Garmin vs Magellan

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 21:20
ThreadID: 29700 Views:3247 Replies:10 FollowUps:9
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Wll uys and Gals.

I have just started to get involved in the GPS/Tracking units. And i am in discussion in some other threads on this forum 0 in a basic way as i'm treading very carefully so to buy the right item.

A dedicated Map shop close by, only dealt in Magellan, and couldn't offer help with my Garnin unit. This very nice chap, put me onto a Disposal Store in a close by suburb: They stock Garmin and Magellan.

I was looking a the Garmin 320C (or something like that), then the topic lead to Magellan and thus some comments about Garmin 'getting left behind', and this store looking more favourably towards Magellan.

This new topic of converstaion was based on (Apparently), that Garmin use 'Sensis' information. Whereby Magellan have done there 'own thing', with far greater accuracy. I was told (by the salesman - so must be true!), that Magellen actually field test everything 'live'. Contours are (this is what i was told guys), are checked and filled in by hand.

I had a demo on a Magellan unit, that showed some VERY nice off road mapping.

There is apparantly a RoadMate unit coming out in Feb that is going to 'kill' the Garmin 320C. This Roadmate is used by Hertz USA in their 'No lost' (Or something like that), system.
So this Roadmate seems to be the bees knees. It is also supposed to be a Sat/Nav and full a featured GPS unit - The Salesman wa quite adament over it, and briefly showed me the official brochure - says that i was the first to read it (lucky guy am i). I doubted it as i explained to the salesman, they it would eat into the two markets. But he assured me that this RoadMate did indeed do all these things.... Est price is around AUD $1295. So it could have two in one after all at that price!

But after the USA web sites, their models do not seem to have this full blown GPS fuctionality.

So i wonder if one shop being only Magellan and the other store 'moving' to Magellan, is a sign of which manufacture is better than the other?

Food for thought.
And while i am here, can anyone lend me a copy of Metroguide or CN6? I just want to see with my own eyes, what the quality is like.


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Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 21:39

Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 21:39
>Contours are (this is what i was told guys), are checked and filled in by hand.

what the heck does that mean. I would have thought they brought the info from the gov rather than driving and climbing every hill in Oz. Just buy what ya like, it aint a lot of money....engel is good
AnswerID: 148594

Follow Up By: The Explorer - Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 10:36

Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 10:36
Yes - I am not sure what this comment means either - I was speaking to a Magellan guy a while back about the new topo version - I asked him if they used the 3 sec (~90m) spot height data available (FREE) from the NASA website to create their contours - the guy said "YES". I suppose they would have cross checked the resulting computer generated contours with existing contour maps but doubt if "field" testing would have been extensive.
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: ExplorOz Team - David - Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 21:59

Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 21:59
Magellan use PSMA map data and this is a derived from state government data. Sensis do there own thing. Both dataset have massive holes in the outback and do not have accurate coverage. Easy solution for outback is OziExplorer, PDA/Laptop, CF Card/Mouse gps and whatever maps you want. Best thing about this solution is the PDA/Laptop can do heaps of functions on it's own (download digital camera, email etc). Total solution with full complement of maps less than or clase to dedicated GPS price.

Field checking of PSMA - I would love to have a conversation with his guy!

Best outback general purpose maps are TOPO 250 - You can add 50K or 100K in areas of specific interest but forget the products that boost street level mapping when you leave the tar.

Just my 2 cents worth.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!

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Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 22:42

Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 22:42
Al, you cant install CityNavigator on your GPS as a lend as that'd be illegal and they ship with only 2 instals allowed, but it'll run on any pc and show you all the finctionality of the GPS as well as the sts. What area do you want to look at? I can email you if you like.

Field tested hahahahahaha what a load of tripe. I tried magellan and Garmin when I bought mine 3 yrs ago and found the garmin more intuitive and with CN6.01 its great on a GPSMap60CS

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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 23:14

Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 23:14
Don't matter, they are just big boy toys. Navrun in the otways this year, you and the timboon hoon will be into that wont you
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 23:17

Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 23:17
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 23:19

Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 23:19
gawd, it's $300, I'll have to raid the daughters piggy
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 23:23

Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 23:23
The cost is $300 in total for the team of two cars per weekend NavRun. This includes dinner and breakfast for every participant (4 adults ). Extra passengers under the age of 16 are free, over 16 incurs a $10 surcharge to cover breakfast & dinner.


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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 08:12

Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 08:12
Navrun is on again for 2006. This year we will be staging 4 events all over Victoria. This year Navruns will be treated as seperate events.
There will be more prizes and trophies right up to 10th place. All events are also fully catered for, and yes you can bring the wife and kids.

The first one for this year will be held in the Otways State Forest ( yes, it isn't all National Park ). Two full days of comp; & breakfast & dinner provided.

Basically any stock standard 4wd vehicle can enter to the modified vehicle. There will be no advantage. Know your navigation and you'll be right.

More info on the Otways event, and our other Navruns, Navnites, Amazing Race and Cliffhanger events can be found on the web:

or ring Rudi on 03 9789 6985.

Cheers Steve Hobbs & Rudi Paoletti

I wont be doing it, Will be in F1J1 hopefully

Bonz (and Jeremy)
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Reply By: Road Runner - Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 23:28

Saturday, Jan 14, 2006 at 23:28
My Garmin 96 provides excellent ‘ground’ coverage in the USA but limited coverage in Australia even though its database is Asia/Pacific. My Magellan 315 gives good worldwide coverage but only basic data. The one thing about both units is that they provide very accurate position information and this is after all, the primary purpose of GPS. The computation power of the Garmin 96 will do other functions (aeronautical specific) but the storage of topographical data in both units is limited because of their size and on-board memory.

Not sure where the US manufacturers source their foreign information but considering that they have 250 million potential customers in the USA and only 20 million here, their investment will be low as far as Australia is concerned. Much of the Australian ‘road map’ information contained in my Garmin 96 is about forty years out of date and the unit spends much of its time recalculating track and distance to get back on the road!

Given the technological advances in electronic equipment I don’t see much point in spending big dollars on any piece of equipment as it will be superceded and worthless in a few years time. I think that the suggestion above GPS/PDA/map-software such as OziExplorer is the way to go. Maps will be the most recent available and updating to the latest equipment can be achieved in a modular fashion.

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Reply By: arthurking83 - Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 00:00

Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 00:00
Magellan for maps.

Garmin for GPSr's.
Problem with Garmins at the moment is limited onboard memory!1
(Tha't about to change, with the new 'x' models due out VERY soon!)

Magellan if you want small, light, easy to fit in the car, and best mapping product without the tediousprocess of creating your own!
Garmin mapping is limited by the amount of memory available, but with project like Tracks4Aus, and Mapedit, can create your own (updated)maps.

So imagine in 4 years, your maps are going to be out of date.
Almost all roads will be "tollways", and your map product may not list it as such, with an easy map editing solution you can always keep your map up to date :)

All three major GPSr manufacturers have maps that are editable, it's the degree of difficulty of the processes involved!

I say go for an Magellan exploristXL :) (handheld)
Garmin 2620 (for car only autorouting stuff!)

And the city street mapping is first class, on both Magellans and Garmins maps.
It's the outer districts, tracks, and trails that I'm convinced the Magellan's DAST topo is better.
AnswerID: 148641

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 09:09

Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 09:09
Umm whats a GPSr? A GPS receiver?
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Reply By: Kiwi Kia - Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 07:17

Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 07:17
Do you want something small that you can take anywhere or do you want a dedicated perm. bit of equipment in your truck? There is no one item that will do everything. If you have the room then a laptop (to store all the maps) and a gps pickup / aerial is prob the way to go. As has previously been said this is a constantly changing market and newer devices are coming out all of the time. You may be able to get an idea of when a new model is comming out by watching the prices on an American outlet such as Amazon. They are at present selling the Garmin Map76CS (over 100 MB data storage) for less then US$300.

I think that the next 'leap forward' will be putting SD memory cards in most models so that you can leave the computer at home and just plug in detailed maps of the area that you are in at the time without having to download from a pc. Most mass market gps systems seem to be going into telephones and vehicles rather then hand helds.

It will not be long before the market will be going go to a micro pc based in-car system that uses the same colour screen / audio system for telephone book, sat nav, mp3, dvd etc. Just plug in a small memory device (SD card) to personalise the device and every thing else is already in the 'black box' In Europe (I am told) some highways broadcast road traffic information that is automatically announced over the top of any radio station that you are listening to in your car.
AnswerID: 148673

Reply By: Alan Southport QLD - Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 12:25

Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 12:25

Yes i would like to see it's functionality on my PC. I know my Etrex doesn't do maps. So as i said, i would just like to get to know what this software does etc.
I'm only interetsed in i guess the Gold Coast Area - if we could arrange something, can you email me to - Thanks.

Maddog, Yeah, contours are filled in by hand - some of them - that's what he said. I mean i can 'sort of' understand they might touch them up a bit by hand - off a proper topologoigial relief map - but that's what he said - He was showing me a Magellan 60CS at the time.....

But the point of the post was that these two shops are not little operations. One is soley magellan and the other (VERY WELL KNOWN on the GOLD COAST), is "thinking" of going with Magellan only, as they "Infeered" that Garmin is 'falling behind'.

Bonz, if we could do something about a look at that CN6 it'd be welcome.

AnswerID: 148726

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 15:33

Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 15:33
Magellan have a 60CS? I thought that was Garmin, cause I got one.
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Reply By: OMN - Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 19:33

Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 19:33
I am an absolute novice with all this but i have the Meridian Gold by Magellan. It came with the Discover Aus software and so far everywhere i ahve been it has had the maps and the track names etc in the software.

I haven't been anywhere extensive yet but it has had all the tracks in places around Melbourne like,

Rawson area
Lederderg State forest
Robe in SA
and all the genral state driving i have done it has had all of the roads and tracks no problem.

Can't tell you what it's like further outback as havent been yet. But combine it with a map of the area and i haven't got lost yet.

Even took it out on the boat in the Gipplsand Lakes today and it told me i needed to do a 180 tunr as i had drifted around and taken off in the wrong direction.

And no i wont be going on any Nav Runs in a hurry.

The new Discover Oz sotware only comes on an SD card at present but it has contours as well, software supposedly avaialbe soon, but means you can't link to a PC with the current setup.

AnswerID: 148786

Reply By: Alan Southport QLD - Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 20:40

Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 20:40
First, thanks to Bonz for helping me out.

For Kiwi Kia, i agree with you on the SD input - most new systems, in fact the latest Magellan RoadMate unit has SD input. The highest RoadMate unit to be released in AUS 'Soon' is the 360 - But Magellan is already producing the 500, 500+, 700, 760, and the SD Input 800 model. So the 360 super duper model, for us lucky Australians is IMO a waste of time.

The in car MicroPc is something i can see as well - The technology is already here to do it, but it's MARKETING that decides which suckers are prepared to pay premuim amounts of money to have the 'latest'.
But the Traffic Anouncments, might not be that new. I have a car music system that has a TA (Traffic Anouncement) option set in it. Also, the Sydney Harbour Tunnel - not exactly the same thing i know - can overide any commerical radio station [They have radio amplifiers in the tunnel], and can send a msg to the drivers in the event of a TA.


You mention that certain types of maps are editiable - with the caveat of 'difficulty of the process involved'.

Is this the Excel type format of 'editability'?

Is CN6 Australia, MetroGuide Australia, T4A 'editable'?

If a road becomes blocked or a One way, or a No Right Turn etc - and once Edited correctly, will the Auto Routing on the Garmin 2620 software redirect you?

And not just the Garmin 2620, but other units.

Outbacktourer, has just replied, with my thoughts in mind.

AnswerID: 148803

Follow Up By: arthurking83 - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 01:06

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 01:06
I don't know if the autorouting maps are editable in that manner, but I suppose if the map data was edited to to discontinue the road???

I've never seen info about one way road data!!!
So I can't comment.

What I was referrring to was the encrypted vector based images that each of the big three are using for the maps on the GPSr screen.
(Yes GPSr, the "r" means receiver, as a GPS is the actual system of satellites, groundstations...etc that makes the system work, not a reciever)

The images are not easily editable, even by your average joe computer geek!
There are usually complex processes of decompiling the image files, then using map creating software to re-create the maps, and then uploading to the GPSr.......(not easy, except that Garmin "geeks have an easier time of it).

There are a dedicated band if programmers/enthusiasts that have created the programs to do this decompiling, and recompiling, etc.....
You just need to know where to look!

The easiest method is(was) with the old Lowrance mapping receivers, that used MapCreate4.
Oziexplorer had the functionality to edit these maps, so a 10 year old GPSr could have updated maps forever!
OziMC edited the maps that are in the PC program, and then you uploaded the maps with the Lowrance MapCreate program.

Some of the map data on the DAST topo maps is crazy! (in Victoria)
They have "freeway" data to Bendigo, even the road is not even stated!
Same with the Western ring road to Ballarat (DeerPark bypass). If you were navigating with this map, you'd be expecting to arrive at a freeway, yet it doesn't exist!
Not for a good 5 or so years!!

they are already pre-updated ;-)

But our famous Scoresby bypass (the "no more tolls" road that will be completed in '08) that is marked in dotted form, like a walking trail!
I just hope interstate travellers are sensible enough to realise that this is not a walking trail that looks like a freeway!! :))

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Reply By: hazo - Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 22:41

Sunday, Jan 15, 2006 at 22:41
Was in uk. just before xmas, driving along the motorway merrilly listening to radio, when suddenly this lovely (well sounded lovely) young lady came over the top of my music to tell everyone there was congestion 3 exits further on and the traffic was slowing just ahead! very clever and usefull stuff! no doubt we will get it in time!
All their broadcasts are now digital too and when you tune in it tells you what station it is you've got etc.
AnswerID: 148830

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