All GPS devices come with maps, but those maps are often minimal. This requires the user to update the maps at some point so that they stay current. There is a number of reasons why it is important to keep GPS maps up to date, and it is also necessary that the user knows how to update the maps. Many ways exist to update maps on different GPS devices, such as factory-installed GPS, standalone GPS, and smartphone apps. Another alternative to purchasing map updates is to use a Map Share service where the users, and not the manufacturers, make the corrections. This is a useful service, although it is also more prone to errors. Updating GPS maps is more or less a necessity, and consumers can avail of a wide variety of options with regard to updating GPS maps.
Reasons to Keep GPS Maps Up to Date
Although updating GPS maps may be an inconvenience, one must do so for a number of reasons. If one is using the GPS only to get to places close to home, then it may not be necessary to get map updates. However, this becomes important when one has to travel to unfamiliar territory or over long distances. Having access to up to date maps can save time when travelling by reducing the opportunities to be lost due to changes in the roads. Accurate maps can also save the driver money that might be otherwise spent using up fuel, driving around to figure out the correct route or the available shortcuts. It also helps avoid the annoyance of driving to a favourite restaurant while on vacation only to find out it is no longer in operation.
How to Update GPS Maps
The method of updating maps depends on the type of GPS device the user has. It is important that the user knows the process for updating his or her specific GPS device. Updating GPS maps used to be an inconvenient process that was considered a nuisance. It required the buyer to order new CDs or DVDs, and then wait for them to arrive in the mail. These days, the process is somewhat simpler, as it is possible to download updates. However, this can be cumbersome as well, because one may have to download multiple items in order to get the update. With this process, the user has to connect the GPS device to the computer using a USB cable. It is helpful to know that the buyer can choose the option of a one-time purchase to update maps regularly, and although this costs less than a new GPS, it can still be fairly pricey.
Update Factory-Installed Devices
If trying to update maps on factory-installed GPS devices, the user needs to use mapping software discs. In this case, it is important to find a disc that is right for the specific car model in question. Navteq is a leading supplier of maps for car companies, and one can check online with the company about how to use discs for a specific car.
Update Standalone GPS Devices
If the driver has a GPS device from a brand such as TomTom or Garmin, it is easy to update the map because the user can simply download new maps from the manufacturer. With this kind of device, the buyer can opt for purchasing a one-time map update or a lifetime plan.
Update Smartphone GPS Apps
GPS apps for smartphones can also have their maps updated. This is pretty simple because one can purchase maps with a quick online trip to the iTunes Store or another applicable online store. These apps are easy to update because they can be downloaded.
Considering a Lifetime Map Update Plan
Some GPS devices come with a lifetime map update, so users get free updates regularly. This may be a good choice, but the buyer should think about the pros and cons of such a plan before deciding on it. Purchasing a lifetime map update plan does not mean that the user can update maps whenever he or she wants. With the Garmin plan, the buyer gets map updates a few times a year. The Garmin lifetime update plan requires the users to download the updates on a computer and then transfer them to the GPS device. With some of the lifetime update plans, the first map update comes free if the user downloads it within a specified period of time.
Alternatives to Map Updates
People may not want to pay for map updates, or they may not want to wait because updates only happen several times a year. One option the buyer may want to consider is Map Share, which is available with TomTom GPS devices. In this option, instead of the GPS company releasing the updates, customers update the maps themselves. A GPS user should take the time to consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of using Map Share or similar software before making such a purchase.
Advantages of Map Share
One of the advantages of Map Share is that people tend to update maps more quickly than the company. This may be more useful in cases where a company is not likely to update the maps often. If using Map Share, the driver is able to take advantage of fixes that locals in the area have already instituted.
Disadvantages of Map Share
Although Map Share is very useful, anyone can provide updates, even if there are no actual errors. This can result in problems if people alter maps that were already accurate, because there is no one overseeing the process. To help weed out incorrect updates, the buyer should consider how many users submitted an update. If a lot of users added the same correction, then it is likely an accurate one.
Finding GPS Devices and Map Updates on eBay
It is easy to find a variety of GPS Devices and map updates on eBay, if you know how to use the search tools available on the website. It is a good idea to start with a keyword search. Start by typing in relevant keywords, such as "GPS maps", into the search box. If the listings are too numerous, and you do not want to keep browsing through all the categories, you can try to narrow the search results by choosing specific categories, such as price or condition of item. For great deals, be sure to visit the eBay Deals section, where you can find promotional pricing.
Another tool you can try is the Feedback tool. This is a good way for you to get more information about a product or a seller from the feedback that other buyers have left. This is especially useful for buyers who are new to eBay. You can also leave feedback after you have made a purchase in order to help future buyers find reliable sellers on eBay.
GPS devices have become increasingly popular tools as manufacturers have made them cheaper and more efficient over the years. There are a number of reasons to keep maps up to date, and it is well worth the effort involved. You may choose to start by purchasing a GPS device that has a lifetime update plan, such as that offered by Garmin. The buyer should consider the different ways in which GPS devices can be updated and take into account the differences between a factory-installed device, a standalone GPS, and GPS apps designed for smartphones. Nowadays, one can find companies that offer lifetime plans for free updates in newer GPS models. Another option to consider is Map Share, where GPS users update the maps themselves.