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Old 04-30-2019, 08:16 AM   #1
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GPS Comparison Thread

We have seen a lot of discussion regarding the Rand McNally GPS, and the how poorly it handles waypoints etc. This discussion has lead to several people removing the Xite radio, or just not ordering it to begin with.

Some members have replaced their radio with a non-gps style radio like the kenwood, pioneer, etc. and utilized a separate GPS that is standalone.

I personally replaced my radio with an Andriod radio that allows me to use CoPilot, Waze, GoogleMaps, or any other available GPS software.

I have seen many people swear by the Garmin lineup of RV Specific GPS, leaving the impression that without this device you can easily be led down a road that has low clearance.

I would like to solicit a group effort to test specific routes that are a known problem. The test should include the following information:
  1. A generic starting point that is close enough to make either the correct decision or wrong decision.
  2. The final destination.
  3. A note or way point of the known trouble spot
  4. Results of a default route. If you want to include route preferences and results based on the routing preferences that is fine.
  5. Results of a way point that purposely takes you on a bad route.
End

The final point is what I would expect a good GPS to avoid at all costs, and to provide a warning to you during trip planning. I have yet to see any GPS that will provide the warning during route selection. If one exists, that is the GPS I want to have.

Here is an example Scenario everyone can use if they want to test. If others have a similar scenario, please post it.

This scenario is called "Branson Landing"

Destination: "City of Branson Lakeside RV"
300 Boxcar Willie Dr,
Branson, MO 65616
36.635809,-93.217673

Known Trouble spots:

#1 The route from Lake Dr to Boxcar Willie drive involves a Rail bridge with 12.5Ft height and 8ft width: https://goo.gl/maps/hpPQHuRkjzNJEW8DA

#2 The route that takes you down main street is very tight, busy, and very steep hills. Most RV's will bottom out and scrape on this road, and making the turn at the bottom can be difficult based on how narrow both lanes are.
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Old 04-30-2019, 08:30 AM   #2
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Scenario 1 test results:

Google maps default is to take the optimal route, exiting US-65S to Branson landing and following that into the RV Park: https://goo.gl/maps/qmVGSRfxU3w2FUrv5

Primary route Result: PASS
Known problem warning: FAIL

Waze defaults to a route that takes you thru trouble spot #1 and down very many small residential streets covered with low hanging large trees and very steep hills.
Primary route Result: FAIL
Known problem warning: FAIL

Co-Pilot with RV Profile (latest version android) offers the primary route staying on US Bus 65/76 to Long Street. This route is the 2nd best route, but still has many low hanging trees. No GPS could avoid trees, and I do not expect it to.

The alternate route offered is the best route along branson landing blvd.
Primary route Result: PASS
Known problem warning: FAIL

Interesting note regarding coPilot. Changing my profile to a car, the preferred route via branson landing became the default route, and the alternate route of Long street was shown as secondary.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:08 AM   #3
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Wow......you must have been spying on a long post I wrote this morning when I couldn't sleep and then deleted it for fear of aggravating someone. I disliked the Xite because the screen was small, it was freezing up and you couldn't adjust the phone volume. I once entered a route, where I put the wrong street numbers and could not back out to correct it, without disconnecting power to the radio....that was the final straw for me. Sure, some have figured out how to make it work better, but I was done. I replaced it with a Kenwood/Garmin ins dash radio. I've also been running a second GPS near my wife's seat for years. She can use it to verify the main dash unit or to look up things like food stops while driving. It's a large Magellan, a brand I think is the most user friendly.

I also know that many must have a GPS that gives them RV/Truck route info. I just don't see this as being useful/needed (****just my opinion****). That's what I was typing about this morning and then deleted it for fear of aggravating those that want that info, but now it seems your doing a survey on it.

I've owned three large DP's since 2005 and have put about 110,000 miles on them including three coast to coast trips. About 90,000 of those miles I was towing a toad and sometimes a boat. In all that time, I never came across a low bridge or an impassable road (dirt). Granted, most of our trips are out west and after 43 years of RVing and over 200,000 miles of traveling, I know most of the roads and just about every fuel stop. On the occasions that I travel a small road that I've never been on, I watch for signs and observe other traffic on the road. If delivery trucks and other RV's are present, I fell safe there will be no issues.

In the 14 years of driving a DP and towing a toad, I only had to disconnect the toad three times because I was stuck. Once on a road I thought I was a shortcut, but ended up being a dead end, once when I attempted to enter a fuel stop from a side road, and once when I disconnected because a station had really cheap fuel (casino) and the toad didn't fit, so I parked it across the street.

I would really like to see a poll of PERSONAL experiences where someone ended up on an impassable road, where an RV/Truck GPS would have made a difference.

On a trip after a Newmar Rally last week, we ended up on a road along the California coast that we had never travelled on, but our new Garmin said it would lead us to the freeway. It was a country road through farmland, but I saw a lot of traffic and a couple of trucks. While driving, my wife did a quick check with the Magellan, making sure it aligned with the Garmin and it did, leading us right to the freeway on ramp.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
I would really like to see a poll of PERSONAL experiences where someone ended up on an impassable road, where an RV/Truck GPS would have made a difference.
This is exactly what I am wanting to see as well, along with the specifics of locations and how the GPS alerted you and when.

IMHO, it is not good enough to scream at me at the same time a sign is telling me its too late. I want the GPS to scream at me the moment I force a route that is wrong AND to provide a warning symbol on the exits that tells me "Do not exit..point of no return" Anything short of this happening reliably is not satisfactory.

As DSDon said, I have only had 3 occasions where my methods have caused a problem. 2 of them required a disconnect and backing out. One was much much worse, and I am blessed that no damage was done to person or equipment.

I do not want to spend money on a dedicated unit that is not any better than how I am working now. If there is anything better, please post specifics of how it is better.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:43 AM   #5
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I can think of two specific spots. On the 101 Freeway, (north/south coastal freeway in California) there is a low train bridge at the base of a s/b offramp near Gaviota State Beach. It's well marked and I only know one person who missed the sign. It was my Physicians Assistant I saw for years. They exited at the offramp, saw the bridge and stopped. It's a short ramp so the CHP had to stop traffic to let them back up the on ramp in their fifth wheel.

The other bridge is the infamous one you can watch for hours on YouTube. A must watch!
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:02 AM   #6
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Before I even took delivery of my MH and paid $1K for the nav option I ordered a Garmin RV 770 (Garmin 780 now available) as I do NOT want to look down and right at a NAV while driving. As a former low level A-10 pilot doing 300+ at 100ft I know to keep the eyes outside. Hence why I mounted mine on top of the dash left of the wheel.

I will NOT use a nav that does not take into account height, width, weight, period! In my opinion not doing so is ludicrous and asking for trouble. My vision is not good enough to read bridge heights before it's too late, not good enough to read bridge weight limits before it's too late. My Pioneer AVIC-8200 NEX also has size and weight params so it is a good backup but I am not looking down and right at my nav, fortunately it has good audio integration with my dash radio speakers so I get good audibles as needed including speed limit warnings.

You are the pilot in command of your vehicle, do as you wish. But this one is religion to me and I am very opinionated on the risks involved here as you all know.
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NealC View Post
Before I even took delivery of my MH and paid $1K for the nav option I ordered a Garmin RV 770 (Garmin 780 now available) as I do NOT want to look down and right at a NAV while driving. As a former low level A-10 pilot doing 300+ at 100ft I know to keep the eyes outside. Hence why I mounted mine on top of the dash left of the wheel.

I will NOT use a nav that does not take into account height, width, weight, period! In my opinion not doing so is ludicrous and asking for trouble. My vision is not good enough to read bridge heights before it's too late, not good enough to read bridge weight limits before it's too late. My Pioneer AVIC-8200 NEX also has size and weight params so it is a good backup but I am not looking down and right at my nav, fortunately it has good audio integration with my dash radio speakers so I get good audibles as needed including speed limit warnings.

You are the pilot in command of your vehicle, do as you wish. But this one is religion to me and I am very opinionated on the risks involved here as you all know.
But unlike aircraft, there is no proof "how" these gps take things into account. Please post some specific examples of how the GPS takes it into account so that we can all benefit and learn from this. I do not trust marketing hype, only verified data.
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
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But unlike aircraft, there is no proof "how" these gps take things into account. Please post some specific examples of how the GPS takes it into account so that we can all benefit and learn from this. I do not trust marketing hype, only verified data.
I've definitely had my warnings about weight limits on detours. I've also had height limits in fact on the trip home from Newmar and FPU as I was struggling to find Diesel as a new RVer and went under a bridge that was at my set limit (too high setpoint) and I went very slow listening for contact. So yes, I have proven on more than one occasion the height and weight params were brought to my attention. At $300 for a Garmin 770 or $400 for a Garmin 780 it is a very very cheap investment and insurance to have a GPS with RV/Truck/Etc params accounted for. It's far cheaper than what we all got suckered into by Newmar for the $100 POS units that came in our coaches that we paid $1K+ for.

I have full faith in my Garmin in routing and params. I do not have the same level of faith in the Pioneer but the nav is a good system and handles rerouting and traffic very well. Both are good, Garmin is best in my opinion. I do trust it.
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:44 AM   #9
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Here is what I get out of Garmin BaseCamp for an approach to Branson City Lakeside RV Park. I would expect our GPS (RV760) to produce the same route.

A couple of interesting things:

1) The RV park is southeast of where the Garmin database puts it
2) There are no low bridges indicated, even though I have the LowClearances.com bridge POI (Point of Interest) data loaded for bridges that have clearance of 13 feet 6 inches or less.
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:47 AM   #10
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Redbaron spotted in Cleveland. This would be an interesting situation to end up in. Click here for Redbaron's portrait.
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Here is what I get out of Garmin BaseCamp for an approach to Branson City Lakeside RV Park. I would expect our GPS (RV760) to produce the same route.

A couple of interesting things:

1) The RV park is southeast of where the Garmin database puts it
2) There are no low bridges indicated, even though I have the LowClearances.com bridge POI (Point of Interest) data loaded for bridges that have clearance of 13 feet 6 inches or less.
This route would be fine, except if you actually made the right hand turn onto Branson landing at the very end vs making the left hand turn. By the time you were at that point, you should visibly see the park, unless it was dark.

If you do make the right hand turn, you have a long reroute ahead of you, or if you know in advance, an easy turn around in the cabella's parking lot.
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Old 04-30-2019, 11:44 AM   #12
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Redbaron spotted in Cleveland. This would be an interesting situation to end up in. Click here for Redbaron's portrait.

Looks to me like he had to have his dump bed raised to make contact with that high overpass.


Don't get the Redbaron part...
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Old 04-30-2019, 01:25 PM   #13
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DSD & All - I can verify that the Magellan is great. Personally I use the MG-RV-9365, it has only put me in one wrong place once, however, I never just use a GPS, I plan my trips with Good Sam/Rand McNally RV Large Print Road Atlas, purchased at Camping World, all big rig routes are highlighted and RV parks/Pilot-FJ stations are also marked. Then I would input into GPS, and would call RV park for RON (rest overnight) to make sure the turn route was the best/safest way into park, cannot remember which one, but one was not correct. It even took me into the TT Medina Lake Campground perfect (real convoluted way to get to this one).

I have to plug my GPS in and charge the battery (Magellan just does not have great battery life for standalone use), but it's map database is almost perfect. I am going to print out the above scenario and report on it's choices from my home here in GA, I will report what it says. Cannot comment on Xite-However, YouTube has a 9 part video series on it from company, and update it to the latest RM update, this has fixed a number of problems with the unit as I understand. But again, if the Xite is a problem child, Newmar is either going to fix it with new unit, or take it out and install one of my choice under warranty. The days of my paying money to fix someone else problems are over, you offer it, you support it, or you replace it with known good unit. Trust me, I can be the biggest PIA on this planet if you are in the wrong, I will add honey to it, but it won't be my dime.
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Old 04-30-2019, 03:00 PM   #14
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City of Branson Lakeside RV Park is 100 S (South) Boxcar Willie Dr, which is what my GPS Says, confirmed by checking web site of park. Helps if we get the correct data out of the gate. Still here is how it took me.

Go from State of GA to MO. Get on Hwy 248 for 33 miles, take exit for Branson Landing Blvd (gps shows traffic Circle) to Veterans Blvd straight to Traffic Circle for Branson Landing Blvd, Right on S. Boxcar Willie Dr .3 mi to resort.

No warnings about low bridge overpass, or any other obstructions. Low trees are not in mine, don't think any mapping system shows warnings about them.

FWIW- I have my height, width, and weight programed into this GPS, again the Magellan RV-9365. I have also checked via bing.com/maps to "see where it's taking me". Put it into Bing.com/maps twice, different route each time. BM’s does not know I am RV, no way to program that into it. Did not check directions from the GS Camping Directory, but those usually 99.99% of the time are for RV's and are correct. One thing I wish GPS's could do, is to let me send route to printer, so CP could read me directions, and not have to look down and see them/it in map view. Have taken time to write down main points to sticky note and put on dash.

One popular mapping web service (think 39.00 yearly) is talked about here, and is one of the sponsors of this site. I balked at paying 10.00 annually for the Weather Underground "for no ads", then IBM purchased them, and it went to heck, lots of errors. So between paper maps and directories, and my GPS, I don't need to pay for another "service". The only good thing about WU is the wundermap feature, best sat/radar picture around, lots of customization to get what you want to see. The rest of it is bunk, used to be the best traveling WX place around.

If this route is bad/wrong/fails, please post that here so we know. Mark, yours took you way around based on what I see on Bing maps, But my GPS is hard to get to the end of journey and "see" how the turns go. Guess I can zoom in on the web and see the route mentioned. Going back to Branson, just not sure when, have to look up where we stayed before it was a nice place, not on the water though.

This is a very interesting subject, more challenges would be helpful to all, IMHO. Oh, if anyone did it with the Xite/RM unit, please post the results, that would be interesting to see.

NealC- You have proven the benefit of having two, so this one will go back in new coach. CP can have it on her side, and warn me of things the other one misses.
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