Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
  OFF-TOPIC: GPS Receivers and Mapping Devices For Vehicles

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   OFF-TOPIC: GPS Receivers and Mapping Devices For Vehicles
PeteB88 posted 12-18-2008 12:47 PM ET (US)   Profile for PeteB88   Send Email to PeteB88  
[This is discussion is not strictly marine related, but SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL seems about the only logical place to archive it. I really think you will find better information on the many websites which are focused on this application of GPS receivers and mapping software. As the author notes, this never has been discussed here before.--jimh]

I searched the forum before posting this - what does the crew advise as best value for a GPS for vehicles? Thinking about getting one for my love, my life, my wife for Christmas. Lots of them on sale thought I'd check with you guys.

Thanks!!! Cheers!!! Ho Ho Ho!


20dauntless posted 12-18-2008 12:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless    
I have a Garmin Nuvi 500. I just got it from REI for $290. The reason I chose this model is because it is waterproof and accepts Garmin nautical charts so it can serve as a backup in the boats.

West Marine has had the Nuvi 200 for about $120. This seems like it would be the best value. The Garmin products are really easy to use and work great, I highly recommend them.

HAPPYJIM posted 12-18-2008 01:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for HAPPYJIM  Send Email to HAPPYJIM     
I picked a cheap Garmin at BassPro for $208. It does everything that I need it to do. Just make sure that you buy one that gives voice commands. Mine has a data base that shows points of interest, gas stations, hospitals and all kinds of good stuff. It even gives phone numbers of the places that comes in real handy for making reservations at restaurants while shopping.
fourdfish posted 12-18-2008 01:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for fourdfish  Send Email to fourdfish     
I have a couple of Garmins. One in my boat and one for hiking. I've had Raytheon and Magellan but the Garmin is much better.

My newest one is the Nuvi 770 for the car.
I love it. The screen is large enough and it is really easy to use. It has a great mount and I use a nice circular piece of velcro on it to mount it on dash on the left side out of the way.
Pros-accurate,great touch screen, easy to use, tons of POI's, easy to download points from google, recalibrates easy, it will find satellites even if you only have a good window near you. Good traffic reports.
Cons- FM transmitter to radio not that good, once in awhile it takes a minute to find satellites but once it is on it is great.

Mine has several nice options such as bluetooth to my phone(hands free), media player, traffic reports, picture viewer, Maps of Europe etc. Great for trip to FL next week.

If you don't want those options you can get great prices on the 200 series at Costco ($149) They have the nuvi 760 for $250 in the stores now.
Get the 4.3 screen, it is much nicer! BTW the SIRF 3 chip is the best to get but it is hard to find out if it has it.
Two of mine have it for sure.

highanddry posted 12-18-2008 01:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
TomTom, works great, very pleased. Some have been under 100.
PeteB88 posted 12-18-2008 02:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Thanks guys - sounds like the best value are the ones that talk to you - does the blue tooth thing really work? More advise if you all have it!!

highanddry posted 12-18-2008 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
Both Wally World and Best Buy have had the TomTom One for under 100 dollars. It talks, it updates via computer.
WT posted 12-18-2008 02:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
Here are the best selling portable GPS units at Amazon. ref=pd_ts_zbw_e_172526_more?&pf_rd_p=463490731&pf_rd_s=right-5& pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=1077068&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER& pf_rd_r=1YG8R37DDE10HMMTYF90

I have Garmin units. Easy to use.


Casco Bay Outrage posted 12-18-2008 03:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Once you have the unit, remember to remove it or store out of view when parked. Thieves love to steal them.

My town was hit by a professional crew a few months ago. Got 25 units in one night.

Stevebaz posted 12-18-2008 03:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Stevebaz  Send Email to Stevebaz     
For on the road travel the basic Tom Tom works great for me and at times it amazes me. It has none of the mistakes mapquest makes. I only use its basic features. Just make sure you buy the complete package with the suction cup mount and its case. I have never taken it on the boat so i don't know what it would do.
fourdfish posted 12-18-2008 03:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for fourdfish  Send Email to fourdfish     
Pete-The bluetooth on mine works great! One nice feature
is the ability to call any of the POI's with your cell phone when you are on the road. Ex: You hit the POI's for motels ahead. Pick the one you want and the the ph# is there. Hit the call button on GPS and it will call it for you. Hands free!
We have done it for restaurants also. It also has your phone book on the unit.
Search reviews on internet for Garmin nuvi, you will see!
jimh posted 12-18-2008 05:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
You probably won't find much prior discussion on the topic of GPS receivers and mapping software for highway vehicles because that is really not a marine subject, and if it were the proper place to discuss it would be in SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL. There are whole websites whose focus is GPS receivers and mapping software, so you will probably find more information on those websites, although their Boston Whaler content will be sparse.

But as long as we are way off topic, I'll give you my impression of GPS receivers and mapping software for highway vehicles: their price is falling faster than the S&P 500. Units that used to cost $1,000 are now under $200.

I'd wait until after December 25th, and look for a further reduction in price.

HAPPYJIM posted 12-18-2008 05:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for HAPPYJIM  Send Email to HAPPYJIM     
There is a unit from Garmin that can be used on both land and sea. The GPSMAP® 620 can do both but is kinda pricey.
I'll bet by next Christmas it will be half the price tag of $1000.

Chuck Tribolet posted 12-18-2008 06:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
And the cheapest solution, with a great big screen and voice,
IF you have a laptop, is Microsoft Streets and Trips. If you
shop hard, it's about $65 WITH an SirfStar III USB GPS, about $30
without the GPS (it works with any NMEA GPS, you may need a
serial to USB converter if your laptop doesn't have have a
serial port.

I don't need a car nav GPS regularly. I use S&T in real time
about three times a year (will use it Sat. to navigate the
Corvette through LA, and back the next Sat.) But I use it
all the time without the GPS and scribble down the route
instructions, or to note where a favored brand of gas station
or fast food is.

And I can read a map.


PeteB88 posted 12-18-2008 06:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Jim - sorry if I did something wrong again but many of your members/mates tow their boats and some, like you, great distances. Moreover, I value and respect
the "reviews" and opinions of CW participants, some of whom have become friends, as straight up and reliable. Like I've said before it's your turf and I thought about your reaction before I posted the question. I don't think it's an inappropriate question for Continuous Wave and you know I have told you I respect the work and effort you do for all of us and the lurkers.


high sierra posted 12-18-2008 07:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for high sierra  Send Email to high sierra     
Get one with a 4.3 screen. Much easier to see with older eyes and driving like hell. high sierra
macfam posted 12-18-2008 08:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for macfam  Send Email to macfam     
If you want basics, try a TomTom One.
Under $100. Just bought several, for wife and kids.
They keep using mine!!!

It's extremely dependable (as I'm sure other brand are too)and easily updated over the net for all updates on new roads, hotels, restaurants etc.
I take the TomTom on all business trips in every corner of the US. Throw in the rental, and bingo....I get to my hotel and customers without a hitch.
Can't believe it's now $100!!

As many have said above, throw it in your pocket when out to the car.
BTW, I NEVER mount it on the windshield anymore...just sits on the seat beside me.
Why advertise?

Dan posted 12-19-2008 09:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
I have a 200w Garmin Nuvi that I'm happy with. I think West Marine has it for about $115 or so right now.
ThePerchik posted 12-19-2008 11:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for ThePerchik  Send Email to ThePerchik     
I gotta agree here, TomTom ONE. It is the biggest bang for your buck. I got one for my parents and they use it. My wife (who is very technically challenged) loves it.

It was $90 on amazon this week, back to 100 now.:

Ridge Runner posted 12-19-2008 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ridge Runner  Send Email to Ridge Runner     
Great site to read indepth GPS reviews
bretm1 posted 12-20-2008 01:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for bretm1  Send Email to bretm1     
They all talk now for the most part. The feature that has been really helpful for me are the ones that name the actual street you will be turning on, rather than say, "Take right hand turn, 1/4 mile", it will say "Take right hand turn,1/4 mile, spruce street". This feature is called "text to speech for spoken street names". Make sure the sales person or yourself specifically note that this feature is on it. They often assume that any unit that talks, has this.

It used to be on the higher end units, but now it is available across the board. I had a $350.00 Magellen Crossover taken from my windshield after my passenger window was smashed out, so be careful. I replaced it with a Mio from Staples for $99.00.

jimh posted 12-20-2008 02:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
So far I do not see any special approach to this topic which makes it relevant to towing a boat. If some provider had a street mapping program that showed boat ramps, or denoted restricted roads which prohibited over-wide trailers, or gave warnings for areas with limited vertical clearance, then I would consider that some sort of specialized solution to highway navigation that would appeal to mariners on the highway towing boat trailers. Otherwise when driving I don't feel as though my navigation needs, because I am a boater, are distinct from other non-boaters.

As for driving long distances, my experience is that when entering a state via a federal interstate highway there typically is a welcome center at which maps can be obtained. I do have a strong preference for the official state highway maps because I find that they're often better designed, better printed, and better priced (since they're usually free) than commercially prepared maps. On our last few trips I have used GOOGLE EARTH to scout out our destination and become familiar with roads to the launch ramp.

A printed map offers much higher resolution than most of the inexpensive display screens sold at these price points. A finely printed color lithograph has a resolution equivalent to maybe 800-lines-per-inch, or about eight to ten times higher resolution than a small LCD display can offer. One can also make notations on a printed map, which I often do, marking good spots for gasoline, food, rest stops, scales, radio stations, tolls, and so on. A map can be passed back and forth between the driver and navigator, something that is sometimes needed to communicate an intended route or turn.

The substantive difference between highway navigation and marine navigation is the existence of roads and highways, and as long as one stays on the road or highway the problem of position finding is much simpler than it is for a vessel at sea, particularly when out of sight of land.

I don't find that there is any automatic linkage between knowledge and experience in boating with Boston Whaler boats and the same with highway mapping software, so I am not inclined to automatically give extra weight to comments here as opposed to ones offered on a web site which concentrates on the topic of highway mapping and GPS.

As for the satellite navigation system aspect, it is generally unremarkable, other than perhaps the difficulty in getting a clear view of the sky from inside a car with a metal roof. That may require some adaptations in the design of the GPS receiver to provide for an antenna mounted appropriately.

Thanks to ThePerchik for the lead on the $90 unit.

Thanks to Ridge Runner for the pointer to a website that concentrates on this topic.

You can now get a GPS receiver with a Bluetooth interface for $20 (including a mount that normally sells for about that much itself), and, if you take your laptop with you, plot your current position on the cartography of your choice. I imagine there must be some free or low-cost packages of highway maps available, or if not, they will be soon, perhaps even from your own state.

For many very interesting deals on GPS related devices, see:

As opposed to our usual Boston Whaler related marine topics in which I suspect the discussions generally represent some of the best information available, I feel as though there may be better sources for information on highway mapping software and car GPS receivers elsewhere.

HAPPYJIM posted 12-20-2008 02:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for HAPPYJIM  Send Email to HAPPYJIM     
I'm addicted to my Car GPS and won't drive anywhere without it other than going to the corner store. The information that is stored in its memory beats any map hands down. If I want diesel fuel at a Citgo station, I just punch it in and it gives me many Citgo stations along my route starting with the closest one. Try that with a map.

I do all my boating/fishing by trailer and it will find the best route without passing a map back and forth while driving. If I'm not familiar with the ramp/area I can query tackle stores en route to pick up last minute bait needs. I also call ahead to find out if the parking lot will accommodate my truck with the boat trailer as the phone number and address are displayed for me.

Other neat features include estimated time of arrival....I can call ahead to notify if I am late. Mine has a smart card that I can load pictures and do a slideshow on long boring trips. It can be programmed in the house on it's own battery power also.

Martino posted 12-20-2008 07:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Martino  Send Email to Martino     
Love the TomToms. The kids are all getting them for Xmas. If you upgrade slightly, you get text to speech, which means a voice tells you the names of the streets for turns, etc. Helps keep your eyes on the road. It also has an alarm you can set to let you know when you are speeding. I don't know if Garmin has that or not. I have tried the smaller ones and the larger ones. Both have their advantages (bigger screen vs. easier storage) Sam's locally has the high end TomTom, big screen, text to speech, etc, for $199. Great buy.
PeteB88 posted 12-23-2008 01:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Thanks everyone - getting close to a decision, they seem to keep going down in price everyday! I appreciate your time- I like that Garmin 620 and I bet you are right about price going down soon. Seems like most of the reviews indicate initial cost for the better units was $400-$600 bucks and now they are $150 - $200 most places.

First one will be for us to get around our new community easier and for trips - we waste more time trying to decide - Asian, ribs, seafood, local fare, trying to find a local for advice or cab driver, cop etc. Agree w/ maps but this is cool technology and it will be very helpful.

best to you all.
Enjoy the holidays...

I am close to getting a Garmin but hear great things about Tom Tom ONE - it just seems all of the models are called ONE, so which ONE?

Later and thanks again

macfam posted 12-23-2008 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for macfam  Send Email to macfam     
Really it's any ONE.
Theyare all the same basic program, with differnt mounts etc.
I've bought 3 TomTom One 125 models for my kids.
Compact, simple and easily hidden from view/portable.

TomTom or Garmin.......either way you win.

Happy Holidays

jimh posted 12-23-2008 02:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I want to re-join this discussion, and not to suggest which brand of vehicle GPS one ought to get for a Christmas gift for their wife. Instead, before buying your wife any sort of GPS as a Christmas gift, I very strongly recommend watching this informative (and hilariously funny) short feature:


Really, this film is worth the five minutes of time you'll invest. It could save a lifetime of bad feelings.

TransAm posted 12-23-2008 03:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
I think that's the most meaningful thing posted in this thread.
TransAm posted 12-23-2008 03:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
Took me a pair of $5K diamond ear rings to get out last time.
PeteB88 posted 12-25-2008 11:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Bought the Garmin 260W, powering up later today for first guided tour. Selling point? Young salesman at Best Buy told me he uses it on his 22 Wellcraft boat for salmon fishing - I made him demonstrate how he uses it and he was legit. Cool kid, maybe 22, insisted the boat was not his parent's. AND it is Consumer Reports Best Buy and $180 bucks.

SO - I will use for backup or put in my pocket when using the 13 or 11.5


Jefecinco posted 12-25-2008 07:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Local Best Buy has them for $135 but they are factory refurbished. I think I'll have a look.


fourdfish posted 12-26-2008 01:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for fourdfish  Send Email to fourdfish     
Pete-- Good choice! I am sure you will enjoy it.
BTW--A nice feature is the use of google maps to find a point and transfer it to your Garmin. I use it
once in awhile when I'm traveling. Also go on line and register it and use the web site to make sure you have the
newest version of your system software and maps. It is free (I think) within the first 60 days. Check it out to be sure. Mine needed an update. Enjoy
firebrand posted 12-26-2008 08:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for firebrand  Send Email to firebrand     

I too know how to read maps and follow directions but frequently for work (motion picture production) I must travel both near and far to places I do not normally travel to.

Since many people have become dependent on on-line mapping sites, I use my Garmin 200W all the time when driving to and from shooting locations. AT times, even the best Locations teams misses something like location to location directions. That can be the worst part of a day on set. The Go Home! setting is my favorite destination.

Why just last week, I used my Garmin to get to work, even though I (thought) I knew how to get there. The GPS gave me a different route and I was one of the lucky ones to arrive on time and find a great parking place!

I do feel that it can be worthwhile to check the route BEFORE you begin driving and absolutely DO NOT leave the unit in an unattended vehicle.

While these make great gifts, I feel that to avoid a trip to the doghouse, remember that "wifely" directions make for an interesting trip, on land or sea!

andygere posted 12-29-2008 11:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
My lovely wife gave me the Garmin Nuvi 750 for Christmas. This is a pretty deluxe unit, with voice prompts, a very sharp 4.3" screen, blue tooth phone capability, MP3 player, and a huge database of gas stations, retail, restaurants, hotels, etc. I am super impressed with how fast it redraws, and how fast it recalculates when you go off of the planned route. The touch screen is easy to use and finger scrolling is fast and easy. Needles to say, I am super pleased with this unit. Costco had it as an internet special for $199, which is half of MSRP.
Feejer posted 12-29-2008 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer    
I second the 750, got one for Christmas and love it
shipskip posted 12-29-2008 04:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for shipskip  Send Email to shipskip     
Santa gave Santa (grin) a Nuvi 750 just before Christmas. He too was tempted by the Costco $200 deal, but went to eBay. Factory sealed package. Warranty. Registered in my name. 110v and 12v direct power cords, in addition to the USB and 12v powered windshield/dash mount. 2009 NA (internal) and 2009 Europe(!) SD map chip. $220 total. Free shipping. No tax. Awesome unit. Now I can get to the gas station and grocery store (1/2 mile), church (3/4 mile) and boat moorage (6 1/2 miles) with ease. Like I have done with no problems for the past 30+ years! Woohoo.


pglein posted 12-29-2008 05:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
Post Christmas, I picked up a Nuvi 760 at Costco for $250. They had the 750 for $200 online, but I decided the 760 was worth the extra $30 (would have paid tax and shipping on the 750) for the Bluetooth capability and sleeker appearance. I already have an external antenna mounted in my Tahoe because my old Garmin iQue M5 didn't get very good reception, and I don't like it mounted in on top of the dash, but the internal antenna on the 760 is phenomenal. Even works inside my house, and worked in my father-in-law's daylight basement! I also like the FM traffic feature. Seems to work for free here in the Seattle-metro area thanks to WSDOT. I don't use the FM transmitter, since I have an audio input on my stereo. I loaded up an SD card with my favorite music and use it for my tunes on the road, which is great. Much easier to use than my BlackBerry for this purpose. I do wish it could be rotated to work in protrait mode, since I prefer this layout. But I haven't seen a GPS that worked this way other than my M5, so it seems that the industry is not headed in that direction.

I would have liked the one that does marine chartplotting as well, but it's just not worth the extra expense. On my boat, I want an integrated navigation system that puts the chartplotter, fishfinder, AIS, SOG, COG, KTS, HDG, etc all on one screen. So, a compromise land/sea unit that only does chartplotting is not going to cut it. All it would be is a backup, which just isn't worth hundreds of dollars. I'd rather save it and buy a nicer primary unit. The backup to my GPS is a paper chart, dividers, parallel bars, and a compass.

PeteB88 posted 01-15-2009 07:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
30 DAY REPORT - Garmin 260W GPS - fantastic, very pleased, got it day before Christmas at Best Buy for $180 bucks, now $250 but totally agree w/ you guys about 700 series features and good pricing. The 260 works great, fast on the satellites, reasonable data base, accuracy impressive, totally recommend. We've been marking out boat ramps at lakes we want to explore this coming Spring.

Sales-kid told me he uses the same model on his boat - hooks to cigarette lighter on board. Battery life is not great but I have not reduced screen brightness to conserve power. I am pleased that it leaves a trail or whatever GPS geeks call it of where you have been. Would like the Europe chip.

What about updating the data base? need to check into that.

Stay warm

PeteB88 posted 01-15-2009 07:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
One more thing - I was on a charter bus last week for ski trip and the driver had a Tom Tom ONE, 3rd Edition, Special. He is also a fisherman and has a boat and thinking about getting a Classic Whaler.

He said out of 62 drivers for his company 2/3rds have Tom Tom.

fourdfish posted 01-17-2009 06:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for fourdfish  Send Email to fourdfish     
Pete- Remember, you have 60 days to update on line.
My trip to Fl this year was great with my 770! Went a different way and it showed me several shortcuts. Traffic
does not work in all cities.

Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.