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GPS Navigation Ready for Prime Time?


In the LA Times today there is an article titled “GPS Navigators have a long way to go”. The author cites that for the high cost of PNDs they currently do not work well enough unless you frequently travel to unfamiliar locations.

The biggest problem with GPS navigation units is that they often can’t take into consideration shortcuts and traffic-avoiding routes that locals might know.

This is at least partially true. There are often local shortcuts that a GPS system might not take into consideration. However in most of these cases the time savings isn’t considerable and the average tourist wouldn’t necessarily be unhappy with the route suggested by the GPS.

The second part of his complaint is “traffic-avoiding routes”. Currently GPS systems can consider traffic if it is compatible with a traffic reporting service and you have the correct hardware. The three GPS receivers he tested (TomTom 910, Garmin StreetPilot C550, and the Magellan RoadMate 3000T) all come with optional traffic reporting services but it does not appear the author tried them.

Comparing the three devices the author mentions the TomTom 910 had the best routing on the routes he tested, however he (like many other people) had trouble with the mount.

He liked the display of the Garmin c550 the best, both for its brightness and the sensitive touch screen, however he didn’t like some of the routes it suggested.

The RoadMate 3000T got praise for the more intuitive input screen for finding addresses and having the most pleasant audible tones, however he didn’t like a route it suggested either.

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