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Thread: Skip the GPS for Google Maps Navigation

  1. #16
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yarddog View Post
    And, isn't that the reason we do this motorcycle thang in the first place?
    Not for me.

    I love having the GPS along. It enables me to ignore directions and simply follow interesting looking roads when on a trip somewhere - with the knowledge that Doofus (the lady in the box) will tell me how to end up at my desired destination when I decide I've had enough fun getting lost.

    I've also never found any practical map sources to carry on the bike that have the really interesting secondary and even more remote two lane country roads on them. My Garmin does - and used creatively ("shortest route" instead of "fastest route") has come up with some great rides using them.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
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    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  2. #17
    New2rt
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    Turn in X, Stay left X, Recalculating, Drive X ...Recalculating

  3. #18
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    This is just a little FYI for those who are not familiar with Google Maps NAVIGATION which comes on certain "smart" phones that run on an operating system called Android. (version 2.0 and above)

    It is a fully feldged navigation system equal if not better to dedicated GPS devices from Garmin etc. It can give turn by turn directions and nice big visual cues. Since all current Android phones have bluetooth, bluetooth headsets work great with it.

    DISADVANTAGES: not waterproof and can not use the touchscreen with gloves on, at least those are the only ones I have run into so far.

    Most of the time, I will just pull up a map location on my Droid, hit navigate to it. Stick the phone in my pocket and let the directions stream over bluetooth to my headset in my Nolan N103......sometimes while listening to music.

    Still working out how to text while riding

  4. #19
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashveratu View Post
    This is just a little FYI for those who are not familiar with Google Maps NAVIGATION which comes on certain "smart" phones that run on an operating system called Android. (version 2.0 and above)

    It is a fully feldged navigation system equal if not better to dedicated GPS devices from Garmin etc. It can give turn by turn directions and nice big visual cues. Since all current Android phones have bluetooth, bluetooth headsets work great with it.

    DISADVANTAGES: not waterproof and can not use the touchscreen with gloves on, at least those are the only ones I have run into so far.

    Most of the time, I will just pull up a map location on my Droid, hit navigate to it. Stick the phone in my pocket and let the directions stream over bluetooth to my headset in my Nolan N103......sometimes while listening to music.

    Still working out how to text while riding
    I'll admit to being totally ignorant (hey - at least I'm honest) about Google Maps Navigation on cell phones (I do use the routing capabilities of Google Maps all the time on my computer..) but I have heard the following about it:

    1. It relies on a digital cell phone signal (3G?) to download the maps and routing information.

    2. If you loose cell phone signal your maps may not refresh?

    3. You need to be continuously connected on the cell for it to work (meaning either a LOT of minutes/bits or some always-on plan)?

    1 & 2 would really make it a non-starter for me - I'm rather often out of cell range, even in the somewhat densly populated east coast. West Virginia is one of my favorite riding areas, and one of the joys of riding there is the lack of cell signal (leading to very few brain-dead-cell-phone-using-cagers.)

    3 would be also since I'm a cheap SOB with the absolute minimum useage plan Verizon will sell.

    Having a complete lack of knowledge on how it actually works.. (I know - I could just go Google it..) what I think I know doesn't make it appealing to me.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  5. #20
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    Darn it all, I meant to mention that in the disadvantages.....it does rely on a data connection in order to keep the map updated. So yeah, no data connection, no map what-so-ever.

    So if you plan to go far off the beaten trail away from civilization, this is a deal breaker.

  6. #21
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    One other thing...

    Even if you DO use (and rely upon) a GPS or your smart phone, you should always be carrying paper maps as backup. I try to find maps that show a lot of detail (small backroads) for the areas in which I am riding.

    In the Northeast, JIMAPCO (?) has some pretty detailed maps. In fact, the state of MA is broken into 2 regions (east/west) so all the detail is in a reasonably-size foldable map. Not sure if they have states outside the NE. I've been surprised at the (almost) "trails" that are shown on their maps! Good for a GS, I suppose!
    Theo

    2009 R1200RT, 2007 Shadow Aero 750 (sold)
    2012 MINI Countryman S, 2004 MINI Cooper S JCW, 2000 BMW 328i

  7. #22
    Registered User mistercindy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by New2rt View Post
    Old school, I still use a map.
    +1

    I have an iPhone, and the google map app works well, but it really sucks power. Sometimes I'll look at it in a restaurant or gas station. And its helpful to input a specific address before I leave, then pull over and look at it later when I get close. But when I'm on the bike its in my pocket, and a paper map is on my tankbag.

    I've used it more in my car because I can have it plugged in my car's charger. Even then, I'll usually pull over because I don't like looking at the small screen while driving. When my wife is with me in the car, though, whoever isn't driving can use it and be the navigator.
    Grant
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  8. #23
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
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    What do you do when you're out of cell phone service? Google Maps can't stream to your phone on the move without a decent 3G signal, so if you're riding in the boonies, you need a GPS with a built-in map database. Otherwise, all you'll see is a dot on an otherwise blank screen.

    I too thought I'd ditch my Garmin upon getting my Droid, but I've since learned otherwise.
    Seattle, WA
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  9. #24
    Got curvy roads?
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    good info

    Thanks for all the input! It made me stop and rethink the option. Originally thinking that one of the new Droids would save me $$$. Only one piece of equipment to buy. Of course that introduces the point of single failure. : ( I prefer the back roads, as most all of you, and I am sure there won't be a good or any signal at all. I have experienced this before in my small trips around the state (of course that might be due to the carriers in the area). I also paid more attention to the fact that I do look at the display in my 4 wheel beast than I originally thought I did. Now to plan on a dedicated GPS unit. I always carry a state map to help me find the big picture for routes.
    BMW MOA, AMA, KCBMWMC
    09 R12rt, 01 KTM 200 Exc, 84 Honda Big Red
    98 Katana 750 (gone to a new home)

  10. #25
    "Running Out The Clock" grafikfeat's Avatar
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    I don't trust my GPS.

    I see the mistakes it makes in my town on streets I know.

    Wouldn't be fun in a strange town trying to get somewhere.

    It's good used as a "You Are Here" sort of thing.

    When it dies I'm not replacing it.

    I'll go back to copying a map black and white and highlighting the route.

    Glad i kept my map pocket.
    "Stupidity, if left untreated, is self-correcting."

  11. #26
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    Just another FYI, there are other options for the Droid and any other phone with the Android OS. One example is Mapdroyd, more info here > http://www.androidfreeware.net/download-mapdroyd.html, which pre-downloads and stores info on the phone before you head out so no network connectivity is needed. Your mileage may vary. Hopefully TomTom and Garmin will create a Android app with dedicated maps someday. Actually, I am pretty sure Garmin is working on something.

    Did a little more searching and found this too > http://www.andnav.org/

    IMO, I believe that dedicated GPS units are a thing of the past. Smartphones will be doing it all soon (well, they have always been able to do everything, just not very well, they are getting much better finally) And for you people that like to use paper maps, STOP killing trees!

  12. #27
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    When you buy a GPS, you are relying on the mapping data that the GPS manufacturer has purchased from a third party. GPS mapping data is provided to manufacturers by several different outfits: NAVTEQ and TeleAtlas are two of the most often used. When I shop for a GPS, I am actually shopping for the provider of mapping data as well as the GPSr technology. After all, a really snazzy unit with all the bells and whistles that's just perfect for my bike may not have the best mapping data.

    As I recall, most Garmin units use NAVTEQ mapping data and Tom-Tom units use TeleAtlas data. So, what's the difference? NAVTEQ has always been spot-on in my neck of the woods. However, a buddy with a Tom-Tom GPS reports that he ran into a few errors several years ago but recently seems to be satisfied with the TeleAtlas data. This is merely anecdotal data and YMMV, but the lesson is that you should think carefully about the map data provider and not just the GPS unit.

    I believe that most online mapping sites (MapQuest, Rand McNally, etc) use NAVTEQ data. You can tell what data is being used by noting the copyright info at the bottom of the map window. Google is a bit different; I believe they use proprietary mapping data. Check your area on these online mapping sites. Do the new/changed roads in your area show up?

    In my personal experience, I have sometimes found Google mapping to be a bit frustrating. Those of you who know the White Mountains in northern NH are aware of the Kancamagus Hwy and, possibly, know a connecting road between it and Rt. 302 to Bartlett, NH known as Bear Notch Road. BNR is a delightful ride with amazing turns and beautiful vistas...and it is closed during the late fall to early spring. Thus, Google maps will not route you over it since they have marked it "seasonal". MapQuest, however, DOES route you over it and notes that is it a seasonal road. Google = proprietary data, MapQuest = NAVTEQ data. I do not own a TeleAtlas-based GPS so I don't know what their data would do with Bear Notch Road.

    Lastly, when you shop for GPS units, check the manufacturers map data updating services. Check the prices, of course, but also check the frequency of updates. The frequency of NAVTEQ, TeleAtlas and others having mapping data update available to the manufacturer does not dictate the frequency the the GPS manufacturer actually offers updates to their customers. I believe most mapping data is updated about quarterly, but manufacturers might only have yearly updates.

    See you in the White Mountains...
    Theo

    2009 R1200RT, 2007 Shadow Aero 750 (sold)
    2012 MINI Countryman S, 2004 MINI Cooper S JCW, 2000 BMW 328i

  13. #28
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashveratu View Post
    IMO, I believe that dedicated GPS units are a thing of the past. Smartphones will be doing it all soon (well, they have always been able to do everything, just not very well, they are getting much better finally) And for you people that like to use paper maps, STOP killing trees!
    I don't think that's the case.

    Dedicated GPSs can be designed for the function needed (say - motorcycle navigating, with big buttons, simplified big display, a direct sunlight readable display) where the smartphone is fitting the application to the device. I really prefer the tactile feedback REAL buttons give me on the bike.. when wearing gloves, on-screen buttons just don't do it. The Navigator series from BMW has real buttons.

    The smart phones all seem to be going to touch screen - and the touch screen is designed for bare-finger use. Using it with gloves? Well - that to me would be a distraction, and I don't need distractions when riding the bike. That, along with the need for a lot of connect time really makes this solution impractical for me.

    YMMV... as may your GPS solution..
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  14. #29
    "Running Out The Clock" grafikfeat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashveratu View Post
    IMO, I believe that dedicated GPS units are a thing of the past. Smartphones will be doing it all soon
    (well, they have always been able to do everything, just not very well, they are getting much better finally)
    And for you people that like to use paper maps, STOP killing trees!
    Stop killing us w/ those "SmartPhones"... Get them out of any moving vehicle including Bluetooth Helmets. SmartPhone is a complete oxyMORON.

    As for maps... Mine are printed on recycled materials.
    "Stupidity, if left untreated, is self-correcting."

  15. #30
    Italo Train k75s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bezdelnik View Post
    Just curious if any of you have, or considered skipping the traditional GPS unit and are using the Google Maps Navigation on a cell phone with an intercom system?

    Just thinking one less device to haul around.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? Experiences?
    Yes, I have been thinking about this option also. Since I have to carry my work Blackberry with me a lot of the time anyway.

    I was over in Germany in January on business and had my Blackberry with me. While there, I downloaded the Google Maps client. It worked really well in Germany. I did a lot of walking and riding public transportation. It helped me find the streets, railway stations, and even while riding on the train, I could tell in advance what station I was approaching, helping me not miss my get off point.

    However, I did notice that the map refresh could not keep up with the higher speed trains, and sometimes became unusable. But for general getting around at slower speeds (and even in a rental car) it did not work too bad.

    Now I have been trying to use the Blackberry - Google maps here in the states and in many places I am finding that the map refresh can not keep up even in slow speed situations.

    The other problem I see for using on my bike is the small screen size. I do prefer the sort of oblique view of the streets you get on a dedicated GPS device. And the dedicated GPS devices do not have any problem with map refresh speeds.

    I think someday the Blackberry's, iPhones, etc. will get there with the speed and access points, but I probably will still have an issue with the small screen.

    Actually, I probably could get by just fine with my trusted set of state Department of Transportation maps and my Blackberry - Google Maps setup. I usually have the most problem finding my way around in the towns and cities anyway.
    92 K75s (never sell), 97 F650st (sold), 04 R1100s (now owned by a deer), and about 10 others

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