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Handheld Gpsr Vs. In-car Gpsr

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The cartography for almost all of the fancy car units comes from NavTeq so it would be the same as Magellan's DirectRoute and Garmin's MG/CS/CN products. And generally the accuracy of almost any GPS is better than today's maps so that's not a big issue either.


One advantage of the in-car units is that they have better means of coping with periods when GPS signals can't be received, such as going through tunnels, parking garages, etc. By getting signals from the speedometer and using magnetic and accelerometer sensors the better units can still estimate your changes in position for short periods without GPS input.

They also have bigger screens and functions that are better integrated with other controls in the car (voice directions that mute the radio, etc.).


OTOH, it's nice to have a portable device that can easily be moved between vehicles and be used at home while planning a trip

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I own a Garmin 60C and I enjoy it a lot. But how does a Garmin or Magellan handheld GPSr compare with a GPSr that comes in a luxury car such as a BMW? In mean in terms of reception, cartography....

The handheld will have a larger database of roads and POIs as well as more map choices (streets, topos, marine, aviation). Even though it all generally comes from Navteq there are different levels of data. Plus, it has better waypoint management and other navigation features.


In-car systems vary somewhat but the better ones have the advantage of being specific to car use so the command menus are uncluttered and the controls are integrated. They also have excellent displays, are fast, have good reception, and have features like a split-screen so you can view both the big picture and the details without zooming. They are a lot safer and easier to use while driving than the tiny handhelds.


For geocaching, an in-car system is useful for getting to the trailhead and general street navigation. I generally have the handheld set to off-road mode and use the in-car system for street reference, except in rural areas where the handheld maps are better.

Edited by bigeddy
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