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Automatic routing

What is the automatic routing?

The automating routing is an option for the GPS of the high end class. It involves the possibility that the GPS should be given a destination and to calculate alone the route to the destination in question, by using a set of constraints (going on motorways, avoiding not paved roads, etc.), as well as the possibility of step by step guidance (left at 100m, left now, you missed the road, smart guy take it the first to the left, etc.)
In order to happen this, there are two conditions:
1. the maps should contain some additional information (the direction, maximum speed, category (implicitly the status) of the road, numbering of the addresses of both sides of the road, belonging to the town/county/country for each side of the road, etc.)
2. The GPS should be able to use these pieces of information. Only the Garmin GPS from the automotive series (StreetPilot III, Streetpilot 26xx, Quest, GPS V, GPSMAP 276C, Streetpilot 3xx), the Garmin PDA (iQue 3600/3200, iQue M5, iQue M3-USA only) or the Garmin GPS (OEMs GPS18 PC/USB, cfQue 1620 on the CF interface and GPS10 on the Bluetooth interface), or the series GPSMAP 60C and CS are able to make automatic routing.

Driver’s assistance
The routing obviously involves a component of the driver’s assistance in making decisions for the road selection. It is visually carried out (by indication on the screen under the form of arrays) and/or vocally (in many international languages, depending on the firmware installed on the GPS receiver). Generally, the used languages are English, German, French and Italian.
For the oral indications, it is sometimes necessary to purchase kits or additional components, as, for example, GPSMAP 276C for which the user must purchase, additionally to the box with the equipment, an Automotive Kit that contain a memory card to load the routable maps, the CD Europe City Select with the routable maps and a supply cable from the car lighter including also a diffuser for the oral indications.
However, GPSMAP 276C is a more atypical case, as it is hybrid equipment, meant to operate at the same time in a sea and a city environment! Most of the automotive GPS are endowed with maps included and the vocal guidance functionality included in the package!

Decisions, decisions
Attention! Not all the above-mentioned GPS provide the vocal guidance functionality! For example, GPS V and GPSMAP 60C and 60 CS may do only the visual guidance.
Finally, the automatic routing involves expensive equipments and, generally, of large sizes (as the street pilots) or frangible (as the PDA) for installation on the handlebars of the ATV//motorbikes/bicycles). The unique equipments resistant for the off-road travels that offer routing and may be used “manually” are GPSMAP 60C, 60CS and GPS V, but, again take care, they do not provide vocal guidance!
I advise those who considers the routing option to look for equipment with a lot of memory or at least the possibility of adding memory and on which they define from the beginning the using areas. A PDA with GPS is excellent for the office and car work, it is light, it may be easily put into pocket, but it is not suitable for mountaineering or for ATV use.
It is more advantageous from financial point of view for the client to purchase from the beginning a GPS with a map included, than purchase it separately. The Garmin GPS with maps are usually equipped with the Deluxe sign attached to the GPS name. A map of Europe separately purchased would cost ~300$, while, if included in a GPS package, it would cost at half!
The potential purchaser must see what the package in question includes. Some Garmin packages include serial or USB communication cables, other ones also include a software application of downloading/uploading data to the PC. The Garmin client is in advantage because the price of all the components separately purchased is much higher than the price of the package.

For the technical users 1
The maps offering routing are larger than those offering only topographic information of navigation, although the user cannot see any difference between the two maps. But the difference exists and consists in the additional information that turns the network of road lines into an oriented graphic.
With respect to what it actually exists in the world, it is possible to say that all the maps for the Americas and the Western Europe has routing included and are extended on more and more CDs with information. The good part is that these pieces of information may be loaded by “pieces” and areas of interest, so that a holder of a SD card of 1 Gbyte could be satisfied to have the itinerary from the other side of Europe in the other one loaded on the card along the road he wishes to cross.
It is obvious the trend of including routing information in the topo map, because the big manufacturers of GPS do not want to keep stocks with two products (topo maps and routable maps), if they can keep only one. Garmin owns in this case a technology that allows downloading only the relevant areas from the map for the displaying capacities of the GPS in question. Thus, for the GPS displaying only maps of points and do not have usually more than 1Mbyte of memory (as, for instance GPS72 or etrex Venture), the MapSource programme selects from the map only the punctiform information and sends it to the GPS. For most of the GPS WITHOUT the routing functionality, MapSource removes the routing information from the map and sends all the topo maps in their memory.

To whom it may concern
There is another trend resulted as a consequence of the competition between the big manufacturers of GPS and their trial to offer lower prices: the products localization. For example, there is the Streetpilot c320 series from Garmin to which the user decides from the beginning to use the GPS in a restrained geographical space and purchases the equipment ONLY with the PRE-LOADED maps in the memory. Although the client obviously saves money, he is “tied up” to that geographical area because there is no physical possibility of loading other maps (the equipments has no other SD slots for additional maps or there is no additional stocking space in the internal memory of the GPS), or the maps coming with the equipment are localized for the area in question and the client has to purchase other one incase he is going to leave his “field”. If one purchased c320 with the Germany map for a taxis company acting in Berlin, it is obvious that there is no problem, but, for a Company’s Manager passing his holidays at the Mediterranean seaside, it is not enough.

For the technical users 2
For the very technical users, there is another disadvantage of the very integrated products from the new generation: lack of control. For the persons acknowledged with the GPS V, in the MapSetup from its firmware, it is possible to decide at what zoom level become visible certain (many) features of the type point (POIs, Waypoints), line or surface. The advanced users may customize their GPS V so that they could obtain the maximum of information without having a clutter on the screen. Try to make the same thing with the street pilot equipments c3xx and you will be surprised: is it not possible? Why not? Because no one has the time to make the conscientious decisions from the car as a GPS V owner would. Because, as a matter of fact, the navigation with GPS is not a big philosophy and it is better to let the device make informed decisions with respect to the size of the characters of the streets name on the GPS screen and if it is necessary to make the street layout at 19:00 o-clock in “night vision”.
I understand the persons from Garmin: they have to offer a large displaying space of the map on the LCD screen and a simple navigation system that should not force the user to search for switches in the obscurity of the car. That is why the obvious solution was to pass to touch sensitive screen and to change the switches from the menus option carcass very colored and suggestive.

3D Maps
The latest finding in the field of the maps is their 3D display. The StreetPilot c3xx series provides this option and it seems hat the new GPS generations will have it incorporated by default. It does not provide anything new from the information point of view, only a feeling of control and increased reality by drawing the horizon line visible in front of the car.