GPS-is it the software that makes the difference?

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 09:39
ThreadID: 41688 Views:2215 Replies:4 FollowUps:0
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Hi All,
I have been searching forum threads but cant find exactly what I am after. Am looking to buy a GPS but know nothing about them. What I am wondering is is it the software program that makes one unit better than the other? Have had a bit of a look at the Navman F20 and the Garmin Nuvi 310. What is the difference apart from about $450? And is it worth an extra $450? Is the software that comes with these ok or is there something better and easier you should change to?(can you even do that?) Im confused! Sorry if this is a silly question but I know some of you knowledgable people will have the answers!
Thanks :-)
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Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 10:21

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 10:21
Hi L4W - Cannot help with those GPS models, however some thoughts on the subject. You have 3 main options -
1. a stand alone GPS (colour screen, large memory) - does it all ($$).
2. a basic stand alone GPS which also connects to the Laptop for detailed mapping when needed;
3. A GPS mouse (not stand alone) - must be connected to the laptop and mapping software.

My set up is one of many that allows both stand alone use, plus connects to a Laptop that gives a large screen and multiple maps.
1. GPS unit is Garmin 72. A basic portable unit at $300 (eg no colour maps etc but has most functions - and I use the LAPTOP for the colour maps).
2. Mapping software - OZI Explorer. This software does several things:
2.1 It displays the maps; (and finds towns, rivers,mountains etc)
2.2 It connects to the GPS and uploads/downloads waypoints etc;
2.3 It connects to the GPS for 'moving map' display - (eg shows an arrow on the map, where you are).
3. MAPS - I use 2 sets of digital maps :
3.1 NATMAP Raster Mosaic 2003 from the Aust Gov. This covers all of Aust at 1:250k scale. Very good.
3.2 HEMMA Great Desert Tracks CD Rom.
This is a 6 map set, covering most of inland Aust.
Many places (including Oziexplorer) sell GPS units, also stock OZI and the digital maps above.

OZI Explorer has an excellent function which will switch between maps.
As different maps can differ in the features and detail they show, this
enables you to display the same position on diffent maps.

To help with your research, another site to visit is one dedicated to OZI Explorer software at

One little tip - some (many) GPS connect to computers via a serial cable.
Many new Laptops do not have serial ports.
Solution : buy a serial to USB adaptor; (plug it into the same port every time; and if Windows detects it as another 'mouse', just disable it in control panel.)
Have fun with your research..............Regards..............Keith
AnswerID: 218135

Reply By: Phil P - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 11:13

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 11:13
Generally speaking they use the same maps (Sensis), so you can easily determine which model is running the latest maps. I went with the Nuvi 300 and that included 1 free upgrade to the latest maps. I also have Tom Tom on my Palm Treo it has older maps but works fine.

Things to check are:
How well does it fit into your car. For me the Nuvi easily fitted between the pillar and my dashboard using the suction cap bracket on the windscreen. The Navman was slightly wider and it wouldn't fit.

The Nuvi allows me to remove it from the car bracket leaving the 12v cable in the bracket. At the time, the Navman had the cable plugged into the actual Navman itself.

Touchscreen is handy. Not sure if the F20 has touchscreen.

Recalculation speed varies between various models - Only comes in handy if you don't follow directions and it needs to work out a new direction.

Bottom line - I love the Nuvi, but if the Navman fitted where I wanted to install it, I would have purchased it to save the money.

Features like MP3, Travel books are all gimmicks.

I have just placed an order for an HP IPAQ RX5965. This has a built in GPS, runs Windows Mobile 5.0 & includes Tom Tom Software and will allow me to run Oziexplorer on it.

AnswerID: 218151

Reply By: Member - Jay Gee (WA) - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 15:40

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 15:40
GPS's are a bit like cars - some people hate Holdens and love Fords, some people hate Toyotas but love Nissan etc. GPS's are the same - there are people who only but Garmin and won't touch Magellen etc.

They all do the same things - equally well.

And like cars you really to decide what you want the GPS for:

Car - If you just want to go down the shop - you get a small car
GPS - If you just want to know where you are - you just get a basic GPS like the Garmin ETREK (or whatever equivilant the other brands have)

Car - If you want to take car on a drive to another town - you just get a medium to large Sedan or Wagon
GPS - If you want to go to a specific address - you need a navigator GPS

Car - if you want to get serios off road - you get a 4WD
GPS if you are a serious hobbyiest who wants to record how to get there so you can document it - you get a GPS with track capabilty

As for software - most (not all) software is brand independant. Data you get from one brand GPS can generally be transferred to another brand.

Clear as mud?
AnswerID: 218190

Reply By: Member - Bijengum (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 21:35

Sunday, Jan 28, 2007 at 21:35
I have used Navman on PDA - Ipaq. The Navman software has been very poor - locks up PDA and requires resetting. Service from Navman - not interested. Cost for updating maps is a rip off. Would not touch Navman ever again in any form.
AnswerID: 218249

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