List the top features you look for in a GPS

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by trail-tech, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. trail-tech

    trail-tech Been here awhile

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    Give it to me, what are the top features you are looking for? List in order of importance

    I'll start

    ease of use
    navigation
    screen visibility
    custom configurations
    maintenance features
    transferable from bike to bike

    Thanks.
    #1
  2. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    whoa, trailtech is looking for requests ? HOT FREAKING DAMN !

    1 most important - complete directory access, WITHOUT crap proprietary software, or proprietary file types, or similar "itunes" junk. a SIMPLE database that can be bluetoothed to share tracks/waypoints/whatever. yes, even maps. everything, should be shared easily.

    2 navigation only needs to be a user-changable colored track on the screen. turn by turn is wayyyy oversold and wayyyy under delivered. skip it and make the track handling great. the "but i want turn by turn" crowd will always be complaining about lacking features. let them.

    3 IPS display, or comparable. yes, touchscreen. if it's not touchscreen, i'm skipping it, no matter how awesome everything else may be.

    4 kmz overlay support, and i don't mean "if you plug in your computer and run our special software that compresses things kind like a kmz, in our own file format, that can't be shared"

    5 geocaching/waypoints capabilities

    6 stats from recorded tracks, or the ability to bluetooth the gpx to a device that can display the stats.

    7 ANT/ ANT+ support.

    8 replacable battery, sdcard (or micro)

    9 anything that is proprietary from hardware to software completely scrapped and rethought to todays standards.

    10 mass storage usb support, just say NO to proprietary software.

    11 a roll chart software functionality. you could win a LOT of hearts and minds with this one. maybe even spark a new market.

    basically, give it all the stuff my smartphone, or a standalone gps can do.
    #2
    Stroked 550 likes this.
  3. trail-tech

    trail-tech Been here awhile

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    good stuff, thanks. #11 is interesting... I like it.

    keep um coming.
    #3
  4. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Why?
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  5. trail-tech

    trail-tech Been here awhile

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    We are wanting to build the best bike specific GPS unit we can and want input from actual users to do so and address real world needs.
    #5
  6. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Asking on line is a good way to get general customer expectations but not subtle functional performance. I would contact users who have experience with lots of different devices and firmware applications.

    I worked for HRC (Al Baker) for several years, then started Countdown manufacturing Enduro clocks and computers. Then Kawasaki come out with a digital odo and missed the market and didn't last. Then Honda contacted Al to see if I would help them develop the 85 Honda Electronic odo. I advised them it was not practical (too expensive for general public) and would be a conflict of interest if I told them how to do it right. They didn't listen, screwed it up and it only lasted 2 years.

    Bottom line, Garmin is so screwed up, it would be very easy to develop a true motorcycle GPS that covered the Adv, Dual Sport, and casual dirt rider market and eliminate Garmin from these markets.
    #6
  7. trail-tech

    trail-tech Been here awhile

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    We have obviously done gobs of research and also have the original Voyager (admittedly a different product) to work from. We still appreciate feedback and suggestions and want an overall feel for customer needs and wants so we can tailor it to be the best it can be. And yes, we have spoke to many end users and have several hard core riders in house. We have also looked at and used many competitive products to asses what we like and don't like about current offerings. Thanks.
    #7
  8. trail-tech

    trail-tech Been here awhile

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    tried to look up information on this effort, cant find anything. What was it?
    #8
  9. scootertrog

    scootertrog Jedi Fart Master

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    1. Waterproof / ruggedized
    2. Easy to read
    3. Intuitive - no need to read thru a manual or watch hours of YouTube video to learn to operate. The Garmin Nuvi 1490-series should be your interface target.
    4. Not tied to any proprietary software to import routes or tracks.
    5. NO recalculating of route - or at least the option to turn it off!
    6. Simple, clutter-free mounting system, with bias towards using RAM ball. Don't need a mess of wiring (AKA Garmin Zumo clusterfvck).
    7. No larger than 5" lg x 4" tall x 1" thick.
    #9
  10. trail-tech

    trail-tech Been here awhile

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    Thanks.

    All those are addressed already. :thumb
    #10
  11. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    This was in BI (Before the Internet). There are some very old issues of Dirt Bike that covered Enduro products. In the late 70's early 80's every AA Rider in the nation used my "Combo" it was a roll chart holder with a 4 digit (MIn/Sec) clock. Then ICO came out with an Enduro computer but only had 4 digits and really didn't use the computation power to inform the racer. I came out with "Thee Computer" with 8 digits. On right was standard Min/Sec clock. On left of left was 2 digits of odo pacer (where you should be), on right of left was the next "Possible". Any Enduro rider with more than room temp IQ, rides "possibles". It was all discrete (CPU, Ram, & Rom) and very big and I never sold enough to have an ASIC made but more important I went back into Aerospace at Teledyne, Rocketdyne, & Boeing. Ended up designing the power system for the Space Station and retired very comfortable. Now a big Western Art Collector (and only part time Dual Sport event promoter), heading to the Autry this weekend for the Masters of the American West art show.

    I am sure you have lots of experienced Motorcycle riders but the particular sport of Dual Sport events (yes a niche market) has some unique requirements. Dual Sport was invented in So Cal and we have had more Dual Sport events and riders than any where in the country. I have been promoting Dual Sport events (after retireing from Enduro promoter) since the late 70's. The AMA told me I have had over 100 sanctions.

    I ended up a Super Senior System Engineer for Boeing. They called me back after 10 years of retirement to do the system engineering on their new Crew Vehicle to compete with SpaceX. I can reverse Garmin's products and tell exactly what flaw is in there engineering process, no system engineering. It is easy to get great circuit designers, and great firmware coders but they are very myopic and can't see the big picture. The System Engineer pulls all the requirements together and develops the overall black box requirements and writes a system spec. The designers then go do their thing but when it comes time for qual, it is done to the system spec.

    One piece of advice that Garmin obviously knows nothing about, User interface should be similar but better than existing units. Garmin makes you erase your brain and start from zero with each new product. Customers hate that. Your moto should be "If you can use a Garmin you can use this right out of the box".
    #11
  12. trail-tech

    trail-tech Been here awhile

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    Intuitive, instruction free, design is a big part of our focus. The main functions will be very easy to use and obvious. Feature sets and addressing real world needs are what this post / info gathering is about for us.
    #12
  13. Cataract2

    Cataract2 Where to?

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    Ability to load any map we want. (Think OSM). Not tied to proprietary maps. It should be easy to load as well. You are including an SD Card slot, right?
    #13
  14. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    more...

    support for themes of openstreetmaps; contour lines, hillshading, POI's, etc
    openstreetmaps
    have i mentioned openstreetmaps yet ? ok, openstreetmaps would be nice :-)



    moving on to hardware...
    pogo pins (or similar) for charging and/or dongle connectivity- maybe someone want$ to $ell external dongle$ for extra functionality ?
    one latch disengagement for the unit from the cradle, so swapping bikes takes SECONDS, without tools, or popping the unit in a pocket for populated areas
    NFC to address different bike cradle$ ($omeone could $ell extra cradle$ to people with more than one bike) and different preferences for each bike type (street vs ds vs dirt)
    lanyard/tether for belt-and-suspenders types, or people that might hike while exploring
    crazy request: add funtionality to pair/sync with garmin devices that require another garmin of the same model for pairing.... if it wasn't patented or whatever, wouldn't that be cool to share tracks between two incompatible garmins, and evil-grin while doing it ?
    #14
  15. scootertrog

    scootertrog Jedi Fart Master

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    A diamond base RAM ball on the back of the unit would solve 99.99% of mounting issues. Do away with any mounting cradles entirely. :)
    #15
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  16. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    I want different maps.
    I was OSM, Locus, Garmin
    I want topo maps
    I want hillsides

    I want to share tracks and routes with people not run them through
    the whopper chopper and then send them. Its JUST a GPX file.
    #16
    scfrank and ohgood like this.
  17. mattebox

    mattebox Been here awhile

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    Here's my long list for the ultimate GPS. My ideal GPS would be equally good for on-road and off-road. For off-road I mainly use it as a moving map to monitor a track. To me, the most important feature for off-road is quick redraw while manipulating the map and use of a remote control (see below).

    Hardware:
    • Rugged and waterproof (Shock and vibe to MIL-STD-810 and waterproof to IPX7)
    • Sunlight viewable (optically bonded LCD, high brightness backlight >500 nits or other transreflective tricks)
    • External contacts for external power and remote control. This can interface with a docking cradle like Garmin, but might be better to just interface with a magnetic docking cable.
    • Any connection with docking cable or cradle must be rugged to withstand vibration and moisture.
    • Fast processor. When interacting with the map (pan and zoom) map redraw should be almost instantaneous with no delay and no map tile loading. Map redraw during navigation should be 5 Hz or faster.
    • Sleep mode so we don't have to wait for it to boot up.
    • Fast satellite acquisition. Include GLONASS.
    • IMU for temporary dead reckoning in tunnels and urban environments where GPS signal is spotty (may not be worth the effort though).
    • High resolution screen with very wide viewing angles. At least as good as current smartphones.
    • Dimmable screen. Progressively dims between user defined daytime and nighttime brightness settings automatically using built in sunset/sunrise data and tunnel data. Lowest available brightness settings should be extremely low. Most are not low enough for night driving in rural areas.
    • WiFi or other type of connectivity so we can send or receive tracks, waypoints, etc. wirelessly.
    • User replaceable battery (mainly for end of life battery situations, so unscrewing case is ok).
    • Optional remote control like in the video below. He has a four way joystick to pan the map, a rotary knob to zoom in/out and adjust map detail and a selection button for other uses. Notice how he can adjust the map detail by just rolling the knob! Or he pans and zooms with the joystick and knob. This would be awesome for dual sport rides so I don't have to touch the screen.


    General features:
    • Quick and snappy user interface.
    • Pay attention to the aesthetics of the map and user interface. So many maps and interfaces look cartoony or amateurish. Hire graphic artist and cartographers. Consider the type of fonts, line weights, color combinations, etc. Make it look professional, like Honeywell aircraft glass cockpit/navigation software.
    • Make selections as quick and as efficient as possible. Avoid deep layers of menus and reduce the number of touches needed for each selection.
    On-road features:
    • At least as good as Garmin
    • Show name of street you're currently on
    • Show speed limit for road you're currently on
    • Allow user to adjust or add speed limit if data is incorrect or missing
    • Lane assist like Garmin
    • Active Lane Assist like Garmin
    • Photo real Junction Views like Garmin
    • Show Exit numbers and highway shields like Garmin
    • Custom dashboards with user defined data fields
    • Support Cyclops Red light and Speed camera database and warnings. I like Cyclops because it only warns you if you're on the particular street direction that has the camera.
    • Provide visual and/or aural warnings for exceeding speed limit, upcoming speed limit changes, railroad crossings, school zones or sharp curves. Provide ability to adjust the criteria that determines how they come on or to disable them.
    • Comprehensive POI database. Consider adding additional Foursquare POI database like Garmin. This database has the popular POIs. When you search for "Costco" you normally get anything with the work "Costco" in it. But if you select the Foursquare option in the search results, it filters it to only the popular "Costco Warehouses" that everyone knows
    • Show POI search results on a map, not just a list
    • Provide ability to filter and sort POI results
    • Provide ability to add custom POI with custom icons
    • Provide Bluetooth connection to Smartphone so you can send POI from the smartphone to the GPS
    • Provide button on nav screen to cycle between 2D North Up, 2D Track up and 3D Track Up. Allow customization to limit this to two options defined by the user.
    • Good routing ability. Provide different options like shortest distance, fastest time, etc. but allow option to prefer highways in various strengths. Common complaint with Garmin is it chooses routes on weird roads instead of the highway. Garmin use to have a "prefer highways" option in various strengths in the old Streetpilots but they took it out in the Nuvis.
    • Provide ability to easily build custom routes with shaping points or "rubber-banding."
    • Allow option to adjust how a route is recalculated when you deviate from the route. For example, add the option to "Rejoin route while preserving original route" in various strengths. If you deviate from the route (miss a turn or take a short detour) it will maintain the original route but dynamically adjust directions on how to pick up the original route without recalculating a whole new route like Garmin does.
    • Provide ability to pause navigation and then restart but rejoin while preserving original route.
    • Provide ability to redo a route exactly the same but in reverse.
    • Provide natural sounding TTS voice directions
    • Provide option for a "Next Maneuver Alert Tone" (a "ding"). This signals the driver/rider to do the next maneuver at the next possible street. This tone would only come on after you have passed the last street before your next maneuver street. This way when you hear it, you know to look for the next possible street to do your maneuver. You don't have to depend on reading a street name, which may not be labeled. This feature is mainly for crowded urban areas. Currently no one offers this feature.
    • Provide deep customization options, especially the ability to vary map detail at various zoom settings. Common complaint in Garmin maps is you have to zoom too far in to show street names.
    • Provide ability to adjust or turn off autozoom
    • Provide voice command ability
    • Provide Bluetooth headset connectivity like Sena, etc. to hear TTS commands, next maneuver "ding" and issue voice commands.
    • Show city, county and state boundaries (user can turn on and off).
    Off-road features:
    • Handles tracks
    • Easily accepts custom maps, public domain maps or geo ref PDF maps
    • Easy to set waypoints and easy to search through saved waypoints
    • Various timing options and trip meters for the rally guys
    #17
  18. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    dang, now that's gonna keep them busy a while! Good job
    #18
  19. trail-tech

    trail-tech Been here awhile

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    thanks for taking the time. Lots of good stuff there.
    #19
  20. Cataract2

    Cataract2 Where to?

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    You're writing this all down, right?
    #20