If there is one thing that we need to know as travelers and RVers, it’s where the heck we are going! No doubt all of you, at one time or another have thought about investing in a GPS Navigational system for your RVs. For example, your Houston RV consignment center, PPL Motorhomes carries a great system, the Lowrance iWAY 500c. The Lowrance iWAY 500c features complete, portable, in-vehicle GPS Navigation precision coupled with MP3 player capability. This system shows the motorist the way to any destination across town, or across the nation. Once the destination is selected, the system automatically displays the best route in a colorful pathway, and provides turn-by-turn directions with visual and voice prompts. If a turn is missed, it automatically replots the route to quickly get the motorist back on course.
So, do you look for in a good GPS System? There are a few things that will really make your navigation much easier. I listed and described a few functions below with the help of a great article I saw about the best GPS navigation features on Consumer Reports’ blog.
- Spoken street names: Often listed as “text to speech,” this feature means the device can read the street names from its database, enabling it to speak “Turn left on Main Street,” rather than simply “Turn left.” Spoken street names is especially helpful in busy, urban areas where knowing the street name without looking at the screen can be a real convenience.
- Reality view: On major intersections, such as a highway exit, reality view can graphically represent the roads and signage, making it easy to relate the map guidance to the real world. Reality view is often combined with lane assistance, which points to the proper lane to be in for exiting or remaining on the right path when the road forks. It used to be considered a premium feature, but reality view is now available in many affordable devices.
- Predictive data entry and dynamic search: Given that you are by definition using a GPS device when you’re on the go, speed and convenience are important. Predictive data entry will highlight only letters on the touchscreen keyboard that make possible combinations. When routing in Pennsylvania, for instance, if you type “Pitt”, the system will then highlight “S” as the next letter for Pittsburgh.
- Detour: The ability to detour around traffic or another trouble spot is important for drivers who plan to routinely use GPS, though devices vary widely in ease of detouring and the options available. Some models allow the user to select a specific distance to route around a problem. Traffic-capable devices integrate their traffic information with detouring functions, prompting a user to choose an alternative route when traffic conditions are unfavorable.
- Bluetooth compatibility: This allows you to make and receive telephone calls using the unit’s internal speaker, microphone, and screen. A real hands-free convenience, a Bluetooth-equipped GPS device automatically quiets directions while call is being made. Such devices can display the user’s telephone book and show caller ID on-screen. A nice tie-in, this feature allows for dialing point-of-interest locations found in the GPS device. Of course, this functionality requires a Bluetooth-compatible telephone.
What features are you looking for in your next GPS? If you don’t have one and want to get one for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, just swing by your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes and buy one. Oh, and guys, what’s the best thing about having a GPS in your RV? Not hearing the dreaded, “Honey, maybe you should stop and ask for directions.”