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Use Mapsource? Happy with it?


SpongeRob
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I've recently been battling it out with the Garmin Cartography crew. I purchased Mapsource Metroguide for my legend and well.. It sucks. It has to be one of the poorest designed products I've ever seen. icon_mad.gif

 

Now, having that off my chest I want to know what others think that have used it and how they feel about it. Here's my basic complaints.

 

1. Map Regions. You can only load "Regions" not a definable area. This stinks IMHO because if you take a trip somewhere it makes sense that the product would load map data "Around" your route. Would be fantastic when you need something more than a Gas Station that's loaded into the basemap.

 

2. Accuracy. I've noticed HUGE erorrs. Things being over 1/2 mile off. Other things not existing anymore. I can understand some things out of date, but I was surprised how much was.

 

3. Searching. You can only search by the name of what you want IF you know what it is. For example looking for "Wing Park" I can find because I know the name. Put just "Park" in there and only things it will find are items like "Park Place". It won't find "Wing Park". I wanted to use this to "explore", how dissapointing.

 

4. import/export - EasyGPS smokes them. Period.

 

5. Saving/Loading to Device. I've worked aroudn this by having 2 mapsources open and cut and paste between the two. What's amazing is that I can put things ON the device and the device figures out what to overwrite and add new. The software just creates a "new" version. More incredible is that CUT & PASTE works great and asks you what you want to overwrite. You would think they could piece this together.

 

Those are my major gripes on this software. I figure the $100 must go entirely to the cartography portion of the software. The software IMHO is not worth the media it's on.

 

Others?

 

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SpongeRob

rwmech@keenpeople.com

www.keenpeople.com

WPWU826

 

Cache'n Retrievers

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Hey another Illinois person icon_smile.gif

I actually bought MetroGuide USA a few weeks ago after looking at all the Garmin mapping options. I really don't have a problem with the software... the maps are outdated (as has been discussed a ton on here), and the software is useable to me...

Just a few quick things:

1. There is a MetroGuide update on Garmin's site... doesn't change a bunch of functionality, but has some bug-fixes

2. When loading maps on your GPS, take out the auto-routing data. The Legend doesn't do auto-routing and you'll be able to squeeze more maps onto the Legend.

 

And I can see why they don't do a 'regions along the route' way of managing maps. The overhead here could be quite a pain. For the maps to be displayed, they need a point of reference. Doing this along a curving route would probably require tons of smaller regions around your route (like squares along a curving line)

Managing/drawing all of these 'micro-regions' would probably be pretty tough on the GPS, and you'd still be limited by memory, so for long routes you may not get all of the information anyway. Also, they would have to consider "How far off of this route should we store map data?" 2 miles perpendicular to the route? 100 miles all around the route?

Think of how they would have to store data like that... right now they probably store fixed-regions in the MapSource software, and can look them up in (presumably) a database of coordinates fairly quickly and efficiently. So the maps that are stored in the MetroGuide software can be pre-organized into the format the GPS expects. If MetroGuide did it for a 'range around a route', the software would have to re-calculate and re-generate maps prior to sending them to the GPS...

 

I agree that it might be a nice option, and it seems doable, but I can see why they didn't choose to do it that way...

I got the MG USA for about 89 bux off of Amazon... and I'm pretty happy with what I paid for what I got.

 

Now if they had a way to update map information in the software so you could get new maps for your GPS, that would be a feature I'd shell out some more cash for icon_smile.gif

 

sean

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Functionality semantics aside, the actual content of MapSource products can be viewed 'pre-sale' by anyone who wants to. There's not a heck of a lot more that Garmin could do to let you 'look before you buy' where that's concerned. Mind you, their online-look-see doesn't give you any indication of the deviations between 'actual' location and 'mapped' location ...and, as you seem to have already discovered, the two are not always the same where MapSource is concerned. Here in southern Ontario, I've found MapSource to be pretty much bang-on ...but, in certain rural map segments, I have experienced the deviations that you're referring to (although not by 0.5mi, more like 100yds or so). I too gave Garmin a call with regard to this (wanting to make sure that it wasn't a hardware or operator problem) and they told me that the mapping data is only as good as the source from whom they purchase it ...and that Garmin (they say) does their best to strike a balance between the cost of the data (ie: the price it will ultimately inflict on the consumer) and its quality. For most consumers (myself among them), the price of Garmin's MapSource products (of which I own both for Canada and the U.S.) is still a good investment ...warts 'n all. Occasional anomalies aside, MapSource is head and shoulders above any 'basemap' ...and if you're a Garmin owner, it's the only game in town (assuming that you aren't using external PC-based mapping software).

 

My guess is, were Garmin to offer mapping software that had 'near-perfect' up to date accuracy from coast-to-coast-to-coast, it would be at a prohibitive cost that the vast majority of GPSr owners could ill-afford.

 

ontario1.gif

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Perhaps I'm one of those people that expect a little more from software than "general use".

 

Here's my thought on accuracy:

 

I buy an updated copy of a printed map at wal-mart for $5. Has great coverage and it's updated every year. Includes many POI information and in many cases coupons or other things that intrest me.

 

Now, I pay $100 for an electronic version. There's no updates to speak of (other than minimal software engine updates) and as the years go on it becomes increasingly inaccurate.

 

If a paper map costs $5, where is it I'm getting an additional $95 in value?

 

Compare this to a typewriter and Microsoft Word. For my money I get considerably more features. icon_biggrin.gif

 

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SpongeRob

rwmech@keenpeople.com

www.keenpeople.com

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For use in a GPS receiver, Garmins mapping software is somewhat better than Magellans, in my opinion of course. Accuracy varies with the area in question. Garmins software seems somewhat easier to use and provides a few extra functions though which make it more useable for me. Neither one is what I'd call particularly good.

 

I've spent a rediculous amount of money buying electronic mapping products from several different companies, and the perfect product is a long way away I'm afraid. A big part of the problem is that accurate street or terrain data is hard to come by. GPS, and satellite technology should result in that improving rapidly over the next few years however. For now, should I desire accurate routing, my system is to build a route on Metroguide using auto routing. If it looks like the route I want, I then use Expert GPS's aerial photo maps to correct the positional errors prior to importing into my receiver. A big pain at best.

 

For now, I don't use the maps all that much. For some of my ramblings on maps check out the mapping section of my webpage

 

http://home.sprynet.com/~searching_ut/index.htm

 

Jeff

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I agree with your point about searching. Metroguide searches are very kludgy. IMHO.

 

As for accuracy - I'm expecting some errors (maybe my standards are just too low), but having recently upgraded from a paper atlas to Mapsource software, it's a pretty nice improvement.

 

Saves me from using post-it notes and paper maps when planning a cache outing! icon_wink.gif

 

I did think the price tag was a bit steep (especially compared to other products) but I have a Garmin GPS (which I'm very happy with), so I had to stick with Garmin maps.

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I have no problem with my Etrex. In fact, the software on my etrex seems to be more advanced than the mapsource product. On the etrex you can search by Waypoint type (i.e. returant) you can't do that with the mapsource product. That's a feature I emailed garmin about but they really fail to give you the feeling your words are really considered.

 

It's too bad though, with some user input they could have some smoking software.

 

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SpongeRob

rwmech@keenpeople.com

www.keenpeople.com

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Cache'n Retrievers

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quote:
It has to be one of the poorest designed products I've ever seen.


Well, being as MapSource was designed to be downloaded to Garmin mapping GPSR's, and it's the only thing available for this purpose.... I'm curious about what else you compared it to? I use it a lot....Have done so for years....and hey...It puts maps on my Garmin V better than anything out there! You know, you can say a Ferrari is better than a Jeep, but it doesn't mean much when the jeep is climbing up a mountain and the Ferrari is at the bottom watching it go. Alphawolf out.

 

"Never take a sunset for granted. Stop what you are doing and enjoy it. You never know when it may be your last"

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quote:
Originally posted by SpongeRob:

It's not a matter of comparason. It's a matter of expectations not being met. You expect to buy a car with 4 wheels. When you find out they don't hold air past 500 miles you tend to be a tad dissapointed.


 

I'm quite happy with MetroGuide USA on our eMAp and GPS V, and I'm pretty demanding, too. The newer version has been more accurate--resturants and exits .25 miles off have been few and far between, and it has somewhat better sized regions than the previous version, but still not as useful as Magellen Mapsend, where you can create as many variable rectangular areas as you need.

 

I do wish there was a way to do better searches, but if I have to choose, I'd choose that they fill my memory card with cartographic data rather than text indecies.

 

And be sure to check your tire pressure every time you fill up!

 

ApK

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Just some odds and ends comments. I have a Vista with Topo, Roads and Recreation and Metroguide. Roads and Recreation selects by the county which I find handier when you're selecting areas to load. It also has streams that Metro doesn't. Of course R+R doesn't auto-route (in the computer for the Vista and on=board in the V). This all creates overlap problems between maps when you're using both programs - it wastes memory because the areas don't line up.

 

None of the maps are absolutely accurate. Never mind missing streets. The problem is the location of streets and streams and other spots relative to the actual coordinates. Try this. Post a waypoint in the middle of an intersection using Metro, and then switch to R+R, the waypoint appears to move anywheres up to 100 feet. Then switch to Topo and it moves to a different area. (Put the waypoint coordinates in National Geographic Topo and it'll be somewheres else). The point is the waypoint is not moving, the maps are. NONE of the mapmakers have it right yet. Sure it's easy to add a new street on a paper map, but the mapmaker does not have to worry about geodesic coordinates. You'll never know. But maps used in conjunction with a GPS have to be right on or close too or you have a problem.

 

Anyone ever wind up on the wrong side of a steam caching becasue the map show it on the wrong side 50 feet away? Happens all the time.

 

However, I really like the Mapsource maps, they keep me from getting lost and findin my way better and they're really fun as a bells and whistles feature.

 

Alan

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I love it. I don't have anything to compare it to but the basemap in my Vista, but I'm very pleased. The maps it is compared to on the package are the 1:100,000 scale USGS topo maps. I have trouble scaling coordinates on a paper map of that scale to within 1-200 feet anyway. The way I see it, if I can't recognize land features within 200 feet of my position, I should stay home. I live in Louisiana, and I was able to fit my entire state in my Vista with room to spare. I guess what I'm saying is, for the money, ($83.27) it's more convenient and cheaper than buying paper quads of the whole state, not to mention the entire U.S.

 

Don't even think about putting those muddy boots in my car.

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Hey Louisianna, glad you like it. What I also do is print out a quick copy of Topozone from the cache page. Then I have a 1:24000 quad map of the area I'll be caching (the actual Topozone location shown is a little off because of the different Datum). Now it's really easy to compare your location shown in the Vista that's in 1:100,000 scale to the 24000 quad map and frankly the quad map is easier to read in the field than the Vista display and gives all the detail you're looking for.

 

Alan

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Just got Mapsource TOPO and think it is pretty cool. I know it is not Metroguide but the accuracy of the TOPO isn't bad and it adds alot of features to the 76S basemaps that I didn't have before. Besides there isn't too much that is going to be outdated on a topo map in the next 100 years so I thought is was worth the money.I have National Geographic TOPO and it is alot better on detail but you can't download maps into your garmin so I have both.

sidewinder

 

LOST AND FOUND DEPT.

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Originally posted by Alan2:

Hey Louisianna, glad you like it. What I also do is print out a quick copy of Topozone from the cache page. Then I have a 1:24000 quad map of the area I'll be caching (the actual Topozone location shown is a little off because of the different Datum). Now it's really easy to compare your location shown in the Vista that's in 1:100,000 scale to the 24000 quad map and frankly the quad map is easier to read in the field than the Vista display and gives all the detail you're looking for.

 

Couldn't you just change the datum in your reciever to that of the paper map? Most of the quads I've seen were NAD27. I think, (could be wrong) that if you already have a waypoint stored in the GPSr, changing the datum doesnt change the position of the point on the basemap. Let me know if it does.

 

Don't even think about putting those muddy boots in my car.

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quote:
If a paper map costs $5, where is it I'm getting an additional $95 in value?


 

First of all, let me say that I am not in any way defending Garmin's ridiculously high prices for their CD-ROM cartography products. With that out of the way...

 

You're not getting additional value, other than, of course, convenience. However, I think the cost of these products isn't driven by value, but by cost to produce.

 

Remember that Garmin's maps -- ALL of them -- started out as either paper maps or DRG's. In order to make them "original" (and therefore saleable), Garmin had to hire an army of cartographers to hand-enter, hand-georeference, and hand-check each and every segment of each and every line of each and every map. I would guess that translates into tens of thousands of man-hours. Good GIS people don't come cheap, and Garmin is charging what they think all that labor is worth.

 

I own the MetroGuide, CitySource, and Roads & Recreation CD's. Yep, a lot of what's on them is sorely out of date. Realistically, though, I haven't run into too many situations where that's really caused me any problems. There's an interstate rest area near my house that's half a mile from where it should be, but if I've got to go that bad, I've got worse problems than the accuracy of my map. icon_smile.gif

 

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Scott Johnson (ScottJ)

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quote:
If a paper map costs $5, where is it I'm getting an additional $95 in value?


Huh??? A singlepaper map costs more than $5. Now....try and get allof the U.S.A andAlaska AndHawaii in 1;100,000 scale maps for $5! I doubt you have enough cash on hand to purcahse paper versions of all of them, right? Seems like $100 might be one heck of a bargain when you compare it to paper maps!

 

"Never take a sunset for granted. Stop what you are doing and enjoy it. You never know when it may be your last"

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quote:
Originally posted by BloenCustoms:

...Couldn't you just change the datum in your reciever to that of the paper map? Most of the quads I've seen were NAD27. I think, (could be wrong) that if you already have a waypoint stored in the GPSr, changing the datum doesnt change the position of the point on the basemap. Let me know if it does.,,.


 

Unless they've vhanged it, when you click on Topozone on the cache page, Topozone assumes the coordinates are in NAD27 and that's where it posts the waypoint red cross. Of ourse, geocaching coordinates are indicted in NGS84 so the Topozone map is off some.

 

If you want to of course, you can convert the coordinates to NAD27, enter that info into Topozone and the correct location will show. For me it's not worth the effort. I'd rather just get the Topozone map with a click on the cache page even though the mark is off some. My GPS has the right coordinates and will take me to the cache anyway.

 

Alan

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Another Illinoisian chiming in:

 

The Mapsource Metroguide has been lots more accurate (and certainly more complete) than the basemap in my GPSMAP 76S. For the next few months until I take a road trip, I anticipate that I'll be happy with the maps I've loaded that cover Lake Geneva to Kalamazoo and all points between.

 

Are there problems? Sure. It puts my house about a block and a half away. It has in the shopping center around the corner both the Thai place that's there now (although it just gained a new name a month ago) and the Italian place that was in the same storefront three years ago. It's very spotty on Cook County Forest Preserve trails. It calls the trails at Illinois Beach State Park streets, which they haven't been for decades.

 

But those same problems exist in nearly every electronic map database you'll find online. Basic GIGO problem.

 

In terms of the pain of transfer? Yeah, I'd like to see a 1GB version that can hold more data, but just wait a few years, it'll come. An hour to load a full set isn't too bad. I did some checking, and the route I drove last summer to Orlando via Cincinatti, Frankfort KY, the Smokies, Charlotte, Savanna, etc., was covered by one full load for about each three days of travel. I keep the laptop along on the drive for watching DVDs anyway, so it's no big deal (gotta get the car adapter, tho).

 

To me, the biggest pain is that my laptop has no serial port, and the USB adapter hangs up at 115KB, so it's twice the time it could be. Still, it's only an hour. I wait more than that to recharge my camera battery.

 

Now, I'd love to be able to filter the data, cut it down so I can expand the range. Maybe emphasize parks and forests vs. residential addresses? Cut out all the dry cleaners?

 

I am Arrowroot, son of Arrowshirt. I have many names, you know

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I have a Garmin Vista and use the Mapsource "TOPO" and find it that it works better then I expected it to. Granted it is not a 1/24000 scale but you can see just so much on a gps screen. It seem to be just as good as some of the mapping programs that I have on my laptop. I use Street Atlas an for the past 3 versions it shows the locale post office where "Dennys" is and I call the makers of the program and e-mailed them and still 2 version later it is wrong....

quote:

 

Park Park Oh where can I park. Look theres a spot....1 hour later OH GOD MY CAR IS GONE

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I'll chime in here with my two cents worth. I have a Vista and Topo and Metroguide. I haven't had many issues with the accuracy of the maps and those have been minor. I was looking for a cache yesterday and the map showed the cache on the other side of the road from where it really was. I would just as soon ignore the map when it comes to that. For use on my motorcycle, though it is just great. I can find the nearest gas station with just a few clicks. That data has yet to fail me although I bet there are some errors there.

 

The biggest problem I have with program is in management of waypoints and tracks. I agree with SpongeRob that is ludicrous to have to have cut and paste waypoints when you just want to merge some waypoints from your unit with those in an existing file. I also have a big problem with the limitation in import/export formats. GPX is not supported?!?! Come on! icon_confused.gif It is a royal pain to get my geocaching waypoints from a .gpx file to a .mps file. (And yes, I really DO want to do that because I keep a different set of maps in my for geocaching than for motorcycle riding.) EasyGPS can't handle maps.

 

That's my take on it anyway.

 

Freecoder

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quote:
Originally posted by freecoder:

The biggest problem I have with program is in management of waypoints and tracks. I agree with SpongeRob that is ludicrous to have to have cut and paste waypoints when you just want to merge some waypoints from your unit with those in an existing file. I also have a big problem with the limitation in import/export formats. GPX is not supported?!?! Come on! icon_confused.gif It is a royal pain to get my geocaching waypoints from a .gpx file to a .mps file. (And yes, I really DO want to do that because I keep a different set of maps in my for geocaching than for motorcycle riding.) EasyGPS can't handle maps.

 

That's my take on it anyway.

 

Freecoder


 

I only use mapsource for xfering maps to my receiver so I have never used this feature, but I see one of the "save-as" options in GeoBuddy after opening a .loc file is to save it as a mapsource .mps file. You can also open several .loc files at once in GeoBuddy and then merge them into one file with the click of a button. I don't know if this works with .gpx files. Maybe this is what you are looking for?

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I own a few of the Map Source products and have been generally pleased.

 

Has anyone heard anything new about the new Cobra GPS? I believe they have teamed up with one of the large map providers (Rand ?)to produce thier mapping data. I know a few threads exist regarding the topic already. Perhaps we will see some leaps and bounds with a new GPS player in the market co-branded with a better mapping product.

 

I think Map Source is good, but I would love to have something better!

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I have been using MapSource Topo for a short time but I think it is a good deal. It even gets me around town some. But creating an accurate map is not a simple item. When I am out on a National Forest, I carry the most current Forest Map I can get, and a good topo map. I know that when a map is created it gets many reviews. And when it is printed it will have errors. The map is also obsolete the day it is printed. Our world is rapidly changing. I love topo maps from the 30's and 40's because they contain information not found on later maps. California was covered with many mining claims that show on the old maps but do not exist on current maps. It is good to know these locations because of hazardous relating to old mines.

 

I was very surprised to find some of the old mines on MapSource Topo. When a site is less then an acre and still on the map, I am impressed. In turn the new box stores in which use to be ranch land do not show. Just a blank screen except for the pointer. Map makers are having a hard time keeping up with all the developement. Some people want instant perfect, but this not like a television program were everything happens in one hour with commercials.

 

Siskiyou

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