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Looking for GPS for cars with Dead Reckoning

GBB888 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
Can any one suggest the best GPS units for use in cars w/ "dead reckoning"? And who updates their maps frequently. I heard Garmin is slow. Not sure if true.


  • Boyd 1974 Points
    The only one I can think of is TomTom with their "EPT" on the 9x0 models.

    They have an inertial sensor which attempts to track you when signal is lost. People report varying results. I had a 920 for about 6 months, but never was in a situation where I could try this feature!

    The older Garmin StreetPilot series had more sophisticated dead reckoning which needed installation. Here's an example, the StreetPilot 2660:
    the StreetPilot 2660 has dead reckoning capabilities, so you’ll continue to get navigation guidance even when GPS signals are obscured. To use this feature, a special dead reckoning cable must be connected to your vehicle's speedometer and backup lights by an authorized Garmin installer. Once installed, your StreetPilot will acknowledge your turns as well as your distance traveled when GPS reception is unavailable. Driving with dead reckoning capabilities is so seamless, you won't even know if you've lost GPS reception.
    This feature isn't so popular anymore since the modern GPS chipsets are so robust and typically only lose signal in tunnels. Why do you feel you need it?
  • GBB888 0 Points
    Thought I needed it. Assumed it was/is a good feature to have. Maybe I don't. I'm totally new to GPS for cars. Meaning I've never owned one. Just know of friends with them.

    Is it true that Garmin is slow to update their maps? I'm from Toronto, Canada.

    Are the TomTom's good?? This one has Dead Reckoning type technology and for a good price! $400 Cdn street.

    The Go930...their flagship model.
  • gatorguy 325 Points
    No, Garmin is not slow on updating their maps. Same 4 times per year as TomTom, both are roughly 3 months behind the latest available mapping from the respective map providers whenever a new device map update is offered.
  • Boyd 1974 Points
    IMO, you probably don't need dead reckoning unless you drive through lots of tunnels or difficult urban areas. 5 years ago it was different. In a big city like New York you would frequently lose signal in the "urban canyons". This can still happen, but not nearly as much.

    I remember driving through Brooklyn with my old streetpilot 2620, under the elevated train tracks and not getting a signal at all. Very frustrating. A few years later, with one of the Nuvi's - no problem whatsoever in the same place.

    Now the TomTom 930 is a fine unit however, and it doesn't do any harm to have the feature. But you may never see it kick in. And if you lose signal for very long, it will probably get pretty mixed up as to its position anyway.
  • dhn 335 Points
    Unless you plan to do all your driving in downtown Toronto, you really woudn't need the EPT offered by a 930. Even then, the sirfIII chip in the unit (the same chip as in the Go 730 version) is pretty robust at grabbing the satellite signal in short order.

    (mind you, 400 Canadian is not a bad price for the unit right now [considering the TomTom web site is showing the same price in US dollars on the US country site])
  • GBB888 0 Points
    Thanks guys.

    It's true. I don't do, or hardly ever, do any driving downtown. And even then there aren't any tunnels. And I doubt the buildings will affect signal reception for any GPS.

    At $400 CDN the GO930 is a good deal. Might consider it if I do decide to get a GPS. Thing is I've never needed one before so...

    And is there any reason why I should maybe look at a Garmin over a TomTom? Any specific models I should look at? Sorry for being vague. I don't have any criteria heh...except a unit that is good at grabing the signals, reliable, clear display even in daylight,...etc.
  • Boyd 1974 Points
    TomTom is a bit weak in the screen brightness department. Still usable, but Garmin Nuvi's are generally brighter.

    If you just want a basic, entry level GPS you should be able to get one closer to the $100 price point. I think you need to establish a budget first, then we can make better recommendations.
  • GBB888 0 Points
    Budget? $500.00. Question is do I need a flagship model? Or just a middle of the pack model? I don't know. I mean what would you guys be looking for in a GPS?

    I think in addition to a bright screen in daylight, reliability, I'd want good battery life. I don't care for MP3 playback. Though I'm sure the one I choose will include it. I think they all have 2D/3D maps. Large screen. Clear voice (calling out the streets). Etc.
  • Boyd 1974 Points
    Battery life should only be an issue if you plan to use the unit on foot. This would be in conflict with your desire for a big screen as the widescreen models are very awkward for handheld use.

    You might look at the Nuvi 1200/1300/1400 series however. They have a new pedestrian mode which allows them to use special downloadable maps capable of routing via public transit. The 1490t has a 5" screen and all the bells and whistles.
  • sbukosky 91 Points
    In the Milwaukee Wisconsin area, there are only two good tests of TT's EPT, that I know of. One is going under the airport runway. However it's a straight line. Not a good test. The other is a rather long tunnel in downtown Milwaukee that has a few turns in it and speed drops. My TomTom does rather poorly in that regard, but to be fair, it is not a problem. I do see it flash on and off in some areas and under some bridges but even my lowly Garmin GPSMAP 60C, see my avatar, handles these situations well. So I'd say that EPT is another TomTom marketing feature that sounds better than it works.
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