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GPS Highway Mapping

 
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OldBear
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Joined: 30 May 2004
Posts: 59
Location: Brigham City

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:27 pm    Post subject: GPS Highway Mapping Reply with quote

Have had a handleld Garmin GPS for some years and found it fairly useful in the rough, as long as you keep track with a compass and map at the same time.

So picked up a Magellan Roadmate 2000 for a discounted price, just to see if it worked well enough to fool with. This is the entry-level model that Magellan offers, and other brands such as Garmin also have entry level models.

The unit has an internal rechargeable battery as well as a power cord for plugging into your vehicle power point or cig-lighter. The battery when charged will last for several hours without being plugged in.

The satellite aquisition in my driveway was almost instantaneous compared to my handheld unit. The display is crisp and easy to read from the holder which attaches to the windshield via a vacuum mount. The voice notices are clear and loud enough to hear under normal vehicle noise levels. The roadways are clear and accurate, with both freeways and secondaries marked by differing widths and colors. Your vehicle is indicated by a triangle on the map pointed in the direction you are actually headed, as well as the miles left to your destination. Display is amazing, even showing the curves coming up while headed south through Perry and Willard. Interchanges are accurate and easy to determine which of the spiderwebs you need to be on, as well as being told by the voice to stay on the same road or to bear left or right, or turn some direction. Warnings on turns start about 2 miles before the turn, but some warnings are as far ahead as 5 miles. It worked flawlessly driving south through all the Salt Lake Spaghetti, and got me to Cabellas' in such good form that it would have been painless even if I hadn't been there before and already knew the way.

When you program a destination, you can choose either the city name or the zip code. I found that the zip code might bring up the name of a city faster than spelling out the name, but the name works well also until you get to some remote villiages then the zip code works better. Zip codes are available on disk for a nominal fee from http://www.zip-codes.com, or you can query their database for free for zip codes within a 50-mile radius of any city. Much of the time that would fill the bill sufficiently.

I'm sure that the more pricey offerings from both Magellan and Garmin would be more sophisticated than this entry model. However, for a couple hundred dollars at Radio Shack, or maybe fifty dollars less than that online at places like http://www.thegpsstore.com, the travel assistance provided by these little gems is both helpful and entertaining, at least IMHO.

If I were to "upgrade", it would be to a model that could accept topo maps and more detailed maps. The guru at Radio Shack told me the Memory Stick slot in the edge of the Roadmate 2000 was for using more detailed maps and topos available from several sources. Well, he was about as full of poopoo as a well-fed buffalo; the slot is simply for updating the current map, whenever Magellan gets around to it, because of changing roadways. Updates run about $90 or so from what i see on the net.

If you are in the market for a highway GPS unit, I would suggest researching the *actual* features and capabilities of various brands and models within brands. And don't believe what the clerk at Radio Shack says! I found the proprietor at TheGPSstore.com, Scott Heffernan, info@thegpsstore.com was very helpful in that area, and explained the various features that I would have preferred to have (like getting off the beaten path into the desert or mountains where there are no names of cities...) and particularly being able to enter GPS Coordinates instead of city names... 'cause where I like to go there aren't many city names or zip codes to program into the GPS Unit. But unfortunately I fell prey to the impulse buy for this unit.

That isn't to say I'm not pleased with it; it works just fine. Once I get to the middle of nowhere the unit can tell me the best roads to get back home. But I should have researched the market offerings for various brands and features within brands before opening my wallet .... Smile
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