As posted above, I am just curious what people here have found to be the most accurate for locating streets and roads, Garmin, Google Maps, paper maps/mapbooks or something else?
I got to thinking about this earlier this afternoon after my post in Garmin Talk about state parks/state forest roads. For most of us here, I suspect, we use a dedicated GPS or mapping on our smartphone/tablet and don't give a whole lot of thought to anything beyond what we are looking for at that moment in time. (Why would we?)
Now one of my concerns over the years has been adding new streets as they are added to new developments. We h ave had some discussion on that here in the past.
Now for more established areas, areas that have primarily roads that have been in existence for a year, or more, do you ever find that city/county/state maps are better for including all of the smaller roads? My general sense is that state maps focus on major roads and highways. They aren't intended to include smaller roads. County highway maps probably have better detail for that particular county. Similarly, city maps probably are better for specific city.
I have been finding that state forests and state parks may have their major roads listed, but smaller, gravel roads may, or may not, be shown on Garmin CN NA, Google Maps.
What has your experience been? If you are in an area, like a state park, state forest, do you still pick up their paper map, if they have one available? Have you found many map downloads available from state DNR agencies that you can add to your dedicated GPS and/or smartphone?
Location: Mountains of Western North Carolina.....
On three separate occasions my wife has used her iPhone to route us places, that ended up with us being at a dead end 1/4 to 1/2 mile from destination, but on a road that DOES NOT CONNECT to our destination...
Only reason why we used Phone is because the Garmin was in the glove compartment at the time.....
I would GLADLY use the 2689LMT instead of iPhone for accuracy around here...
Granted..... At Times, when Garmin is in Glove Compartment, it is easier to use iPhone..... But, I'm finding Garmin GPS is more accurate, and gives Better Next Turn information without lots of time spent playing with unit...
2015 Ford Focus.... Windshield and dash configuration, even with extended GPS Mount, blocks view for wife, so though mount remains on windshield, the 2689LMT resides in glove compartment...
Whereas on my 2011 Ford Escape: Windshield and Dashboard configuration allows me to leave my 2689LMT attached at all times.... So I don't have the issue wife has with her Focus...
Biggest problem we encounter: Is the car we are going in have the Saved destination, or did we put it in Other GPS??????
Install ALL the saved waypoints in all your GPS's. That's what I do!
Install ALL the saved waypoints in all your GPS's. That's what I do!
All 6 of mine
can't even imagine how many minutes google has saved me. and I was late to the game fooling around with Garmin. Did not use google until May 2016. Can you imagine? All the time wasted!
I used to joke how Garmin doesn't even show a shopping mall built 9 years ago, yet the map is the latest greatest. Now, with warehouses popping up all over the place, Garmin can't even find any of these addresses. Google can. You may say well I don't need to find malls and new warehouses so what does it matter to me? It doesn't, just illustrates the accuracy or lack thereof with the various products.
If all you want/need is the exact lat/long of your destination, Google Earth can't be beat. IMHO, that is.
I don't think I've ever had an issue, or anything worth remembering.
Any problems were operator error.
I do a lot of map work and use a wide variety of mapping products. The answer to your question depends mainly on your location, the type of information you need and the update frequency.
For street address routing, I use both Garmin and Google Maps. Both have their accuracy problems and, for the most part, I don't see one being better than the other. This will vary in a given area though.
Street names pose the biggest problem. The most accurate source I've found are County paper maps issued by the Department of Transportation in many states. Most are updated at least annually, include all new streets and any street name changes. They can sometimes be difficult to obtain though. My second choice are the Delorme Atlas map books, now a subsidiary of Garmin. Most are updated annually.
Maps issued by localities such as State and National Parks can be a source of information but the scale is sometimes distorted and detailed information is often missing. https://www.gpsfiledepot.com/ is a good place to look for digital versions of these maps.
For topography, hands down the best are the USCGS 7.5 degree quad maps. They are the source for most digital databases. Update frequency is poor but fortunately, topography doesn't change much over time. I often use these in conjunction with Google Earth for many of my projects. I'll sometimes scan sections of these quads for GPS use.
There are a wide variety of mapping resources available if you do some research. The internet of course is a great tool for this purpose. It all depends on what you are trying to do.
If all you need is the best way to navigate to a particular destination, your Garmin and / or your smartphone with Google Maps will get you there 90% of the time. If you have the time, check your destination coordinates in Google Earth. Most errors can be spotted and adjusted if necessary.
That is an excellent reply. Thank you very much. I have to concur that with street address routing using both Garmin and Google Maps is a great way to go.
When I was still doing civil process for a sheriff's office, I would often get process for very new addresses. Then, what I would sometimes do is pull the GPS coordinates from county property records. That would, obviously, get me the correct location, but it didn't necessarily find streets, if they weren't shown on maps yet, to get there.
I know that MN DNR also has some maps available that can be downloaded onto GPS devices and smartphones. One of the challenges I have is the MN DNR will show a map for a state forest & then both Garmin and Google will show streets and roads up to the state park or forest, but I would like to essentially have it be seamless.
For POI's (looking up a specific place), Google maps definitely has a big advantage over any "static" maps like what we have on our Garmins. Also, I have found that in general, Google is better at finding addresses on streets that have multiple names (like local street name and state route number). Sometimes it can be frustrating trying to find an address or place on my nuvi because I just don't type in the right search criteria that the Garmin has in its very limited data base, where online Google is more forgiving and can usually find what I am looking for using several different combinations of search terms. That is not surprising since you are going against a very limited data base on the Garmin device, where online with Google you are going against their giant server farm.
As far as street accuracy, routes, etc. I sometimes have better results with Garmin and sometimes better results with Google. It is often just an opinion based on local knowledge that determines the best route. If you don't have first hand experience in the locale, you can't really know the best route just by looking at a map. It is not always obvious and not something a mathematical algorithm can necessarily determine.
When young, before GPS was even a thing, (before computers were really mainstream to consumers), I collected maps. Any map. Foldable maps, atlases, platt survey books, topographic, whatever I could get my childhood hands on.
Fast forward to today, I've used many PND's, Pocket PC's, Pocket PC phone, Windows Phone, iPhone, and Android. I've used Map programs on PC's with an external GPS antenna, then internal WWAN cards with built in GPS. Of course, all of these rely on software maps.
I still have an affinity toward paper maps, however, they are not as quickly updated as today's smartphone apps.
I, too, enjoy nature, from biking, hiking and geocaching when the kids were interested. POI's of course help with keeping locations updated, but as far as roads, paths and trails, the updates come more infrequently.
My GPS SD card in the car is several years out of date, so I've been thinking of buying the update. I'm also looking at the current map availability for my Garmin Edge for the bicycle.
For the bike, if cost was not a factor, I would buy both an update for the street maps, and I'd also buy a good Topographic update.
One of the nice things about having a Garmin product is the versatility. In addition to the paid maps offered by Garmin, there are free and donation-ware maps available (including street and topo maps) that will work with your Garmin biking device. https://www.gpsfiledepot.com/ https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Map_On_Garmin/Downlo...
Google maps gets the nod for being the most up to date. For obvious reasons Garmin will never be as up to date as Google is. New streets/addresses make Garmin a clear 2nd but Garmins do things Google can't so in areas where there is a lot of new construction/roads Garmin can be hard to use without help from Google maps. I drive a hazmat tanker truck so while new addresses and weight restrictions create problems I can use Google to help find it and then mark the location on my Dezl for my return visits. Garmins are more reliable in certain areas because of cell signals vs satellites. Saving address info is so much easier on a Garmin.
In my experiences, none of them, just wishes one devices can combine all of them together with some more tools
- Garmin: OK, but POI and speed limit cannot
catch up the changes. Satelite HD not available
in some state. For example: It's show the route
to somewhere OK, then you stop at another place for restaurant, come back it cannot give you
the same path because that's place cannot receive traffic signals, instead of 1 hour to go to destination, now it gives 4 hours. But it has nice options to choose for fastest, shorter and eco driving, while other methods cannot.
- Factory car: instead of new map in 2018, but there's many places Garmin and google cannot find, surprise it can. Factory car nice GPS on very big screen, when changing lanes it shows exactly where car going, while Garmin shows static images, or static bird views. In some states, it's nightmare if there's many exits in curve ways.
- Google: POI more advantages, but if somewhere no signals, no internet, you stuck at somewhere on the route or desert, terrible in experiences. Save a lot of offline maps on iphone still cannot help. Plus there's no options for driving in economic way like electric car or hybrid car.
- Waze: Nice for real traffic, but cannot compare others, plus if no internet, oops, no offline map to move forward, just guessing LOL in middle of crisis of after hours. Plus, bluetooth cannot understand by cars. Many errors...
One of the challenges I have is the MN DNR will show a map for a state forest & then both Garmin and Google will show streets and roads up to the state park or forest, but I would like to essentially have it be seamless.
I understand your frustration with using one map to get you to the "front door" and then having to use another to get to your destination.
A small scale solution is to create your own maps. There are many software packages available for this purpose. You first need scale paper maps with the information you want. This is of course time consuming and near impossible on a large scale. Making the map routable is even more difficult. I'll sometimes attempt this for a county or part of a state. Creating a single map that will let you create a seamless route from say Central Park in New York City to a campsite in Yellowstone National Park would be a monumental task.
The best solution I can offer is to use two different navigators. For example, use your smartphone with Google Maps to navigate from Central Park to the entrance to Yellowstone NP. then switch to a Garmin running a custom map of Yellowstone.
I do this frequently with my Nuvi 3597 and Montana 650 handheld. I navigate as far as I can using roads available in the Garmin 3597 database and switch to the Montana handheld running a custom local map. At that point, I'm usually ready to leave the vehicle and go by bike, snowmobile or on foot.
You can also do this with a single GPSr that will let you load and switch maps. Most of the Garmin's I own have this feature. The trick is to find (or make) a local map with the information you want.
I was going to backyard BBQ and I DO KNOW HOW to get there.
Just for giggles I used the POS Navigation in my car which is GARMIN based. Heck of a lot harder to add a destination.
Anyway after using the ridiculous way to enter a new location, I typed in each letter of the street very meticulously and the house number.
Now I have to say I KNOW how to get there. While I was underway it wanted me to do wrong turns all along the way but I just overruled the GPS info. When I parked near the house I was visiting it showed me the street name where I am parked and its where I wanted to go but the GPS lines were going well beyond there yet. Now looking into it further I found some gremlin somehow had changed my destination address to a completely unknown to me, an address quite a way from where I wanted to be, in fact an address I've never heard of.
For really remote roads in Arizona I have used Google Maps with the satellite view. It now works on Apple CarPlay which is handy. Downside is that you have to force load the maps onto the phone before you go to a place with no cell service.
Garmin now has a RV model for campers and an Overlander for areas off road maps. It has a terrain map with the trails and back roads.
Google maps by far
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