12/20/07 357 W, 3 I - + 15 - 13 GPS Navigator

Bought a GPS navigator on Black Friday, day after Thanksgiving. Garmin StreetPilot C330, sale priced $128 at a big-box store. Regular price $178, I think. Most of the chain s were selling GPS at rock-bottom prices that day. Considered a cheaper Tom-Tom, but the sales clerk said Garmin was better. A quick review of Consumer Reports confirmed that above model was recommended, as were other brands including Tom-Tom.

What's in the box: GPS navigator unit, suction cup mounting/power bracket, power cord to cigarette lighter, vinyl disk for suctioning to dash, instruction sheet, and CD of software. First-time initialization required confirmation of satellite locations. This took a couple minutes. Otherwise, the unit is ready right out of the box.

The thing is a blast. Three-dimensional map view of where you're rolling, including street names and even areas of blue (water) and green (parks). Zoom in or out for close or far view. The thing also computes your speed and direction. This model does NOT announce streets, however. That feature is called text-to-speech and is available on higher priced models. Language choices include British English, which is a bit more fun than American English. There's a volume knob on the side, and a power switch.

Powering the unit is a bit problematic. The car's cigarette lighter is wired to the ignition. The GPS unit is powered only when the ignition switch is turned. And every time the GPS unit is powered, it starts up. After a few days of fascination with the rolling map, the thing became a bit of a distraction. Unfortunately, it could not be permanently switched off.

Every time the car was started, the GPS unit restarted. Were the cigarette lighter not wired to the ignition, this would not be a problem. Resolved the issue by purchasing a 12-volt extension cord from Radio Shack. Includes a toggle switch on the male end. Thus, the GPS unit can only be powered on by choice. Make sense?

How well does it work for navigating to emergency scenes? That is, if time is of the essence, how does it fare when navigating to an specific address? More later.

Hey Mike nice review and good deal you got there, we use that same model on our Rescue’s here in Dekalb,Yea I laughed too when I came to work one day and they were on the units.It was a quick fix for rapidly locating address’ now we have GIS on our MDT’s,anyway they worked ok for getting from point a to point b,however the only problems we encountered were it seemed like they had a hard time acquiring a satalite when we were traveling above 70mph on the hwy. in an area of highrises(downtown Atlanta)or heavy cloud cover,otherwise they were pretty descent.
[jdkay] - 12/20/07 - 20:32

There are a ton of sellers on e-bay that sell factory reconditioned ones with a full factory warranty. I picked up a C340 (says the street names instead of “turn left in 500 ft”...for $195. I use it on my motorcycle and it works well. We have laptops in the 1st out Engines at New Hope using MS Streets and Trips with GPS. It tracks your position, gives directions from current location, and you can add all kinds of data to the map/files. We use red pushpins for hydrant locations and flags for dry hydrants, it works great. Stop by on a A shift day if you want to see it. 200A
AB - 12/21/07 - 16:33

The technology keeps on coming.

For those that are following tech developments in the county, EMS, Sheriff, and CCBI have AVL in their vehicles now. The folks at RWECC can see the dots moving around on their maps. On or about January 11, CAD will stop using “closest station recommends” and start using “AVL closest vehicle recommends” to make dispatch decisions. This should cut down on a lot of the call swapping that is currently necessary to get the closest vehicle en route.

The next step, in perhaps a month or two, will be to bring in-vehicle navigation (IVN) on line. This program, called MARVLIS ( Mobile Area Routing and Vehicle Location Information System), will display maps and directions from the vehicle’s current location to the address of the call. No user input required – the vehicle computer receives the address from CAD, looks at the GPS to see where the unit is now, and generates the map. If you’d like to learn more about MARVLIS, check out http://www.bcs-gis.com/subpage.aspx?page...

The MARVLIS program has been around for a few years and was designed by the vendor in cooperation with MEDIC in Charlotte. When they put it on line, response time measurably improved as the need to fumble with map books was eliminated.

Happy New Year, everyone. Be safe out there.

CHIEF 100 (Email) (Web Site) - 12/29/07 - 10:21

Related story on GPS maps not finding newer roads: http://www.newsobserver.com/print/tuesda... Locally, I have observed that my Garmin doesn’t know the latest leg of I-540, from US.1 to US.64. Kinda fun to be “driving” where no roads exist.
Legeros - 01/15/08 - 05:54

Most mapping software is at least 2 years out of date..I have the same issue with mine.
AB - 01/15/08 - 09:03

Remember personal info?

/ Textile

Comment moderation is enabled on this site. This means that your comment will not be visible on this site until it has been approved by an editor.

To prevent spam we require you to answer this silly question

  (Register your username / Log in)

Hide email:

Small print: All html tags except <b> and <i> will be removed from your comment. You can make links by just typing the url or mail-address.