This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Find out more about how to manage cookies, or dismiss this message and continue to use cookies.

Any Garmin plans to change the map update process?

Does anyone know if Garmin has any plans to change the way maps are updated? I've had a long love affair with Garmin's auto GPS, but the map update procedure has caused my ardor to cool dramatically.

My home internet access is a cell phone tether. (I live in the boondocks.) The maps are now so big, they blow out my cell phone data plan. Without Garmin Express updating in the background, it takes hours and hours (more than overnight) to update and I can expect to exceed my data allotment. With Garmin Express updating in the background, I will unexpectedly get a data overage warning.

I had to uninstall Garmin Express on my home comupter and resort to using my work computer (something I'm extremely reluctant to do) for the upgrade. At work, there's a high-speed wired internet connection.

Another issue with the periodic updates is that the process can't respond in real time to road changes. Whereas Google Maps had changed their road maps within a day of a major bridge collapse in Washington last year, if you wanted to see that change on Nuvi, you'd have to wait months for the next update.

I'm so disenchanted with the horrible map update process, I've put my plans for a new Garmin on hold. I currently have my third Garmin, a 3790 LMT, that has always been a bit glitchy. It's okay, but I would really like to replace it. However, I am reluctant to spend any more money on a GPS unit until the map upgrade process doesn't rely on a computer connection and occurs continuously in real time or nearly real-time.

Comments

  • Boyd 1987 Points
    If you want the maps installed on your device, the files are only going to get larger as time passes. Aside from the roads themselves Garmin keeps adding junction views, 3d buildings, speed limits, trafficTrends data, etc, etc.

    You want more frequent updates AND less data usage? Seems contradictory to me. ;)

    Based on what you've said, it sounds like you would be happier with a phone or tablet solution that only downloads data for the immediate area as you pass through it. Garmin's software is certainly buggy and updates are really slow to download. Those thing might improve (or not), but the maps aren't going to get any smaller.
  • If you want the maps installed on your device, the files are only going to get larger as time passes. Aside from the roads themselves Garmin keeps adding junction views, 3d buildings, speed limits, trafficTrends data, etc, etc.

    You want more frequent updates AND less data usage? Seems contradictory to me. ;)
    .
    That's exactly my point. With more and more information to update, the link through a computer (especially for those of us with data plans) is becoming more and more onerous. I dread updates.

    What I would envision is a Garmin with the ability to receive data via cell phone or WiFi signals, perhaps for a monthly or annual fee. If my Kindle and iPad can receive cell signal data, why can't a GPS unit? Maps, POIs etc. would be continuously updated in the background. It wouldn't be replacing the ENTIRE map and data set every day, just the parts that had changed. However, unlike accessing a Google map, the data would be on the Garmin unit itself. You wouldn't want to lose your navigation ability in a cell phone dead zone.

    The loss of the cell signal in places is the reason I haven't looked too hard into an alternative iPad GPS. The ideal would be a combination of Garmin and tablet capabilities.
  • It would be nice to update only the changes rather than the entire 2 Gig each time. I'm sure it would take some head scratching on Garmin's part, but as a full time RV'r, finding enough bandwidth on the road can be hit or miss.
  • Boyd 1987 Points
    With more and more information to update, the link through a computer (especially for those of us with data plans) is becoming more and more onerous. I dread updates.
    I don't see this changing anytime soon (but it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong). Most people have cable, fiber or DSL for internet and are not so worried about downloading 2gb of map data every three months. The trend is not your friend - people are using more and more data everyday, replacing broadcast TV with streaming HD, music is streamed on Pandora, iTunes and Sirius. Video conferencing is common through Skype, Facetime, etc.

    Even if the device contained a cellular radio for map updates, why would you expect that data would be any cheaper than your current data plan? And wifi would depend on your home internet connection.

    I also live out in the middle of nowhere. When I moved here I had to get a satellite dish for the internet. That was really terrible (the data rate wasn't bad, but the latency drove me crazy). A year later Verizon rolled out DSL. It's only 2.5mb/s, but it works well and doesn't have limits.

    Due to my unusual location, that is the only kind of high speed internet I will ever get here, unless 4g wireless becomes available at an affordable price. Not holding my breath for that. Right now I barely get a usable 3g signal out in my yard.

    That's the price I pay for living in a secluded natural location. If fast internet were my top priority, I'd move to a little apartment in the City. :twisted:

    But really, do you really need to constantly update your maps? In the past, I would only update when I got a new unit, maybe every 3 years. Now, once a year is certainly enough.
  • SergZak 340 Points
    [But really, do you really need to constantly update your maps?
    Quite true. And to tell the truth, after many years of owning numerous GPS units and performing many map updates, I have never actually seen, nor witnessed an actual area that had been obviously updated by a map update. No, I don't really even try to verify anything has been updated because quite frankly, there's no logical, definitive way of doing so. Sure, maybe if I paid attention to some of the road & area changes, maybe I'd be able to tell if they were updated. Sure, the changes are obviously there since the map update always grows bigger with each release. Sure, it's great to know you have the newest map data available but as it is, did the map update actually apply to my area? I really don't know.
  • I disagree, I want to have the most accurate maps as often as possible.

    Its fine around the areas that you are familiar with regardless if the maps are accurate or not as you would know what roads to drive and which to avoid, but about those areas that you never/rarely drive? Wouldnt you want to have the most accurate map possible?

    For example in my city a new overpass has opened a few weeks ago that cuts considerable time on my way to work but also makes me avoid the traffic in the city.
    If I was new to the city and rely on the current map it would drive me right thru the city and in the traffic which can be a headache and that because I wouldnt know there was a better way.
    Thats why we need accurate maps.
  • kenp 92 Points
    I've experienced two map updates that were of major importance to me, so it's not like it never happens. Errors that I've reported have never been fixed, so there's some predictability in the world. :)

    I've been favorably impressed by the iPhone's navigation and traffic data. Kind of a tiny screen, but it could serve well in place of a Garmin. Especially if current data is important.

    If you have a laptop, have you considered taking a quarterly trip into town and camping out at a McDonald's or Starbucks for a couple of hours to do the update on their Wi-Fi?

    Ken
  • privet01 221 Points
    I don't put much faith in the map update process for Garmin changing dramatically either. And I will add that I still find the 15+ year old Rand McNally atlas stuck in the pocket on the back of my seat just as capable of getting me where I'm going as my reasonably updated GPS. In fact I prefer to use it for planning and quick re-routes instead of my nuvi.

    But I certainly do hope that one day we can see our road gps's updating from a wireless network it can encounter along the way. With traffic getting more and more popular.....at least I think it is, I don't have it....... you'd think this would eventually go to digital broadcast and have some capacity to at least somehow update things like restaurants and services I might even go so far as to allow them a minuscule bit of advertising space while I'm searching for them so maybe they can help pay for the infrastructure needed.
  • Boyd 1987 Points
    Iyou'd think this would eventually go to digital broadcast and have some capacity to at least somehow update things like restaurants and services
    Actually, it's been there and gone. Garmin introduced the Nuvi 1690 and updated it with the Nuvi 1695. These units had internal cellular radios that were used for traffic updates and also Google search. They never really caught on here in North America. Garmin may still market something similar in the EU, not sure.

    I used one of these for awhile and posted my impressions - see: http://forums.gpsreview.net/discussion/21072/x/p1/

    Instead of continuing these devices, Garmin chose to support similar function with their Smartphone Link app. There was another (non Garmin) device that I believe received live map updates, but it never caught on either. I think they went out of business? Was it called the "Dash" maybe?

    One issue with these devices is that you had to buy a data plan after the included one expired (I think the 1690 had a two year initial plan but the 1695 was only one year). In the end.... there is no free lunch. :twisted:
  • alanb 549 Points
    I think the smartphone navigation apps like Google navigation fill the need for those that want frequent map updates and don't want to do the large downloads. So I think it is unlikely that Garmin will develop incremental map updates, although that would be a welcome improvement for all of us that use the stand alone GPS devices and do regular map updates.
  • popej 57 Points
    Garmin already offers programs for smartphones which use on-line maps. I don't like this solution for the similar reason as OP - it depends on cellular data transfer.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    There was another (non Garmin) device that I believe received live map updates, but it never caught on either. I think they went out of business? Was it called the "Dash" maybe?
    That was the Dash Express. It had wifi and could run updates. I've still got mine in a box somewhere here. And there was also the TeleNav Shotgun which too could run updates like that. I've still got that one too-- I think it was cellular only though.

    In any case, incremental map updates is something that has been on the minds of GPS companies for a long time though as more and more people get access to broadband and bandwidth becomes less expensive it becomes less of a priority for them to implement. It is a tougher problem than it might seem at first glance.

    TomTom MapShare is a form of incremental map updates, but not all types of changes can be implemented through their system.
Sign In or Register to comment.
↑ Top