Navigator Version 6
Garmin Mapping/Navigating Software
|Without doubt Garmin make superb GPS models. However, up until now their available software, with the capacity to auto route has been sadly lacking in detail, that is once you get out of the major centres. City mapping detail is fantastic! Yes it's true that their Metroguide has good rural maps, but it will not auto route and this is hard to spot on some vendors websites. With the release of City Navigator Version 6 things have changed dramatically for the better! AS a test we looked up Coober Pedy and found fine street detail. Similarly it will route from the tiny lighthouse on Bruny Island in Tassie - it even gives the correct route for the Spirit of Tasmania. Yes, we were impressed! You can try this new version for yourself online, before parting with any money - always a prudent move in our book. Have a look at this Garmin page. When you click on Navigator 6 Australia the window to the left below opens showing a map of Australia. Just click the area you wish to check. It is very slow navigating around the maps, but you get there in the end! Trust us, it takes a heck of a lot of clicks to drill down to street level. But, nevertheless it is a most welcomed step in the right direction, possibly brought about by lots of moans and groans from users. We have met a few disgruntled purchasers. Apparently the USA versions of Metroguide do auto route. These users bought Street Pilots in Australia in the USA boxes and it clearly states "autorouting". However, Garmin have rectified this problem with the 2610 as it is 100% aimed at Australia. Garmin do eventually rectify user complaints. We must say that from a motorhomers perspective we were very disappointed with City Navigator Version 5 as it just didn't go anywhere close to meeting our expectations. We thought we did the right thing, at the time of ordering, by explaining to Johnny Appleseed exactly what we wanted to do, but sadly like so many businesses they didn't seem to understand the special needs of motorhomers/RV'ers. The screen shots below right show what you see on the Garmin map preview page. The grey areas indicate that street level info, even with street numbers will be available when used in your Garmin GPS (Quest, Street Pilot, 2610, iQue etc.) It always gives us a buzz when arriving at a street address that the Garmin knows what side of the road its on - amazing technology! We listed the problems with Version 5 on this page in case you are thinking of buying a used unit. We strongly urge you to upgrade to Version 6 SAP!!|
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|Upgrading and Installing|
OK so you have your CD and you have successfully put it on your computer and unlocked the maps (and had a strong cup of coffee!!). Lets get into getting it into the GPS itself. Now the first problem is the new complete map of Australia with rural roads/towns, wont fit completely on the 128 Meg Flash Card (varies with model) as it now needs 132 Meg. (opposition Destinator 3 needs a whopping 170 meg) All is not lost, as if you leave off poor old Tassie the rest will all fit. To select which maps you want use the "map tool" (far left with a touch of yellow). Now there are ways around you having to do this yourself if you aren't at all at home around computers. GPS-OZ will sell you a larger 256 Meg card for $45.00 (good price) and they will dump the version six on this for you for $35.00 which includes delivery. More info on this page. If you want to do it yourself the disk itself is available for free from Garmin (GME in Australia) or possibly from your selling dealer. You must then install it and apply for an "unlock code" online. This is fairly messy and we suggest you allow plenty of time to instal. We had zero troubles with Version 5, BUT the upgrade process took 4 hours. We ran into trouble because our original code was included in the box, so we were unknown customers to Garmin USA. (we never register anything unless we have to - reduces emails!) We therefore couldn't complete the installation. Both versions had to be uninstalled twice (registry problems) until we coached it back to life. Contacting Garmin support in the USA results in a 5-7 day wait. We got good assistance from Andrew Barry - Technical Specialist at GME in Australia. We got a same day email response and he can be reached on (02) 9844 6666. Our disk came from Johny Appleseed (free) however we were a bit perturbed by this little gem that came with it - "We cannot provide free technical support if you encounter any problems updating your software". Rather oddly none of this is mentioned on their Website when we were purchasing and really we feel it isn't unrealistic to expect ongoing care, particularly if you want to get recommendations from other RV'ers. GPS-OZ seem to be exactly the opposite. They advertise that they are willing to help you even if you didn't buy from them. Where we came unstuck was we didn't know that the Garmin Customer Number and the Registration Code on your original software are one and the same! If Garmin were to write this on the original yellow slip then this would no longer be confusing. Our troubles really started when we couldn't go any further and the Sony Vaio then decided it wouldn't shut down. There is a nice little page here with step by step instructions - far clearer than Garmins! Please keep your documentation safe otherwise you will have to buy another CD if your system crashes. GME can obtain an unlock code for you if you are entitled to a free upgrade (installed after 1/4/05). Our best advice aided by hinhsight, is to go down this path - much safer computer wise!
|Downloading the Maps to Your GPS|
The screen shot above shows map download in progress to the GPS. This does take around 30 minutes as it goes in sections. Avoid touching anything during this process. Selecting what maps to download is very simple and a little box in the bottom left on the map page tells you what you are up to in Megs. Can't find the map page?? To the right of the Zoom in/out magnifying glasses there is a drop down menu box. Click on the little triangle and select 1000 km. We left of the 4 middle maps in WA. Yes we will get a larger chip as soon as we get back to Brisbane. A bit on costs. To buy the complete product costs $349.00. Remember it comes bundled if you purchase a new GPS now, BUT be certain that Version 6 is in the box! Don't fall for all the messing around you will have to do to install it later. If you registered Version 5 after 1/4/05 then the upgrade is free. The upgrade to Version 6 via the unlock code method is $176.00. This can be paid for online to the Garmin USA site. If you haven't registered Version 5 we strongly urge you to this BEFORE attempting to load Version 6. This however is not mentioned anywhere either. It is a good move to read this Garmin page BEFORE attempting to load Version 6. In our view Garmin make what should be a simple process very difficult for us grey haired nomads! After all Microsoft are doing the same thing with far less complication. Rather oddly you cant download the CD at all.
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of the Massive Improvements!
NOTE: This review ONLY focuses on using the software from the point of view of an RV'er, and as such if you are not into this lifestyle the advice/opinions given could well be erroneous.