Tech Blog

How To Teach Your Old GPS New Tricks

by Blogger on ‎07-14-2010 02:21 PM - last edited on ‎04-30-2012 03:18 PM by Moderator

Garmin nuvi 250 for GPS walking navigation

(photo by digitalbear on Flickr)


Taking your iPad or iPhone or other smart device on vacation is great - until you run in to roaming data charges. Recently I wrote about how to avoid some of these charges.  This post is about an alternative to get you all the smart phone data goodness you need when travelling, without spending a dime.

If you’re headed on a big foreign vacation, you’ve no doubt dipped in to get a pocket guide book.  That’s one part - the other involves packing along your car’s GPS.

You’ve no doubt found your car GPS a handy addition to a business trip to another city.  I’ve borrowed my wife’s Garmin Nuvi for trips to Toronto and San Francisco and easily got around the foreign cities.  But have you thought to unclip your GPS and use it as a street map for walking?

The Garmin Nuvi has a wide range of tools for foreign exchange, language, and is searchable (like Yelp) to help find nearby amenities, attractions and restaurants.  

Try using your Canadian iPhone in downtown San Francisco to find out the extra info and you’ll incur data charges.

GPS devices, on the other hand, don’t incur roaming data charges (despite doing basically the same thing), so simply stand on a street corner, and search for what you need.  You can discover where you are when lost, easily set "home" as your hotel and quickly navigate around unfamiliar streets.  It will even come in handy to show foreign language cabbies exactly where you need to go.

Later this week I’m headed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to run in a marathon with Team Diabetes.  Along with my guidebooks, I’ll be packing my Garmin Nuvi.  All you need to do is visit the website to load your device with the extra maps and then I can pack it along for instant help when I get lost.

And here’s an added bonus: many GPS devices (includng the Garmin Nuvi) can double as media players.  This device has an SD card slot I can load with audio books, podcasts or music to listen to on the road.  It can also double as a photo viewer in the field if I want to share pictures I’ve taken with travel partners.

If you’re headed on vacation this summer, pack along the GPS device to help you get from A to B in the car, but don’t forget to consider it as an option when you’re on a walking tour of an old city or wandering about a new town.


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by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎07-14-2010 06:56 PM

I recently traveled to China with an Garmin Oregon 450.  In places where street names don't show up or difficult to translate, Garmin introduced a new service called Bird's Eye..... it's like carrying Google Earth on your GPS!  In places where detailed road information wasn't available.  High resolution satellite maps came in really handy.


It does not work with Nuvi series however.

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