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Google's Free Satnav Outperforms TomTom

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the sounds-pretty-badbad dept.

Google 242

Barence writes "A real-world road test of several different satnav systems has found that the free Google Maps Navigation outperformed TomTom's premium GPS unit. PC Pro put the satnavs through four different real-world tests, covering country roads, inner-city traffic and motorway driving. The Google satnav finished the four tests more than half an hour ahead of the top of the range TomTom Go 950 Live. 'For those in rural areas or people who spend hours in their car every day, we believe the investment in a dedicated satnav device or software will still pay off,' PC Pro concludes. 'But for the recreational user, it's amazing what you can get for free.'"

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Twilight of the Goulds (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989000)

Liberals are clear-eyed, cool-headed rationalists, implacably opposed to dogma and superstition. That’s why they reject the fairy-tales of the creationists. Like this one: The Universe was created in six days and is now only 6,000 years old. Laughable. Or this one: Noah’s ark rode out a world-wide flood for forty days and nights with a huge collection of animals on board. Ludicrous. Or this one: Mass immigration by non-whites into White societies will produce peace, prosperity, and happiness for all. Ridic– Whoops, sorry, my mistake. I’m mixing my fairy-tales up. That last one belongs to the liberals, not the creationists.

Yes, the truth is that liberals don’t really object to dogma, superstition, and fairy-tales at all, they just object to the wrong kind: the old Christian kind. They’re perfectly happy with the new kind – their kind – and they hate science just as much as creationists when it threatens to contradict their irrational dogmas. Race does not exist. IQ tests measure nothing but the prejudices of IQ testers. Differences in the psychology and behavior of men and women are solely the product of social conditioning. Those are three of the biggest liberal dogmas, and for the past forty years, led by pseudo-scientists like Stephen Jay Gould (Jew), Richard Lewontin (Jew), Leon Kamin (Jew), Steven Rose (Jew), and Jared Diamond (guess), they’ve fought tooth-and-nail against the ever-growing scientific evidence that all three are completely wrong. Race does exist, IQ tests do measure something real, and men and women are innately different in psychology and behavior.

More evidence of how liberals can’t tolerate true science comes from their ignorance about one of the most important of all scientific tools: the controlled experiment. When you have an idea or invention to test, use a small space to start with and compare what happens with a control where you don’t do anything. One of the advantages of this method is that if something goes wrong, you can easily contain the problem. Suppose you have a new chemical that might help crops grow faster and feed more people, but might have unwelcome side-effects too. You need to test it to make sure it’s safe, so the obvious thing to do is manufacture huge amounts of the stuff and use it on every farm in the country. That way, if every plant turns yellow and dies after two weeks, shortly before farmers and their families start developing strange and deadly new cancers, you’re up shit creek without a paddle. But you can at least say that your heart was in the right place.

If you think that sounds wrong, you’re obviously not a liberal, because that is actually a good description of how liberals have been testing the effects of race mixing. Mass immigration by non-whites is an experiment on a huge scale with no controls whatsoever, and if it all goes horribly wrong the ordinary Whites of Europe and America, who never asked for or wanted the experiment to take place, will be left up shit creek without a paddle. It will be no consolation that many liberals will be sharing the canoe with them. Other liberals, with the money to buy their way out of a self-created disaster, may be able to flee somewhere still safe like Iceland or the far north of Canada. If so, then maybe after a few years, when the memories of massacre and rape by non-whites have begun to fade, their crazy liberal religion will re-assert itself and they’ll begin agitating for more “diversity” in the hideously White societies that surround them.

That’s why the native Whites of Iceland and northern Canada, if they have any sense, will arrest those fleeing liberals as soon as they step off the plane and deport them straight back where they came from: the racially mixed hell-holes their criminal ideas and actions helped create. After all, there’s no way the refugees could plead innocence or ignorance. The disastrous effects of mass immigration are already obvious now in the experiment that took place in the Pacific on the tiny island of Fiji. Europe and America are big places with many millions of White inhabitants. It will take a long time to destroy them completely with mass immigration, and the process has only just started. Fiji isn’t a big place and that’s why it’s already been destroyed. The old Fiji is now gone for ever, because the native Fijians are outnumbered by the offspring of Indian laborers imported under the British Empire. There’s huge racial trouble there and for once the old liberal whine is right: The disaster in Fiji is Whitey’s fault.

Or rather, it’s the fault of the ignorant, short-sighted White colonial politicians who ran Fiji and imported Hindu Indians without the consent of the island’s rightful owners. The same kind of politician imported Hindus from mainland India into Buddhist Sri Lanka and created another intractable racial conflict. Sri Lanka is where suicide bombing was invented before it was picked up by the Palestinians in their racial conflict with the Jews and then sent on to the London subway and the racial conflict between Whites and non-whites in Britain. In each case – Fiji, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Britain – a small group of politicians have ignored common sense and the lessons of history by allowing different races and religions to mix. In the case of Britain, their task was made easier by the lies of Jew-corrupted science and psychology about the realities of race and racial differences.

But there is some good news: Those lies are starting to crumble fast. Many of my readers will have heard about the new research into gene-variants underlying brain development. There are highly significant genetic differences between Whites and sub-Saharan blacks, for example, and those differences support race realism about differences between White and black intelligence. I’ve been reading liberal papers and watching liberal websites and very little has been said about this research, which is a sure sign of its significance. Liberals can’t attack the researcher as a racist because he’s Chinese, and though they may be able to delay the even more significant findings he’s said to have made, it really is only a matter of time before the religion of modern liberalism becomes extinct.

That’s because its cherished dogmas about race are being destroyed one by one. Science is on our side, not theirs, and even the most deluded of white liberals are starting to realize it. Those Jewish pseudo-scientists like Gould and Diamond, who knew the truth all along, are being exposed as the liars and charlatans they always were. They should thank their lucky stars that this scientific war won’t end in a trial for war crimes, because they’re guilty as hell and share a heavy responsibility for all the Whites raped, murdered, and beaten by non-whites in Europe and America since the crazy and criminal experiment of race mixing and mass immigration started back in the last century.

Re:Twilight of the Goulds (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989164)

tl;dr

Re:Twilight of the Goulds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989972)

You need to test it to make sure it’s safe, so the obvious thing to do is manufacture huge amounts of the stuff and use it on every farm in the country. That way, if every plant turns yellow and dies after two weeks, shortly before farmers and their families start developing strange and deadly new cancers, you’re up shit creek without a paddle. But you can at least say that your heart was in the right place.

If you think that sounds wrong, you’re obviously not a liberal

Not a Republican either, since that's how Big Business does just about everything. Enjoy your fucked up gulf coast, losers.

Not Free (5, Insightful)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989028)

I love using Google Navigation on my Android Phone, but it's short-sighted to say that just because I'm not paying extra for "Navigation" that the cost of this service is completely free. It's all part of the relatively expensive "Google Smart Phone" bundle.

Re:Not Free (4, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989086)

It didn't exist when I bought my G1. Now I have it. I'd call that 'free'.

Granted, I updated the firmware manually on my G1 and stock G1's may not have it.

Re:Not Free (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990272)

Every G1 has it. It was part of the normal firmware upgrade some time ago. And it's awesome.

Totally agree (4, Informative)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989388)

Free software running on free maps (OSM) would be fair to call free. Then we could argue about the quality of the maps or the quality of the navigation, but I'm still waiting for this option which is likely to be the only free solution.

what? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989036)

So the free google offering out performed the rest, but they still recommend buying one rather then the google offering?

Re:what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989096)

So the free google offering out performed the rest, but they still recommend buying one rather then the google offering?

Yeah, it's not like they explained that the inability of cell phones to adequately and consistently lock onto the GPS satellite signals, or the reliance of some of these phones to have a strong 3G data signal played into that decision...

Re:what? (0)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989174)

Actually funny thing is that my Nexus One has a better GPS reception than my dedicated Tomtom device, the gps locking happens within a second, the Tomtom often needs 30 secs or more.
But the main issue is that the GPS+ 3g connection needs more power than my car connector can deliver :-(, offline driving is fine though, although driving in the blazing sun is probably not good for the long livety of the device.
But for general pathfinding I prefer nowadays the Nexus One over my Tomtom any day, way better gps, way better directions via voice commands.

Re:what? (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989436)

But the main issue is that the GPS+ 3g connection needs more power than my car connector can deliver :-(

What? A model-T with one of those shaker flashlights taped to the engine and harvesting its vibrations should be able to power that stuff, you're talking about a fully passive receptor for the GPS and one that people can carry around in their pocket powered by a tiny battery all day long. Your car cigarette lighter probably has a 15-amp fuse, which is the same one you run your hair drier through at home.

Re:what? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989526)

Though, at 12 volts, 15 amps is a lot less headroom than it is at home, at 10 times that voltage...(EE geeks may proceed to evicerate me, based on my naive comparison of AC and DC scenarios...)

I still have to wonder what the hell kind of cigarette lighter adapter can't deliver enough power for a device that charges over usb(albeit, quite possibly preferring the sorta-kinda-standard "usb" that actually means 5V at more like 800 or 1000ma, rather than 500, along with the usual data lines)...

Re:what? (2, Informative)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990530)

Having spent some time on the HTC Desire forums it seems a lot of people are suffering the issue that the phone loses charge while plugged in and being used as a sat nav device. Part of the problem seems to be that most of the micro usb car chargers are only delivering 500ma, and keeping that big display turned on with sound and locking onto a signal is burning a lot of power. Apparently some cables do provide closer to the 1000ma charge and this seems to help (I can't speak for any of this personally, never tried to use mine as a sat nav, but it's come up enough times independently for me to believe there's some validity to the claims).

Re:what? (3, Informative)

jridley (9305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989582)

Uh, no. 15A at 12v isn't the same as 15A at 110v.

15A at 12v is only 180 watts of power.

15A at 110v is 1650 watts of power.

However, you're correct, 180 watts is certainly far more than any cell phone uses, the GP post is clearly wrong. Cell phone batteries are typically something like a max of 1 amp hour at 3.2 volts. If the phone exceeded a 10A (conservative) at 12v draw, even in a worst case scenario where they are using an analog regulator to drop it to 5V charging current and therefore only harvesting 10A at 5V, that would mean that the phone could only run for a maximum of 6 minutes on a fully charged internal battery doing 3G. Actually it wouldn't work at all, because if you tried to draw 10 amps out of a 1 amp hour LiIon battery, it'd catch fire (or more likely, just pop a polyswitch and shut down your phone).

Re:what? (2, Informative)

Minderbinder106 (663468) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989852)

I had this problem too until I bought a 1000 mA USB car adapter to replace the 500 mA adapter that I had.

Re:what? (2, Insightful)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990502)

I had this problem too until I bought a 1000 mA USB car adapter to replace the 500 mA adapter that I had.

which, of course, means it's not the cigarette lighter - it's the charger that's at fault

Re:what? (2, Interesting)

Steve Max (1235710) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989614)

But you can pair your phone to an external Bluetooth GPS unit (at least Ovi Maps lets me do so, don't know about Google). Also note that you'd normally download the maps for the region you expect to use your GPS through WiFi, and not on the road (which was the major "problem" they found with Ovi). If you remove the extra time they took to download the maps on Ovi due to sheer incompetence, it performed on par with TomTom. Slower than Google, but with the added benefit of not requiring data at all.

I'd say Nokia and Google offering free navigation is somewhat like all phones offering somewhat decent cameras. You won't replace all GPSs with phones, just like even a Nokia N8 won't replace a Canon 1Dmk4 or an ultrazoom compact; but for most people in most situations, the phone will be enough (just like there's no point in carrying an extra supercompact camera if you have a good camera phone).

Re:what? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989128)

As the post below notes, the Google offering requires internet access. PCPro recommended the dedicated system for 'rural' use, which may have issues with internet availability.

Having said that, Google's offering is fine because almost everywhere I go, I can get access at some point, and once it has mapped the route, the access isn't really required. (At least, I think it isn't. I've never had an instance where I was on the route and then it couldn't continue, but I've had issues with getting it to get the route in the first place.)

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989886)

So the free google offering out performed the rest, but they still recommend buying one rather then the google offering?

I have both a Garmin GPS and a Droid Incredible. While the GPS itself is WAY better on my Incredible in that it finds and tracks my location with much more precision, the Garmin still does typically find better routes. In addition, I have had several instances where Google Maps Navigation takes me to the wrong location flat-out. While I have had that happen a handful of times with my Garmin GPS, it seems that GMN is a more severe offender.

The functionality of Navigation on my phone is way beyond what I can do with my Garmin GPS, but ultimately the Garmin will be there for me when I'm not getting solid data service or when I know I'm looking for the best route.

Really? (5, Interesting)

RDW (41497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989040)

With the enormous caveat that:

'As yet, there's also no way of downloading [Google] maps to a memory card for offline navigation, so you could have major problems in areas without a 3G signal'

Re:Really? (5, Informative)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989180)

Well, that depends where you're driving.

Google Navigation does cache images of the entire route -- but this can become problematic if you deviated from the planned route.

Re:Really? (1)

jwinster (1620555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989766)

Well, that depends where you're driving.

Google Navigation does cache images of the entire route -- but this can become problematic if you deviated from the planned route.

This is actually pretty handy. I live in Colorado and as soon as I hit the mountain roads I lose my 3G signal, but I still have all the data cached to get to where I'm going which may be out of cell range, or at least to the cell tower where my maps can re-download if my destination has changed.

Re:Really? (1)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989196)

You sure? I thought the satnav app downloaded the basic map data for the entire calculated route for just this scenario. If not, they should...

Re:Really? (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989298)

That would only help if you plan the route before you leave and I'm also not sure where it would store the route. I mean if you close the app does it empty the cache or if you reboot the phone? That said I use my Droid more than my TomTom just because it's easier to always keep with me but I do miss all the opetions of my TomTom. Chosing map colors, display information etc. I wish Google would start making it more customizable.

Oh and I miss the English Woman voice telling me "In 2 kilometers get on the motor way". I switched to Metric just to add to the effect :)

Re:Really? (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989312)

Which is great if you have a 3G signal when planning your route, and at any point en route where you might have to make a significant change. Otherwise...

Re:Really? (4, Interesting)

Mr_Miagi (1648543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989270)

Furthermore, even without 3G, GPRS can consume a lot of data as well, downloading the maps on-the-fly.

So, if you're out and about in areas where you need Sat Nav and have only Google maps to go by, you end up spending a fortune thanks to extortionate data rates (per MB) charged by every telco in the EU. My experience in this is within the EU only (so far), but it has been costly - very costly.

Re:Really? (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989560)

Yes, I don't know why downloading the maps into the Nokia seemed to be such a big problem for the PCPro guys, when that would save them access to the network and bytes in their data plan.

My GF has a Nokia E75, and while they don't provide free navigation they provide free maps. The navigation is an add-on that costs $40 a year (just for this particular phone), the installation of the maps was a easy, but of course takes time to move the whole US info into a microsd card through the USB.

They should have tried it, the GPS seems to be very accurate on the phone, or at least what the trial license demonstrated.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32990248)

Yeah, really?

Don't know about US, but here in Europe Nokia offers FREE navigation software with every GPS capable mobile phone sold. It's not trial version or anything, it's free for life. So please check your facts.

http://maps.nokia.com/services-and-apps/ovi-maps/ovi-maps-main

Yes, really. (1)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990348)

Yeah, really?

Don't know about US, but here in Europe Nokia offers FREE navigation software with every GPS capable mobile phone sold. It's not trial version or anything, it's free for life. So please check your facts.

http://maps.nokia.com/services-and-apps/ovi-maps/ovi-maps-main

Maybe you should check your facts. That's only on current phone models.

I got the free upgrade to the Maps application on my N95, but if I try to use the navigation routing feature, it wants me to buy a license. (I got about three free uses of routing before it decided I had to pay for it.)

Re:Really? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990312)

My wife has the Nokia 5800, and the included Ovi Maps has maps and voice navigation, all free for life. I was under the (maybe false?) impression that Nokia had opened Ovi Maps up to the entire series. You might want to check that... you may well have a very pleasant Ovi Maps upgrade waiting for you in the Ovi Store.

The box for our phone claimed that navigation was a pay-for service with a 2-week trial, but as soon as I installed Ovi Maps the installer informed me that Nokia had made it free for life, which was a very recent policy change for them, and sure enough a couple of months later it still works fine.

We don't have a data plan for her phone (we use WiFi for data on the phone), but Ovi Maps allows you to download the maps to phone memory or an SD chip. It came with an 8GB SD chip so loading about 6 states into it made no measurable difference in free memory, and she doesn't have to care whether she gets cell signal at all to navigate.

It did take a couple of hours to load all the maps I wanted into the phone (it's not a fast process by any means, even over the USB connection). But, heck, just set up the states you want and let 'er rip! But I suppose I could see why a reviewer who is going to spend 1/2 hour with the phone might not want to invest 15 minutes of that into setting it up. There's a difference between an investment in time for long-term use and just wanting to get a quick impression so you can pound out a review and get paid.

Without the data plan it does lack traffic and construction updates, so it's not useful for traffic avoidance, obviously. And the interface "leaves a little to be desired", and that's being nice. Failure to integrate the phone's built-in address book, for example, is an incredibly stupid oversight in my opinion. But it gets the job done, and the "surfer dude" voice is just a riot. Yeah, it's the little things that stand out.

But, hell, it's working voice navigation and locally-stored maps. As a bonus feature that we didn't even expect. We bought it because of the 5mpix camera and a few of the other nifty features, and the fact that it was unlocked smartphone so my wife could use WiFi for data and not have to shell out to AT&T for a cell data plan we really didn't want or need.

Not too shabby for an unlocked phone that cost $250.

It hasn't been a perfect device (the camera stopped working mysteriously, but a firmware reload fixed that right up, and we've had a few other minor problems here and there - nothing serious or anything that impedes its function as a telephone). But for the price and the fact that it's unlocked, I'd say it's decent value for the money.

Re:Really? (1)

Brit_in_the_USA (936704) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989534)

With the enormous caveat that:

'As yet, there's also no way of downloading [Google] maps to a memory card for offline navigation, so you could have major problems in areas without a 3G signal'

That should be corrected to "without any signal". I successfully start a route plan and use google nav on my N1 in locations that only have GPRS. It actually seems faster than loading a full screen map view. Probably because the route data and "on route" maps are "vector" rather than bitmap.

And they didn't preload Nokia maps (1)

coder111 (912060) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989856)

I have used nokia navigation on my 5800 on several occasions, and it worked quite well. Of course I preloaded maps for the countries I was driving in- being hit by roaming charges for downloading maps on-demand abroad would have been atrocious. This is the main drawback of google maps- you cannot afford to use it in another country due to roaming charges. Nokia provides free maps for most of the world, and they are quite detailed and accurate.

Oh, and they should have doublechecked that assisted GPS works on all phones. GPS without assistance from the newtork is several times slower to get a lock.

--Coder

Re:Really? (5, Interesting)

timbo234 (833667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989914)

With the enormous caveat that:

'As yet, there's also no way of downloading [Google] maps to a memory card for offline navigation, so you could have major problems in areas without a 3G signal'

It's not just areas without 3G signal, in Europe if I drive a few hundred kms (as little as 100km in one direction) I'm in another country. Despite the EU brining them a bit under control the data charges are still punishingly expensive - it's not worth it to pay 20 Euros in data charges just to navigate somewhere.

good investment? (3, Insightful)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989046)

"For those in rural areas or people who spend hours in their car every day, we believe the investment in a dedicated satnav device or software will still pay off,"

really? I grew up in a rural area, and I spent hours in a car commuting because things were so far away... and I question this. There were two possible routes south from my hometown, one was about 150km to the closest big down, the other route was about 250km to the same place.

gee, hard choice there, better get out the GPS...

The more rural the area, the fewer route choices, and thusly the less importance a GPS due to the lack of choice.

Re:good investment? (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989102)

What about rural areas that you aren't familiar with?

Re:good investment? (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989678)

Maps. They're amazing technology, and they're free. Almost all of my driving is through rural areas, and 2 minutes looking at a map before I leave is generally all I need.

Re:good investment? (1)

plumby (179557) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989816)

A Sat Nav is simply a map that can also tell you where you are.

Re:good investment? (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990008)

well, from my example I'm either on route A or route B... whether I'm at tree #57802 or rock outcrop #378 is kinda unimportant, the road only goes north or south and keeps going north or south for a total of about 200km.

Re:good investment? (4, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989152)

I grew up in a rural area, and I spent hours in a car commuting because things were so far away... and I question this. There were two possible routes south from my hometown, one was about 150km to the closest big down, the other route was about 250km to the same place.

A lot of "cityfolk" like to take a drive from one major city they're familiar with, to another major attraction they plan to visit, and rural areas are a huge unknown adventure in between. Some like the superhighway, but many like to get off the beaten track, see some farm houses, smell the manure and wash the beetles off the windshield for a change of pace. They didn't grow up in the area, they didn't know that choice A was 150km, and choice B was 250km. That's exactly when they turn on the GPS and confirm which fork in the road to take.

Re:good investment? (1, Offtopic)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989840)

> They didn't grow up in the area, they didn't know that choice A was 150km,
> and choice B was 250km. That's exactly when they turn on the GPS and confirm
> which fork in the road to take.

Because, you know, what else could they do? Use a paper map? That's so twentieth century!

Re:good investment? (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990054)

I even once heard of someone using a new-fangled contraption, they called it "asking someone". I don't trust it mind you, none of that crazy technology for me thank you.

Re:good investment? (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990332)

You have a paper map that will talks? updates the route automatically? that's awesome.

Wait, you don't? you have to fold and unfold it? buy one for new areas?

Your paper map thing sucks when driving around. You can keep your 20th century, thkuvrymuch. kthxby

Re:good investment? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990516)

They could, but if they already have a smartphone, why bother paying for a paper map?

I carry a cheap paper national-level atlas and a DeLorme Gazetteer for my home state in my car all the time, just in case I need a map to get somewhere.

But when I actually need directions, I find it easier to just pull out my Blackberry. It's right there, it can direct me to the most efficient route (while avoiding construction and traffic if available), and it's paid for because I have to carry it for work. As long as I have at least GPRS data signal, it gets the job done. My wife's Nokia with Ovi Maps doesn't even require a data signal - the maps are stored on the phone.

Why would I need to stop at a gas station or convenience store to buy a sufficiently-detailed local paper map for $5+ that I'll have to try and shuffle around and identify streets while I drive? I'll use it once, then it'll become part of my piles of door-pocket clutter or get recycled.

I can still read and navigate by a paper map, but it's less distracting and less stressful in a strange area to have a map that shows where I am, and what turn I need to take next, and how far away that turn is.

Re:good investment? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989158)

Until you have 16 choices, all of them dirt. At least GPS can show you which one is least curvy. It's also great for curvy roads that you don't know and don't have signs, so you can see that hairpin half a mile before you fly off the road.

Re:good investment? (5, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989440)

Until you have 16 choices, all of them dirt. At least GPS can show you which one is least curvy. It's also great for curvy roads that you don't know and don't have signs, so you can see that hairpin half a mile before you fly off the road.

What I really like it for is the 'unguided and unplanned meandering drive'. Turn on the GPS, drive around and take random roads you'd never take if you were worried about getting lost. Go ahead, get lost. Navigate by the sun or follow a river.

Eventually, tell it to take you home. It's actually a pretty decent way to explore your area.

Re:good investment? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989234)

It depends on the rural area in question. Rural Wales is a labyrinth of tiny single-track lanes. In Yukon territory, you've typically two choices; towards BC or towards Alaska.

Satnav is terribly useful in Wales. It's literally saved me half a day, when the only paved road home was closed due to a fatal accident and Tom Tom's ability to route around a blocked road came to the rescue.

It's pretty pointless in the Yukon (but a handheld GPS is useful for hiking).

Re:good investment? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989304)

Why are they useless in the Yukon? Even if you already know which route you are taking they still deliver useful information -- ETA to your destination, miles remaining, points of interest alone the route (though there prolly aren't too many of those in the Yukon), etc, etc.

Re:good investment? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990532)

These are valid points. In the Yukon, satnav is pretty useless as a route finder. It's also not much better than a paper map for points of interest. They're sparse and well signposted, usually. Perhaps some obscure trailheads are easier to find by GPS.

But ETA and miles remaining is a boon.

Re:good investment? (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989384)

The more rural the area, the fewer route choices, and thusly the less importance a GPS due to the lack of choice.

I think it depends on where you live, and what the roads are like.

In my experience, a lot of rural places have a lot of smaller criss-cross roads and dirt roads that may or may not go anyplace. There's way more than two routes to almost anywhere. Then there's the "old highway" and the "new highway" in a lot of places, with the old highway being the scenic route.

If there are no other roads, then maybe what you say is true. If there's lots of roads spread out over a large area, I'd say that's when a GPS is at it's best. For any sufficiently long drive, or any drive to places where I don't know very well ... I've found a GPS to be an incredibly useful thing.

My mother still has to program the destination for my father's GPS, but he can tell it to get him home. For them it's a godsend, since he travels to place that are several hours drive away and that he's never been to before -- quite often actually for an old guy. They find the GPS gets them where they're going, and my father has decided he really likes to see exactly where he's going and know how far until the next turn.

Hell, even in town I find I can read the street signs on my Tom Tom before I can even see the physical street signs. For me, I'll stick with having the GPS.

Re:good investment? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989434)

The more rural the area, the fewer route choices, and thusly the less importance a GPS due to the lack of choice.

That's true for the great plains states, but in places like rural West Virginia, you can easily get lost in the Mountains, which are full of twisty, winding roads. (Cue "Dueling Banjos")

Re:good investment? (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990152)

Actually, northern Ontario. Hundreds of km of trees in nearly every directions.

Re:good investment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32990548)

People drive in rural WV?

Re:good investment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989762)

"I grew up in a rural area ..."

It's easy to believe the above statement, given the narrowminded
comment you wrote.

People who travel into unknown areas, whether rural or not,
can benefit from using a GPS. Just because you cannot
imagine the scenario that involves secondary roads which are
unfamiliar to the user doesn't mean this is not a valid scenario.

What I'm really trying to say here is that you are STUPID.

Re:good investment? (1)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989814)

I have to agree with you. The people who need GPS in a rural area are the people visiting, not those who live there. That's the only thing I can think he meant. Or he assumes that people who live in rural areas get lost easily.

Re:good investment? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990024)

> Or he assumes that people who live in rural areas get lost easily.

Or, like the average Slashdotter, he assumes that none of the hicks and rednecks that live in rural areas would know what SatNav is.

Re:good investment? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990046)

I live in a semi-rural area, and I often go further out into the country to farm auctions.

Having a GPS to guide me there saves a heck of a lot of planning and shuffling around of maps. I used to use 'mapping' software on my PC for most of the same function, and I'd print out two or three scales of map to get me to the obscure locations.

I sort of pity people who only travel from big city to big city. They're sort of rushing past lots of interesting stuff. Though big cities can be interesting too.

Re:good investment? (1)

bd_ (35871) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989870)

I think you are overgeneralizing from your experience. I grew up in the north woods of Minnesota, about 400 km from a large city. Although there are only two major roads that head in the general direction of the city, there are hundreds of small back roads, some of which can significantly reduce your driving time. In my experience, much of the rural US is like this, although there are some obvious exceptions that come to mind.

Re:good investment? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990338)

I take it that there was nothing that anyone would go to for any reason in between where you grew up and the closest big town, or even somewhere in the rural area not between you and the big town? I grew up on what was essentially the border between a metropolis and a very rural area. There were a lot of interesting destinations in the rural area that were a convenient drive from where I grew up.

Steve Jobs says it best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989080)

http://www.fakesteve.net/2009/10/gps-makers-jubilant-as-google-validates.html

Well (2, Interesting)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989140)

I have been using a dedicated tomtom device and now also google nav on the Nexus 1. And I agree in most nav cases Google nav is better, if you have an online connection. Thats the biggest issue, roaming forget it, having a flakey 3g connection forget it, as soon as you have to go offroads you need the connection to recalculate the route.

The pathfinding on googles solution is up to par to Tomtom or even slightly better, but the voice output is where it shines. At least for the german tomtom the voice output is sometimes kindof weird and while using a Tomtom I often give a last final look at a voice command which is not drive left or right to check whether the voice output is the same as the display. That never happened on googles nav to me, the voice output always has been preceise. Add to that that Tomtom never added text2speech to my OneXL or I never got a combined european map (while they sold new devices with exactly the same map), and I will retire it soon, one customer lost to Tomtom who will never return thanks to their arrogance regarding their products.

For offline driving I am still undecided whether I will stick with Copilot but I will probably switch to Navigon, which still has way better voice output than anything Tomtom ever delivered.

Re:Well (4, Informative)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989780)

I was going to say something exactly along these lines.

I do a lot of driving for work, all over Ontario (Canada). I use a Tomtom 630 (previously had a 720) for most of my navigation. I update regularly and have a yearly map subscription to keep up-to-date with changing roads and speeds.

What's the difference? My Tomtom would never send me down a major street in Toronto during rush hour. Why not? Because it has average speeds for each road stored in the map data based on day of week and time of day. It knows that this road is faster on average than this other road at this time of day. With the FM antenna, I also get the live traffic updates as I pass through relevant areas.

On several occasions I've plugged the same destination into my Tomtom and my Android phone. The navigation directions on my Tomtom are almost always smarter. On rare occasion, Google takes a slightly shorter-by-optimal-speed route, but the actual time to destination is usually what the Tomtom predicted instead. In general I find the Tomtom's algorithms much more intelligent (although the 720 was much dumber, not having average road-speeds).

The problem is.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989150)

Is that Google's solution is not free because it requires a data connection on your phone. When traveling in foreign countries this is usually prohibitively expensive.

With TomTom you can purchase foreign maps and use them without "per use" data charges.

Actually, Nokia likely has the best solution in this regard - they give you free maps/navigation on your own phone (so nothing to purchase) but you can pick the countries and pre-load their maps on your phone. You then do not need an active data connection to navigate.

For what it's worth - TomTom and other standalone makers are probably the losers in this. These devices are consolidating and phone manufacturers are emerging as winners.

Re:The problem is.. (3, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989256)

The country maps cost extra, often quite a lot extra, and become outdated fairly quickly.. If you aren't planning on spending a lot of time in a specific country then the cost of roaming data might actually be less than buying the maps..
And if you are planning to stay somewhere a long time, you could always buy a local prepaid sim for much cheaper data access, and these will usually be available in the airport or wherever else you enter the country.

Re:The problem is.. (2, Interesting)

shogun (657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989446)

The country maps cost extra, often quite a lot extra, and become outdated fairly quickly.. If you aren't planning on spending a lot of time in a specific country then the cost of roaming data might actually be less than buying the maps..

Open Street Maps [openstreetmaps.org]

'nuff said.

Re:The problem is.. (1)

safetyinnumbers (1770570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989868)

And if you are planning to stay somewhere a long time, you could always buy a local prepaid sim for much cheaper data access

Won't prepaid SIMs still usually have prohibitively expensive data rates?

Generic hardware (4, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989184)

This reminds me of something I've contemplated numerous times before, which is the realm of generic, multipurpose hardware. Everything is converging - GPS receivers, phones, PDAs, cameras - because it simply makes sense. There are two problems with this.

One is that there are certain physical controls and form factors that are more conducive to certain uses. For example, many phones aren't the best cameras because it's too easy to cover the lens, the "shutter" button is not in an ergonomic location, etc.

The other is that often the devices need to be used simultaneously. And I don't mean multitasking, I mean two devices visible and usable at the exact same time.

I just can't help but wonder if, as the price of components drop (like all-in-one chipsets, LCD panels, etc), if there will be a market for iPad / iPod Touch like devices that are essentially generic computing devices with integrated connectivity, GPS, camera, etc. There would be various physical form factors available - like touchscreen only, buttons on the sides, fold out keyboard, an SLR sort of design. Thus I would buy a $150 generic device and designate it as the GPS in my car. Obviously most people can't afford cellular service for every piece of hardware, so these devices would have to operate in an offline / standalone mode, like as a GPS. Or better yet they would all "tether" via bluetooth or wifi off of my actual cellular device.

Anyway I'm just wondering when or if this will happen. Obviously with companies like Apple charging a premium for a generic device (iPad / iPod Touch) that's not going to happen soon. But I'm sure there are manufactures that could produce the equivalent hardware, today, for $199.

Re:Generic hardware (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989250)

Problem with the generic device approach is mostly the licensing costs, the biggest cost factor of every phone is simply the gps umts whatever patent licensing.
Besides that most phone manufacturers do not like the open approach they still think that users will fall for bringing out the same hardware 4 times per year and retire the support early. I am not sure given that most phones are powerful enough to last for the next 3-4 years regarding software updates, how long that will hold up, lots of users already are pretty pissed about the phone manufacturers and their measly support shennanigans.

Re:Generic hardware (3, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989522)

I'm going the other way.

As a techy, everyone expects me to have some all-singing device that does everything. People who use their iPhones to navigate ask me why I don't do the same (apart from not having an iPhone myself).

My justification is this: My TomTom does one job and does it extraordinarily well. Google Maps *can't* compete, I'm afraid, but is an adequate substitute if my TomTom is out of commission (hasn't happened yet except once when I left it in a car in Italy). My phone does one job and does it extraordinarily well. My watch does one job and does it extraordinarily well. My digital camera does one job and does it extraordinarily well. I see no need to have to accept inevitable compromises by throwing those functions into a single device which, if it breaks, means I lose all the functionalities.

I don't see the need for convergence at all. Yes, I carry several gadgets but they are all better at their jobs than any genericised device that claims to perform their functions. And when I'm not taking photos, I don't need a camera. When I'm not driving, I don't need a sat-nav. You get the idea.

It's easier this way, cheaper (overall, it is, because of the lifetime of each component of the products - if my TomTom breaks, I only have to buy a new sat-nav, if my phone breaks, I only have to buy a new, very basic phone), more reliable (my phone can break but I can still get to my destination, or my sat-nav can break and I can still phone someone to ask for directions) and I don't have to upgrade, install, manage a generic computer like I do for 99% of my working life. If my TomTom breaks, I moan at TomTom, not worry about whether it's because I've recently upgraded my phone. My phone is quite basic but does everything I need, so I don't need to stay on the bleeding edge. It makes phone calls and sends text messages. It *does* have a built-in camera (because it was all but impossible to find one without at the time I bought it) but I've never used it. It can go on the Internet, but I don't have it setup to do that.

In an absolute emergency, yes, I can use the additional features on these devices to perform some of their secondary functions (i.e. I have a car accident, use my phone to take a photo of the scene... it's better than nothing. I'm pretty sure my TomTom can talk to my phone but I haven't bothered to set it up). But overall, I have devices that conform to the UNIX-philosophy - do one job, and do it really well. I don't have hulking bags full of gadgets, either. My devices fit into my pockets comfortably and I'm not carrying any more than I absolutely need to. And because I buy single-purpose devices they don't need to be the advanced models, or to be high-spec, or fragile, they can be bog-standard basic units. I can upgrade a bit at a time without worrying about the other components (if I upgrade my iPhone, does my satnav app stop working?).

And when I want someone else to do the navigating, I give them the device. I can even lend it to them. And I could (theoretically) use it at the same time as being on the phone to the person I'm navigating to. And other things like that.

Convergence is for people that tolerate the mediocre and are happy to sit and "manage" another device in their life. Me? I just want to press a small amount of button on a dedicated device to make things do their job. Similarly, if someone at work suggested I put all the desktops into a single machine which did everything from routing to serving to faxing to processing to replacing the network switches and modems to running the clocks on the wall to running the phone system to producing client displays etc. I would be equally as horrified. Some functions are just better off in their own self-contained devices that attract simple support (modems, switches, routers, etc). If my TomTom hardware breaks, I send it back to TomTom. If my TomTom app breaks? Good luck getting support from either TomTom or Apple.

Google Navigation is useless. (2, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989204)

Driving around Edinburgh, it kept trying to tell me to turn off the North Bridge onto Market Street. Great, except they're separated by about 20 metres vertically. Going along Market Street, it told me to turn left onto North Bridge - what, in a helicopter, or something?

Who knows what other hideous failings it might have? Telling people to drive off cliffs, or into the sea? "Oh but it *looks like* you can..."

Re:Google Navigation is useless. (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989328)

That's not unique to Google. I swear that my TomTom was trying to get me killed the last time I took it on a long distance trip.

A friend of mine thinks that GPS'es need an "avoid ghetto" option. I told her that's a great idea in theory but it would preclude anyone who lives in our town from returning home ;)

Re:Google Navigation is useless. (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989472)

Google Maps is famous for providing unique routes [google.com] (see steps 21 & 35). Just because YOU don't have a helicopter/kayak doesn't mean other haven't.

Re:Google Navigation is useless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989860)

Ask a snarky question, get a snarky answer. You can tell that Google's distributed cluster is gaining sentience when it starts to crack jokes.

Re:Google Navigation is useless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989802)

So? Report a problem with the map. I've done it before. Google looked into it and within a fairly short period of time (2 days later) I got a confirmation e-mail that the map was in fact incorrect at that location and they were fixing it. Granted that was about 2 months ago and they haven't fixed the map yet, but at least they've flagged the problem and it should eventually get fixed.

A long time ago I got Google Map instructions that told me to turn left onto a highway - off an overpass. Recently I tried mapping the same route and now it correctly guides you to the ramp and gets you onto the highway. I didn't report that one, but apparently someone did, and it did get fixed. They get that sort of stuff straightened out eventually.

Re:Google Navigation is useless. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990394)

I had this issue once. It was cause by the removal of an off ramp.
I sent Google the issue and they fixed it. Pretty quickly to.

I found other poor maps less then enthusiastic when informing them of a map mistake. well, that's not fair, they may have been very enthusiastic, but I wouldn't know because they never responded, and a year latter the mistake persisted in their new maps.

So ALL of the GPS Navigation methods need you to be thinking.

Maybe, maybe not (3, Informative)

Enry (630) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989218)

My Droid does have a windshield mount, but its navigation UI needs a lot of help:

- small buttons
- not as responsive as tomtom
- no way to route around traffic delays
- requires a data connection (yes, there are a few places in the US that doesn't have good data service)
- useless if you get an incoming call or want to make an outbound call
- no way of storing favorites (with three taps I can find my way home or get a list of favorites on my tomtom)

That's not to say that Google Navigation is really poor. I like having constantly updated maps and more timely traffic information, and I'd prefer to have only one device on my windshield, but until those above problems get fixed, I'll keep my TomTom.

Re:Maybe, maybe not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989428)

- no way to route around traffic delays

- no way of storing favorites (with three taps I can find my way home or get a list of favorites on my tomtom)

That's not to say that Google Navigation is really poor. I like having constantly updated maps and more timely traffic information, and I'd prefer to have only one device on my windshield, but until those above problems get fixed, I'll keep my TomTom.

There is an 'alternate' route option (not exactly what you want, but it does the job)

You can also create shortcuts to place on your desktop screen. I have a folder called 'places' inside i have links to common places i go. The destination drop down also caches a lot of your choices too.

just an FYI

Re:Maybe, maybe not (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989488)

I like having constantly updated maps and more timely traffic information, and I'd prefer to have only one device on my windshield, but until those above problems get fixed, I'll keep my TomTom.

*laugh* One? I've got my Tom Tom and my iPod. My cell speaks to my car stereo via Bluetooth.

It's like central command when I'm on a road trip. :-P

Re:Maybe, maybe not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989744)

My Droid does have a windshield mount, but its navigation UI needs a lot of help:

- useless if you get an incoming call or want to make an outbound call
- no way of storing favorites (with three taps I can find my way home or get a list of favorites on my tomtom)

>

If you get an incoming call, GNav is still running in the background, and you can reopen it even if you're in a call. And you can create Favorites using the shortcut feature on your home screen.

Re:Maybe, maybe not (3, Interesting)

Paralizer (792155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989758)

I created a contacts folder in gmail with my favorite addresses. Then I configured android not to display that folder in the phone contacts list, but it does show up when I go to the contacts in the maps app. Kind of a pain but it works.

Re:Maybe, maybe not (1)

a_ghostwheel (699776) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989928)

Last item is not really correct - you can "star" locations in the google maps and then quickly choose them. And once you found a location, it takes only two clicks to star it.

Re:Maybe, maybe not (1)

JonXP (850946) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990572)

To route around traffic delays: Press either "menu > route info" or the traffic light/estimated time button, and then press the button with the arrows on it. That will calculate additional routes to get your around traffic and tell you the possible times. There are several ways to store favorites. The best way is to add a shortcut to your home screen...long press on the home screen, select shortcuts, and then select Directions & Navigation. You can also use the Navigation app icon in your app drawer or on your car home screen to get to your list of starred places, as well as recently navigated to places at the bottom of that menu. The navigation still seems to work fine for me when I lose signal (and don't deviate route), as well as when I get a phone call (but I'm on GSM 3G).

Ovi Maps (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989302)

I have my Ovi Maps, and it is completely free. No hidden costs, no fine print. And i have downloaded all the maps on my 8GB microSD. Trough my PC. Of course, there are still some strange glitches, but who does not?

But can Mr. T guide you? (1)

acomj (20611) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989370)

I have a really old TomTom (It has depth like a very small TV). It works well enough.

But I got the Mr. T voice. I don't need to turn the radio down, when Mr. T speaks you listen! (fool!)

The results are not entirely surprising as it appears Google is using its needed data connection to feed data back into its traffic routing/monitoring which one hopes they use for routing calculations. The lack of this connection on a stand alone unit make it a problem.

The Nav companies see whats coming, thus the software version for smart phones and Garmin making a phone..

Now, just need google maps nav. for iPhone (1)

Frag-A-Muffin (5490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989382)

Please Steve? :)

Re:Now, just need google maps nav. for iPhone (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990444)

You can get a Nav system for the iPhone, it's a measly 100 bucks. I mean, you DO want to support your shinny toy, right? you DO want it to be magical, right? Clearly you can't get that for free, OR with a competitor. so, Pay Up.

Not comparing the best in class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989402)

In the comparison, they chose CoPilot Live v8 on the iPhone. Anybody who has ever used it or read any reviews already knows that CoPilot is a nice, cheap alternative for the iPhone (and many other platforms including Android), but it has its issues with choosing routes at times (at least my North America edition does). A better comparison would be Navigon, which is pricey for an app but its maps and navigation capability is as good or better than many of the standalone GPS units. One common complaint about iPhone GPS apps, though, is the POI selection, which is typically incomplete and dated, especially compared to Google Maps.

That said, standalone units are a lot more accurate with their GPS signal but there are great advantages to an application installed on the phone you are already carrying. I would much prefer something like CoPilot Live or Navigon vs. Google simply because of the preloaded maps. Google navigation is useless where there is no cell phone signal (try driving in the mountains some time) but you cannot complain about an application that comes preloaded on your phone, especially if it works as well as they say it does.

So how do I get one of these free SatNav devices? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989414)

Oh. Wait.

What about Garmin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989432)

Why was Garmin left out of this analysis? Does it have a smaller market share in the UK? It's number one here in the US.

Not statistically significant! (4, Insightful)

six11 (579) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989464)

The article is astoundingly hard to read. Apparently they took a bunch of GPS devices, gave each one to a driver, who was in a different car. They all started at the same place and time, and were told to go to the same destination. They had to follow the instructions of their device and follow the speed limit. OK. Sounds good.

But they all did this only one time. You would need to do this many times before you could start to draw conclusions from it. Sure, it is fun to play scientist and get out in the world and do some sciency fieldwork, but seriously. Anybody who has taken basic statistics ought to understand that meaningful conclusions can't be drawn from this because of the huge variance of travel times as a function of local traffic. Sure, the cars all start and end at the same spots, but they take different paths. If one path that would otherwise be the fastest is slowed down because of a car accident or an adorable family of ducks is walking on the roadside, that will skew the results for this single trial only.

It makes me sad that this sort of thing passes for research, and it makes me even sadder that people don't think critically enough to realize it is not reliable.

Re:Not statistically significant! (1)

moondawg14 (1058442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989992)

I don't think anyone is calling this "research." This is "journalism." Much lower standards for printing your "results" IMHO.

Re:Not statistically significant! (1)

CoffeeDog (1774202) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990180)

While I agree that a single test wouldn't account for any variance and thus isn't very accurate as one system may have just "gotten lucky" that day, Google Navigation along with many other high-end sat navs pull traffic data to avoid congestion due to local traffic, car accidents, or adorable families of ducks. This is why each system probably recommended different routes instead of the geographically shortest route which you'd except to be fairly consistent.

Re:Not statistically significant! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990500)

The problems you state can be dealt with via monitoring. Meaning if all traffic was similar.

OTOH, it a FREAKING MAGAZINE ARTICLE. Not a published study. In fact, I don't think the word 'study' appears anywhere in the article. IT's a test. 1 test and it doesn't claim to be otherwise.

TomTom is an onboard navigation device. G is not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989480)

When comparing these applications then you need to keep in mind that you have to pay a lot of 3G roaming fees if you travel to a different country. The maps software also needs to download each chunk of a map via 3G service. This is way too expensive. I prefer my TomTom even with out-of-date maps.

It's like saying AOL is the best dialup... (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989858)

Mountain region - no phone signal - that's when you really get lost with google navigation.

Also 10% of the time Magic (mytouch) completely looses ability to GPS -- need to reboot -- on the highway! Tomtom6 never did that to me.

Fucked up summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989934)

So since the "free" google service is better, you should pay for something if you happen to do it alot?!

In other words, a professional should use the worse tool and pay for it as well? Confusing, somewhat.

I really, really love the /. editors, good folk they are...

not surprising at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32989944)

Since the maps on google are in the cloud, they will always outperform the database that can be loaded into the device.

The enormous caveat mentioned here above is pretty true, especially in some countries... rendering the google app basically useless when out of town.

TomTom vs. Google? Sure... (2, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32989966)

As someone that is somewhat knowledgeable about in-car navigation systems, sure, go ahead and compare some free web service to TomTom. While you are at it, compare Magellen as well. They are going to be about the same.

You can also compare most of the in-car systems (built-in and aftermarket) and see they are all about the same - mostly crap but often much better than a paper map. The displays aren't terrific and can be hard to see sometimes in direct sun. Also, the routing is debatable and the POI (Point Of Interest) listings are usually out of date, when available at all.

Yes, there may be updates, but it takes the company long enough to build the map database from source materials that it is assured to be out of date by the time the user gets it. This is very, very annoying when trying to use such systems in areas experiencing significant growth.

So now you have a uniformly negative opinion of navigation systems, right? Then compare what you have seen with a Garmin unit. Their processing path for the data gets current data out to the user much, much faster than other companies doing this. The POI database is much more usable and the UI is much better. Yeah, I carry a Garmin around with me.

So please, if you are going to compare systems, compare something real that works for the user. TomTom is cheap and pretty popular, but it doesn't have the UI or the data to really do a good job.

No, I didn't use to work for Garmin - I worked for a US-based map data vendor. And we helped a lot of people build in-car systems and were usually disappointed at some of the choices they made. But we had to remain pretty neutral.

Options for GPS and Mapping? (1)

Wormfoud (1749176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990432)

Would it be possible to add 3G and GPS capability to a Netbook so that you get a larger, more readable, display that has the advantages of Google mapping with real-time location information? Or maybe that's a Tablet question? Now, we just need a way to mount it on the car dashboard... (Add a phone app with Bluetooth and I won't need my phone...)

Re:Options for GPS and Mapping? (1)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990622)

There are little Bluetooth GPS receivers you can get, that pair with software on your laptop/netbook. 3G isn't really necessary if you have a good Map/POI database loaded on the computer. My mom had a setup like this 6 or so years ago, when standalone TomTom-type devices were new and expensive.

However, the difficulty of mounting a netbook on your dash is probably the #1 reason why this didn't catch on. You may have a navigation device, but you still need someone riding shotgun to use the device while you drive.

Why? (1)

SharkPork (572539) | more than 4 years ago | (#32990588)

I understand the convenience of using GPS units for avoiding construction and major traffic delays.

But, what's wrong with people actually looking at a map before the trip, familiarizing themselves with the roads they'll be encountering, and then driving to their destination. Or actually paying enough attention to their surroundings to know which direction they're going, and reading the signs that the government has spent billions of dollars to install on the highways?

I can't count the times in the last year or two when I've been nearly killed by people fiddling with technology in their vehicles. Talking, texting, pressing buttons, changing channels, putting in the next DVD, etc... Driving is not a right, it is a privilege that carries a responsibility to be aware of one's surroundings at all times, and should be treated as such. The convergence of a lot of technologies into easily obtainable handheld devices is making travel even more dangerous, because lots of people take so much for granted.

I use Google's navigation stuff all the time, it's great! But it almost seems like the people who rely on the gadgets in their vehicle are the ones causing the accidents that the GPS units are trying to route around.

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