GPS Questions

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by chacha, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. chacha

    chacha Bobtail Member

    Jun 5, 2018
    (Broken record but - ) I've been out of a truck a good little while, and GPS wasn't really a thing when I drove. For me it was all atlas/maps/phone calls for directions. There's no way I'll be trusting GPS for routing. I can see it as useful for a backup to directions you already have, though. I can see it helpful for those snow covered or missing street signs.

    So - with that said - what GPS is the best? Tell me how you use your GPS. How good is it with alerting to traffic backups, accidents, construction, etc? Tell me anything and everything about GPS other than telling me not to blindly trust it because I assure you that won't happen lol. I like my atlas and maps. A Lot. :) TIA!!!
  2. SteveScott

    SteveScott Road Train Member

    Nov 10, 2015
    I've been using a Rand McNally for 3 years and honestly it hasn't steered me wrong yet. I tend to double check routes on Google Maps and my atlas before going someplace I've never been, but they're really great tools, especially on city streets. Lets you know how far until a turn and exactly how long until you arrive at your destination.
    Oldironfan Thanks this.
  3. Oldironfan

    Oldironfan Road Train Member

    May 22, 2017
    Yup. I agree with this.
    SteveScott Thanks this.
  4. BrandonCDLdriver

    BrandonCDLdriver Road Train Member

    Sep 1, 2017
    I use the copilot part of the omnitracs in my truck, in conjuction with Google maps. Copilot has an app you can download that's identical. They both have good and bad points:

    Google Maps:
    Good: Usually steers you to the front door and gives you great heads up of traffic accidents, construction sites, etc. If you use satellite view you can get a birds eye view of the place you're going and see where you need to turn in, where you'll likely be going out, where to park, etc.
    Bad: Won't hesitate to route you through a trailer park or over a bridge with a 5 ton weight limit.

    Good:Great on keeping you off of non-truck approved roads
    Bad: Won't get you to the front door and can sometimes be off of the actual street address by over a mile. Sometimes its dead on, but more often than not there is an error.

    So what I do is I use copilot to get me close but I keep google maps up for heads up on accidents or other traffic backups. Then when within a mile or two I use both. Within a half mile I switch over to Google maps because by that time there are so few "bad" options for routing it's great.

    I know people, especially oldies, will not agree with me but I think the road atlas is almost completely useless. Why? Well for one roads are always changing, closing, opening etc so by the time it's printed its outdated. But also because you can plan your route out to the foot.....and then you go to take your exit and it's backed up, blocked, closed, etc and now you have to go to another exit which might be 15 miles down the road. Now where do you go? With an atlas you have to get out your paper and throw away all your hard work and redo everything. With GPS, it detects you missing your turn and reroutes you automatically, seamlessly. Instantly. Accurately (most of the time). With an atlas you have to find a place to pull over (good luck if its a narrow two lane road in the mountains) and redo everything.

    With google maps you can verify your route before you go without a paper map. As long as you have decently reliable internet service you should be able to get by without one. I've never bought a paper map, used a paper map or anything and I only got lost one time and that was because I got turned around coming out of the Atlanta airport. It never happened again.

    However, all that being said, I still follow the route that my company gives me. That route is usually guaranteed to be safe and decent. If neither GPS is taking me on that route I'll follow street signs. Usually after a couple of turns one or both will catch what route I'm following and will be accurate the rest of the way, usually thats Copilot.

    I find GPS useful for ETA's. Copilot will give you an ETA based on what a truck can do. Google maps will give you what a car can do. If the speed limit is 75 and your truck is set to 68, you ain't gonna make the ETA google maps gives you no matter what you do. maps will update based on road conditions. Copilot only works off of distance. So if google maps says you have 3 hours left and copilot says you have 2, check google maps. Your time might be in orange (a traffic backup) or red (a traffic accident with traffic completely stopped along your route.) At that point google maps becomes far more accurate to your ETA.

    So there is not one solution for GPS navigation. If you utilize all the tools in your toolbox you should be good to go. Just save the trees and keep the maps at home. But you still need your biggest tool at your disposal, that pile of slime and goo between your ears. Use it.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
    Going Concern Thanks this.
  5. skallagrime

    skallagrime Light Load Member

    Apr 10, 2012
    If you're thinking Rand McNally, stick with the 530 or 730 and earlier models, the 740s and tablets are absolute garbage as far as build quality and components are concerned, personally they had a winner with the 720, if they just updated processor and memory it'd still be king

    I have a feeling the dezl from Garmin is the front-runner ATM due to build quality, which is a shame since the Rand McNally system had everything I needed

    That is to say, i used it for rest areas and truck stops along my route, etas (fairly reliable after I set it up for my truck) and I used it for mileage tracking state miles along with service interval reminders

    The tablets I used, the switches were cheap (power button broke (cheap plastic inside case broke) on the 2nd release within 3 months, for 600$ I demand more robustness), the hardware was 5 years old by the time they released them and the reliability questionable at best (constant GPS crashing)
    BlueThunderr Thanks this.
  6. CrappieJunkie

    CrappieJunkie Wishin' I was fishin'

    Mar 9, 2014
    In a van down by the River.
    Must never have been on 75 south thru Knoxville heading east.
  7. deafaviator

    deafaviator Light Load Member

    Sep 25, 2017
    Garmin 570 or 770. I have the 770 and it’s the best investment I’ve ever made.

    I don’t have an atlas and between the Garmin and Google Maps I have never once needed or wanted one.
  8. SteveScott

    SteveScott Road Train Member

    Nov 10, 2015
    No I haven't. I only run the western US. I know there are places where it screws up, but overall it's been an invaluable tool.
    tscottme and CrappieJunkie Thank this.
  9. CrappieJunkie

    CrappieJunkie Wishin' I was fishin'

    Mar 9, 2014
    In a van down by the River.
    75 South and 40 E run together and break to the left. 75 N and 40 West to the right. Every time I needed to go South and East it would tell me to go Right, instead of left. It was company GPS, was forced to have it.

    I never followed it, did 2 years with Atlas, Google maps and customer directions.
    SteveScott Thanks this.
  10. skellr

    skellr Road Train Member

    Jul 17, 2011
    The Village, Portmeirion
    A GPS provides a decent street map of wherever you are, just zoom out and take a look around. "safeish truck routes" are usually a different color. It comes in handy when the ramp or street is shut down for road construction and you need to figure out whats around you on the fly.

    I like Rand McNally because it has better Point of interest functionality. You can search for truck stops with showers, laundry, FedEx drop box, paved lots, etc... truck wash, truck services, dealers... It does a way better job than Garmin or CoPilot in that area.

    Garmin has always taken the lead with a more polished interface, it just looks nicer. But the POI is quite lacking.

    Neither is worth the price they want for them.
    BlueThunderr Thanks this.
  • Draft saved Draft deleted