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It's the maps!

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Garmin charges a premium for models that come with maps preloaded or bundled on disk.

DeLorme gains a big selling point out of giving complete North America maps in the box with the PN-series.


But... are bundled maps of wide coverage really of value to you -- or just a marketing bullet?


In my daily routine, I pretty much stay around Portland Oregon. In the past few years I haven't even driven a car outside of Oregon or Washington -- though I've travelled to England several times where I relied on my feet and public transit.


I may be in the minority here, but having maps of the whole country or continent "in the box" isn't as valuable or important to me as having the area I really use readily available -- whether it's in the box or can be found online or created quickly.


I know that seems like a narrow distinction: For most folks, having it come in the box when you buy it probably fills the requirement of "any map you ever need." But is it really worth any extra $$$ when you can also get high quality maps for the place you want from gpsfiledepot or garmin.na1400.info or other online sources?

Edited by lee_rimar
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the included DeLorme maps the "same" 100K maps as Garmin's T maps? If so, then DeLorme's only vector Topos are those 100K maps, they have no 24K vector topos. For a Garmin their are many 24K vector topo choices, both free and fee, at least for me in Colorado. I have the two best inside my GPS, neither are free.


Like you, I mostly travel but a few-hundred miles from home. The 100K maps have no value at all, but 24K vector topos are for me the only reason to own a GPS. To me a GPS is as much map viewer as position indicator. I never carry paper maps anymore because when I most need to know my map position, I'm in heavy timber and triangulation via a compass and landmarks is a joke.


Getting back to your OP, I'm sure many are swayed by included/free maps. When you're #2 you have to offer a better value. Delorme is clearly a very good product and any challenge to the 800# gorilla is a win-win for all, whichever brand they choose.

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BUT LEE...!!!!, fer cryin' out loud,


If it's NOT the pictures, then why the absolutely, TOTALLY AWESOME NEED / Requirement, for the ability to "install on my GPS" (all at the same time of course) just THESE few maps:

ALL the Topos (both 100k and 24K)for the entire USA, plus all of CN for USA, and All of Canada, an Europe , etc,etc....Then whine about segment limits !......and of course, don't forget the "elebeenteen hundred thousand" caches with ALL the notes, and last, but not least we MUST have at least a million POIs.


Hey, I couldn't hep-it....the Debble made me do it!

Edited by Grasscatcher
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Okay, that's one vote for "everything in the box" :)


Now, can you be serious for a moment? What maps do you really keep loaded on your GPS at any given time? And if you have to swap, how long does it take?

  • I have Washington and Oregon from Topo 8 loaded on my PN-40.
  • On my iPhone, USGS topo quads for most of NW Oregon and SW Washington (using Phil Endicott's excellent Topo Maps app).
  • Also on iPhone, complete US+Canada road maps w/ turn-by-turn navigation by TomTom. Hardly use this at all, but it was a birthday present from my Mum.
  • For cycling, NO MAPS AT ALL. I plan routes/tracks in Google Maps or Bikely, and download them directly to my Foretrex 301 from my web broswer. When I'm pedaling all I want is a cue sheet, not a talking colorful distracting map.

Most recent time was in England, I was able to download what I needed for my phone ahead of time and didn't carry a different GPS. Didn't even have the "phone" or 3G turned on while I was there, to avoid data roaming charges -- just downloaded stuff over WiFi when it was available.

Edited by lee_rimar
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the included DeLorme maps the "same" 100K maps as Garmin's T maps
Can't help you on that one. I have what came with my DeLorme and I've never bought Garmin's packaged maps -- for the Garmins I've had, I always relied on the free stuff. On my iPhone I've got stuff that was either very inexpensive or gifted to me (see previous post) and for my purposes it's been sufficient.
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Bells and whistles aside, it's a nice to have thing without anything else to purchase, search for or load to make work. Is it a marketing bullet? Sure it! That's one of the things that made Magellan attractive to me over Garmin, and again, DeLorme over Garmin.


The problem I have with Garmin's position on the licensing issue is the singularity of it. I did almost pull the trigger on the Oregon series 2 years back and really had to think long and hard if this was going to be the direction I wanted to go in. For me, once in, I'm all in. Paying a more money for the solutions I was looking for wasn't an easy pill to swallow.


Now before someone jumps in that's not their fault, I'm going to have to question this. They have a very large bargaining position in their back pocket and chose not to use it. I recall the days when you could have up to 3 devices licensed to the same software. The family plan so to speak. Then it went down to two, and pretty quick it went to one even as more users were climbing on. My conclusion is they discovered people will buy multiple copies anyway .


Is it useful to have the entire country in the box? Maybe not to most folks, but on that off chance I do travel, its nice not to have to buy another segment or search a repository just for that trip. At least for me.

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I think Garmin's unit-based map licensing has a lot to do with the fact that they don't actually own a lot of the data -- they license it themselves. They're a GPS company first and maps are a tools to help sell the hardware. DeLorme is just the reverse - a map company first, with GPS devices as a useful side product. So they can be pretty generous with what they put in the box.


But -- and here's the real thought behind the original question - I think both Garmin's AND DeLorme's model for selling map bundles is on the way out in the long term. Both are on the right track by selling subscriptions for maps on demand, but even there the competition against other sources and business models is fierce.


Puts me in mind with Danny DeVito's "prayer for the dead" speech in "Other People's Money:"

. Selling the very best maps available, but only in bundles that get updated at best a few times a year - could be like selling the best danged buggy whips you ever saw. Edited by lee_rimar
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I tried being serious , but it wuzzent any fun.....also kinda like trying to think, I wasn't equipped for it.....


Personal opinion only......IT IS NOT ABOUT THE MAPS !!!!!


I have a Nuvi 660, a 76CSx, an Oregon 550, and a new 78S with different maps on every one of them. Either the 660 or the 76CSx is the oldest, I don't remember which. I just gave away a 76CS and previously did the same with a 76S and before that a 12XL. Some where in that timespan I sent a PN 40 back to live at REI where I got it. I was not ready to "settle for" Delorme's propaganda and BS.


I have CN2008, Topo2008 (a gift), Colorado, Ariz. Utah Topo from GPS File Depot, old Garmin Metroguide (back when it was routeable ) . I haven't BOUGHT maps in years. The CN2008 is on both the NUVI and the 76CSx...came on the Nuvi and could lisc free to the 76 at that time.


The only thing I use Mapsource for is to load maps to GPS..........PERIOD ! I have multiple, multiple "Mapset XXX" .gdb files with various areas covered by whatever maps are appropriate for whatever activity.


I also have APs as recent as 2009 in color for any area I NEED.


Just how much detail is ACTUALLY USABLE on a 2" GPS screen? If you really NEED that much help, then you probably need more help than a GPS can give you.


The object shouldn't be to see how much time you can spend cramming absolutely as much data into your GPS as possible to use as a crutch. Shouldn't it be actually USING the GPS ? heaven forbid, maybe even WITHOUT maps???


Why should I care that a map doesn't already have every single tiny trail ? At some point, there comes a time when it's time to turn your brain on.....


There.......I feel better !

Edited by Grasscatcher
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