What maps do I need for my GPS handheld?
February 28, 2007 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Which maps do I need to buy in order to use my GPS in London?

I am in the process of choosing a GPS unit (as did kimdog) and am probably going to buy a Garmin etrex Vista CX. The main use will be for navigating on foot in London, England: essentially I want be able to put in a postcode or address and see how I should walk to my destination. If I buy a model with the European basemap, will I be set or will I need to purchase further maps? If the European basemap will be insufficient (or if I bought a unit with a North American basemap, which would be substantially cheaper), is my only option to buy the obscenely priced City Navigator Europe map package?

Alternately, if you can tell me a different combination of GPS + software that you've used for a similar purpose in London and that has worked well for you, I would be equally happy.
posted by louigi to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not much help here, but I would be remiss if I didn't relate this little tidbit.

I have a Garmin Legend Cx and it works beautifully for the Austin (Texas) area, but then I decided to take it on holiday to Paris (France, not TX).

I purchased the City Maps France pack, but when I got to Paris, I discovered that I could rarely get a decent lock on more than one or two satellites. It turns out that in the canyon-like streets of large cities this is a real problem.

The other information I can give you is that the base maps are really sparsely detailed. After using it with the base maps for a short while, I ended up getting City Navigator (USA) to provide more detailed information. Worth it in my opinion, (but yes, grossly overpriced.)
posted by zueod at 10:03 AM on February 28, 2007

Lumisoft make an excellent London A-Z (the finest map for street navigation in London) for use on Symbian mobile phones, and it's staggeringly good.

A quick glance at the A-Z Map Co site indicates that they offer their maps as CD-ROMs, and there is mention of being able to unlock a GPS feature of these maps. This isn't my area of expertise, but I'd advise looking into it as the official A-Z maps really are the best street maps of London.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 10:37 AM on February 28, 2007

This site sells the A-Z Map line specifically for GPS systems. What I would do is load the CD-ROM onto your PC, mark off some specific places you plan to go (Westminster Abbey, or whatever), and then transfer to your GPS. I find it much easier to mark waypoints on a PC than on the handheld.

I agree with zueod, though - you may well have problems locking onto satellites in downtown areas.
posted by desjardins at 10:48 AM on February 28, 2007

My IQue didn't have too many problems in London, but that was from the car, so it might be a bit worse on the sidewalks (or, 'scue me, 'pavements', as they say there).

DO >>>> check prices from UK sources for UK maps! I bought South African maps before leaving Europe. After I got here, I discovered that map was crap, and there was a local version that was both cheaper and far more complete! (yes, from Garmin).
posted by Goofyy at 4:30 AM on March 2, 2007

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