GPS Navigehtion
December 10, 2006 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Best GPS navigation system for Canada?

I want to get my parents a GPS navigation system for Christmas. We live in Canada and they plan to drive across the country on vacation in the next couple of years.

My boss loved the GPS unit he used when he rented cars, but he noted that it tended to have trouble in Canada. It had all the maps, but would get confused sometimes and have a hard time coming up with routings.

So is there anyone out there that has used a GPS nav in Canada and can recommend it? Something under $500 preferably and fairly easy to use
posted by jacquilynne to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Garmin - a friend of mine has one of their set-top dashboard models and it worked well.

A couple things to remember about GPS are:
- they will inevitably get confused in areas with very tall office buildings or deep mountain passes/valleys - as they simply cannot 'see' enough satellites. Sometimes, systems built into the vehicle will perform better simply because they have a rooftop antenna.

- it takes time to 'see' those satellites either when you first turn it on, or after one or more has been 'lost' - the device has to 're-aquire' them.

So - look for a device that has excellent ('active') antenna and can 'aquire' satellites quickly.

Although - I do find the maps in Canada are a fair bit worse than the US - but that's pretty much for any manufacturer.
posted by jkaczor at 10:22 AM on December 10, 2006

I have a Garmin Streetpilot C330 (available on Amazon for $309 USD now) and it's never led me astray in Canada (where I live). I've had occasional problems in Toronto where it couldn't acquire satellites because of the tall buildings but as jkaczor already said, that's a pretty common problem. I use the maps that come with it but if I were going across Canada I'd make the investment in a Canadian specific map. One thing I've found that is you almost have to resign control to the device.

The only times I've ever been lost with the GPS in my car is because I used my "better judgement" and made a different turn than what it told me. Of course that turned out to be completely wrong and when I turned around and went back the GPS was right.
posted by saraswati at 11:29 AM on December 10, 2006

Response by poster: My ideal scenario would be buying it at Costco for reasons of parental convenience and returns - if they hate it, can't work it or it doesn't work, they can just take it back and Costco will give them back money, rather than sticking it to them with a service plan of some kind.

Currently, they only have one available in-store, a Cobra NavOne 2500 for $500.

I could get the Garmin Streetpilot C330 on their website for $390, though, which is $10 cheaper than I can buy it at Best Buy. That, though, is the model that sent us across a mile long bridge and then had us do a u-turn and come back across the same bridge we'd just crossed while I was travelling in Montreal with my boss.

I will probably go with one of those two options, I guess. Does anyone know anything about the NavOne 2500?
posted by jacquilynne at 1:26 PM on December 10, 2006

Response by poster: I ended up getting the C330 from Best Buy (who had it on their website for $40 cheaper than in store, and $30 cheaper than Costco, who had, in any case, sold out between when I first looked at their site and when I decided to buy that one).

Of all the manufacturers I looked at, Garmin was the only one that even pretended to include complete Canadian maps with their systems. All of the others offered 'major metropolitan areas only'. The C330 seemed to be the most popular, most available, and most in my price range of the Garmin models.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:12 AM on December 12, 2006

« Older Clothes shopping in Taipei/Hong Kong: What to get...   |   What's it called? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.