New Toy

I finally broke down and got a GPS for the car. Haven't installed it or tried it yet other than turning it on and mapping out a trip around the block. I've had a GPS that I carry that uses my laptop but that's too cumbersome to use regularily.

Basically what I do is rely on maps.

Both of the doors in my Jeep have quite an assortment of maps I have collected over several years. Between my collection, Yahoo Maps, and Google Maps, and specific directions from a client, I can usually find a clients house with no problem.

Did I need another GPS?

Well obviously not, but I found a deal on a refurb TomTom that was reasonable. This model of course is not the top of the line. No MP3player. Like my laptop GPS, You have to enter in an address to your destination. The TomTom is easier in this area than I expected. As you are typing on the touchscreen it offers suggestions based on what it knows about you can select. Kind of like what happens in my web browser.

I suspect this will encourage me to use the GPS more often than my maps. However, the screen is small and the voice doesn't seem loud enough. That may pose a problem when it comes to deciding a place to mount it and how effective it is for regular use. But being as small as it is, it also fits in the pocket so it could double as a hiking tool when walking through town or just doing some exploring.

12 responses
I've loved GPS's since my visit to Seattle a few years ago. It really got us through some of our travels and my tendency to make wrong turns. Recently, used Jamie's phone with navigation and I decided that was the ticket so as I shopped for my new phone, I added navigation to my requirements. I ended up getting a Blackberry Curve with navigation and it's awesome. We just started using the GPS to look for Geocaches which I'd heard of, but never actually went after before. We've already found a few. Tom Tom looks cool - I've seen one of them and heard good things about them.
My first experience with a GPS was roughly 6 years ago in a Hertz car. The particular rental we got had the "Neverlost" system. We were driving from Nashville to Chattanooga along an Interstate. Even though we had directions, for kicks I put in the location. The GPS didn't believe that the Interstate existed past a certain point and tried to direct us some other way. To make life even more funny, the GPS "rebooted" as we crossed (briefly) into Georgia and then again when we crossed back into Tennessee. That's the problem I see with standalone GPS systems. Without a way to update the maps, you're screwed if the GPS doesn't match reality. Of course, all the major online mapping sites still don't believe several of the roads in my old neighborhood actually exist, so even they are not perfect.Thankfully, we have another choice: stuff that uses maps. This is the Wikipedia of maps. I use a program called OffMaps on the iPhone that uses these maps and, unlike Google's maps, I can download them and make use of them when I don't have a data connection. And, if what I find is wrong, I can fix it myself instead of hoping TeleAtlas or Navteq get around to fixing it.
This thing can be setup to participate in a map community and share updates to the maps users make. Of course I'm not sure how well it works as of yet.
Funny you mention Seattle. When I was there I opted not to rent one with the car I rented....big mistake. My TomTom also has a traffic feature I believe. Not sure how well it works around tall buildings though.
I can't imagine it will be easy to make map updates from the TomTom itself. You'll have to share how that works.There's an iPhone app that I can use to take a GPS trace and upload it straight to my OpenStreetMap account. I then go to OpenStreetMap and type in the street names, waypoints, etc.
The manual of coursce sucks but to update the entire collection to the latest I had to hook it up to the pc and download them. It has 1gb internal memory. There is an installer on it called TomTom Home. In the interface though there are several options to do updates and I believe a way to share an edited map.
Yesterday it seemed fairly accurate as in showing going down the center of the road and being within a few car lengths of where it says you are and where you actually are...thumbs up on that! One of my trips I intentionally went another direction to cash a check and it new about places to turn-around even.
Consumer GPS is "close enough for government work." It is intentionally kept somewhat inaccurate (100 feet, I think). Military grade GPS is, of course, much betterGood that the maps were up to date, but I'm sure you'll find someplace where they are not.
Just had a bogus routing to a destination last night. The physical address though wasn't known when I input it. It was a mobile home in a park with a street number not recorded obviously in county records. The map did know about the street name and said I was at my destination when I pulled into the park. But had I not known where to go, I might have ended up about 15 miles away from my destination. There appears to be no way to tell the GPS that this is the actual destination and update it accordingly.
Have fun with your new purchase. I use GPS in both of my smartphones and the technology is super.
I pretty much abandoned my laptop GPS because of the innacuracies and how hard it was to deal with in the car. This one sticks to the windshield in a good location. Another cool thing is the same charger that I use for my cell works for the GPS.
Later in the year when it starts getting darker earlier, it will be a big plus. Street signs are typically hard to read and the GPS shows the streets coming up. I suspect I still will have a slight problem with the address though.
A GPS doesn't replace your navigation skills--or your brains. It is only to be used an aid :)
I usually ask for directions or look on the map when in doubt so I think I have that covered. Besides that, a GPS can fail at a moments notice just like any other piece of cra*.