What do you use for in vehicle navigation?

mapsI hold my hands up and admit that reading a paper map is in my mind and old school art form that I have not learnt.

My idea of map reading is Google Maps, very sad I know but that is the way it is.

Whilst I know the rough directions to get from the sunny South coast of England to many major towns or cities, I do rely on the digital brains of Google Maps to confirm this and direct me.

When in the car, I sit my phone in a Brodit mount or I am now using it even more for walking, just carrying it in my hand.

I have seen Google Maps evolve and I like how it has.  I rely on it because 9 times out of 10 it works and gives me things like traffic information, time of arrival and alternative routes.

Whilst I have changed vehicles in my last one, the factory fitted solution was awful. It was out of date and the interface was poor.  Yes it tied in with the cars audio system and perhaps was the all round safer solution.  However when many of the factory fitted navigation systems cost well over £1000 (plus expensive updates) it is very easy to see the appeal of a smartphone solution, that is continually up to date, despite some limitations.

I actually went as far as reconfiguring my last vehicle, installing a tablet in place of the factory fitted navigation system, you can  see the result in the following video.

However, what I am keen to know is what is your navigation in a car?

Do you have a factory solution? If you do, do you pay the high prices for the map updates? Do you use a smartphone or tablet instead?

Whatever the solution would you consider something else or like to see changes made?

We are beginning to see manufacturers integrate more up to data solutions through schemes such as Google Auto, but is it enough?

Comments

  1. Paul M says

    On a longer journey I use a TomTom XL for navigation, and have G Maps displayed on Xperia Z Ultra to give me context and traffic conditions.
    This worked well on a recent drive to Disneyland Paris.

    Mostly I just live with G Maps. But the speed^wsafety camera feature of TomTom is very useful.

    • Jon says

      Thanks for the comments Paul. Interesting how you feel TomTom still has some advantages over the all powerful Google.

      • Paul M says

        I like the lane guidance of TomTom.
        I find that Google navigation can be too late, i.e. you’ve taken the exit off the roundabout just as it says to take the exit!

        Also, TomTom is easy for my wife to use, she has G maps on her phone but the screen is a bit small being an Xperia SP.

        • Jon says

          I agree with you Paul on the lanes. Google appears to think sometimes you can immediately take the turning at short notice. Perhaps viewing the map in advance is favourable, but not easy especially when driving. Maybe an improvement for the future?

    • Jim says

      Be careful. Speed camera warnings are illegal in France, even for foreigners for whom it is a part of their satnav.

  2. Ian says

    I try to drive as little as possible, but use a windscreen mount with my phone running Google Maps Nav in the UK, TomTom in the US (and in the UK if I can’t get a signal). The speed limit indicator on TomTom is definitely useful, and it’d be nice to see that migrate to Google Maps Nav, but otherwise they’re pretty much interchangeable for me.

  3. vinay says

    Mainly use my android phone or tablet with Google navigation but do try a few other paid and free apps some of which have the speed camera warnings for free. But do come back to Google maps for familiarity and ease of use even though have a few paid ones. Have done some simultaneous comparisons and a dedicated Tom Tom is not faster or better. Have used 4 different built in satnav but all Of them were consistently a poor option compared to Google navigation and more expensive. Presently have 2 built in satnav options but never use them as upgrading them costs ridiculous amounts of money for a far worse experience than free google navigation.

  4. Ruksana says

    I use Google Maps on my mobile. Can’t go wrong except when there’s no reception in the country.

  5. Stephen Postlethwaite says

    Only use my Android devices for navigation. Used tomtom years ago, but found their updates slow and expensive. Mainly use Google maps, but also use copilot premium, which I won in a competition they held on G+. Of the two I find Google to be a little more accurate, but lacks speed cameras and speed warning features. Copilot had these plus Lane warnings for motorway junctions which is useful.

  6. says

    While you can cache Google Maps for offline use, it’s a bit fiddly. I have a fairly basic Garmin Nuvi that works anywhere in Europe without needing a 3G signal or data roaming, which is quite useful on holidays. (I bought it before I had a smartphone; its maps have been updated once, but are a few years old now.)

    • Jon says

      Alan. Thanks for the comments. You are indeed quite correct. Offline Google maps is fiddly and difficult for longer journeys. Always good to have a fallback like the Nuvi. Not ideal with older maps but should get you to most places fairly easily and save on some of the date costs.

  7. vinay says

    Forgot to mention there are few free apps that have speed warnings and free maps and some are as good as copilot paid version which I also have. Tried many of these apps so can’t remember which free ones. Done quite a few long distance journeys with those free ones on my tegra note 7 tablet which works nicely as a navigation device in my car as it had loud stereo speakers and decent battery life. Try out the free ones before buying paid ones like copilot.

  8. Jim says

    Android tablet attached to coin holder on dash using a fold back clip on its cover. Also Android phone. Primarily the app by Sygic, lifetime maps based on those from TomTom, updated approx 3 times a year. PocketGPSWorld POIs. Increasingly OSMAnd which is open source mapping, good voice direction, and updated by us users. I rarely have a good enough signal for Google maps, besides which its POIs are very very poor. So many are in the wrong place, and not just a few yards but streets or miles away. I am fed up submitting corrections. However a check on Google Street view is a great idea before going somewhere new.
    I did use copilot but hated it’s routing; perhaps it is now better as it supposedly uses real time data (if you can get a signal).
    An absolute must is my ordnance survey / Philip road atlas of Great Britain at 3 miles to the inch.

    • Paul M says

      Oh, definitely, keep a paper map in the car as a fallback. I buy one maybe every other year when they get discounted to 99p!

  9. Josh Bethell says

    I don’t drive but I do find that Google Maps is excellent for walking or cycling around new areas. If I disappear off somewhere unknown I’m always confident I can get back on track when I want to return to civilisation or find a familiar high street name.

    As for in-vehicle navigating, my housemate swears by his paid copy of CoPilot. Running on a Galaxy Note it works well with the stylus and has got us both around the UK and France on a number of occasions without issue.