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General Category => GPSr Units => Topic started by: maps4gps on September 07, 2015, 01:38:09 PM

Title: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: maps4gps on September 07, 2015, 01:38:09 PM
Have a new auto and was looking for a navigation gpsr.  Garmin's website currently shows 67 Nuvi models available. 
Do they really expect someone to comprehend all that to make a proper choice?
How many of those units are obsolete and will soon be dropped and no longer valid for lifetime upgrades of the maps?

Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: Boyd on September 07, 2015, 02:46:29 PM
AFAIK, the only units that Garmin no longer supports with Lifetime Maps are the really old ones, like the GPSMap 276. I have never seen a post complaining that updates have been discontinued for any Nuvi. We have a member over at GPSReview who has complained that they will not honor his lifetime subscription for his 276. That is about the only thread I've seen on the subject across multiple sites.

They have slowed the pace of introducing new Nuvi models however. If you are really concerned, you can choose a recent model here. Note the links on the left for 2015, 2014 and 2013 models:

As a mapmaker, I suggest that you look at the glass screen models like the 35xx series. They do much more precise map rendering than other Nuvis that I've seen. They treat the map like a 3d model and give realistic 3d views that you can rotate, tilt, pan and zoom with simple gestures in the map browser.

I am very impressed with their rendering, will post some screenshots when I get back to my PC (writing this on my MacBook Air now). They offer some interesting possibilities for mapmaking. They also include a special map, gmapdem.img that includes DEM data for all of North America. When you enable it along with a map (any map), it will be wrapped around the 3d terrain.

GPSCity (maybe other vendors) have had the Nuvi 3590 and 3580 factory refurbs in stock from time to time for really low prices. I like these because they are from the 2012 model year. That was the only year they offered the custom dashboard feature. I wrote a detailed tutorial about creating your own dashboards, and it allows you complete control over what is displayed on the main map screen.

I have a Nuvi 3550 which works with these. Mostly I use a Dezl 760 though because I like the big 7" screen. It is resistive, so no multi-touch. But the software is almost identical to the 35x0 series. It has the same 3d map browser but does not include the gmapdem.img file and cannot do 3d terrain. It will do DEM shading if you use a Garmin map that includes it, like the topo products. However when you switch to 3d view, the map isn't "wrapped around" the terrain. I see refurbs of these for $225 at GPSCity.

If you like to use custom routes, then I would suggest you stick with the 2014 and 2015 models however. The old "trip planner" prior to those years has been the subject of many complaints. Trips are not like routes, they are more like a collection of start and stop points. So the device will only display the distance to the next via in your custom route and not the final destination.

I gather that Garmin finally addressed these complaints in 2014 and made the trip planner more like the traditional route planner. Have never used on myself, and rarely create custom routes so it's not really an issue for me.
Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: Boyd on September 07, 2015, 04:19:21 PM
Here are a few examples of maps I'm working on taken from the Dezl 760 (with my custom dashboard). This one consists only of polygons - roads were converted using the Globalmapper "create buffers" command using realistic widths based on road class. Am also adding individual buildings to the map. This map is not rendered correctly on older Nuvis, they don't seem to be precise enough to render a 4 meter wide road polygon for example.

The Dezl renders the map just like my Nuvi 3550, although you can't enable 3d terrain. Where I live, that doesn't really matter, the highest point in all of Southern New Jersey is under 300 feet. :)





Also playing around with a new topo map that has been tweaked for the nuvi. One interesting feature is that if you use borderless lines, the Nuvi automatically scales their width when you zoom, making them fat at close scale and skinny as you move farther out. I wish Garmin's handhelds would do this. :)



(I wish Oz could do something to the forum software so that images wider than 500 pixels would display properly :) )
Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: maps4gps on September 07, 2015, 04:47:26 PM
As always Boyd, you creations look super.

I was looking at CarToys website for dashcams and they listed the nuviCamLMTHD.  It is a bit of over kill as the 2016 Outbacks have lane departure, etc. (including correction if you want).  Both their writeup and Garmin's mention new maps ... 'for the useful life of your device'.  I see this unit is one of the 18 already new for 2015.  Any words of wisdom on that unit or the 26xx units?
Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: Boyd on September 07, 2015, 05:28:22 PM
Thanks. :) Don't really have an opinion on the new models, I am kind of frozen in 2012 because I want the custom dashboard feature. I don't really care for the newer Nuvi interface (started in 2013 IIRC) with the sliding tabs. And I really hate the "active lane guidance" (I think that's what it's called). They introduced this in 2013 also and it seems to have replaced the "lane assist" feature that used to be in the upper left corner of the screen in many locations.

My Dezl 760 is sort of a transition between 2012 and 2013 so it has this feature where my Nuvi 3550 doesn't have it. When I drive around the NYC area, these big, ugly, distracting 3d animated cartoons of the lanes keep popping up and taking half the whole screen. And they seem to popup at every highway exit, even if you just need to continue going straight down the road. The same information is easily conveyed by the little lane assist icon in the corner of the screen on older models.

The NuviCam is a member of the "prestige" line however and it has 3d terrain like the 3xxx series, so that is good. Some discussion here:
Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: Boyd on September 07, 2015, 06:21:44 PM
Since this is a mapmaking site and this stuff fascinates me… :)

I started adding buildings to my maps when I noticed that OSM is starting to include buildings. Some urban areas are actually very complete - it's a lot of data! I have been adding my own in areas that interst me by tracing them from orthoimagery.

Have also developed a complex database that lets me easily edit map colors. It generates a Globalmapper .gm_style file and also a Garmin custom .typ file so that the map looks the same on both software platforms. As far as I can tell, the new Nuvis recognize 83 custom polygon types, and I am using them all. :)

But when you start mapping individual buildings, you quickly see the limitations of Garmin's 32 bit coordinate format with precision of about +/- 8 feet. Compare the buildings in my Globalmapper source file to the Mapsource version…



Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: maps4gps on September 08, 2015, 03:42:40 AM
How is the map data on the Nuvi?  I expect it is like City Navigator, no contour lines and very generalized hydro.
Any problems with signal reception?  My OR300 worked fine in the soft top Jeep in the center counsel cup holder, but had trouble receiving satellites in the new full metal top vehicle.
Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: Boyd on September 08, 2015, 03:58:17 AM
The Nuvi comes with City Navigator maps. Of course, they are not topo maps and are intended for road navigation. The Prestige series include the gmapdem.img map that I mentioned before. It only contains DEM data, but when enabled along with another map it will give you 3d terrain. These units also include another special map, gmap3d.img that contains 3d buildings in selected urban areas.

You can add as many other maps as you like, the nuvi recognizes any valid map file with an .img extension and is compatible with Mapsource and Basecamp. But additional maps must be placed in the \Map directory (not the \Garmin directory like a handheld). Mapsource and Basecamp will automatically create this directory if needed when you send a map.

I've never  had reception problems on any of my Nuvis, except in "urban canyons" where buildings block the sky view. They have improved quite a bit in this regard over the years. I usually mount mine down low in my cars and they work fine.

Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: jangeo67 on September 08, 2015, 04:57:54 AM
nice looking maps Boyd. a lot of work i'm sure. i've been using maps4gps topo's for NY,PA,CO & ME and your NJ topo in my handheld(rino) and nuvi 1450. they all display very well in the nuvi.
Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: maps4gps on September 09, 2015, 11:38:37 AM
Looks like following JBensman's lead in making a topo and hydro overlay map to work with City Navigator would be necessary.

My vehicle available space is located like yours and is about 7" across and 5" high with both a 12 volt outlet and powered USB port at the back.  I only find two prestige series models (with the gmapdem.img file) , the one with cam (of no use in that location) and the 3597 with a 'tiny' 5" screen.   Have I missed any?
Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: Boyd on September 09, 2015, 01:53:50 PM
No, I think that's about it. The first was the 3750/3790 back in 2010. It had a 4" screen and felt underpowered, multi touch gestures did not work well. I was an early adopter and posted a bunch of screenshots here of LIDAR based maps I was making.

In 2012 they introduced the 3490 as an upgrade to the 3790 with a new user interface although I believe the hardware was the same. Never used one of these. Typical Garmin, the upgrade had a smaller model number than the original. Go figure.

In 2012 they also introduced the 3550/3580/3590 with a 5" screen and much faster hardware that works well with multi-touch gestures. I currently have one of these and like it. More model number confusion since the 4" 3790 had a larger model number than the 5" 3590…

In 2013 they updated the the 3590 with the 3597/3598 which is also 5" and has a completely new user interface and magnetic release mount (good for erasing your credit cards if you aren't careful ;) ). Have never used one of these

There were no Prestige models in 2014

Then the NuviCam was introduced this year.

I see a refurb 3597 for $250 at GPSCity. You might keep checking, they had refurb 3580s for something like $150 for awhile, not sure if they will get them again.

I see a refurb 3580 at Walmart for $235. Like I said, I prefer these 2012 models since you can completely customize the map screen using my tutorial. The 3580 has the regular FM traffic receiver, the 3590 has the digital HD radio traffic receiver.
Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: Boyd on September 09, 2015, 02:54:01 PM
Regarding maps, garmin's own 24k maps would give you full topo features as well as routing on the 35xx. And you could disable the gmapdem.img terrain and use the built-in DEM on the 24k map which is higher resolution. The 24k maps have the same kind of POI's (restaurants, gas stations, etc) and same road data as City Navigator, but they will not be as current. They don't support features like lane assist, junction view or speed limits though.

Aha - I see a 3590 refurb now at GPSCity. I swear that wasn't listed when I posted above a couple hours ago.  ;D That is a pretty good deal at $170 IMO

If you want a 7" screen they also have a Dezl 760 refurb (like mine) for $225. It says "sold out" here, but on the main page it says more are coming in on Sept 15

This is a trucking unit but you can set it for automotive mode and the interface is almost the same as the 3590. It has the same style 3d map browser and does the same kind of 3d rendering as the 3590, but doesn't include the gmapdem.img file. Even if you use a map with DEM, it does not wrap it around the terrain like the 3590 though. It applies hillshading so it will look the same in 2d view, but in 3d view it's just a flat plane without mountains sticking up.

Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: maps4gps on September 11, 2015, 12:34:49 AM
Not sure why; the OR300 worked fine yesterday on the center consul cup holder.
Any idea of what the grid spacing is in the gmapdem.img file?  What is the file size?
Title: Re: Nuvi - is Garmin for real?
Post by: Boyd on September 11, 2015, 04:12:55 AM
After all these years, I still don't think we know much about Garmin's DEM format. IIRC, the file is about 1GB and covers all North America. My impression was that it was similar to the DEM in Garmin's US Topo 100k. Definitely doesn't have the same level of detail as their 24k maps.