GPS - State of the Art - 2007

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Henry Gale, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    This technology is evolving, and the prices dropping, fast.
    So I thought I would date this thread.
    Been in a rental car for the past month, Hertz has a GPS device installed, so now I'm spoiled.
    But, the more I use it the more problems and shortcomings I experience.
    Most of the time it works pretty good.
    However, today for instance I asked it to get me somewhere with "Least use of Freeways".
    It's solution was to take me down Mopac in Austin, but have me take most of the exits and then get back on.
    I'm not kidding!
    I tried typing in "1 IKEA Dr" in Round Rock TX. It had never heard of Ikea Dr. (new street) so that went nowhere.
    Do any of the devices offer a way to input up to date info?
    It also seems to have little knowledge of one way streets.

    Coming home today I turned away from "it's" chosen route to take a pretty one I prefer. The damn thing asked me to turn around for several miles, when it did give up on that it told me to take a turn that would have been way out of the way.
    Finally, it gave in.
    In a small neighborhood near my home are 4 parallel streets.
    Let's call them A, B, C, and D.
    The Hertz GPS thinks A is B; B is C; and C and D are D.

    Here's another good (bad) one. There's a dead end near my place that 50 or so years ago used to be the main state highway.
    I drove up to it the other day and the GPS screen told me that in 1.2 miles I would be on my street.
    Perhaps...if the car could levitate over the barricade and a long ago removed bridge.
    Features that aren't offered, but I would like to see on a GPS receiver that I would buy...include weather info, and suggestions for driving around storms on a long trip.... and scenic routes.
    I'm shopping for a GPS for my new Star Stratoliner and I think I've read that one of the receivers out there does offer the "scenic route" feature.

    Any recommendations from GPS owners?
     
  2. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Mapping companies rely too much on old maps and satellite imagery.

    There are lots of streets that "don't go through" around here, but the farmer that has the intervening property has a path that looks like the road from a satellite.

    Both DeLorme's and Benchmark's atlases have lots of major errors. It's a PIA to be driving a three-inch ground clearance Miata on a road that has been promised to be paved all the way, to find out close to the end there's a 6 mile unpaved road with a 6 inch rut down the middle. I've had to backtrack 100 miles on occasion.

    The mapping people really need to have some ground level QA people.
     
  3. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    My father has one in his Acura and it is supposedly updated by a DVD that they will send you, but you have to subscribe to it, i.e. pay for it after the first update or something like that.

    As a hiker, if you see a lot of the USGS quads, many of them are from the 1960s-1970s...

    Not even those at Google Maps or Mapquest are completely up to date, but I think a GPS that utilizes something that is live and changing would be more accurate than any fixed DVD system like my father's one on his old Acura.

    Jay
     
  4. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i see many of those troubles with my gps.
    a garmin nuvi 350.

    i love the thing and dont know how i ever was without one.

    my biggest gripe is not being able to go to the web site and update the map anytime an update is available.

    as of now the updates are once a year and you have to pay about $130
    for a little flash card thing that goes into the device.
     
  5. Jeff_CusBlues

    Jeff_CusBlues Supporting Actor

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    My GMC Yukon came with a DVD based GPS. I've been very happy with it. It's not perfect, but after three years, it is still very accurate. It knows one way streets. It is the only GPS I've used so I can't compare it, but I am satisfied. One thing I don't like though, is that you put the DVD in the CD player so if I'm using the GPS, I can't play a CD. Since I have XM, though, this hasn't been a big issue.
     
  6. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    That sucks. I have/had DVD based GPS in 2 vehicles-- my current '07 Honda Odyssey and my '05 Dodge Grand Caravan before that. Both of those vehicles had a separate DVD player specifically for the GPS. The Dodge had a 6 CD/DVD changer for the rear entertainment system/music and a separate 1 disc DVD slot above it for the GPS. My Honda has a DVD player in the dash for the rear entertainment system, a 6 CD changer behind the Navi screen for music, and a single DVD player under the driver seat for the GPS.

    I found both the Dodge and Honda navi systems to be very accurate with streets, one way streets, etc. Obviously very recent street changes weren't reflected, but that's to be expected. As for routing, both do a great job. The only time I have had problems with parellel streets is when they are VERY close together, like under 30 feet.

    Navi systems can be very distracting while driving, however. That's one area where the Honda is a big improvement over what I had in the Dodge. The Honda being touch screen and voice activated is far less distracting to use while driving.

    I can't imagine going back to not having one.
     
  7. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    Wow... I guess people really will complain about anything!

    You have this device that only costs a few hundred dollars, with no ongoing fees. It tells you where you are within a few hundred feet or less, on a map with streets, bodies of water, and so on... works 24/7 almost anywhere... gives you directions and even says them out loud to you... yet you bitch about it?

    Were some of you just born last year, so you don't realize how Jetsons-like GPS technology is?

    Why don't you go get a paper map like people did for most of recorded history and use that to navigate, then come back here and bitch about your GPS maps not being perfect? I wonder if some of you have even USED a paper map for driving directions.
     
  8. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    ......
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Okay guys, time out here! I don't think anyone was doing
    any unecessary complaining in this thread. I think some of
    us can just be frustrated at times at the fact that these GPS
    devices have quirks. It's expected.

    The first GPS device I bought 4 years ago was a Magellan RoadMate.
    It worked wonderfully for me. I still have the portable unit and take
    it with me on vacation.

    When I bought my Acura RL two years ago it came with a more
    sophisticated GPS system via a DVD. I absolutely love it for the
    fact it never gets me lost.

    After all these years of using GPS, a few things remain consistent....

    1. You will not always be taken to your destination via the
    shortest nor most sensible route. This is an electronic system
    that analyzes a map and chooses what it feels is the best way
    to get there.

    2. Many times these GPS systems are not aware of one-way
    streets or forbidden left/right turns.

    3. If there are (for example) two FIRST STREETS in a town, the
    GPS and the driver have a hell of a time figuring out which is which.


    These things just aren't perfect -- but they beat the hell out of
    using a paper map and one way or another they will never get
    you lost.
     
  10. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Ummm, try $100+ a year if you want up to date maps.

    There are 2 issues here:

    1) Map quality. Are the roads correct and up to date? Are over and under-passes correct in the mapping software (i.e. not a cross street)?
    2) GPS quality. Antenna quality, route-finding quality, legibility in all light levels, ease of use, etc. are all important factors. Newer units include auto-navigation around traffic (you need to subscribe to a traffic service).

    I think the better GPS units are pretty good. The maps (as mentioned above) are constantly improving. I would like to see a GPS that costs a flat rate and includes lifetime updates & traffic service.
     
  11. Marc S Kessler

    Marc S Kessler Stunt Coordinator

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    I just bought a new GMC Acadia and it comes with two free updated disks each year. I wonder if you can get the same deal?
     
  12. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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  13. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I would like if I had the ability to edit my GP map manually. You know - add a new road, note a one-way street or even indicate very long signals for the ai software. I have often wondered why nobody has introduced an open-source GPS with WIKI. Imagine - you can plug in your GPS and it will not only update your records but also download any edits you have made- compare it to other people's inputs - and if enough people have done so - then it will make it a permanent part of the next update for all.
    I've also thought it'd be nice if I had the ability to customize my GPS - custom voice, custom colors, etc. Imagine the fun of a GPS voice that sounds like Mr T, Sean Connery, or Jenna Jameson.
     
  14. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    I'll try! [​IMG]
     
  15. Jeff_CusBlues

    Jeff_CusBlues Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the info Marc. I don't think I can, because when I bought the truck in 2004, they told me I had to purchase update disks. I can't remember how much they were, but I remember it was over $100. So far, I haven't needed an update disk.
     
  16. Rob Landolfi

    Rob Landolfi Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a 2.5 year-old TomTom GO, now known as the TomTom Classic. There are a lot of novelty voices available (both free and for $$$$) for it and there are a couple freeware programs out there that let you customize screen colors. On some of the TomTom fansites, new color schemes are posted for free downloading, and there are some slick adaptations by folks looking to match specific vehicle interiors (new VW, BMW gauge colors, etc.).

    Points of Interest updates are also available and I've seen things like all the Dunkin' Donuts, Walmarts, Disney Attractions, etc. posted along with their icons for people that like to really customize their GPS.

    Another feature that the TomTom has is to create an itinerary which is useful if the route you know/the way you want to go isn't the one that the GPS chooses... you can create the route by placing waypoints along a mapped-out version of your route (I've used MS Streets and Trips) and saving it as an itinerary to be called up much like you would a favorite destination.

    Back to the voices... I used to keep a bunch of them, but don't anymore. I still have the "Darth Vader" and the "Yoda" voices to goof around with my kids. The Yoda one is neat as it actually talks in circles like the movie character. I do find that the novelty voices get old rather quick. Other available voices included John Cleese, Ozzy (both normal and "bleeped"), Sean Connery and others (including Mr. T, I believe).

    It's been awhile since I've played that deeply in my TomTom, but your comment got me thinking that some of that functionality is available.
     
  17. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Would the Mr. T voice insult you if you didn't turn when he said to? [​IMG]

    "Hey you big #%&*(, I said turn LEFT!" [​IMG]
     
  18. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    "I pity the fool who turns down this street!"
     

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