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Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Logan, Dec 25, 2001.
How good is the Garmin software that covers Mexico and/or Baha? (for a Garmin V)
Garmin's MapSource World Map is the only product they have that supports Mexico. It is a good map, but without lots of detail. If you are familiar with the garmin GPS units, the detail is the same as that of the basemaps in firmware on the units. What they call "20 mile screen", or no more detail than what you get when the zoom is set so the screen represents 20 miles wide. I would recommend comparing it to paper maps before a trip.
I plotted a round trip course to Costa Rica using the WorldMap and used it on a GPS III+ early this year. Certainly compare it to new paper maps because the CD maps were many years outdated in places. We carried paper maps, but we were mislead by the GPS a few times where it cost several hours to recover. Once, south of Acapulco, the GPS showed us on the main highway as traffic dwindled to nothing. We studied the map and decided this was the main highway in the past (aging highway signs continued to indicate we were on the proper highway), it was in the correct direction, so we decided to continue rather than backtrack half an hour. Another 45 minutes or so later as I recall, we found the bridge was out. On the GPS we could see where we would like to be, about ten miles east. So we hired a couple of kids to ride a bicycle ahead of us on an obscure goat path they assured us would work. It did work, but it was a struggle along that narrow sandy trail.
The point is, use multiple route-finding tools when not on the main highways and be wary when those tools disagree. Paper map, compass, GPS, dead reckoning/intuition and asking directions help. Asking directions is the least reliable, but it's great reassurance when a local resident agrees with what you've already determined is the correct route. Big cities with poor signage are special hazards, when paying a taxi driver to lead you out is a cheap trick to keep up your sleeve and use when you seem hopelessly lost or nightfall approaches.
Often the GPS is most useful when it shows you moving away from your desired path. Most wrong turns can be identified within a couple of miles rather than a couple of hours or whatever.
Well put, ralogan. When I first got my GPS, I did the whole routing thing on the pc with download and whatnot. It was wrong within about 200 miles of my house, so I killed the route and ended up using a papermap in the tankbag, keeping an eye on the GPS for general direction, warning of upcoming intersections, and local detail when necessary. I still use this method today. Maybe the new GPSs (SP3 and GPSV) do a better job of routing, but it's probably unwise to bet your butt on a single tool.
Garmin's site has previews of their CDs. Do try before you buy.