You’ve probably never considered it, but the recent innovations in computing that have led to the development of more and more high capacity memory have had a huge influence on the Garmin and GPS market in general. Although GPS technology has been around for a literal age, these innovations have vastly improved the map carrying capacity and potential of these nifty devices.
Flash memory was once something that required a room to hold even the smallest amount of data. The modern small cards are priceless innovations. The fact their costs get lower and lower each year is even better. Most devices, Garmin’s and GPS included, now use SD and micro SD cards, capable of holding a vast amount of data. Cards can easily be swapped between devices too. It’s wholly reasonable to own one SD card capable of fitting an entire map product- usually a continent’s worth of maps- onto the one little square of plastic.
This has been an innovation in the map market. It means Garmin’s MapSource can now make greater and greater use of the detail maps it used to have to severely constrict. Aptly named, detail maps are those segments of the map providing address and point of interest data and fully detailed routing of even the smallest roads. It’s easy enough to hook the devices directly to the PC, or to load it onto the card via the PC.
It’s had an effect on how they sell their products, too. Modern Garmin map offerings may well simply come pre-loaded onto SD cards, rather than requiring a ton of DVDs just to carry the same data. Previously, there would be an intermediary step required- the compiling of your route info on Mapsource, so that the detail maps you needed could be pulled, and overall base map loaded for the whole region, and the detail maps custom tailored into one file for your device to read. These days, using that preloaded card means that you don’t need the trip planning stage any more- all the detail maps for the region are loaded, as one, onto the device to start with. It streamlines the trip planning process severely and makes everyone’s life easier.
This does mean that you can’t use the SD cards with MapSource, however. They are, in effect, the product that MapSource would have created for you, and cannot be reverse engineered back into a product it can use for itself. You’ll need the DVD version for that. If you really do need that trip planning feature, you may prefer to stick with the slightly older technology when making your map purchases.
Talking about purchases, if you’re privately grumbling under your breath about the prices of the map sets, do know that you can get online coupon codes that will take some of the sting out of the purchase. Top Garmin map discount code sites are pretty easy to find, so be sure to look for one to sweeten the deal when you’re in the market.
Updated Garmin maps are not only a modern necessity, but a remarkable piece of continuing evolution of the tech industry.