Fun With A GPS

Submitted: Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 12:06
ThreadID: 106238 Views:2950 Replies:16 FollowUps:12
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How old are the maps that come with a GPS?

Yesterday we arrived home from a quick trip from home (Rubyvale CQ) to Rockhampton. Eastern end of the Capricorn Hwy. This is a road I travelled regularly every weekend for 4 yrs 30 yrs ago. It got so I could name the curves for kilometres ahead & did so as a game with my daughter.

So this trip we had 2 GPS units with us. Both bought within the last 6 months. One more than the other kept telling us to turn at the next road. Either very minor farm access road or no road at all. There has been no change in the highway in all the time I've lived in this area.

Told to turn then "do u turn where possible" i.e. back to highway. This 8 times in a 80 km stretch. Half of these were made roads which rejoined the h'way further along. At this point told to turn "left at next intersection the left again then a further left turn" i.e. circle back to h'way. This would put one in an endless circle. Others would put you on a side track that would add kilometres to the trip before joining the h'way.

We have had this problem in other places too. Once was inland from Gladstone. Removed railway line shown on the opposite side of the road from where it originally was. Peak Downs hway was totally realigned at least 15 yrs ago. Only now does the GPS show this. There are more examples around here.

So; what maps are these units using? Bill
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Reply By: The Explorer - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 13:00

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 13:00

Before anyone can tell you what maps may possibly be on the GPS units you have, you will need to state what make and model GPS units you are referring to. There are many different types of GPS and many different map sets.

I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: Notso - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 13:44

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 13:44
Also if you have it set to avoid unmade roads, shortest or longest route and a whole heap of variables.
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Reply By: Shaker - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 14:10

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 14:10
With all due respect, how would you expect us to know what maps your GPS is using?
Go into your 'settings' & check the map info & it should show you the map version.
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Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 14:19

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 14:19
A lot of GPSs use data from Whereis. That is Telstra!!!!
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 18:24

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 18:24
Navteq mapping is being used quite a bit now.
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Reply By: Member - VickiW - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 19:45

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 19:45
Hi Bill,

you may want to look at your route settings as Notso suggests. Also you may need to delete waypoints along the way if you do not go exactly to them. When I did my first trip with my Hema for the second half of the first day out it kept doing something like you are describing. When I'd set the route I'd just specified town centres along the way but didn't necessarily go through those centres so it kept sending me back to the ones I missed...then at one stage it was trying to send me home to start all over again as I re-loaded the route when trying to fix the town centre problem :)
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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 20:34

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 20:34
I travelled to Katoomba from Sydney after I updated my maps on a Garmin and tested them on the way to see howe accurate they were.

Outside of Katoomba we were driving in the bush for about 15kms and then were directed under the railway overpass to come into Katoomba on the old, original highway.

And this was with an updated series!

Bill B

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Reply By: Robyn R4 - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 22:37

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 22:37
Mine is ok until I get to the roadworks (near home and also near Gympie, Qld) and it doesn't understand why I choose to follow the highway's new configuration. I understand that one.
But then it tells me that my house is on the left side of the street when I live on the right!
And that, my friends, is why I always travel with paper maps as well, and take what my GPS sweetie tells me with rather a handful of salt!
AnswerID: 526477

Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 00:53

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 00:53
Save trees...just look at the digital map and ignore the voice. A map is a map no matter what its displayed on :)


I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: Member - bill f (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 02:23

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 02:23
Thanks for the replies so far

The two GPS units used were a Navman move50 & a Navig[8]r C50. Both bought within the last 6 months so presume the latest maps installed. Both set to only show destination. No waypoints along the way. Only set to show the quickest route. No exclusions for dirt roads etc.

Question was how old were the maps as some of the instructions seemed to relate to the Cobb & Co days.

First queried instruction was 11 Km from home told to take a left turn. This was onto a property access road. It may wind its way through the bush to eventually emerge near Emerald because on travelling West told to take a dirt road on the edge of town. Will take the 4wd one day to see where it goes.

The main problem was at the R'ton end with being told to turn onto non existent roads, drive in circles. Where a road existed it was shown on the screen most times. That was how we knew it was telling us to drive in circles or take a long detour off the h'way via a gravel road.

These were the ones from the last trip. Two previous GPS units showed all sorts of errors in different parts of CQ. This is our home territory so errors are usually noticed easily.

Not concerned myself as I usually use paper maps & when I do use the GPS it is to find my way through large cities.

But what about inexperienced travellers who trust these units. I know they shouldn't but they do.

So; How old are some of these maps & are they ever revised & updated? Can look it up on the unit but that doesn't tell me how accurate they are. Some nautical charts are pretty much as Matthew Flinders drew them so maybe some of our GPS maps hark back to old army maps or Cobb & Co days.

It was done as an amusement on a long boring drive but did raise some interesting thoughts & some exploring to do some time. Bill
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Follow Up By: DesF - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 18:18

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 18:18
Hi, In our group most of us have Garmin's, some Tom Tom's, and a couple of them had Navman's, they were suffering your problems quite often while next to no problems with our Garmin's.
Occasionally you might find your self driving along side the road, when there has been a realignment but rarely.
Needless to say they have ditched their Navman's now,
We also use them for Geocaching as well (Nuvi 760& Etrex 30).
My maps are over 12months old, and only a few new roundabouts missing.
Cheers Des.
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 07:36

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 07:36
I understand what Bill experienced. We recently got and updat for the VMS box and with it came new maps for the inbuilt street navigation. And new default settings. The first thing I did was to deselect Toll ways and Motorways.

I rarely used the last model so I thought I would turn it on and check it out on a simple drive to Sydney on the Hume. I get to the Mittagong and Nowra/Wollongong turn off and it wants me to leave the highway. Blowed if I will so I stick to the Hume wondering what the hell is going on. I am not about to stop and fiddle nor try to change while moving. So I get all these instructions to turn off the Hume. I just turned it off.

On the way home from Parramatta it wants me to head into the city. Again some annoying instructions until I stopped at Pheasants Nest for a cuppa. It has the route planned to go down the Princess Highway to Wollongong then up the Macquarie Pass to Mittagong and back to the Hume. I select Toll roads and it pops back to the Hume. Since when was the Hume Highway a Toll road and no "Recalculating" sounds from it after that. Ahhhh

Bloody things. It's no wonder those Asian tourists simply drove into Morton Bay.


AnswerID: 526489

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 08:12

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 08:12
If you ask 2 people how to get from A to B you will almost certainly get 2 answers. And sometimes they even get the route wrong!

GPS's are simply little computers working on map data. The map data and programs are written by people so guess what!

Like any tool, GPS are simply a tool, not the wealth of all navigation knowledge.

AnswerID: 526493

Reply By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 18:54

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 18:54
The latest version inbuilt GPS in a Toyota uses mapping from 2010 ...
AnswerID: 526524

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 13:11

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 13:11
My Landcruiser has February 2013 maps.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 13:26

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 13:26
New FJ Cruiser 013 & 014 models mapping is dated as 2010 …. no update as yet available..and impossible to use 3rd party upgrade of mapping WITHOUT swapping factory head unit due to encryption.. many at FJCC have tried to no avail.
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Reply By: Member - bill f (QLD) - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 00:46

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 00:46
Again Thanks all. If anyone at any time can tell me what maps are being used (who drew them) & especially age (when last revised) I would appreciate it.

So far over the last 9 years I've used a Tom-Tom, Garman, Navman & Navig[8]r. Tom-Tom would have been the best but all showed misdirections at times particularly when older roads away from towns. Bill
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Follow Up By: Bludge - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 12:09

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 12:09
Bill, the map maker will be in the product info in the system info on the GPS, however as you seem not to be able to find that I just looked at the Navman site and its NAVTEQ® is the leading global provider of location content in the form of maps and places data that enables navigation, location-based services and mobile advertising around the world.

Only the producer of these maps will be able to fully answer your questions fully.

If you want more info try Navteq try under support.

The Navig8r website again try under support if you need more detail.

Originally all maps were surveyed, yes, sexton and compass, nowadays satellite imagery, all maps public maps are approximately 2 years old, some GPS maps will be at least 12 months old.
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Reply By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 04:48

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 04:48
DesF's Post says it all.

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 07:59

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 07:59
They may not have updated the data Doug.

We have a TomTom here that hasn't been turned on for years. I was thinking of lending it to my sister. She is on a pension and not into the "technological" age. I don't think that she even understands the need to update. In any even it would cost her around $100 to update, money she has not got. But the TomTom is usable provided that you accept the age of the data.

But would I throw it out. Nah. That's ridiculous. Either update the data or accept it. So just because someone threw it out does not say it all.

It is the same as someone said. Ask two people the way and you will get two responses.

And then you have to configure it according to your ways of getting around. I don't use it much and had not configured anything before it told me to go the "long way round". My mistake. But that's fine. We can accept that. And don't use it much anyway. And I didn't go its way anyway.

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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 08:02

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 08:02
They are not maps as we know them Bill.

Pure data files as in the output of a GPS itself and extra data added to describe the surrounding like speed limits, school etc etc etc.

Nothing to resemble hema or gregory maps. Just pure data that means something to the little people who live in the GPS. No pictures and nothing drawn.


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Follow Up By: Member - bill f (QLD) - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 08:52

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 08:52
Hi Phil,

Accept that they are data files but the data was probably obtained by digitising a map by someone, somewhere, sometime, somehow then added other data to give features needed.

Can see that it could all be done completely from data files but still there should be somewhere it tells you when these files were assembled & collated.

Don't care how old they are really just so long as I know & can make allowances. For me I prefer a paper map. Work out the days route, memorize it & refresh along the way at coffee breaks but it is also nice to have a voice tell you when to turn even if you can't see where.

Might add that these days I do very little driving (health reasons) so can play around with these electronic gadgets. Small things amuse small minds. Bill
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 10:36

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 10:36
When you think about it, the in car navigation aids will always lag the true picture ,so people should just accept it and use some "street sense" (joke!!) when following them. A bit of both paper and digital navigation should be the way to go . Same as you mentioned. Also don't ignore street signs like those big green things you see along the way. We have never had issues finding our way through towns before navigation aids so why all of a sudden people can't follow signs. Beats me!! But we are not BORG society members!! Think about that bit.

Lets look at the update process to see how they will NEVER be accurate.

There is some road work near here that is due to finish soon so how long would it be until Joe Blow gets it in his screen navigator. They would be fools to put anything out before it is finished so lets look at it.

Give the council/rta or whomever a few months to get all the internal maps updated, reviewed, edited and reviewed again and then get some wig to approve them. Now if you expect a time frame of six months then I would guess you would be close. So say six months.

The navigation boffins at company XXX would not be releasing a data set more than a few times a year otherwise it would be a continuous stream of updates and changes. A bit like Microsoft with Windows and Bill gates errors still causing problems. Say another four months per update.

Total so far is ten months worst case.

The user would not update every night especially when paying for an update so that could be another few months worst case. For us its about two years! But elts say two months and I think that I am generous at that. We aren't all made of money.

Why not just round it out to a whole year.

This means that the "maps" would always be out of date so anyone with half a brain would be a fool to believe they are 100% accurate even immediately after an update.

And then we stuff in a few "human" errors to boot. Both supplier and user. Like me not setting my TomTom up properly in the first place.

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Follow Up By: Member - bill f (QLD) - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 11:41

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 11:41

I agree with your reasoning. Two year delay is reasonable but the 15 years it took for the realignment of the Peak Downs H'way to show seems a bit much. That was the realignment near Coppabella but the changes made to circle the mines at Clermont showed up within 3 years on one GPS but not other. All correct now.

Five years seems to be about the norm on major changes but longer on others.

GPS units are good to play with, but trust them, never. To use one to plan a holiday in remote regions is not wise in my opinion. Only good thing is that things change slowly in the bush. Bill
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 12:28

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 12:28
So true the last sentence.

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Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 13:08

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 13:08
The message is loud and clear.

DO NOT blindly trust any GPS.

Even though the GPS may have been purchased in the last week, the maps may be out of date.
Many GPS units you get a single free update directly after purchase.

Most road navigator GPS companies update at least every 6 months.

Even with the most recent updates, they can be wrong...they just dont update minor or obscure roads.

Of course you have slip lane or service road syndrome, where the resolution of the GPS can not account for you beeing on the main road or highway, and being on a slip road or paralell access road.

Then you have the routing algoritims.....on the lower priced units they are not at all clever.

OH there are the routing options.

These GPS uints are just fabulous for finding an address in a particular street or finding a street in a partricular neibourhood, or letting you know where you need to turn......but for actual navigation they are piss #@$y poor.

I have always refeered to my paper maps ( on road or on the water) to know where I am going and how I want to get there.

Except for a couple of ocasions where I have been a bit lazy.....I have regretted it every time.

I don't have to go past the end of my street before I know the the route planned by the GPS is not the best way to go.

Around town, no matter where I go the GPS will be telling me to turn at places I know damn well are not clever, and recalculating its route.

Its regular tricks are, taking you where you have to do right turns across very busy roads, where two streets up there are trafic lights.

Planning convoluted routes thru backs streets when the main road or a minor arterial is way quicker and easier.

Oh in a truck or towing a trailer putting you thru very narrow streets with redicuously tight truns where you sinply wont fit, or up and down very steep hills.

They cant be beat for calling out the turnings a several hundred meters out, long before you could read the street signs and preventing you overshooting highway exist you know you want.

But as a blind navicational device...Um NO.

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Reply By: Rangiephil - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:00

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 15:00
Funny that the OP should mention that stretch of road.
When I input Rockhampton into my Garmin 1490T about 3 years when in Emerald, it suggested a route via Townsville!

I ignored it and turned it off.
The worst it did to me when I was looking for Paddy's Market in Sydney, it took me up William st then via The cross city tunnel . When I got to the end of the tunnel it said turn right turn right . Seeing I had not been through the tunnel before I did and ended up on the Harbour Bridge and doing a loop of North Sydney.
On return I went down Sussex, and went straight to Paddys but I wasn't very happy ( understatement). I only keyed it in as I thought that there may have been some new one ways since I had last been there.

Regards Philip A

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Reply By: Ali Ree - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 at 17:44

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 at 17:44
Quite a lot of GPS share datas from whereis..
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