To GPS or not to GPS?
I bought two more GPSes. This is getting ridiculous - but I felt it was necessary.
When I say GPS, in other parts of the world this is called a satnav, meaning "dedicated GPS" or "satellite navigation," meaning a navigation device that looks similar to a phone but cannot receive calls or texts. All the map data is preloaded on one of these things either internally or using a memory card, and its one job is navigation. One of these things works by use of its internal GPS antenna to get its position literally from space, then use that in combination with the map data to tell you where you are and give you directions.
It still amazes me to this day that most people don't realize that GPS does not require any sort of paid subscription whatsoever. You have already paid for it. The GPS satellite grid in space? Paid for by taxpayer dollars. There are no fees to use it. The only thing you used to have to pay for are map data upgrades, but both Garmin and TomTom have been offering that for free for years. The only time you actually pay for a map upgrade is on really old GPSes, but with Garmin you can opt to use OpenStreetMap map data instead for a 100% totally free maps update. I wrote a whole book on how to do this. As long as your Garmin was made in 2008 or later, yes you can absolutely load free map data on it.
I tried using the phone. It didn't work.
To be more accurate, I should say it didn't work well enough for my needs.
I use an Android phone and tried the following apps for navigation:
- Google Maps
- HERE We Go
- Magic Earth
- TomTom GO
All of these work, but the only app that actually displays everything I want to see on a single screen is HERE We Go.
When navigating, HERE We Go will display:
- The map (obviously)
- Current speed
- Posted speed limit of road you're on
- The current road you're on
- The next turn you need to take
- Estimated arrival time
- Distance to destination
Out of all navigation apps, HERE We Go displays the most useful stuff all on one screen...
...but it's still not as good as a Garmin DriveSmart, hence the reason I just bought two of them used.
In addition to everything I just mentioned, a Garmin DriveSmart will also optionally display a list of upcoming turns on the same screen. Up to 4 turns are listed, and the list auto-updates with each turn taken. Garmin calls this turn list a Map Tool simply titled Turns.
The map display, colors, arrows and pretty much everything is far, far better than the HERE We Go interface.
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