What sat nav? Thoroughly confused!

MikesVX80

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I am in great_britain
Feb 15, 2015
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I really need to sort myself out with a sat nav in the next few weeks, as I am heading east to Hungary, Montenegro, Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia in the near future.

I really do know very little about sat nav's, my experience to date was a £99 Garmin Zumo that did European mapping only - other than that I've had built-in ones in other vehicles, or used a map.

So, could someone give me some pointers of what to look for in a sat nav, for my intended use? Map wise, it needs to cover Western & Eastern Europe as a minimum, however if there is one which will also cover Russia, Asia and the US that would be good as I am planning a much bigger trip in the future!

Finally, any recommendations of actual units? I'm on a budget, so don't want to be spending £300-£400 if I can pay £100-£200 for one! My gut feeling is a lot of the extra "features" I have seen (Bluetooth, photo's, etc.) are not relevant to me - I just want a mapping device and something I can preload routes on to. Oh, and if it can also be used on a motorbike that would be a bonus, but not an essential requirement!

Many thanks,

Mike
 

Doodle

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If you're after a bike satnav, Garmin zumo is the way forward. It runs rings round the TomTom offering, and works well in the car too.

The car ones don't translate to bike usage quite so well.
 

Julian T

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I have a 6 year old Garmin nuvi 1390 which has never let me down, covers all of Europe, Ireland and even Turkey/Bulgaria/Ukraine/Belarus to Estonia.

Also maps are updated yearly and it is excellent for on road navigation, sadly it is hopeless off road so I am now starting to look for at tablets and mapping programs to replace it but for on road I really like it. it's no longer available but I am certain there is a better version of it out there ;)

Doodle beat me to first response while I typing this, speedy lol

Let me put my two pence in personal opinion here, Tom Tom I would avoid like the plague, Garmin I would recommend, free lifetime map updates are not necessary in my opinion as technology becomes outdated and we move on to bigger and better, you can always update your maps from Garmin for a small fee whenever you want to.
I do whenever I do a long run across Europe.
 
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MikesVX80

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If you're after a bike satnav, Garmin zumo is the way forward. It runs rings round the TomTom offering, and works well in the car too.

The car ones don't translate to bike usage quite so well.
Thanks Drew. As I said, the motorcycle thing is very much a secondary consideration, but just in case there is a stand-out unit that does both I thought I'd mention it!

Julian T - thanks for the advice/recommendation. Happy to go with Garmin rather than Tom Tom, I have no preference so will take recommendations! Are there any other brands worth considering?

On-road mapping is the priority I guess, but are there any sat nav's that do off-road mapping too? That would be really useful!

If not, can you load "off-road" maps onto some sat navs?
 
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Julian T

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I am in south_africa
Dec 13, 2011
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There is loads of info and apps/products out there, so many in fact that it becomes quite confusing.

I have been looking at/for a android product to use with a tablet.
I paid has its own programs.
And then I found these the other day..... But does it speak English or is french the only option, .......... This one looked best.
But wait, there is also flea bay so should I rather consolidate everything in one place.

Ok once you spend enough time with your friend Google it starts to get rather, I need a coffee and a lie down and I will think about this all later.
 

MarkW

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Garmin Montana 600 and OSM maps, on or off road mapping, free maps from OSM continuously updated, runs on AA batteries in an emergency. Water and Dust proofed/ruggedized. Circa £250 new now

Only downsides I've found, small ish screen, usable but if I could change one thing it would be a bigger screen size. No external speakers for turn by turn nav for this you'll need to use either headphones or the Garmin vehicle mount.
 

Julian T

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I looked at chart plotters and open source maps but decided for me that the chart plotters were a little specialized and expensive, probably the best idea for off road navigation but I don't get enough time free to justify the expense.

Just been reminded of this on another thread on the forum.
 

MikesVX80

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Thanks guys. Mark W - that Garmin Montana 600 with the suction mount/speaker looks good, about £300-£350 all in by the looks of it? More than I wanted to spend, but does do on and off-road navigation I guess!

Any other suggestions welcome before I go commit! :)
 

Gary Stockton

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I have the Montana 650 (same as the 600 but has a camera - wouldn't bother really) and it's great - takes massive SD cards so I have maps at 50k level plus normal Euro auto-routers. It switches between map sets as you zoom in, so if I have the normal auto maps and the OSM 1:50k maps and zoom right in I'll get the OSM map. Zoom right out and its back to the auto map. Pretty useful.

I have it on the bike in the Garmin rugged mount and it works well - I have a little bluetooth adapter that goes into the audio out socket and gives turn by turn nav on my helmet bluetooth headset. Simples ...
 

Garfieldus

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+1 again for the Montana 600/650.

I use it while walking in the hills (AA batteries option is great), on the pushbuke, on the 650gsd and of course in the 80 and the cars.
 

Gary Stockton

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Having said all that - there is also the Dezl which seems we'll liked

I'm also thinking about a pioneer double DIN unit with satnag but too expensive for me right now
 

MikesVX80

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Feb 15, 2015
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Right, true to my word I have today ordered a Garmin Montana 600 sat nav - still need to get the vehicle mount to allow audio, although I was thinking about getting a bluetooth audio plug-in like Gary mentioned, as that could just connect with the headunit and give audio through the car speakers, even better perhaps!

So, a few questions if you don't mind:

- Can someone explain to me this OSM mapping business? This is all new to me, so any pointers would be greatly appreciated
- When the unit arrives, how can I tell what maps it comes with (to check I've got what I paid for)?
- What bluetooth unit would I need for the audio output?

Many thanks!

Mike
 

MarkW

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I am in morocco
Aug 20, 2014
2,243
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Congrats on a great gadget :D

OSM or Open Street Maps, is a world map created by everyday people available free :) Its constantly updated and improves all the time and its free. To top it all its available free

Installing it on your new garmin is fairly straight forward use this web site
http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/

choose you map style etc from the drops down menus then either select a country or select tiles on the map, enter your email address and hit enter. A short while later you'll get an email with a link to download your maps

Then you'll need install either mapsource or basecamp (garmins software) onto your pc and install the maps. You can then use the software to transfer it onto your Montana
 

MikesVX80

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I am in great_britain
Feb 15, 2015
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Well, I have my Garmin Montana 600 and I have to say, I hate it. Wish I had bought a £99 european sat nav to be honest! I'll outline my annoyances below, perhaps someone more knowledgeable can help me out with a couple of the points:

- It doesn't have a speaker; I knew this before buying it, but why they felt a "beep" on a sat nav of this price point was sufficient I'll never know. Really irritating.
- Knowing this, I also purchased the massively overpriced genuine Garmin car mount/speaker kit. This works, but the volume of the instructions form the mount is so quiet it is basically inaudible above 30mph. There's no volume button on the mount or the sat nav, and I can't for the life of me find a volume setting in the myriad of bullshit menu's they have included in the standard sat nav software - is anyone able to enlighten me on this one, please?
- The menu structure - they have filled the sat nav up with so much bullshit, including pointless menu colour/background/theme options, geocaching, etc etc. that it virtually impossible to find what you want, and it is never in the immediate place you want it. Utterly useless software-human interface design.
- Maps; I have downloaded the areas I need maps for, but still cannot for the life of me work out how to get the maps off of my Macbook and onto the sat nav. Nothing seems to work, I've downloaded Basecamp software and that doesn't seem to help. I've seen a guide on Horizonsunlimited (thanks Mark) but that hasn't helped. Does anyone know if it is any easier using a windows based PC?

I'd really appreciate some help with this before I attack it with a lump hammer and bin the sodding thing!

Thanks :)
 

Gary Stockton

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I am in zimbabwe
Sep 10, 2012
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Ooh Mike. - RTFM lol

The speaker volume is controlled by the power button once its in the mounting cradle and powered on. You can alter that in the settings if you want.

To get maps onto the unit, use the MapInstall tool. Or ensure your mapset is a .IMG format, name it something useful instead of the default GMAPSUPP name and then simply copy it across to the micro SD card or internal memory.

You'll then see it when you activate maps under the map context menu.

Let me know if you need help - best to chat this through with hands on the device.

Remember it's an outdoor model so no speaker. You can fit a cheap Bluetooth dongle to the line out socket and then have it send audio to your helmet or car radio etc (what I do). Bluetooth should have been built in though.
 
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