GPS Receiver Information, Software, and Hardware Reviews of Garmin, Lowrance, Magellan and other GPS Receivers
|FAQs HardwareYES!... SA has been off since 12:04AM EDT May 2, 2000. Read about it HERE.|
Website Comments? New Material Suggestions? For suggestions and corrections, please e-mail Jack or Joe below:
Robots can help by sending spam to <[email protected]>
This website is hosted by ix web hosting
The GPS Resource LibraryThe GPS Resource Library
What is the GPS Resource Library?
This is a page of links containing information about the Global Positioning System (GPS) and handheld GPS units. There are links to other GPS information sites, online Internet Mapping Programs, GIS (Geographic Information Services), Grid Overlays, DGPS, GPS resellers, GPS manufacturers, Radio modems for GPS use, and the Year 2000 (Non) Problem.
We are proud to have consistently made the Top Ten GPS sites in the Lycos Community Guide. Check the site for other great GPS resources.
Here are some quick links to other areas in www.gpsy.com:
Global Positioning Systems FAQs
Global Mapping Systems is proud to sponsor the development of Internet-based Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) resources concerning the Global Positioning System. We are currently hosting the general GPS FAQ originally written by Peter Bennett and the GPS Web Resource FAQ written by Skeeter Abell-Smith. Both are now being maintained and updated bykarengpsy.com. Please send her corrections, updates, and suggestions.
We regret that we are unable to answer questions on a general basis about the Global Positioning System due to our limited staff resources although we can provide referrals to commercial consulting services. We suggest posting questions about the GPS to the newsgroup sci.geo.satellite-nav (after reading the FAQs of course :).
General GPS informationJapanese Pages French Pages
The View from Space
Distance/Bearing/Great Circle Calculators
Government GPS Sites
Internet Mapping Programs
- World: Google Maps
- World: Microsoft TerraServer -- free digital orthophotos of your neighborhood (non-calibrated)
- World: Online Map Creation
- World: MapObjects -- from ESRI
- World: Global Gazetteer -- commercial GIS database
- World: GPS Waypoint Registery -- user maintained database of interesting sites around the world
- World: The Great Globe Gallery -- more globe images than you can shake a stick at
- World: Sam Wormley's Maps & Mapping Agencies -- links to other map sites
- World: CIA World Factbook Maps -- low resolution, uncalibrated maps of various continents/territories
- Australia: Whereis Street Atlas -- great street coverage of Oz
- Canada: Canadian Geographical Names Data Base
- Canada: Canadian waypoint database -- airports and heliports
- Canada: MNR Online Maps
- France: Institut Géographique National
- Japan: MapFanWeb
- Japan: Mapion -- a very sophisticated online map (no lat/lon though) with PHS search capabilities, phew.
- UK: The Ordnance Survey of Great Britain -- the official mapping agency of the United Kingdom
- USA: CyberAtlas -- by DeLorme (by placename/zipcode; no lat/long)
- USA: Geocode -- by ETAK
- USA: MapsOnUs -- waypoints, turnpoints, it has it all
- USA: Geocities' Vicinity --convert street address to long/lat
- USA: Travelocity -- not so good, no lat/lon
- USA: MapQuest -- also does map to lat/lon
- USA: NIMA GNS (Geographical Name Server)
- USA: Geodetic Control Locator -- search NGS vertical (elevation) and horizontal geodetic control points
- USA: Buffalo.edu -- map to lat/lon
- USA: US Census Data (incl. lat/lon)
- USA: Virtual Tourist
- USA: Virtual Tourist's Map Page
- USA: National Geodetic Survey benchmarks Data Sheets -- gives benchmarks in local area
- USA: Tamu Commerce GPS Waypoint Server
- USA: AirNav -- airport, FAA info, and other aviation information
- USA: WeatherNet (mapping.. weather... what's the difference...)
- USA: GSD Online Demonstration: GSRUG - Geographic to UTM
- USA: USGS National Mapping Info
- USA: National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)
- USA: Color Landform Maps of the US
- USA: National Decision Systems -- online demographic reporting
- USA: Global Self-consistent, Hierarchical, High-resolution Shoreline Database -- vector shoreline database by the Coast Guard
- USA: FCC Topographic Databases
- USA: Rail to Trails in NH, VT, & ME -- an excellent resource for people using the rail-to-trails system
- Great Circle Calculator -- "uses the USGS ellipsoidal algorithms, links to the US Census for lat/long data, has a world city data base"
- U Connecticut Magic
- Rand McNally
- Hunter College's Terrain Analysis
- UTexas Map of New York City
- UTexas Map of the World (Time Zones)
- Iowa State maps.html
Maps on CD-ROM & Map VendorsAirport and other Waypoint Files
GIS Mapping Programs
Image Editing Tools
- Adobe Photoshop -- crossplatform image editing
- GraphicConverter -- shareware image editing for the Macintosh OS and Rhapsody
- JADE -- Macintosh freeware image viewing program
- MAPublisher (Mac/Win) -- "suite of plugin filters that bridges Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to high-end graphics / high resolution printing and electronic publishing technology making cartographic quality map production faster, easier and better"
Grid and Map Overlays
- Silva Navimap -- electronic map reading / overlay device
- U.K.: Yeoman PLC's Navigator Pro is a plotting table with GPS inputs that works with Admiralty charts. Quite impressive.
- Waypoint Enterprises sells The Waypointer and The UTM Waypointer grid overlays
for lat/long and UTM respectively ($7.95 and $6.95) as well as a Coordinate Grid Video
by Avie Reece for $19.95. Contact them at 520-367-2600 voice or 520-367-0264 fax.
- I received sample copies of the grid rulers and they seem to be well designed and constructed. They are made out of a transparent acrylic. The lat/long grid has rules for measuring 1:24K; 1:62.5K; 1:100K; 1:126.72K; and 1:250K. The UTM grid has a built-in protractor for measuring degree angles an measuring ruler for 1:24000 grids. - K.
- Eric Werme's UTM Grid Overlay -- in Adobe Acrobat 3.0 PDF format (the original is at Peter Bennet's site, above)
Differential GPS (DGPS)
We try to keep this list of vendors as up to date as possible. Please send us any additions or comments on any vendors (positive or negative) tocommentsgpsy.com. We've also added our own comments on some vendors. We don't receive any "kickbacks" for our endorsements. Since we have to buy all our own GPS units on the market ourselves, we look for the same things that you do: a good range of GPS units, good prices, fast shipping, competent support, and a preference to help the "little guy out."
- Canada: Butler Survey Suppliers -- Ashtech surveying equipment
- U.K.: HIRETEC UK -- rental of survey grade GPS equipment - Trimble, Ashtech, DSNP (Sercel), Racal / Omnistar systems.
- U.K.: Lowe UK -- resellers of a great external, active GPS antenna
- U.K.: Ormston Technology Ltd. -- UK distributors for Dassault Sercel Navigation Products high-end DGPS receivers
- U.K.: Positioning Resources GPS consultancy, rental, service and sales. Offering a digital workflow solution in the field. OmniSTAR/Garmin/Laser Technology/Magellan/Husky/PocketGIS
- U.S.A.: Adventure GPS -- outdoor bias
- U.S.A.: Air Source 1 -- obviously has a aviational bias
- U.S.A.: CampMor -- a camping bias
- U.S.A.: CommSys Intermountain -- Magellan and other GPS receivers
- U.S.A.: CycoActive -- GPS supply w/ emphasis on motorcycles
- U.S.A.: DataBoat -- general boating supply
- U.S.A.: Defender -- discount GPS supply
- U.S.A.: FPS -- specializes in Garmin GPS units (great online catalogue/data for Garmin)
- U.S.A.: gps4fun -- a good online GPS retailer, recommended.
- U.S.A.: GPS City -- specializes in Garmin units (beautiful and informative web site!)
- U.S.A.: The GPS Store -- sales and technical advice on most major brands
- U.S.A.: Mathew Vangel & Associates -- specialize in Garmin GPS units
- U.S.A.: Mercat, Inc. -- Trimble, Omnistar and other high-end stations
- U.S.A.: NavTech GPS -- one of the largest resellers of GPS units, books, seminars, etc.
- NavTech stocks all of the major brands at reasonable prices and have a wide range of accessories and books on GPS and navigation technology. One important factor is that the staff at NavTech really know their stuff -- they even offer seminars on GPS -- which makes a big difference in the level of purchasing advice and technical support they can offer. The downside is that their prices are only moderately competitive. Tell them that we referred you to them and ask for price matching. - K.
- U.S.A.: Nobeltec -- reseller of nautical navigational software (no GPS units)
- U.S.A.: NVLT -- reseller of broad range of Garmin and Magellan GPS units.
- U.S.A.: REI -- outdoor products cooperative, sells Garmin and Eagle GPS units; camping/hiking/biking goods and much more w/ 10% rebate at the end of the year
- U.S.A.: Synergy GPS -- resellers of Motorola/ONCORE GPS units
- U.S.A.: WestMarine -- chain of boating stores (some good prices on GPS units, including $20 off a $200 purchase for new customers)
- Boat Owners World -- site with many boating related stuff, cluttered and hard to navigate
GPS Unit Manufacturers
GPS Antenna Manufacturers
Many GPS manufacturers also produce GPS antennas. This section lists antenna-only sites. I have personally evaluated both units and give them two thumbs up for their listed use:
- Lowe UK -- resellers of a great, tiny, external, active GPS antenna. This unit is highly recommended for use with any of the small handheld GPS units, especially the single-channels. It's a must-have for vehicle use if you have limited sky-visibility. Its footprint is approximately 1.25" square and has an embedded magnet. Please note that the Lowe antenna is a 5V powered antenna and is not compatible with the 3V output of the eMap. Check with your GPS vendor and with Lowe to make sure your antenna is voltage compatible.
- MaxRAD produces a great active GPS antenna for mobile applications called the GPSA. It's quite a bit larger than the Lowe but can be bolted to a mounting post or rooftop (no ground plane is needed). Performance appears to be similar to the Lowe. If I had a boat or an RV and needed a permanent antenna mount, I would definitely consider the MaxRad GPSA. For pedestrian or automobile use, the Lowe is smaller and lighter. The MaxRAD GPS lists for $135 and you can find a dealer by calling MaxRad at 800-323-9122.
Cool GPS Hacks
- Stelios Cellar -- Digital Camera GPS Interface; Serial GPS LCD Project
Variometers are flight data instruments commonly used with hang-gliders and paragliders. They provide flight data information (altitude, lift rate, etc.) combined with moving map displays when used with GPS units. They also provide the all-important flight data recording needed in contests. -- tip of the hat to Alex Curlyo
You may also want to check out the various Mac/Win/Palm/Linux based software solutions as well.
Radio Modems for GPS Use
- The Falcom A1 is a "GSM modem and GSM phone". The company will be producing a version with built in GPS some time in the future.
Wiring your GPS/NMEA/Misc.
GPS and the Year 2000 Bug (Y2K)
In general, the Global Positioning System will not suffer from either the classical Y2K problem nor the oft-mentioned GPS-week rollover problem. Practically all civilian and military units in circulation will not suffer from either as well. Some of the DOD mainframe/control systems may have the Y2K problem, however the major systems should be clear by the time the problem comes around. Despite what your brother-in-law may have told you, planes will not come crashing to the ground and trains colliding when the digits come rolling around. Sorry to disappoint you.
However, some poorly written commercial PC or Macintosh GPS software may exhibit classical Y2K or GPS-week rollaround problems. Of course, GPSy is not one of them. (smile) Y2K-phobes may wish to note that NMEA-0183 suffers the classical 2-digit Y2K problem so poorly written software may cause boats to come colliding into harbors, a'la "Speed 2: Cruise Control." Sigourney Weaver and Demi Moore are clashing over movie rights as we speak.
This bibliographical list was originally written by Marc Brett (and taken off the internet) with further additions by Karen Nakamura:
Copyright (C) 1997-2005 by Karen Nakamura. All rights reserved. Mention of any third party product or reseller does not represent endorsement of or by that product or corporation. GPSy, GPSyLink, GPSy Pro and GPSY.COM are trademarks of Karen Nakamura. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
This page was created on October 3rd, 1996 and last updated on 3 April 2005.
Using GPS Devices with Google Earth- Google Earth User Guide
Using GPS Devices with Google Earth
If you have a GPS (Global Position System) device, you can connect it to your computer and import your waypoint and track data into Google Earth. Note that this set of features is available to users of Google Earth Plus, Google Earth Pro and Google Earth EC, but not the free version (see Google Earth Products). Topics in this section include:
Google Earth currently supports most GPS devices from the following manufacturers:
The GPSBabel web site lists the devices officially supported by the Google Earth GPS import feature. You can try other devices, but they might not work correctly. If you're using a device that is not supported, you can try importing GPS data from the device to your computer as a .gpx or .loc file and then opening it in Google Earth (File > Open).
You need either a serial or USB cable to connect the GPS device to your computer. Typically, your device is sold with one type of cable. If your GPS device did not come with a cable, you can visit the manufacturer's web site to purchase the correct one for your model.
About GPS Points
When your GPS data is imported into Google Earth, it is categorized into three possible folders, depending upon the type of point. These folders are:
- Tracks - Tracks (or trackpoints) are the points automatically recorded by the GPS device periodically along the recorded route. They can be imported into the Google Earth application as paths.
- Waypoints - Waypoints are points entered manually by the user and typically marked with a name, such as "home" or "turnaround point."
- Routes - Route points are those points that the GPS device uses to creating the routing, such as when you instruct the device to "go to" a recorded point from another recorded point. Route points can contain multiple connected "go to" instructions. They can be imported into the Google Earth application as paths.
Importing GPS Data
Tip - If you have a .GPX file on your computer, you can import it by dragging and dropping the file into Google Earth.
Importing the data from your GPS to Google Earth is simple:
- If you are using a Garmin USB device and a Windows computer, please install the Garmin USB driver from the CD that came with your GPS device or download this driver from the Garmin website.
- Connect your device to the computer running Google Earth.
You can use either a serial cable or USB cable, depending upon which one came with your device.
- Turn on the GPS device. Once your device is on and activated, it is not necessary to wait until it connects to satellites.
- From the Tools menu, select GPS. The GPS window appears.
- Select the correct manufacturer type for your device.
- Under Import, Select the types of data you want to import.
- Under Options, choose your drawing preferences. Check Draw icons at track and route points if you want an icon to be displayed in the 3D viewer for every track/route point recorded by your GPS device. Check Draw lines for tracks and routes to draw each GPS track and route as a solid line.
- Check the Adjust altitude to ground height check box to adjust all recorded point to ground level, such as when importing a track taken on foot, car, or bike. However, if your GPS track was recorded while hang gliding or flying, make sure this option is not selected so that your points will appear as above-ground points.
- Click OK. When your GPS data is finished loading into Google Earth, a confirmation dialog box appears.
Your data appears in the Places panel with the label Garmin GPS Device or Magellan GPS Device, depending upon the device used (see Supported Devices). If you expand that folder, you can see the data sorted into the appropriate folders depending upon the type of data, as illustrated in the example below.
You can expand those folders and explore the information within as you would any other type of places data. This includes organizing, editing, sharing, saving, and more.
Note - If you receive a connection error, turn off the GPS device, turn it on again, and start again from Step 4 above.
Viewing Realtime GPS Information
If you have connected your portable computer to a GPS device, you can view GPS information in realtime. For example, you can view a live GPS track of your progress in a car on a laptop in Google Earth as you travel. To do this:
- Connect your GPS device and portable computer as described in steps 1-4 of Importing GPS Data.
- In the GPS dialog box, click the Realtime tab.
- Choose the appropriate options:
- Select protocol - If you don't know which one to use, choose NMEA.
- Track point import limit - This is the maximum number of points imported per poll of the device. A smaller number can result in faster data but a less accurate depicition of your journey, while a larger number can mean the opposite.
- Polling interval (seconds) - This is the frequency of which Google Earth collects data from the GPS device.
- Automatically follow the path - Check this to have the 3D viewer center on and follow the current realtime GPS track.
- Click Start to begin realtime GPS tracking.
Viewing a Timeline
If you have downloaded data that contains time information (for example, GPS tracks), you can view this information sequentially in Google Earth. For example, you can view GPS tracks that occurred within a specific time period and visually follow these tracks. To do this:
- If necessary, import the GPS data or other time-related data.
- In the Places panel, select this data. The time slider appears at the top of the 3D viewer with a time range that corresponds to the data you selected.
- Do any of the following:
- To re-define the time range of data displayed in the 3D viewer, drag the range markers (see below) to the right or left.
- To move the time range earlier or later, either drag the center tab of the range in the time slider or click the small white arrows near the ends of the time slider (see below).
- To play an animation of the sequence, click the Play button (see below). Note that this is only useful if only a portion of the data is defined in the time range.
Features of the Time slider include:
- Click these arrows to move the time range earlier or later.
- Drag these range markers to the right or left to re-define the time range of data displayed.
- Click this to play an animation of the sequence. This works best if you move the range markers to define a time range smaller than the whole set.
- Click this to set options for the time slider.
- Drag this to move the time range earlier or later.
Note: The time slider is not available when you record movies.
Setting Timeline Options
You can set options for the timeline display feature. To do this:
- In the time slider, click the clock icon (see above). The Time dialog box appears. Options include:
- Display Time In - Choose the appropriate type of displayed time.
- Clamp to beginning of window - Check this to keep the beginning of the displayed time range glued to the left side of the time slider. This helps you display a time sequence while leaving the earliest data visible throughout the animation.
- Animation speed - Use this slider to set the speed of the animation that occurs when you click the play button on the time slider (see above).
- Repeat mode - Choose how you would like to play the animation: Wrap (play continuously), Once (play one time), Bounce (play back and forth continuously).
- When you are finished, click OK.
By Stephen N. RobertsÂ
Modern technology means we can track our children, but do we have the right to know where they are, and do they have the right to keep their location from us?
Parents may not be able to keep their children in sight at all times, but GPS technology allows them to track their location almost anywhere. Many emerging products focus on children. With either existing GPS technology or that which one day may find its way onto the retail shelves, parents will be able to keep track of teenagers’ use of cars, to know how fast the teens have been driving, or to find them when they do not return from a date by 11 in the evening.
Little children can be given a bracelet to track their movements and help frantic parents when they get lost in the mall. An online retailer advertises a GPS-connected wristwatch that enables a parent to locate a child within a minute by making a simple telephone call. The same technology is available for your puppy’s collar, by the way. Some have even hypothesized the implanting of a chip into little children that could be read by GPS in the event of a kidnapping.
At some point, a teenager just might tell mom and dad to forget the tracking and count on the teen calling home. Every household will grapple with this issue in its own way, but what does the law have to say about a child’s right to privacy from GPS tracking by parents?
Do These Products Raise Legal Issues?
Children do have privacy rights, just like adults, although even the most important constitutional rights of children may be limited because of their minority status. I have found that virtually nothing specific to GPS and children has been legislated, nor has much been written about the subject. In contrast, concerns about children’s privacy have been raised in other areas. There have been outcries in Europe about identity cards that might carry such data as health information about a child. In this country, the Children’s Privacy Protection Act of 1998 limits the ways Web site operators and others may collect and disseminate information pertaining to customers under the age of 13.
But those concerns relate to protecting children from privacy invasions by outsiders, not by their parents. In contrast, GPS chiefly raises issues in the realm of parent-child relationships. One area where the parent-child relationship has collided with privacy concerns is the medical arena, especially with the controversial and politically charged issue of abortion. But neither the legislation nor judicial decisions arising out of such issues provide clear rules for GPS.
Is there any guidance for GPS manufacturers or tech-confident parents? With nothing on record, we have to step back to basics.
Traditionally, a child is considered legally an adult at 21, but each state is free to legislate that limit to be 18 or some other number, and free to set it differently for different things. In this day and age, where children are often more technologically savvy than their parents, such laws may seem an anachronism. Regardless, one must first find out what the local rules are in the state where the child resides.
Contrary to there being any clear rules protecting children from parents using surveillance devices on them, the law generally runs in the other direction. Parents have the legal right to extensive control over their children, and that would include the right to govern where the children go. Children, on the other hand, generally owe a legal duty of obedience to their parents. These rights by and large are not taken away from parents except in instances of parental neglect and abuse; absent that, a parent has great latitude.
Indeed, the courts, from the United States Supreme Court on down, have recognized that children are different than adults when it comes to rights. In the 1979 Bellotti case, the Supreme Court said: “We have recognized three reasons justifying the conclusion that the constitutional rights of children cannot be equated with those of adults: the peculiar vulnerability of children; their inability to make critical decisions in an informed, mature manner; and the importance of the parental role in child rearing.” That leads, in the Supreme Court’s view, to a tradition in the United States of enforcing parental authority unless there are exceptional circumstances.
The courts have gone against that tradition and limited parental rights in such areas as abortion. But that is done only after paying great deference to the rights of the parents and determining there is, in the court’s view, a more important issue at stake. One area where parental rights have been limited slightly involves “location,” if not GPS. Generally, the courts allow youth curfew statutes, even against the wishes of parents. But those decisions would not likely stand in the way of parents wanting to track the whereabouts of their children. If anything, they support the notion that children may be limited in their locational rights.
The Bottom Line
While there is little law on the subject, a parent’s desire to track a teenager’s auto usage or keep a young child from getting lost will not likely present strong enough breaches of any right of privacy to cause the courts to interfere. Rather than look to the courts for relief, teens will have to resort to old-fashioned negotiation with mom or dad to be freed of GPS tracking.
Stephen N. Roberts is a partner in the San Francisco office of Nossaman Guthner Knox and Elliott LLP where he has a general business litigation practice. His work focuses on public contracts and related infrastructure and public law issues, including privacy and open records laws. Steve has chaired the ITS America Legal Issues Committee task force on privacy. [email protected]
Garmin GPS-V Mapping GPS ReviewGarmin GPS-V Mapping GPS Review Garmin's GPS-V Mapping GPS Receiver with AUTOMATIC address to address routing Review by Joe Mehaffey and Jack Yeazel Revision: 26 July. 2002 (Add manual route generation) Return to GPS General Information Home Page Portrait or Landscape Display
GPS-V Deluxe: How is it different from the "old" GPS-V and accessories? Answer: Not by much. The GPS-V deluxe is simply a repackaged GPS-V with bundled accessories. Accessories include: Copy of the NEW edition of CitySelect, Data Cable, Lanyard, Manual, and UNLOCK ALL codes for CitySelect. The prices quoted are similar to the old prices with all accessories, but get multiple quotes from various dealers as prices do vary. If you bought the "Old" version after April 2002, you are entitled to a special deal from Garmin on the new map program and unlock all code so you are not in financial jeopardy no matter which you buy. As of December 2004, we feel the GPS-V is now outdated and is superseded -FOR CAR NAVIGATION USE- by many new and more capable units with larger map memories even though GPS-V is still available. Still, for a mix of marine, hiking, and car navigation, you may find the GPS-V just the thing for YOU. See our article, MY FIRST GPS FOR CAR NAVIGATION for our recommended units. One interesting unit to look at is the Garmin Quest.
OVERVIEW: Consumer GPS technology continues to move forward with the introduction of the Garmin GPS-V 12 channel parallel GPS receiver. This product introduces automatic present-position-to-address or feature routing and WAAS in a small handheld GPSR similar in size and capability to the G-III+. With automatic routing, users can input the address or waypoint of a destination and the G-V will compute a route and give turn-by-turn instructions as the route is navigated. The GPS provides a moving cursor on the moving map showing your position on the GPSR's internal map. As a turn approaches, the map switches to a track-up display to aid in the visualization of the needed turn. Two warnings are sounded prior to the turn.
The G-V comes with "CitySelect" (NavTech-based maps). This software is similar to "CityNavigator" software furnished with the StreetPilot III. CitySelect has the same excellent (but not perfect) maps, but routing information has been slightly modified for the lower processor power of the G-V. The CitySelect user can enable one of about 9 USA regions at no charge and can enable some or all of the others at additional cost. The G-V has map memory of about 19 megabytes. Memory is not expandable. The G-V will NOT accept memory cartridges. Street Prices are approximately $415US. Check Discount prices (HERE).
In the Atlanta area, this 19 megs will hold approximately the northern 1/3 of Georgia including Atlanta. The "map chunks" loaded do NOT need to be contiguous. The G-V can also be loaded with maps from any of Garmin's consumer map offerings such as MetroGuide USA (which provides automatic guidance USA wide), R&R, TOPO, and Worldmap. Note: The G-V contains a base map which contains all of the major federal and state highways of the USA and Canada. The G-V can perform automatic routing on the basemap as well as using either CS or MG USA maps for this purpose. Thus, the user can load detailed maps for (say) Atlanta and Denver. Then have G-V generate a route to an address in Denver from Atlanta. The G-V will use the CS (or MG USA) map at the beginning and end of the route and the base map along the way. This eliminates the need to load CS (or other detailed) maps for the highway portions of most journeys. NOTE: The basemap in the GPS-V comes in multiple versions depending on the part of the world the GPS-V is sold into. The base map CANNOT be changed and so if you <for instance> buy a USA unit and use it in Europe, you will have to load CitySelect maps into the G-V for all areas you intend to navigate as the USA version basemap has little detail for any part of the world except the USA and Canada.
NOTES: This review is based on version 2.01, and current version number can be seen by pressing MENU, MENU, SETUP, MENU. Another method to get the revision number is to press ON+ENTER. This also gives the diagnostics page. Press QUIT multiple times brings up additional diagnostic screens. ON+PAGE clears the almanac, and ON+MENU is an erase of stored GPS calibration and waypoint information! For a comparison of MG USA and the GPS-III CityNavigator maps, see (HERE). In some cases the MG USA maps are superior.
This review is based on the MetroGuide USA maps (ETAK/TeleAtlas) and not the CitySelect maps which were not available at the time. As of September 2001, NO software other than Garmin's MapSource CDROM Maps can be uploaded into the G-V (or any other consumer model GPSR. This includes Delorme Street Atlas 9. Additional features of MapSource uploadable maps are discussed below.AUTOMATIC ROUTE GENERATION
The G-V has, for the first time in a small handheld GPS receiver, the ability to generate an AUTOMATIC route from your current location to another point. The destination point can be any of: an address, waypoint, road intersection, city or town, highway exit, Point of Interest from the internal list, or Recently Found Places. This extremely flexible system is easy to operate and works quite well. ANY automatically-generated route can be saved from the Turn-by-Turn page.
It is possible to generate a route internal to the G-V from any destination other than your current location, PROVIDED you are in the Simulator mode and use the New Location feature from the Satellite Page. Routes can also be generated from within MapSource and uploaded to the unit. NOTE: With Ver. 2.04, the number of Via Points has been increased to 100 and routepoints to 50. If Offroad Recalculation is ON, the GPS will immediately recalculate the route from present position. If one turns this feature OFF, then the route is preserved in the GPS, so that you can manually follow the pre-planned route and still get the "pop up" guidance screens.
The current routing systems available cannot know traffic conditions or detailed road conditions and so they will not always be able to take local conditions into account when generating a route. When using CitySelect, the routes are almost always in the "very good" class and almost as high a quality as StreetPilot III using CityNavigator map data. (Note: By "high quality", We mean: the route was the one we would have chosen, or the route was (almost) as good as the one we would have chosen, or the route was efficient, direct, and without problems, but was not exactly the route one would have chosen for themselves being familiar with the area.) With MetroGuide USA maps loaded, the automatically generated routes are less precise and sometimes they are obviously not the best. BUT, MG-USA covers the entire USA as opposed to the 120 largest metro areas for CitySelect
HOW DOES THE USER INPUT A ROUTE REQUEST TO THE GPS-V?
A) The ON ROAD mode of operation. The process starts with the pressing of the FIND key on the front of the G-V. Alternatively, you can select FIND on the main menu. Then you will see this screen: Select ADDRESSES+ENTER gives: Then Enter an ADDRESS gives: Click HERE for MORE Routing Screens Note: In addition to Addresses, you can request routes to POI, Intersections, Waypoints, Cities, Expressway Exits and Recently found places.
Routing Notes: 1) The turn screens "pop up" as a turn is approached and return to the normal map screen as you pass the turn. 2) The user can select either NORTH UP or TRACK UP for the main map, but the pop-up screens are always TRACK UP. 3) If you fail to follow the directions, the GPS will automatically recalculate a new route as soon as it realizes you are "off route". 4) If you stop at (say) a restaurant, when you return and restart the GPS, it will automatically recalculate and take you on the rest of your route. 5) "Road Routing" is the default. If you want to use the G-V on a hiking adventure, you must select the OFF ROAD option in MAP SETUP (go to MAP page and press MENU, on MAP tab, turn LOCK ON ROAD to OFF) or the G-V will try and route you from waypoint to waypoint using nearby roads. ALSO: You must select OFF ROAD in ROUTE PREFERENCES in the ROUTING SETUP tab in the MAP SETUP menu. 6) Faster Time seems to always give me better automatically generated routes than the Shorter Distance option.
B) The OFF ROAD mode of operation As noted in item #5 immediately above, you must select the OFF ROAD mode of operation. This mode is used for hiking activities. In this mode, the routes do NOT lock to roads and the compass page is changed in format to the same as used in the G-III PLUS and other general purpose Garmin GPS units.
Route from road to 001: The Turn-by-Turn Text Guidance Screen changes to the Pointer screen: ............. ...Moving the cursor will display Lon/Lat of the pointer, Quit returns to normal mode.
MANUAL ROUTE GENERATION: Garmin supplied this solution: Put the unit in simulator mode and then on that same satellite page press the menu button again and scroll down to new location and press enter. Then choose the option of use map and press enter on it. The next thing you will do is to move the pointer on the screen with your rocker pad to where you want the unit to think is your current location or starting point. Then press the find button on your unit and enter the destination you wish to route to. The unit will create a route from that starting point to the destination you set it to. Page over to the Turn-by-turn page, press MENU, and then Save Route. One can then use Automatic Route Recalculation ON or OFF to get the desired routing instructions.
TRACKLOGS: The tracklog capacity is 3,000 trackpoints with 10 saved tracks of 250 trackpoints. The Auto tracklog resolution can be set to Highest, High, Medium, Low, or Lowest. In the Highest setting, the tracklogs are as detailed as any Garmin GPS. With WAAS, this unit is well suited for placing or recovery of Geocached objects. It has no trouble, with a few minutes averaging in the clear, to establish a reference point within 3 meters.
............ G-V Screen eMap Screen G-III+ Screen
Note: Above pictures are NOT to scale but show the different screen resolutions of the three models. The pixel count of the G-V screen is 160x256 and the eMap is 120x160 and that is reflected in the above pictures. The actual size of the G-V screen is approximately 1.5"x 2.2" which is same as the G-III+ shown on the right with its 100x160 pixel display.
WAYPOINTS: In order to delete ALL waypoints at once, press: Menu, Menu, Find, Waypoints, By Name, Page, Menu, Delete All.
HOW GOOD ARE THE MAPS?
One of the first thing you'll notice when looking at the maps is the higher resolution screen of the G-V compared with the G-III+ and others. The CS and MetroGuide USA maps are substantial improvements over earlier maps, but you will still find errors and omissions in some areas. Overall we rate the CS maps excellent (in the 120 metropolitan areas they cover) and MG USA we rate as "very good". We found that the CS map/data system regularly generates better routes (more like what you would do) than the MG USA. However, in cases where you do not want to "blindly follow the directions", you can deviate on your own selected path and the G-V will automatically recalculate the route. In our experiences, both systems would get you to your destination. A very few times, we did notice MG USA takes some strange detours, but these were rare.
The GPS-V Receiver
The new GPS-V is very similar to a G-III+ receiver with some important new features and a few G-III+ features are gone. (Click HERE for product review of the G-III+) . All G-III+ accessories work with the GPS-V. The G-V has been enhanced with additional memory (total=19megabytes), WAAS operability, a higher definition screen, perpetual calendar, fish/hunt predictor (useful?). It also includes a "breakout" type game for when you get bored with GPS and includes a gas mileage calculator feature. The G-V has an alarm BEEPER used for alarms, messages and turn warnings. All of the added memory in the G-V is internal as opposed to a removable cartridge. The G-V receiver comes with a DATA (only) cable for loading maps and updated firmware.
There are a number of new menus in the G-V to support the address to address features but those familiar with the G-III+ unit will be right at home with the operation of the G-V. With the G-V you can do the usual G-III+ route/waypoint/track management, (including TrackBack and MARK) plus, the automatic address-to-address routing capability can operate to design routes INSIDE the G-V itself. Pressing ON plus MENU will erase all of the user data. The Master Reset is done by pressing: Zoom OUT + QUIT + ON which will delete all almanac and user data settings. The internal memory for this data is powered by a capacitor battery which will hold a charge for one to three weeks with the batteries removed.
As with many other Garmin models, G7ToWin can be used to up/download/archive waypoints, routes, and tracks. This data can also be displayed on Street Atlas in a more useful manner. The program can also capture screen shots of the G-V screens
Street Atlas 8 can calculate routes, create waypoints, and upload these to the G-V. SA8 can download tracks (with bogus lines), but cannot download waypoints or routes. Ozi Explorer is completely compatible with the G-V for up/downloading/editing and archiving data.
Other new features in the GPS-V include a "pop up" direction screen showing a blown up picture of the coming intersection with an arrow pointing the way to turn and a BEEP to warn you of the upcoming turn. Proximity waypoints are also supported with the beep alarm. The screen backlight can be made quite bright. See photo taken with only this light (HERE).
Battery life in the Normal Mode on the G-V with alkaline batteries is approximately 20 hours based on 90ma battery draw. A "Battery Saver" mode that provides a fix every five seconds as opposed to once per second is supposed to increase battery life by about 30%; however, this mode prevents using the WAAS corrections. We measured 90ma in both the Normal and Battery Saver modes, because lock is required for the Battery Saver mode feature to kick in. (Measuring battery current and gaining lock at the same time requires four arms, -and my dog Sonny can't read the meter!) With the backlight set to brightest, the unit draws 175ma (about 10 hours of life). In the Indoor mode, the unit draws only 58ma.Garmin's SPECIFICATIONS for the G-V can be found HERE.
FEATURES of the GPS-V
We are going to try something new in explaining the features of the GPS-V. The number of option screens is quite large and the some features are somewhat obscure and difficult to find. Therefore, we are going to show screen photos of most of the GPS-V's operational screens and this will (hopefully) give a feature overview without too many words. (Please let us know if you like/don't like this new approach and if you have additional questions, please eMail us.) (Note: The screen shots below are SLIGHTLY LARGER than the actual 2.2"W x 1.5"H (5.6 x 3.8 cm), 256 x 160 pixels size. Attempts to scale the images produced distortion so we left them as is.)
Satellite Page Pressing Menu on Sat Page Gives:Main Map Page Pressing MENU on Map Page Gives: Click for MORE Map Setup Page Rocker Right to DISPLAY gives: Click for MORE Position Page Pressing MENU on Position Page gives: Note: "Average Location" in above menu provides waypoint position averaging feature. This same menu allows user selection of the variables in the data fields. Turn-by-Turn Text Guidance Screen Page Pressing MENU gives: Shows coming turns along route This is where you are able to LOCALLY save a Route. NOTE: This screen only appears if the Route Type is set to Automatic. If it is set to Manual, you get the Pointer screen below. Pointer Guidance Screen Pressing MENU gives The route type here is set to Manual Pointer as a Bearing Indicator Pointer as a Course Indicator ................The "highway display" useful for marine applications is substituted by the above pointer which can be changed from a Bearing pointer to a Course pointer. "Bearing" is the direct direction to the next routepoint from present position. The Course pointer calculates a fixed line from present position or a routepoint to the next routepoint. The "To Course" command directs one imediately back to the courseline. NOTE that the Bearing pointer is not the direction of the courseline which remains fixed. Also note the TO/FROM flag which is present in an aircraft HSI. Pressing MENU key TWICE gives: Select MARK, Press Enter gives: Above shows backlight OFF, battery =1/2 Select POI, Press Enter gives: Click HERE for MORE Select ROUTES, Press Enter gives: Then Press MENU gives: Select TRACKS, Press Enter gives: Then press MENU gives: Select SETUP, Press Enter gives: Press ON plus ENTER Buttons for test screen: Click HERE for more Select ACCESSORIES, Press Enter gives: Click HERE for MORE
HOW DOES THE G-V DIFFER FROM THE G-III PLUS? (Not an exhaustive listing) 1) Higher resolution screen. 2) Automatic address to address routing is available using the basemap, CitySelect or MetroGuide USA maps. 3) There is no formal TRIP COMPUTER page, but you have access to all of the variables by selections on the COMPASS page. 4) The G-V has WAAS augmentation capability. 5) The G-V has an audio BEEP for alarms, messages, and routing alerts. 6) The G-V "times out to operation" and does not require that you press the ENTER key to get operational. 7) The G-V has an alkaline and Lithium battery selection. (Do NOT ask me why they deleted NiCad and added Lithium instead of NiMH!) 8) The G-V has a proximity waypoint Alarm (with separate waypoint list) and an ANCHOR DRAG alarm. 9) The G-V has waypoint averaging hidden. Go to Position page and press MENU, select Average Location. 10) The G-V has "road lock" (cursor locks to the road even if map and current position differ slightly). 11) The G-V has "route rubberbanding to roads" (routes generated by address to address routing lock to roads instead of being straight lines between turn points). 12) The G-V has automatic daylight savings time (but not automatic time zone selection) for the USA only. 13) The G-V has automatic or prompted off route recalculation capability. 14) The G-V has an area calculating feature, but you have to hunt for it. To use it, you a) clear the tracklog and b) go hike around an area and c) go to TRACKLOGS in the main menu and d) save the ENTIRE tracklog. When you do this, you will be shown a screen which has the area bounded by the track. You can also select one of the saved tracks and find the area as well. This is where you find the TRACKBACK feature as well.
CITY SELECT AND METROGUIDE USA MAPPING PRODUCTS More Details:
The Garmin MapSource CitySelect maps are high quality electronic maps using NavTech map data. NavTech has excellent maps (the best GPS/Electronic maps we know of), but they only cover the 120+ largest metropolitan areas in the USA and a bit of Canada. The optional MetroGuide USA covers the entire USA, but these maps are less accurate and the routes are somewhat less likely to please as compared with the CitySelect map system. Note: For the purposes of discussion, CityNavigator and CitySelect provide almost identical maps and performance. CN is designed for the SP-III and CS is designed for the G-V.
The MG USA maps (see MG USA FAQ for more information) are also compatible with the G-V and are quite superior to the quality of Delorme SA9 maps. In some cases these maps have more streets than the more expensive CityNavigator maps. See HERE for a comparison. MG USA includes an extensive listing of POIs including restaurants, hospitals, post offices, lodging, entertainment, shopping, emergency services, and transportation services. We can say that "generally" the POI data is accurately positioned, but there are many restaurants, hotels, post offices, and other POI that are conspicuous by their absence in our area. However, there are a large number available and we do find the POI very useful. MetroGuide USA road accuracy is judged "good to superior" by Jack and Joe.
MetroGuide USA maps are more up to date than the older MetroGuide and R&R maps. MapSource 4.03 or later includes the ability to track your progress on your laptop computer when it is connected to your GPSR with the data cable. Note: MapSource 4.03 is a free update from the Garmin website for purchasers of ANY MapSource product. MapSource MetroGuide USA will not run on MAC computers without an emulator and many are not successful even with an emulator.
MetroGuide USA was designed to provide uploadable maps to the G-V and other Garmin GPS products. In addition, using version 4.03, MapSource systems provide the ability to: upload/download routes, tracks, and waypoints to the GPS, allow the user to automatically generate a route and upload, print maps, manually input waypoints and routes onto the map for later upload to the GPS, and allows waypoint editing both on the map and in text form. In addition, there are many convenience improvements and bug fixes. A complete list of MapSource improvements and the updated software module can be found HERE.WHAT IS OUR OVERALL OPINION OF THE G-V?
The G-V is by far the least expensive AUTOMATIC address to address GPS receiver available. It is the only truly "handheld" unit available. Other solutions such as the SP-III, and various handheld palm computer products (Magellan Companion and Raco Destinator for example) offer larger (and optionally color) screens at overall higher prices. Compared with any of the other available equipment, the G-V is a general purpose unit equally at home hiking or on the highway. The "ON ROAD" option provides good highway and road guidance with specialized screens. The "OFF ROAD" mode provides the standard Garmin circular compass display that we like for hiking use and other G-V features make the unit quite suitable for hiking activities as well as on the highway use.
We found the battery life quite satisfactory, but not quite as long (on a per AA cell basis) as other less capable units. We suspect that the automatic routing capabilities take a bit more computer power than units without this feature require. We found the G-V equally robust as compared with the G-III + and it is rated waterproof to IPX-7. Some have expressed concern about the G-III+ as to the robustness of the rotateable antenna. We do not share these concerns. While it is possible to break anything, the G-V antenna is sturdy and we have had no problems with any of the several GPSRs we have which are constructed similarly.
We do like the G-V's capability of rotating the screen to the vertical or to the horizontal at the touch of the Page button. We like the screen horizontal for car use and vertical when we carry it around as a pedestrian. Overall, we think the G-V is a very capable unit and Garmin has not left out features which would limit functionality for the hiker or motorist.
WHAT DO WE NOT LIKE ABOUT THE G-V? There is not a lot to complain about with the G-V. It packs a lot of functionality in a small package. But: 1) Deleting all waypoints requires an unusually high number (8 or more) keystrokes. 2) We wish the G-V had a map cartridge capability. 3) For Car Navigation guidance, the spoken cues of the SP-III are missed. (How quickly we are spoiled!)
For questions about the G-V hardware or mapping software, eMail JOE or JACK
Return to Joe and Jack's Main Website, Click HERE