- MetroGuide Europe, Roads & Recreation Europe and the GPS V
- GPS V and MetroGuide save the day (and the dinner!) once more!
- The Turkey Experiment or, How to use a Forest of Waypoints to Chart your Course!
I have been using both the MetroGuide Europe and the Europe Roads and Recreation (Europe R&R) CDs since March of 2002. I can state categorically that they are good and very useful products that chart one’s way quite well in the often-tangled urban jungles of Europe. I have used these products with my GPS V [Americas], from GPSCentral of course, and I should also mention that I have availed myself of all the available GPS V firmware and all of the MapSource software updates (Versions 2.05 and 4.09 respectively as of this writing) since I acquired both items. I would also encourage all GPS users in the community to do the same. These updates are useful and they do augment the capability and performance of your unit. In the case of the GPS V for example, Garmin have added a small “alarm clock” feature as well as a calculator should you need it, and there are many other additions. These are welcome touches, at no cost to the user.
While the GPS V will perform “AutoRouting” with the CitySelect Europe CD, I was not prepared to pay the full price for the CD and all of the unlock codes for the remainder of Europe. I travel extensively all over the Continent and the cost was simply prohibitive.Also, CitySelect uses a lot of GPS memory. So, I opted for the twin – and less costly – solution of the MetroGuide CD for cities and the R&R CD for longer trips.
Here is how I use them:
Scenario 1 – Long Trip
I will first load all of the trip maps that I need into MapSource using the MetroGuide CD. I’ll then create several “AutoRoutes” for different permutations and combinations of ways I can get to my destination and back home. In Europe, traffic is a major concern, especially in summer. So, it is wise in the extreme to have several alternate routes. This is very easily done within the MetroGuide database. Each AutoRoute uses only a small amount of “route dedicated” memory and does not affect the 19MB total. I then save the entire set for reference.}
I then recreate the trip route and map set on in the R&R program, which takes only a few seconds since I already know the route and map sets needed. Then, I “copy” (Ctrl-C) the AutoRoutes from the MetroGuide and “paste” (Ctrl-V) them into the R&R map set. They convert easily on the PC and work fine on the GPS. I do get an occasional startup message that tells me there is a discrepancy between the
“created with” and “used with” map sets, but I simply do not “Recalculate” the routes and they work well. I then load up the GPS, select the route I want and travel.
Scenario 2 – City Use
This is even easier. If I am going, say to London or Milan and area,I use the MetroGuide and load up as much of the city and surrounding area as I need. I’ll then use this for navigation within the city and around it. It works very well, despite the lack of AutoRouting on the GPS. If I need to get to a specific address, I’ll look it up on the GPS and either “Map” it on the GPS display or perform a “GoTo” using the “Off Road” menu item since the other choices will generate an error message. This will always get me very close,especially on foot or bicycle. I’ll also use MetroGuide for bicycle or pedestrian use. BTW, the database of restaurants, bars, hotels and so on is VERY useful, although not always entirely correct. I have already sent in several small corrections; you should feel free to e-mail Garmin with any corrections you may have. [Or use GARMIN’s Online Error Report Form]
Strong and weak points – Observations
- Good database of addresses, features and so on
- I like the “AutoRouting” on the PC feature
- I like to be able to create routes for bicycle, pedestrian and so on
- I like the “Show Guidance Text” option since it shows me the next road or junction ahead
- Large file size permits loading smaller areas of Europe
Europe Roads and Recreation
- Similar database to MetroGuide’s
- Small file size permits loading many more maps
- MetroGuide created AutoRoutes convert and work well
- “Show Guidance Text” only gives direction of travel and not next junction, etc.
- Minor bother of having to pass over the “Recalculate Route” when navigating
- It pays to know your heading or direction of travel. If you are looking for the next particular gas station or highway exit or POI, if you know which way you’re going, you can more easily select from the list presented to you, especially when you select “Nearest” as your search option. There may in fact be several POI behind you!
- It is helpful if you know the local or correct name of the POI you are searching for. Garmin tends to write them in the local language and they can be a bit difficult to find unless you use German, Flemish, French or whatever the local tongue to find them.
- Be sure to zoom in closely on your selected route and ensure complete map coverage. At times, roads can go off a selected map sheet for a few kilometres and, depending on the product in use, this can lead to error messages.
- I look forward to Garmin providing map support to Ireland, Turkey and farther East in Europe. I need it!
JULY 18 ADDENDUM: “GPS V and MetroGuide save the day (and the dinner!) once more!“
“Here is a short example of how I used the MetroGuide database: While in London, we decided to try and get supper at a very popular
Burmese restaurant some way from our hotel. Our guidebook indicated that reservations were advised, but we elected to try anyway. Using
the MetroGuide “Address Lookup” feature, I located the restaurant precisely and led our party to it. Sure enough, the place was packed
and we were turned away. On a whim, I pulled out the GPS V and, still using the MetroGuide database, queried the “closest Indian
restaurant.” The unit found an establishment only 450 metres away. Using the “Off Road” route option, I walked in the correct direction
until I had a 90-degree bearing to the place (it was off my right hand side). I turned towards the target and walked straight down
the street as the distance to go unwound quickly. We were hungry, so it took us just over 7 minutes to cover the remaining 400 metres
to the “Indian Connoisseurs” restaurant where we enjoyed an altogether memorable meal in very friendly surroundings. GPS V and MetroGuide
saved the day (and the dinner!) once more!”
OCTOBER 24: The Turkey Experiment or, How to use a Forest of Waypoints to Chart your Course!
As most of us who use the MetroGuide Europe CD know, it provides very good routing options on the PC, fine downloadable map detail and a solid Points of Interest (POI) database. You’ll notice, however, that the map set runs out somewhere between 15 and 17 degrees East. Even more interesting is the fact that if you leave your MapSource resolution set to 20 km, you’ll see all kinds of detail beyond 17 degrees East, such as roads, airports and so on, yet these features will not download to the GPS. This curious anomaly had me a bit perplexed. Ah yes, by the way, the “AutoRouting” feature works just fine as well, even beyond 17 East, as long as you use towns on the mapped roads. Go figure.
First,a bit of history: when I went to Prague in April 2002, I took my GPS but it was not a great deal of use. The basemap had Prague itself in it, but no other useable detail. So, for my recent visits Istanbul and Turkish Thrace, I had to figure out some way to improve my “positional awareness” which we GPS users get fussy about after awhile! Here’s my workaround:
As I said, you get loads of useful detail at a resolution of 20 km.If you right-click on any town, airport or any other mapped object, you can copy it into a user-defined Map Set and create a .mps file for the area. There are of course no other MapSource maps in the GPS; there are only your created waypoints. I had almost 100 waypoints for my Turkish trip. As I looked at them after awhile, they even
began to look a bit like a basemap!
Now for the fun part: you can also create as many routes as the GPS will hold (20 in the case of the GPS V). Pick several towns or locations in and around the area you plan to visit (as long as they are on the MapSource roads) and create AutoRoutes between them. I used seven for my Turkish expedition. Save the lot as a .mps file and transfer it to your GPS. Then, as you travel or drive around, you will not only see the nearest towns or POI that you entered earlier, but also you will be able to track your progress along any of those routes! It is not quite a Hollywood solution, but it serves exceptionally well as a crosscheck to a paper map (which you should have anway, right?) and for basic navigation in unfamiliar terrain.
For example, one evening we wanted to head for a particular town to find a specific restaurant which, we were advised, served excellent local specialties. I had earlier entered the town as a waypoint so we knew the general direction of the place. Our driver was not from the local area, so I was appointed as navigator (I’m getting used to that.). One of the routes I’d entered earlier as well, from the town we were staying in to another town close to the restaurant, provided excellent initial directions. We then switched to “Off Road” mode, and followed the road signs as well as the “Off Road” bearing pointer, using the village waypoint as a “GoTo.” We knew we were in the correct (very small) village when we stopped before a tiny building with a freshly butchered sheep, a smoky grill and
many full, happy locals out front. We ordered a “karishik” or mixed grill of fresh mutton and we were not disappointed. We enjoyed a splendid meal, washed down with a few glasses of excellent “raki” and headed home.
So, even though you may not always have the perfect MetroGuide solution, there’s always room for a little homespun ingenuity. Happy navigating!
P.S. After I got home, I took the more expensive option and ordered the WorldMap CD. I think I’ll need it once I get to Saudi Arabia and Tunisia!
Classification: NATO UNCLASSIFIED – RELEASABLE TO INTERNET