Loud Music is a $40 Fine

Just my personal blog.

July 24, 2007

GPS Woes

I’ve owned a Garmin GPS V for several years. I bought it when I had the illusion that I’d be doing a lot of “adventure” biking on the Kawasaki KLR650 motorcycle I bought in 2002. I had that bike about 8 months before trading it in on a cruiser.

The GPS unit fit my needs at the time. I still use it for trips and it’s helped out quite a bit going into unfamiliar places. I just create the route on the computer, upload the route, waypoints, and maps to the unit, and then it’s ready to go.

The unit came with the unlock codes for version 4 of Garmin’s North America maps. I upgraded the next year to version 5 (at $75), and then the next year to version 6 (another $75). Last year I got the version 8 upgrade, but never purchased the unlock code for it. Since we’re going out west in a couple of weeks, I figured I’d go ahead and update the maps and get the latest (yet another $75).

The GPS V comes with a little less than 20 megabytes of storage, so you kind of have to be selective on the maps. I’d already created routes and waypoints and selected version 6 maps in the MapSource program on the PC, and found that I was probably going to be a little short on memory. I remembered reading that the newer version had better compression, so I figured I could get the same maps in a smaller space.

I just finished the unlock process. You install the maps, then you plug in your unlock code that you’ve purchased.  Relatively painless if convoluted.

So I went to the Las Vegas area. In version 6, there were two map areas that needed to be selected, which added up to about 8 meg of space. With the 2008 version, the Las Vegas map had just one area (that included the two I’d selected from the old map), and it took up about 7 meg. I figured I was good to go.

Then I started plugging in the San Diego and Oceanside maps. Since there’s an outside chance we might drive up to Los Angeles,  I wanted to include those maps as well. Fifty megabytes of maps later, I’m thinking I got screwed.

Basically, there’s no way I can include all the areas I want if I use the 2008 map; my unit just doesn’t have enough memory. And there’s no way to add memory.

All that makes me think that Garmin wants me to buy a new GPS. And if I do that, the unlock codes I have for the GPS V all become unusable with the new unit. That doesn’t leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

The GPS V had the features I wanted when I bought it. It was water resistant and there was a motorcycle mount for it. But I guess the weakness it had was lack of memory expandability.  Which means that I’ll be looking for something new with similar features, but which can handle the maps I need.

Anyone have any recommendations?

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