11/28/09 249 W - + 15 - 17 My Kingdom For Improved GPS


Mr. Blogger's Black Friday shopping including the purchase of a second GPS unit. Though there's already a Garmin Nuvi in the Blogmobile, it's user interface has been just annoying enough to warrant the trial of another. Here's the problem with Garmin GPS units. They don't have any options or features allowing for repeated same-city directions. Every address requires the unwanted actions of (a.) confirming that I am still in North Carolina and (b.) entering or choosing a recently entered city name.

On Black Friday, a Tom Tom was purchased, as some in-store testing shows that their address entry mode minimizes some of these steps. There's no confirmation of the state, and the current city is listed as your first option. Bravo. Post-Thanksgiving testing also revealed that Tom Tom GPS units are a world more customizable than Garmin models. Maybe three-dozen or more configurable options. Unfortunately, other aspects of the new unit proved less than desirable to this user. Guess I am just used to Garmin.

But back to the issue at hand. For people who repeated search for addresses in the same city-- such as taxi drivers and, oh, say, emergency responders-- the ideal GPS unit would probably have an "in-town mode" that would bypass entry of both state and city. And maybe an icon that could be clicked, to quickly change cities. That's my wish. At least the line at the store was shorter later that day at the return counter...





And the above issues notwithstanding, I entirely love Garmin GPS units. And, yes, I am spoiled by technology. Whoda thunk we’d have touch-screen navigation computers in our cars, and available in price ranges that nearly anyone can afford?
Legeros - 11/28/09 - 20:16

Ordered a Garmin from Best Buy in a black friday internet special. Seems that the Garmin also has the best mapping technology that is also used by Magellan. I’ve read the same concerns you have about your Garmin… seems like that should be a function it should have. My brother has a Garmin and had no complaints.
D.Cates - 11/28/09 - 21:14

We’ve got a Garmin 255W at Ladder 1. Love the fact that, for the most part, it holds a signal inside the firehouse. We leave ours on the screen that asks for the house number. When we clear a run, we just go back through the few screens of “state”, which brings us to “city” (push little folder icon and first is Raleigh), then leave it sitting on the “number address” screen. Like anything, the driver has to train with it and become proficient, as it’s just another tool in the box. But, I can say it helps dramatically as we have over 1,000 streets in our response area.
Silver - 11/29/09 - 21:33

Plus, love the fact that it announces the street name for which you are to turn, versus just “turn right”.
Silver - 11/29/09 - 21:35

Now that’s a cool trick. I am not smart enough to think of that workaround!

I did send a suggestion to Garmin, however!
Legeros - 11/29/09 - 21:40

I have a Garmin Nuvi (model number escapes me right now). We had a call out in a rural part of our county last week, and I couldn’t think what the town was for the postal address for that part of the county. Tried a couple times and failed, then I just entered the closest intersection and it found everything for me — no town info needed. It does know where you are …

In my area, I might be responding to any of at least eight and likely more towns that correspond to postal addresses. Now, I’m going to have to go run some tests with my Nuvi. I suspect there are more workarounds for your use-case. That said, I gather you use yours more than I use mine.

(BTW, I work in the software industry and volunteer as a PIO in my county. I have been impressed with the usability of the Nuvi.)
jcollins - 11/30/09 - 13:46

how are you going to hear when to turn left or right and on what street when you are suppose to have hearing protection on much less the siren doing it’s job? on board computers are coming! it is a great aid but the drivers need to be watching the road! ask how many police officers who don’t have co- pilots about close calls due to watching their lap tops!
Jason Lane - 12/01/09 - 01:08

Our hearing protection hasn’t worked in years on our apparatus. Has it been written up? Yes, numerous times.

Second, yes the MDT’s will be great. While they do have mapping software as well as hydrant info, they don’t speak. When it comes to our safety, we operate very safely, but efficiently. We get dressed fast (prior to boarding the rig) and get out of the house fast. We do watch the road; scanning left, right and mirrors. We use our seatbelts. Like I said earlier, our GPS speaks street names as well as the direction, so there’s not really a need to look at it. Plus, when you check your mirrors it’s for a mere second of taking your eyes off the road, just like the occasional peak at the GPS (it’s mounted between the 1 and 2 o’clock position as the driver sits). In my opinion, you might actually be safer having the GPS on board, as there’s no confusion about where you’re going and which way to get there, thus providing a more efficient service to our customers.

We have over 1,000 streets in our response area. Learning your territory is a stretch, especially with moving members every 3 years or so. That’s a whole different topic….
Silver - 12/01/09 - 12:58

Our siren has a shroud, focusing the output forward so there’s not a lot of siren noise in our cab. With the GPS volume at 100%, it puts it at a perfect sound level during emergency responses.
Silver - 12/01/09 - 13:00

Those “shrouds” were originally installed to decrease the in-cab noise but have actually been proven to be ineffective on focusing the sound. In fact, they actually decrease the decibel output and cause the sound waves to scramble and lose directionality whereas a mechanical siren by design sends the sound waves forward without a “shroud” or sound director. The newer apparatus have stricter in-cab db reduction requirements which is why you don’t see the sound director installed and why the “Q’s” sound louder.
RescueRanger - 12/02/09 - 19:33

Interesting. Well, we don’t have much cab siren noise. Maybe it’s the cab design, maybe it’s something else. Comparing the ALF which didn’t have a “shroud” and the Quality that does is night and day in the cab….just sayin’.
Silver (Email) - 12/02/09 - 21:14

I would imagine it is a lot quieter in the Quality vs. ALF if L1 has the sound director installed. R1 is a lot quieter inside with the windows up compared to E19. R1 does not have a sound director on the Q while E19’s does. Quite a bit difference in interior sound db reduction between the two! The sound director DOES work on reducing the cab noise but does NOT work on enhancing the Q’s sound.
RescueRanger - 12/03/09 - 12:47

Ok, I see what you’re saying. I’d have to say, R1’s overall construction of the rig itself, is probably much better than E19’s with the in-cab noise restrictions now in place. Either way, we don’t have any problem hearing the voice of Miss Garmin. I was comparing the ALF and Quality since they’re both older rigs, same siren, but one with shroud and one without.
Silver - 12/03/09 - 13:03



  
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