What is a good GPS for a coach driver?

Discussion in 'Trucking Electronics, Gadgets and Software Forum' started by blueleader, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. blueleader

    blueleader Bobtail Member

    Jul 11, 2010
    Drivers of scheduled coaches running regular routes, such as for Greyhound, probably do not need a GPS. However many coach drivers do charter trips for tourists, sports teams, schools, churches and other groups, etc. These go to all sorts of new destinations. Coaches do not have wide dashboards and many drivers have to regularly use different coaches, meaning their GPS would have to be frequently moved between vehicles. That rules out units such as the Garmin Nuvi 465T with its asinine dash mount.

    What GPS would be suitable for charter coach drivers?
  2. Dieselboss

    Dieselboss Technology Contributor

    Feb 19, 2009
    Albany, Ory-gun
    My recommendation would be the Rand RVND 5510 or 7710 and use the "Class A" vehicle settings for charter bus drivers. I have multiple users who drive charter bus like this.

    Info link: Rand McNally RVND 5510 and 7710 GPS system
  3. blueleader

    blueleader Bobtail Member

    Jul 11, 2010
    DB, thanks for the suggestion and for all the work that goes in to your GPS comparison chart. Your suggested GPS units would be a good start but there are other issues that I did not mention in my initial post above.

    I apologise for not fully setting out the requirements that I and numerous other prospective purchasers have. I live in Canada and like many drivers have a class 1 licence that as opportunities arise allows me to work at driving a semi-truck, coach or taxi and to work in the vast oil and gas industry. Like many drivers I do not have an assigned vehicle and all my gear, which would include a GPS if I could find a suitable model, has to be regularly moved between vehicles, sometime more than once a day. We need an adaptable GPS that:

    1. fully covers truck routes and DG, low/narrow bridge, axle and total weight, etc. restrictions in all of North America. It especially has to have all necessary routes and data for Canada
    2. can be set to parameters for different trucks, coaches, RVs, motorcycles and cars. We should be able to move one GPS readily from vehicle to vehicle and use it for different types of vehicle.
    3 suction mount so that it can easily be moved between vehicles and mounted in those that do not have a large dash, such as coaches, some RVs and motorcycles
    4. can receive updates over the Internet using Macintosh and Windows computers. My wife and I have an iMac and an iBook and are considering buying an iPad. A GPS that can be updated only through Windoze is of no use to us. Neither is an SD card update of use as the GPS has to be capable of being updated while away from home for extended periods. This means it has to be updated through the Internet.
    5. can navigate using oil and gas lease location data inserted on an SD card, and which navigation can be easily modified for spring road bans and restrictions.
    6. offers a choice of languages including world English and not just the American version. Remember Canada is not part of the USA, has many English speaking immigrants from all over the world and we follow International standards such as the spelling for colour, theatre, etc.
    7 is readily usable in both imperial and SI metric units and can be easily changed between them. Again Canada follows world standards and uses the SI metric system.
    8 Has regular frequent map and temporary restriction updates that are free and easy to obtain through No. 4 above.
    9 has a suitable protective case for the unit, cord and charger so that it can be protected while moving between vehicles or while in one's luggage.
    10 comes with mapping data that is reasonably current.
    11 includes data and routing to places such as sports arenas, hotels, conference centres, etc. as well as industrial locations.
    12 can in future have European and African mapping installed should I relocate to a country overseas. I should not have to sell an existing GPS and buy another if I should move to another country.
    13 has most of the other features mentioned in the GPS comparison chart by DieselBoss: http://www.dieselboss.com/truck_gps_review_features.htm
    14 Is available at a reasonable price. Remember further that the US and Canadian dollars are roughly at par so we in Canada expect to pay the same price as in the USA.

    Which GPS model meets all of the above requirements?

    Many hours of reading numerous threads on this forum convinces me that all of the GPS manufacturers have serious development and quality control problems. The quality problems include hardware, software and the map and restrictions data. Half developed units with outdated maps, poor routing software and unreliable hardware are being sold to the public who are being used as unpaid testers. The GPS makers seem to be ignorant of the public's requirements or else arrogantly ignore them and offer only the features that some know-it-all has decided are all that the customers should be permitted to receive. That I am not alone in identifying such deficiencies is confirmed by the many complaints from this forum's members about hardware, mapping and routing deficiencies as well as by the situation in the UK as mentioned in these BBC articles: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16434183 and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17268463

    Over the past year I have had the opportunity to observe the performance of four different Garmin Nuvi models in three different types of vehicles - a pickup truck, a tractor-trailer and a motor coach. I have been unimpressed with all of them. All exhibited deficiencies in mapping and routing. It is quite unacceptable to be driving along the dual carriageway Trans-Canada Highway with no road showing on the screen as the GPS indicates I am travelling off road and across country! This section of the TCH is not new - I drove on it a few years ago - so there is no excuse for this sort of inaccuracy. I am not picking on Garmin as the complaints on this forum target all of the GPS makers. They are all tarred with the same brush.

    Recent media articles suggest that time is running out for stand alone GPS units. GPS makers with any intelligence and common sense should be making the most of what time is left for them and adapting their units to expand their use rather than being so short sighted and driving buyers to bypass stand alone GPS units and instead use iPads, laptops, smart phones, etc.

    What is the answer? Are the GPS makers going to get their act together or if market forces have indeed failed should we all be pushing for some sort of government minimum standards to be rigorously enforced on them?
  4. Dieselboss

    Dieselboss Technology Contributor

    Feb 19, 2009
    Albany, Ory-gun
    Yes, I would agree that your second post has about 99% additional detail in your requirements.

    Here are the answers using your numbering system:
    1. "fully covered" and "all routes and restrictions" - None, and never will be. Roads, routes, addresses, and restrictions change HOURLY in North America. And there is no central reporting agency "super-database" where a city, state, or province can report those and then GPS map-makers can access them and proliferate them real-time.
    2. PC Miler
    3. PC Miler and Rand
    4. Rand and Garmin
    5. PC Miler, Rand, and Garmin. You would have to use their custom POI importer methods (each is different) to put the lease locations in as POI's. However, if the lease locations are not on roads that show up on any mapmaker databases then any GPS will get confused when you go off-road of their programmed database.
    6. PC Miler (use "UK English" setting to get your suggested terminology.)
    7. PC Miler, Rand, and Garmin
    8. Regular and free "maps" = PC Miler. Regular temporary "restriction" updates = NONE (with the exception of Rand's construction info for long-term road projects and the "real-time traffic options for both Rand and Garmin)
    9. Best Buy, Amazon, etc. Readily available.
    10. All are reasonably current if you have purchased the most current map database or if you have lifetimes maps and have kept it updated. None are 100%. PC Miler will respond also to your map or address updates in 45 days or less and if you were correct then it will be on the next 90-day downloadable update. Rand and Garmin both have feedback mechanisms also but tend to put out actual map updates at a slower pace (typically once per year, although I saw Garmin put out 3 in one year before.) Most drivers do not submit map feedbacks for correction so they kinda don't help themselves in that manner though.
    11. All of them, except "industrial locations" if that location does not have a public storefront. Of course all of them allow you to add those locations into your custom POI database for future usage.
    12. PC Miler and Garmin
    13. N/A. I am comparing those 3 now.
    14. "Reasonable" is a relative term. I had a driver talk me down to $150 on a GPS right after he spent $4000 on a chrome grill once. The screen SIZE makes a huge difference too. The three GPS's referred to in this post run from $140 to $439 depending on model, size, and accessories. U.S. companies don't charge a dime more for products to Canada. They have to charge more for the shipping though because the Canadian government stops everything at the border and charges duties for stuff coming in. Free health care or some reason.

    "Which GPS model meets all of the above requirements?" - none at this time.

    "Recent media articles suggest that time is running out for stand alone GPS units. " - this is why the stand-alone GPS makers have expanded other other platforms as well. Do a search in your iPhone or Droid market for GPS...

    "Government minimum standards" imposed on free-market products is not typically an American concept, and I would be the first in line to testify in a committee hearing against this practice. Although, more and more during the current political climate here it is becoming the mindset so you may get your wish. Ultimately the free market decides who lives and dies as a brand name here unless the government bails them out with taxpayer money.

    So currently there is no GPS (at least that I am aware of) that does every one of your requirements. If you are buying an iPad then the closest solution to all of your requirements would be CoPilot Truck for iPad.
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