Tag Archives: GPS

Updating the map on the Garmin Nuvi 260W

A few years ago, I bought my Dad a Garmin Nuvi 260W GPS.   It was a good GPS in its day – but I think now its interface is a little basic.

Well, it seemed to be working fine for my Dad until he wanted to go to some place up in Landsdale.   And for some reason, the Garmin GPS just did not want to navigate to a specific address up there.  It was as if the address did not exist.  Actually, it seemed like there were only 2 or 3 addresses on Landsdale Road!   What happened to all the other houses and businesses?

I thought that it would be a good time to update the maps on his GPS.   Luckily, when I registered the Nuvi, we were informed that he could get one free map upgrade!  Awesome!   (Although, I was thinking – shouldn’t EVERYONE get free map upgrades for their GPS?   I’m somehow getting free updates for my TomTom GPS on the iPhone.  Aarghh, it seems that some recent purchasers do get free lifetime map upgrades – http://www.smarthouse.com.au/Automotive/Navigation/E3S5J9V3)

So, the GPS was connected, I pressed the buttons to update the map, but no..   I got an error message saying that there wasn’t enough memory!

What the?!?

I’m scouring the net trying to figure out how to get around this.

There was some text on the Garmin website that said “In some instances, your Garmin product might not have sufficient memory remaining for you to load an update to the same map Data originally included with your Garmin product (or purchased separately, as the case may be), in which case you will need to select reduced map Data coverage for your updates.

Unfortunately, when going through the screens to download the maps, I only have one choice – full coverage of Australian and New Zealand!

In a similar thread on the Garmin website, someone seemed to indicate that the software will assist you in freeing up some space – but I didn’t see any prompt like this, maybe it’s for the Windows version only?

Some other posts on the net start delving into removing or moving files off the GPS.   And I started playing around with this.   One useful thing about the Nuvi is that the files inside it appear as a USB drive.   So I could see that it only had 33MB free of 250MB.   Not good.

I first copied ALL the files over to my laptop, and then progressed to deleting off Voice and Text files for languages that my Dad wouldn’t need and deleting off the example images in the JPEG folder.   I might have even deleted the gmapprom.img and gmapprom.sum files (the pre-loaded maps).

And then it was all OK!  The update worked fine.  The GPS still booted up and had maps on it.

And it found the weird address in Landsdale that my Dad was looking for.

So, if you’re having problems updating maps – check out how much free space there is left in your GPS, take a backup (copy) of everything on there, clear out unnecessary files, and google “gmapprom.img” if you need to move the pre-loaded maps off.

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Yoda and other languages on iPhone’s TomTom app

Don’t you get bored listening to the same person on your GPS?

Luckily, the TomTom app on the iPhone comes with a whole range of other voices and languages.   It even lets you buy some custom Star Wars ones!

Lately I’ve had fun with Yoda telling me where to go.

But today I got bored again and decided to dive into a different language.  French anyone?  Makes driving  so much more fun (and educational)!

MyTown iPhone Game Review

The multitude of functions of the iPhone have introduced a whole new range of games.  MyTown, made by Booyah,  is one that combines location (GPS), map information (where buildings and businesses are) and social networking together to be a location-based game.  Some think of it like Foursquare, or an expanded version of Facebook’s checkin facility.

But I like to think of it as real world Monopoly that you play on your phone!  Sounds geeky right?

Booyah claim that it’s the most popular location based social game ever.   Big call!

I think the original idea was when you’re at some place (cafe/restaurant/business/anything), that you fire up MyTown and check in to say that you’re there.   You get a bonus for checking in to properties when you’re actually physically closer to it.  You can also receive items for checking in at places.

Radio City Music Hall - one of my properties

The next aspect to the game is purchasing properties.  At first I didn’t get this at all.   I mean why would you want to buy your local deli, cafe, bar, etc?  It’s definitely one way of saying “I like this place!”, but buying virtual properties lets you earn rent and create items.  Rent gives you money which lets you upgrade and decorate your properties.  Items lets you earn more money or items.   There’s only a fixed number of properties you can buy and you’re also constrained by how much money you have (well, the initial parts of the game) – but you unlock “slots” more as you play the game more.

Since MyTown must host a massive database of every property in the world (HA!), they can keep track of how many people check in at each one and calculates a popularity rating which can affect the current “price” of the property.

Besides upgrading, buying and selling properties, you can also create “items” at your properties – depending on what type of business it is.  I don’t see the point of this side of the game unless you’re into levelling up.  I’ve persisted for a while – for exmaple, getting my Gas and Convenience to 16 skill points.  But so what?  So I can unlock more items?  Little Miss 11 plays this game too but hasn’t even touched this side of the game.

Creating items and increasing your skill level

So when I started playing, I just had a few local popular businesses.  Then I started checking in more often when I was out and about around Perth.  And adding places like Burswood Casino, Subi Oval, Greens & Co, etc to my property portfolio.  But I wasn’t earning much cash at all.

Burswood Casino

Then I found out how you can “game” the system. 

Seems like you can turn off Location Services on your iPhone/iDevice for MyTown (or just play it on a non-GPS iDevice), and then when you start up, it asks you which city you are in.  You can put it any city in the world! 

Turning off Location Services for MyTownChoose any town you want!

It seems to make sense to buy the most popular properties in the game, and they seem to be the ones that are closest to the default location of each city.  Actually, if you look at the list that comes up, many people end up choosing Abilene, Texas and then checking in and/or buying the first properties on this screen or anything closer than 100m to where you are in Abilene, Texas.

Choose properties less than 100m away

Take a look at Abilene Educational Supplies!   The problem with this now is that the property rankings in MyTown have nothing to do with how popular the property is in real life at all.  In my eagerness to get more money, I ended up buying properties like this in the U.S. (Bitsy’s Flowers, Quiznos, Hoofbeats), and famous tourist destinations like the Apple Store in New York, Statue of Liberty, etc.

Hoofbeats - one of the most popular and valuable properties

And now I don’t really play the game much anymore.

I think they need to do a few things:

  • Stop people checking in and buying places that they aren’t actually at.  It means the whole property popularity thing has no meaning.   But then again, it’s a game right?  Not some official data collection service.
  • Change the UI.  The styling, colour and graphics need to be slicked up.  Maybe it’s meant to be targeted towards kids – in which case it’s fine.  
  • Perhaps see who just checked in at a location like Facebook or Foursquare?  But maybe this is not the intent of the game.
  • Increase the social aspect of the game.  At the moment I can “visit” someone else’s set of properties and send them a message, but that’s about it.  Would be nice to see common properties, or set up tasks/challenges like We Rule Quests or FarmVille.

For older players (like me!), I think I’ll be content in just checking in in Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare.

More info here:  http://www.booyah.com/products/mytown

Hands on with TomTom iPhone Australia

Yesterday I bought an early Father’s Day present to myself – TomTom on the iPhone!

Splashscreen

It brings voice navigation GPS to the iPhone – making the iPhone replace yet another device! Yep, family members – you don’t need to buy me a dedicated GPS for Christmas/Birthday/etc anymore 🙂 And I don’t need to hire one from car rental companies anywhere in Australia either now.

So, what’s it like?

Standard Functionality

Firstly I was worried that having an iPhone 3G (and not the 3GS with the digital compass) will mean its accuracy will not be as good. However, it seemed to pick up the direction I was facing very well, except once when I was stopped at a corner and the mapped kind of rotated around and then back to my original orientation a few times.

The voice turn by turn navigation works just like any other GPS. I loved playing around with the different languages and accents – I think I might switch to French to improve on my fluency. Unfortunately, you don’t get spoken street names. But having voice navigation is a huge step up from using Google Maps on the iPhone. I don’t see myself using Google Maps for driving navigation anymore.

The touch navigation of menus works with no problems and the display is very clear.

Menu screen

There is some rudimentary lane information, but I don’t think it’s advanced as some dedicated GPS units. For example, it did tell me to stay on the left lane when on the Graham Farmer freeway this morning so I could take the next exit.

Getting off the freeway

The routing also seemed to find one of my “secret” shortcuts to get to the kids’ school this morning. It didn’t know about another one I use to bypass a traffic light, but when I took it, it re-routed very quickly.

Found my shortcut

I can also vouch that the red light camera functionality works. My iPhone beeped at me when I was approaching one. I don’t see the need to have Trapster on my phone anymore!

Nice iPhone touches

I like how they’ve incorporate the iPhone’s multi-touch pinch zooming when you choose to navigate to a point on the map.

I also like being able to play music from my iPhone at the same time. My music continued to play, and then was faded out to silence whenever TomTom needed to speak a direction.

Controlling iPod

A few tips:

  • Start up your music in the iPod before starting the TomTom Maps application. Your music will continue to play in the background.
  • If you want to change tracks, then you can double click the home button for the mini-navigation. But if you click iPod, you will switch to the iPod application and then have to relaunch the TomTom Maps application again.

(Un)fortunately I haven’t had anyone ring me whilst I was driving, but I’ve read that your call takes priority and the navigation will continue once your call has ended.

They’ve also linked up the TomTom application with your iPhone contacts, so you can “navigate to” the address of any of your contacts. Nice 🙂   But it would be even nicer to link up the “navigate to” with the camera on the iPhone so that I can click on the photo of where I want to go.

Lastly, the TomTom application recognises the orientation of your iPhone, so you can use it in horizontal or vertical mode.

 Horizontal

 

Summary

I’ve only used it for a day, but already I’m yearning for the official TomTom iPhone cradle. I think I’ll have a look around eBay today to see if I can get a cheap one, but so far I’ve been using cup holders in my car to hold it. Knowing how quickly the GPS drains the iPhone battery, a cradle with a dock that powers the iPhone seems necessary.

The only other thing I’m missing (but this is really an iPhone limitation) is background applications support – the ability to switch between multiple running applications. But in the end, it takes about 9 seconds for me the application to start and show where I am.

In my opinion, the price is pretty reasonable. Unlike Google Maps which requires a data connection to download the maps around you to the iPhone, with TomTom all the maps are stored on your phone. This should mean it will work where there is no mobile reception at all (like country driving). 

I just like having all my functionality in one device. I can now check Facebook, Twitter, my emails, have my personal and work calendars at my finger tips, as well as an iPod, a web browser (and 3G connection for my laptop), handheld games and now a voice GPS – all in my pocket.