Recommendations for mobile GPS units

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Merryfield, May 1, 2002.

  1. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1998
    Messages:
    12,063
    Likes Received:
    925
    Location:
    Michigan
    I am looking into purchasing a mobile GPS unit, and would love to hear other HTF members' experiences, good and bad, with different brands and models.

    I will be using the unit for long road trips, since my wife and I have decided to take more driving vs. flying vacations. This summer we plan to take a road trip to South Dakota (Badlands, Mount Rushmore, etc.), Montana (Glacier National Park), Alberta (Banff, Calgary) and return via the Canadian provinces.

    I am looking for something that provides automatic routing, voice command directions, and detailed information regarding points of interest in different areas (gas stations, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, police, etc.). I only need support for the U.S. and Canada for the near future, but the ability to add mapping for Europe at some point would be a benefit (but not an absolute requirement).

    So far, the Garmin StreetPilot III seems to best fit my needs. A co-worker highly recommends Garmin's products for features and manufacturer support. He is on his 2nd Garmin GPS, but his model and software are tailored for nautical and rural trail use (he owns a boat and snowmobile, and spends a lot of time on the Great Lakes and on backwoods snowmobile trails). A new StreetPilot III Deluxe version is available on June 3rd that includes just about every option I need for $780.
     
  2. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 24, 2001
    Messages:
    1,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was thinking of getting one too. Does anyone know if these handheld units work on commercial aircraft? I'm often curious as to the aircraft's flight path, especially when I fly at night.
     
  3. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2000
    Messages:
    1,493
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a Garmin V, its smaller than the StreetPilot and doesn't talk. It does give directions and has a highly detailed map with the gas stations, resturants etc.. I like Garmin products, its my 2nd GPS unit from then.

    A colleague has a StreetPilot and likes it alot, except for the voice command which he says nags too much if you don't do what it tells you to do!

    You can use GPS units on a plane if you have a window seat.
     
  4. AllanN

    AllanN Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2002
    Messages:
    950
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know about aircraft, maybe if you held it right by a window it could get a signal but with all the metal there probably is a problem. Im sure however that they are banned on aircraft. Either for the slight possibility that they may interfere with navigation equipment. Or because if you where a terrorist you could track a flights exact heading. But Garmen IMHO is the best brand out there.
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1998
    Messages:
    12,063
    Likes Received:
    925
    Location:
    Michigan
     
  6. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2000
    Messages:
    1,493
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  7. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 17, 1999
    Messages:
    2,358
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've had the original StreetPilot for a couple of years. It doesn't have color or voice navigation. I think the StreetPilot III can automatically plot the "best" route? Mine won't do that either, you have to program the route by marking each turn.

    Re: airline flights... If you're at a window, you can probably get a good signal. But I don't think GPS is on the list of approved devices since Sept. 11. Previously it could have made the crew and other passengers nervous if they weren't into the super neat-o coolness of the gadget, but these days it would make them VERY nervous. They'll think that only a hijacker would want to know the plane's exact position, altitude, speed, and heading.
     
  8. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1998
    Messages:
    12,063
    Likes Received:
    925
    Location:
    Michigan
     
  9. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,654
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Pittsfield, MA
    Real Name:
    Jay
    I'm curious myself about the airline restrictions, I'm going to Alaska in August again so I'll have to pack my backpack and hiking gear...
    I've used a Magellan MAP 410 on a plane pre-9/11 and was able to get an OK signal at a window seat. Was neat to know the cities your flying over and that stuff. The lady next to me thought it was a cell phone [​IMG]
    You should also check out Magellan's Neverlost system which I think is what Hertz uses in it's rental program, at least as a comparison to the StreetPilot III. I can't say that I've ever used it but I was a passenger in a person who had a Hertz with it and it was pretty good. It had the streets around a shopping mall and stuff like that.
    Jay
     
  10. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 24, 2001
    Messages:
    1,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    GPS receivers are not listed in the FAA list of banned contraband. Probably the only thing they do is make sure the thing turns on and off.
    Strangely enough, anytime I've gone through security with my cell phone or Palm on me, security has always wanted me to turn them on and off to make sure they were "legit." On my last flight a few weeks ago, I had the cell phone, my Palm, a pager and a minidisc player in my carry-on. Nobody said a word. They never asked me to take them out and turn them on, even when I got pulled aside for additional screening of my bag.
     
  11. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 17, 1999
    Messages:
    2,358
    Likes Received:
    0
    GPS may not be on the FAA's list, but I think the airlines have their own lists too. You can probably carry it on the plane, but they might not let you use it in flight.
    There is a wealth of GPS comparison information at http://joe.mehaffey.com .
     
  12. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1998
    Messages:
    12,063
    Likes Received:
    925
    Location:
    Michigan
    Thanks for the link, Wayne. That site had some useful information. Also, for anyone else who is interested, there is a Garmin user forum (similar to HTF) hosted at etailer www.gpscity.com where I found some useful info on Garmin products.
    Does anyone out there own a Magellan GPS? Right now I am leaning towards the Garmin StreetPilot III Deluxe package, but would love to hear anyone who has reasons to consider a Magellan model similar in features.
     
  13. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1998
    Messages:
    12,063
    Likes Received:
    925
    Location:
    Michigan
    I just thought I would post a follow-up. My new Garmin StreetPilot III Deluxe arrived about a week ago, and I have been playing with it a little around town. The autorouting feature on both the unit and PC software (City Navigator) works fairly well, but the software does not seem to like the route I take to/from work. It's a limited-access parkway that is a flood plain, and the GPS keeps trying to get me to turn off the road. It's rather amusing. [​IMG] The autorouting did a great job giving me directions to a new golf course last weekend, though.
    I already have a route plotted out for our next road trip, and it looks to be a reasonable route. The voice commands are very detailed, not only telling you where to turn, but to keep right/left after the turn when necessary. It's very quick at recalculating a route if you drive off-course. So far, this product looks like a winner.
     
  14. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 1998
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    0
    As far as GPS units and airplanes, I took a trip back in May with some friends where we flew from the DC area up north to Providence, RI. One of my friends is an air traffic controller, he specifically asked if he can use the GPS unit onboard. They said yes, as long as you wait until the airplane has reached cruising altitude. Pretty cool, once he turned it on and it picked up a signal, the altitude did read 32,000 ft!

    Andrej
     
  15. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Messages:
    1,875
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  16. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,654
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Pittsfield, MA
    Real Name:
    Jay
    yeah, I used my old Magellan MAP410 once on flight from Florida back to Newark and it was real cool knowing what (major) cities you are flying over. It was at night and you could easily tell the major cities by looking at the amount of light coming from them. The young lady next to me thought it was a cell phone. But it must of been odd because I had it on by the window for most of the trip yet didn't say one word... I think if I started talking to it, she would of freaked out. But I guess that would of been cruel [​IMG]
    Jay
     
  17. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
    Insider

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 1999
    Messages:
    6,373
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    New England
    Real Name:
    Gregg Loewen
    I use Delorme Street Atlas 9.0 and it works great. It works with my laptop and plugs into my USB port. The only time I have had any problems is when driving in NYC (too many tall buildings).

    Ive used this unit while navigating more than 10,000 miles now and would not leave home with out it :)

    Gregg
     
  18. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,030
    Likes Received:
    0
    you need the captain's permssion to use the GPS on a commercial flight, period. It does not matter what's on the FAA's list or the airline's list, if the PIC says no, you are breaking the federal code by turning it on, have fun with that. If you asked during cruise the flight attendant could ask for you and they'd probably say yes, however the NON aviation handhelds I thought stopped working over XX speed.

    the altitude function is pretty inaccurate BTW, because of the geometry it can be off quite a bit depending on how many SAT's are locked in. I don't know how many the hand helds track at any one time? three probably?
     
  19. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2000
    Messages:
    1,493
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  20. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,030
    Likes Received:
    0
    Up to yes, but probably not continuously. I think 5 is the magic number for flight navigation, or maybe it's 7, I don't recall i guess.
     

Share This Page