Just got back from a major road trip from the Washington DC area out to Branson Mo and back. I did the hack on the Nav system before we left so that we could 'adjust' it in route and good thing we did. Here are some of my comments on the 2011 Nav system.
When both Google maps, Google Earth and Yahoo maps perform the routing they did the default through what I call the southern route and all seemed to agree on that route. Yet my Nav system wants to do it through the Northern route. Hummmm.
Putting in way points to force the route the way you want it to go works, but it seemed to have issues. If you put in the way point with the map zoomed out even a little, on a divided interstate, it would more often then not put the waypoint on the opposite side of the interstate. Giving false directions when you pass it. Common engineers. If the route is from East to West, can't you make the waypoint figure out for itself to go into the west side lanes? We fixed this as when we approached a way point, we would just delete it from the route and re-caculate. Needless to say we did not follow the audio instructions.:28:
I noticed on one occassion that the route ON EVERY OVERPASS was to take the exit ramp off the interstate, then to take the entrace ramp back on the interstate to continue. Quite disconcerting for the first dozen overpasses that you come to. We finally deleted all the way points and forced it to re-calculate and that seemed to solve this problem. Note that it was not asking us to backtrack so I don't believe it's related to the first issue, and also that we did not change our route preference. Needless to say we did not follow the audio instructions.:28:
On occassion, depending on the routing preference, the route would want to take us off a major interstate and onto some hick back road to save a few seconds. At other times, it would take us on a interstate route that was longer when there clearly was a interstate route that was both shorter and quicker. Needless to say we did not follow the audio instructions. :28:
Having the Hack in place so my wife could drive while I manipulated the Nav unit, zooming in and out to get a good map was very usefull. It allowed us to ignore poor routing in all cases. At one point my son (age 15) piped up and said, "If your not going to follow what it says, why have it?" I replied, "You have to be smarter then the computer, and evaulate the bad advice from the good and follow the good and not the bad." Since the core purpose of a Nav unit is to try to relieve the driver of a lot of thinking and making choices, I have to believe that the 2011 Nav unit is failing in it's core purpose.:28:
You have to zoom way in until the pointer icon circle gets big, usually at the scale of 1.75 miles per tick, before the poi/memory point button can be selected on the Nav screen, which contains a lot of the functionality of the Nav system, so to get to a lot of the functionality of the nav system requires you to zoom in. Very strange. That took us awhile to learn.
When we would travel from state to state, we could select the "Dest" button on the dash console and the state map would show the highlighted state that default POI searches would be against. This did not change when we moved to a new state. Now why can't the Nav GPS system figure that out for you? We had to change it manually. The only way I could figure out how to get the Nav system to tell us what state we were in was to select a POI icon and then have it tell us it's address which included it's state.:28:
When we departed the East coast section covered by the East Coast Nav DVD, there was no alert to change DVD's or that the POI information would not longer be available. Rather the Nav system had all the POI information just quitely disappear from the display. Note that depending on your zoom level, the POI might not be displayed anyway. So if your zoomed out and the POI is not displayed, and you exit the coverage area, when you zoom in you won't see it. You have to be alert enought to notice what you -should- see. We had to figure out what state we were in (remember, the Nav wont tell you this) and then pop out and replace the DVD with the next one. Voila! Now look, all the POI information that we wanted has re-appeared.
The POI information was helpfull. I liked that I could select what sort of POI information that I wanted to see. For our road trip that was usually gas stations, rest stops and food places. Towards the end of the day when we wanted to find a place to sleep, I could de-select those and just select hotels/motels. I found the POI information very handy.:29:
If you programed and forced a route with way points, it would keep them as long as you wanted it to keep them and the route. Very handy and good. I also have a NUVI and it would re-calculate a route and drop all the waypoints if you turned into a gas station. At last, something that I could put in, would do what I wanted and that I could manage.:29:
I liked that I could make my own memory points pretty easily and name them what I wanted to name them and have them on the map at all zoom levels. Very usefull.:29:
We found that it had it's limitations (like most things), and we had to constantly manage it's information. That it was handy and could be usefull, but you had to learn that you had to do a then b then c to get the information you wanted at d. A lot of learning.
Eventually, I think we'll be proficent with it so we won't think twice about how strange it is to use and what it's limitations are.