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 Downloadable Garmin maps for Eastern Europe?

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Jellyroll
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Joined: 25 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 12:55 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Last November, we rented a Hertz car in Ireland with the overpriced Neverlost portable GPS. It very quickly was renamed Everlost, and not just to be funny.

We have one car without built-in GPS navigation, so I thought the next trip we should take our own GPS which could be used in that car here in USA, but carried with us on trips. The Garmin 670 comes with built-in maps of North America and Europe; it also takes micro SD cards with additional mapping. I have no need of a navigation device with built-in MP3, but speaking street names and having built-in bluetooth are requirements.

The problem with the built-in European map in these current Garmin models is the rudimentary maps of the parts we intend to visit in eastern Europe: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria - all those places we could never visit before we burned our US security clearances.

Google has not yielded much in downloadable maps of those areas. Anybody having better luck? (Albania and former Yugoslavia are off the list; I have been shot at enough for one lifetime, thanks.)

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kleindoofy
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 1:30 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I don't know about GPS navigation - I still use normal maps, but as far as I remember, roads in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are pretty well marked with understandable signs at intersections, so it's not easy to get lost, especially if you're looking for large towns/cities.

Romania and Bulgaria are a different story. What you probably call a highway - a four or six lane highway with a divider down the middle - is a two lane country road in those countries. Bad signs, if at all. In parts of Bulgaria probably in Cyrillic. The good part is that there aren't really that many roads, so once again, getting lost really isn't a major concern.

Those were at least the conditions I found there when I drove through a few years ago. (Just think of Borat and you'll get the idea.)
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MyMyselfAndI
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 3:46 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Doesn't your satnav come with any maps for Eastern Europe if you've got the Europe maps? I've got a Garmin Nüvi 250 and it has down to street level mapping for Western Europe and the main roads of most Eastern European countries. I'm out of the country without the satnav at the moment and can't check exactly which Eastern European countries have street level mapping as a few of them do.

Have you considered buying the maps from Garmin? I bought the North America maps and paid £98 (multiply by two for $) or something similar which is a rip off but it's pretty neat to have the maps for holidays.

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Jellyroll
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 5:56 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

MyMyselfAndI wrote:
Doesn't your satnav come with any maps for Eastern Europe if you've got the Europe maps? I've got a Garmin Nüvi 250 and it has down to street level mapping for Western Europe and the main roads of most Eastern European countries.


That is exactly what the Garmin Nuvi 760 has - just "main" roads in Eastern Europe vs full maps in Western Europe. The part I hate about vacations is the wasted hour (minimum) in each town seeking out the hotel. Even with good printed maps of the area and city maps, it has always been a hassle. The rental nav box in Ireland was off by two miles on one occasion.

The rental nav box also lacked any way of switching between metric and English units of measure.

Even the built-in ones in our Toyotas cheerfully announce "your destination is ahead on the right" in the middle of nowhere. It's always correct about that, but it is a bit annoying to be abandoned at a critical juncture.

Garmin lists third-party map developers for Czech Republic and others, but not the unexplored areas of Transylvania, for example. Twisted Evil

Addresses listed in printed guidebooks are usually not accompanied by any directions or descriptions. We don't know which towns we might be in. If we did, I could pre-print maps and satellite views from Google. That, plus third-party maps should do the trick. as long as the copilot/navigator is on the job. (The second officer also learned a bit of Russian awhile back, so should be able to sound out city and exit names Yes, I know there are as many flavors of Cyrillic as there are flavors of Unix, but it's a start.)

An aside: there are external antennas available for windshield (windscreen) mounting. In California, it is illegal to use a windshield suction-cup mount for a nav system. It's also illegal for two SUVs and a pickup truck to go through an intersection after the light has turned red, but nobody seems to care much about that.

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kleindoofy
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 7:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Jellyroll wrote:
... just "main" roads in Eastern Europe ... exit names ...


I still think you're overestimating Eastern Europe, at least the southern, Balkan countries.

"main" roads = that's all you need.

Exits = sudden turn-off onto a bumpy side road.

Something tells me you're looking for something that doesn't exist in the form you expect.
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Stoker Thompson
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 11:43 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

kleindoofy wrote:
but as far as I remember, roads in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are pretty well marked with understandable signs at intersections, so it's not easy to get lost,


Oh, I beg to differ. Laughing

However most of the locals will speak English or German. For German I usually had to explain that "Ich hatte zwei Jahre Schule Deutsch"

Usually followed by "Nein Ich bin nicht behindert, ich bin ein Tourist."

I found that Igo, http://www.i-go.com/en/products/iGO_2006_SD/maps.php had the best maps and interface for driving around. I just got a gps set up for my PDA and drove around with it all of the time.
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Strongside
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 6:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

GPS is so much better you don't have to stop to read the map. I don't get lost as much with GPS Embarassed.

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