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Old 03-16-2007, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default GPS Usability (8800)- Is the built in GPS good?

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I read over Stinsondogs very nicely written tip on what software to use on the 8800 for the GPS function, but he really didn't go into too much detail on how the GPS actually worked. Has someone had the chance to play with this function in a city with high buildings, away from the city etc? How responsive is it? Is it really a potential replacement to an in-car navigation system?

Thanks for the input!
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Old 03-16-2007, 10:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Brad, I'm not sure I'd say the Blackberry's GPS is a true replacement for an in-car navigation system like a TomTom or Garmin. These systems use on-board maps either on a hard drive or SD card and update the maps near instantly. I've noticed Telenav can be slow to refresh maps, especially if you go off route, likely because it takes time to download the new map and re-routing data.

The accuracy of your location using the berry's GPS isn't always spot-on. Like other posters have said, sometimes it will place you on a road that may be parallel to the one you're actually on. I find the accuracy to be within 50-100 yards of my true location. I've been a bit disappointed with how the Blackberry GPS locks onto satellites when driving through downtown Boston, especially in the financial district amidst all the tall buildings. It seems slower and less accurate.

One thing I find absolutely priceless on the TomTom is the point-of-interest (POI) icons that are placed in their exact locations on your route. It's nice knowing if there's a gas station coming up or a Dunkin Donuts a block away. When you're within a specified distance to a POI, you can set an alarm to alert you too.

I think the Blackberry GPS is a nice option, as long as you accept its limitations.
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Old 03-17-2007, 01:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I heard wayfinder is faster... Did anyone use it long enough to give us some feedback?

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Old 03-17-2007, 02:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have used Telenav on the 8800 quite a few times in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Oklahoma City and Dallas. I have a Magellan Roadmate that is currently in for service. So, I have experience with both. The Telenav has worked perfectly and I have to say that I have enjoyed using it more than the Magellan. I am sure that I have just gotten lucky so far to not have had some of the problems others have. But, I have been very pleasantly surprised with my experience with Telenav and the 8800. No problems whatsoever. Love it.
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Old 03-17-2007, 08:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've actually been impressed with the GPS function in the 8800 using Telenav. I use a number of Garmins for marine navigation -- my eTrex handheld will tell me which side of the boat I'm standing on; I use a Garmin 2620 in my car. You have to be realistic about the level of sophistication in the 8800 as mentioned above. The Garmin has street level maps for the entire North American continent on board, over 6,000,000 points of interest with phone numbers etc, has WAAS so is always accurate to less than 10m, is fast, recalculates when off route, and today's equivalent will cost you close to $700.

The GPS in the 8800 is free, some software you can get for free, or Telenav costs you 6 bucks a month, it has to download maps, is dependent on service coverage so it may not update in the middle of nowhere, it sometimes places a destination 200 feet or so off location, but within a few address numbers if you're driving, and does not have the same level of route optimization as the Garmin. And, it goes along for the ride on your trip for free too.

BUT, when I travel out of town, it is a lot easier to fire up the 8800 GPS than to drag along an additional GPS, PLUS charger, PLUS spare batteries, etc, etc.

It is a very competent navigation tool -- it doesn't have the precision to guide you through a 10-meter wide passage through the rocks at night in the fog, but it will get you to your meeting in an unfamiliar city. It clearly meets the "right tool for the right job" requirement.
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Old 03-17-2007, 08:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with the prior posts. It isn't that fast to lock on in the middle of tall buildings but I have found it to be very useful in every other respect. The Maquest product has a slighlty different technology where it DL mores at the beggining, so you don't have adjustments if you go off route. As of now they all must do some DL. I find it so useful, I won't pay the higher prices for in car nav. With TN 5.1 coming within weeks, you can find POI's along your route.
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Old 03-17-2007, 10:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I've used the GPS in midtown Manhattan from the 30's up to Central Park. Traffic moves pretty slow so I really can't say the GPS was slow to find a signal or track my location. I've actually been all over Manhattan this week and had no additional problems with the TeleNav application in Manhattan then with comments I've made in the GPS section. I don't keep my eye on the GPS at all times, but I didn't notice anything wrong with it when I looked at it.

GPS prices have fallen considerably where you can get a GPS with a 3.5" screen for $200 at Circuit City. TomTom can be bought for under $300. That makes $120/year for TeleNav a harder sell.

Would I use TeleNav for local travel, yes. Would I trust it for a long road trip, no; the biggest problem is I don't want to be lost because it needs frequent map updates and I don't have phone service. If you could download maps to the mSD card, I think that would give me a better feeling using it as my primary GPS.

I'm really holding on hoping that the traffic reports, as stinsonddog mentioned above, gives accurate information. Otherwise I probably won't keep the service as I really don't "need" a GPS for day to day travel and have a Garmin for those long road trips.

BTW-Infoseek Find It is a really cool GPS application.

Regards-Michael G.
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Old 03-17-2007, 10:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I just wanted to add a quick note about the battery usage while using the Blackberry GPS. When driving during the day with the screen at 100% brightness and the speaker volume turned up, a 30 minute trip for me burns between 20-25% of the available battery power. It goes without saying, for long trips an in-car charger is a must.
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Old 03-17-2007, 05:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think it's also worth mentioning that, in built-up areas or tunnels etc., the TomToms/Garmins also do not necessarily "lock on" to GPS satellites quickly, but they have increasingly sophisticated forecasting algorithms to fill the gap until it can lock on to more satellites again for an updated location reading. To the user, it is therefore less apparent that the unit isn't locked onto enough satellites but still knows where it is. This first version of BB GPS may or may not lock on to satellites any more or less quickly than the TT/G kit, but the software is possibly not yet as good at filling the gap by projecting its location forward in time. Early versions of TT/G kit also suffered this, but they're far better now.
For further discussions, it may make sense to make a distinction between the performance of the GPS location tracking versus the route-finding software.
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Old 03-17-2007, 06:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted (8700c: BlackBerry8800/4.2.1 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102)

Two other points for me. Portability and no second device are good things. I think within a year we will see microSD versions. On the monthly cost if you can deduct it then for 6$ its a no brainer>less and 2 espressos. Wish I could get caffeine finder to work. Note that the forthcoming Mapquest does a larger initial DL so there is less chance you go offroute.
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Old 03-17-2007, 06:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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has anybody tried wayfinder? does it have download to sd card facility?
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Old 03-18-2007, 09:26 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Zentient, actually I was surprised how quickly my 8800 locked back on to a signal when I got out of the Lincoln Tunnel from NJ to NYC. It didn't take more than a few seconds and no more time then my Garmin 2730 although I didn't compare side by side.

Some car gps, factory and after market, can use dead reckoning so when the the signal isn't available it can get data from your car to keep you on track. I don't know how widespread it is, but it is available.

Stinsonddog, I agree, one device and portability is a big plus considering I'll usually have my BB but may not have my car. The $10/mo is what a GPS traffic service add on costs from XM so it is certainly a deal since TeleNav includes that in the price. I generally will check the rss feeds for traffic.com on my bb before going into nyc as I am pretty close to three river different crossings. I dumped the XM service as it just wasn't accurate enough to be worth the cost and that is another part that needs to be plugged into the GPS.

Just curious why would you use Caffeine Finder when you have Google Maps, Beyond411 and best yet, Infospace? I had used Caffeine Finder and it did the job, but replaced it when the other, more versitle, software came out.

Regards-Michael G.
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Old 03-18-2007, 10:12 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgerbasio
Just curious why would you use Caffeine Finder when you have Google Maps, Beyond411 and best yet, Infospace? I had used Caffeine Finder and it did the job, but replaced it when the other, more versitle, software came out.

Regards-Michael G.
Well I just loaded infospace yesterday and I do agree that it is very cool. I think it replaces the basic features of Beyond 411 so that I will only use that for the beyond features. Now I just have wanted it to work and have never had a device with internal GPS is all. You need to know that I roast my own coffee beans, so along with BB, cycling and photoshop, its kinda a hobby.
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Old 03-18-2007, 10:13 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchmutzBerry
has anybody tried wayfinder? does it have download to sd card facility?
Nope see my full GPS tips page.
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Old 03-18-2007, 02:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stinsonddog
You need to know that I roast my own coffee beans, so along with BB, cycling and photoshop, its kinda a hobby.
Nice. ok-going off topic. What do you use for brewing, a french press? I've given up on drip machines, I find they don't get the water hot enough and like the grinds steeping in the french press. I haven't found anything better, but I draw the line at grinding, roasting I would image to do it right, probably takes more work than I can put into it.

I'm probably good for at least 3-6 12oz cups of joe a day. Generally have only 1-2 while I'm out and make the rest at home.

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Old 03-18-2007, 08:14 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgerbasio
Nice. ok-going off topic. What do you use for brewing, a french press? I've given up on drip machines, I find they don't get the water hot enough and like the grinds steeping in the french press. I haven't found anything better, but I draw the line at grinding, roasting I would image to do it right, probably takes more work than I can put into it.

I'm probably good for at least 3-6 12oz cups of joe a day. Generally have only 1-2 while I'm out and make the rest at home.

Regards-Michael G.
I'll probably get fired for going off topic too but what the heck it's Sunday. Roasting is actually easy, and getting the green beans is easy too. Check out Home Coffee Roasting Supplies -Sweet Maria's. I will never go back. There is a huge difference. I pull espresso shots. Lots of good machines at Chris Coffee Service in your area. Catch me on GT Tues or later and I can fill you in. If you love coffee, this is heaven. And its fun too. I often roast right before or after dinner - 25 min total time and use it to chat with the wife over another vice, wine.
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:10 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I've had very good lucking using Telenav while traveling in San Francisco and around the Bay Area (mostly Oakland/Bekeley/Richmond). I haven't had ever owned a separate and dedicated GPS unit in my car to compare to but I can't see spending the money on one or dealing with the hassle of an additional device while traveling at this point...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgerbasio
I've given up on drip machines, I find they don't get the water hot enough and like the grinds steeping in the french press.
Have you checked into the Technivorm or cheaper alternatives? The Presto Scandinavian was pretty good for properly heating water but I think it was discontinued long ago. It sounds like Newco's OCS series might be worth looking at.

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Old 03-19-2007, 04:25 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I know that keeping on topic is a key reason why fora are useful, but I enjoy the little diversions, especially bean-related. Just remember that you don't want the water too hot: it's not good for the brew as it extracts too many acids; that's why top espresso machines use water pressure to pump the water through the grinds rather than steam. (If I'm preaching to the choir, forgive me. I saw some of you press your grinds.)

It would be neat if there were some kind of tag one could use to address an off-topic sub-thread; one could even make it show up in a sidebar, too. I haven't seen that anywhere, so it's probably not invented yet.
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:39 AM   #19 (permalink)
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As I recall, the optimum temperature is 200F. My parents had a fast food joint at a beach town in NJ and the commercial BUNN machine was the best. Could never find a machine for the house that made coffee that good using the same beans.

At the risk of having this thread closed, I'd be happy to take this to another section.

Regards-Michael G.
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Old 03-21-2007, 08:33 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Hmm.. I kind of like Beyond411 more than infospace. It is a lot faster, with less "animation", I guess.
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