Garmin advice and statement

April 24, 2008 7:10:46 PM PDT
While driving in Center City, Philadelphia the Garmin would drop out and try to recalculate directions. Do you have any suggestions for our viewers who own a Garmin?

Our products use a high-sensitivity GPS antenna; however, as with any GPS device, they need to have a clear view of the sky in order to receive and maintain a signal. I'm not familiar with Center City, Philadelphia, but if there are large buildings around, it's possible that the device was unable to get a good signal because of the buildings. Another possibility with large buildings is "multi-pathing", which is when the GPS signal will bounce off of buildings and in return can confuse the device. Lastly, depending on where you had the device positioned in the windshield can affect the signal that you received. For example, if you were using a nuvi 3xx or 6xx series that have a flip up antenna, it's best to have the antenna parallel to the sky ? not flipped straight up. How far ahead is the Garmin suppose to notify the driver of a turn?

I know there's an algorithm that determines when the device gives directions. Our team testing the Garmin said the biggest problem was the system sometimes gave different names for roads compared to the street signs.

The device will notify you of road names based on what it knows. As you've probably discovered in your research, there are essentially two map providers in the world ? TeleAtlas and Navteq. We purchase the large majority if our data from Navteq. If the Navteq database identifies the route as 309, that's how the device will identify the route. How do you suggest consumers avoid the problems we encountered and get the best results out of your system? This is hard to answer without knowing the specific device you were testing. We do have free tutorial videos on the majority of our products so customers can learn how to use them. These videos can be found on our website, and some of our newer, high-end products have videos available on the device itself. GPS satellite technology is all controlled by the same satellites set up by the government. Exactly what sets your system/maps apart from the others on the market? Also, which map provider do you use?

We use Navteq maps. You're correct, the Global Positioning System is owned and operated by the Government. The things that differentiate Garmin from others are several fold. Here's a list of a few: 1. We use Navteq maps and also have an in-house cartography department so we're able to supplement the map data; 2. We have a very extensive product line (we make GPS products for airplanes, boats, cars, cell phone, hiking, running, etc), and we leverage our technology across our product lines. For example, our automotive products have solid state memory, not a hard drive. We developed solid state memory for our aviation products. The benefit of this to consumers is that with solid state memory the device won't crash and is less susceptible to temperature variations or vibrations ? which is something you face regularly in a car. If you're using a device with a hard drive and there's lots of vibrations, the device will/can turn off and/or reset in the middle of routing, and extreme temperature changes will make the start-up time slower. 3. We have one of the best warranties in the industry.

4. All of our customer support is in-house, so when you call for help you'll be speaking with someone in Olathe, KS.

5. We're often the first to integrate new technologies, such as MSN Direct that gives real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, news, stock prices, local events, etc. 6. We offer free software upgrades (not map updates) online. Software upgrades are offered whenever we find a glitch or when we can offer a new feature/service. For example, when the government changed the dates of daylight savings, our devices didn't know that in advance. However, we wrote that information into our code and customers can do a free software update and the new software will recognize the new daylight savings time. Let me know if you want more examples of any of these and I can provide them. What advice can we share with consumers that already own a Garmin? Take advantage of the free, online software updates to keep your device in good working order. Take advantage of our customer support team who will help you trouble shoot issues via email or the phone (there's no charge to speak to our customer support team). Make sure you use common sense when you leave your vehicle and store your GPS out of sight so that it doesn't become a target for thieves. How often does Garmin update maps? When do those maps become available to consumers each year? Approximately once a year and they're available in the Spring.

Our 2009 maps became available last week. Regarding construction zones/detours does Garmin have the technology to recognize these areas? For example, if a road is scheduled to be closed for sometime and the maps are being updated will Garmin provide this information? Yes, our higher-end devices have real-time traffic, which includes construction zones. The device will automatically route you around the construction, or if an accident occurs while you're in-route, a message will pop up telling you there's an accident/delay ahead and ask if you'd like to reroute Finally, does any Garmin model offer real time traffic data? Yes. Numerous Garmin models offer real-time traffic. Those that offer real-time traffic in the box (not as an optional accessory) are the nuvi 660 (Clear Channel's Total Traffic Network Traffic), nuvi 680 (MSN Direct traffic), nuvi 760 (Clear Channel's Total Traffic Network Traffic), nuvi 780 (MSN Direct Traffic), StreetPilot c550 (Clear Channel's Total Traffic Network), StreetPilot c580 (MSN Direct), and zumo 550 (XM radio, weather and traffic). Other members of the nuvi, zumo, and StreetPilot line can be upgraded to added traffic if the customer purchases an optional traffic accessory (approx $100).