hooked up to the power port in your car, I highly recommend using a PDA type cellphone with built-in GPS. 
My Web Site:  http://www.y0himba.net

cranioscopical

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2008, 11:29:47 AM »
to patteo, Thanks for that detailed post, very helpful.

to y0himba, Good idea -- something to consider.

CWuestefeld

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2008, 01:38:55 PM »
I've had a TomTom ONE for a couple of years, and it's easily worth its price.

This past fall my wife and I went on vacation in Niagara Falls and Toronto. We hadn't a clue how to get around, but with the TomTom we had no problem, but finding our way there as well as getting to our B&B in Niagara-on-the-Lake and to various tourist spots around the Falls and in the city of Toronto. Just an address, and you're as good as there. If you don't know where to go at all, searching through the POI database may help you find attractions.

In a week and a half we're flying to Orlando, FL to see my grandparents, and then driving to Key West. We're planning to rely on the TomTom for that trip, too.

One thing: please don't mount the GPS in the center of the windshield. Visibility of the road is the most important thing, and it's too dangerous to let the GPS obstruct it. Mount it down low so that it blocks the least amount of view possible. Put it right between the driver and passenger, so the driver can concentrate on the road, only looking at it for clarification, while the passenger watches the GPS to navigate.

tsaint

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2008, 04:06:44 PM »
I have access to a TYTN II / TomTom combination. Used it for driving in Scotland/England for 2 weeks while on hols from australia - worked wonderfully with voice instructions.
Also, at home, house hunting, it was great to put in a lot of addresses from the real estate section and easily navigate from property to property.
One of my better investments!

mrainey

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2008, 06:15:52 PM »
My wife and I are completely sold on the benefits of a GPS.  We echo all the positive comments of others here.

Look into this mounting system - it's highly popular with GPS users.  Fifteen bucks at Amazon.

"The Nav-Mat is the most convenient mounting accessory for your portable GPS today. Using the physics of weight distribution along with high tech anti-skid materials, it creates a solid mounting base while turning your windshield mounted GPS into a dash mounted GPS. The Nav-Mat conforms to the contours of your dashboard, allowing it to work on uneven or textured surfaces while the anti-skid underside keeps the device from sliding. Designed to work with devices up to several pounds using the stock windshield suction mount sold with most popular GPS units, the Nav-Mat requires no tools for installation and can easily be moved from vehicle to vehicle or put out of sight when leaving the vehicle. Also works well with other Bracketron Windshield Mounts for mounting devices such as Satellite Radio, Cell Phones and MP3 Players."

http://www.amazon.co...229299920&sr=8-4


Jeff Atwood turned me on to it.

http://www.codinghor...archives/001111.html
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« Last Edit: December 14, 2008, 06:34:46 PM by mrainey »

Deozaan

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2008, 06:35:02 PM »
I have a pretty good sense of direction, but last August my wife and I had to go to Los Angeles and had no idea how to navigate and were quite worried about the big city traffic, etc. With the car rental we also got a Garmin GPS. I'm not sure which model it was. It sure was a life saver!

I nicknamed the unit "Stella" because of the female voice and because she was like a guide from the stars (satellite).

You can just type in the address or search for restaurants or whatever and it has clear directions. There were a couple of times where I missed the turns or Stella neglected to vocally remind me that a turn was coming up, but she quickly recalculated the route and I got back to where I needed to be without much delay. I would absolutely recommend an in-vehicle GPS from my short (two-day) experience with one.

I've had my eye on acquiring my own "Stella" since that visit. I haven't researched them them much since their price is a bit beyond my budget but I'm also concerned about the cost of keeping the maps updated. If the cost isn't inhibiting, get one!


SKesselman

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2008, 01:04:14 AM »
I love GPS, when it's a good system.
You just have to consider the context; it's not too much fun on romantic getaways.

My BF has taken me on two tours in southern France:

Trip 1:BF drives, and drives very well, despite rain, wind, etc. He gets his directions from GF.
GF is co-pilot, in charge of the maps BF has so thoughtfully printed out from the web. She learns new words, keeps her sense of direction, has some responsibility, has fun, conversation flows, all is well. GF & BF accomplished something together!
GF goes back to USA bragging that her BF is the best driver in all the world, and, without GPS, he probably is.

Trip 2:BF drives again, and drives badly, wide eyes fixed on an ugly blue screen, from which he gets visual directions.
GF's pleas to BF that he keep his eyes on the road are met with promises to do so which are broken within seconds.
Conversation cannot flow, due to continual interruptions from audio instructions given by GPS.
BF & GF find their destinations, each stop being a relief to both.
GF is just frightened enough on the road to feel rattled / irritated at the end of each drive.

Not so great for romantic plans. You get the picture. :P or rather,  :)

-Sarah

Deozaan

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2008, 01:20:57 AM »
The problem with your ideal romantic getaway #1 is that it requires a co-pilot who has a sense of direction. Unfortunately that rules out my wife.

And the problem with your disaster romantic getaway #2 is that it assumes a pilot who apparently doesn't know how to drive three meters without looking at a map/guide.

:P


Deozaan

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2008, 01:32:03 AM »
By the way, I just got an e-mail from TigerDirect.com about a one day only deal that specifically highlights GPS units.

TigerDirect.com One Day Only Sale Ends Midnight (Eastern Time) on December 16th.


SKesselman

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2008, 01:46:53 AM »
The problem with your ideal romantic getaway #1 is that it requires a co-pilot who has a sense of direction. Unfortunately that rules out my wife.

No, I have no sense of direction either!
I forgot to mention there was a compass.
With a compass and having to follow a map, I can get around.
I'm sure she could, too  :D


And the problem with your disaster romantic getaway #2 is that it assumes a pilot who apparently doesn't know how to drive three meters without looking at a map/guide.

I guess I didn't make my point very well:
The distraction of GPS (coupled with it being our only resource for directions) turned an excellent driver into an entranced one. The screen was everything, and he just couldn't stop looking at it. It moved as we moved...like a game.

I'm certain he's not alone and that some people really have to try not to get distracted by it  ;)
-Sarah

Deozaan

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2008, 03:14:18 AM »
No, I have no sense of direction either!
I forgot to mention there was a compass.
With a compass and having to follow a map, I can get around.
I'm sure she could, too  :D

It's possible but I don't think so. Maps don't seem to make much sense to her.


cranioscopical

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2008, 09:41:42 AM »
It's possible but I don't think so. Maps don't seem to make much sense to her.

Are you one of us with a navigator who thinks contour lines represent the route?  ;D


mrainey

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2008, 10:35:37 AM »
Quote
With a compass and having to follow a map, I can get around.

By yourself, in a moving car?  At night, in the rain?

Love my Magellan!!   :-*
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SKesselman

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2008, 12:59:03 PM »
Quote
With a compass and having to follow a map, I can get around.

By yourself, in a moving car?  At night, in the rain?

Love my Magellan!!   :-*

OMG yes, by myself!
I don't read maps while driving.
And the night & the rain? Please!

I grew up just south of San Francisco. When my friends & I first started driving, we used to go get lost in the City just for fun...of course, we had each other, but do you really think that helped?  :P

Then of course, in my twenties, there was the nightlife in SF...a few years of that & a girl has to know how to take care of herself.

That said, my sense of direction is still awful. Daytime driving is much harder for me, as there are a million distractions. If I've been somewhere once, and I feel I should go right, then going left is my only hope.

Of course, I'd love to have your setup, but after 22 years of driving, I'm not going to die without it!
-Sarah
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 01:00:51 PM by SKesselman »

cranioscopical

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2008, 02:36:36 PM »
Look into this mounting system - it's highly popular with GPS users.  Fifteen bucks at Amazon
Thanks for your input, both on GPS generally and on the mount.

Mark0

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2008, 01:15:01 PM »
Another one with no sense of direction here! :)

I'm very fond of the TomTom units / software / maps. It really help you getting where you have to go.
When driving local / in place where you know you whereabouts, you may notice the occasional non optimal routes. But that's not the point of a nav system: where it really help, is when you don't know where you are and where to go. There, even a non optimal route is much better than getting lost! :)

Even the cheapest TomTom (the One v4, now) IMHO have everything needed to works out of the box, and work well.

robinsiebler

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2008, 01:22:48 PM »
I just got my wife a Mio Moov 310.  It was only $140 at Fry's.  I've read one or two bad reviews on it since I got it and this is my 1st experience with a GPS so I don't know how it stacks up to other GPS units.

Pros: Big Screen, Real Time Traffic Alerts (which can be a big time saver, spoken street names (it garbles a few, but overall, it prevents you from having to look at the screen), pretty good UI - several different view of your route, favorites, pretty good listing of nearby points of interest.

Cons: Sometimes it takes 5-10 minutes to find your location.  It seems to lag a little behind your actual position.  For example, it will say 'In 100 feet, turn left' while, or slightly after you have already made the turn (is this common)?
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skywalka

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Re: In-car GPS
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2009, 10:14:00 AM »
A mate took our Navman S30 to Europe.  He bought the European maps but the Navman wouldn't allow him to navigate to an address outside of the country he was currently in.  So he had to refer to maps to try and find out where he should cross the border and navigate to there.  Then he could navigate to his destination in the new country.

As you can imagine he made plenty of mistakes covering half of Europe resulting in many hours wasted.  Not to mention that refering to maps kind of defeats the purpose.  Since I'm going to Europe myself later this year I've decided I'll be buying a new GPS.  If anybody can recommend how to avoid this problem it would help me sleep easier at night!