As a truck driver a GPS is something that is almost essential. Most truck drivers go places they haven’t been before and, even though that isn’t as much the case with my current job it certainly has been the case in the past.
The first GPS I owned was a five inch TomTom. Do they even exist anymore? Regardless, it was not a truck version and as such did not care whether you were allowed on certain roads or not. This got me into a pickle a couple times that, if I’m honest, had I done the route out beforehand I wouldn’t have been in those situations. I didn’t have a lot of experience back then. This led to a couple close calls that I ultimately navigated my way out of. The TomTom did work for highway travel and mostly for the city though I would never trust it downtown.
The next GPS I purchased was a five inch Garmin. This one did have truck routing built in which made things a little easier and I was pretty happy with it for some time. The charger broke on it which ended our romance.
Next I picked up a five inch Rand McNally. I loved this as it was keyed to the big Rand McNally atlas that I always have with me, even to this day. I had this one while I made my first venture into the downtown of a city. Calgary in fact. This was terrifying to me as I am a guy from a small town and even though I had delivered things to downtown Toronto this felt terrifying. Well it downright went terrible. As soon as my truck moved into the shadow of the tall skyscrapers my GPS lost all connectivity and I got lost. I ended up driving around Calgary in the middle of the night up and down streets to find my delivery. Eventually I did and thank goodness there was very little traffic which made maneuvering much easier.
After this I saved a ton of points at truck stops and picked up a seven inch Rand McNally. This was so much easier to read and much less cluttered. Sadly this one not long after a year stopped working completely.
Ever since then I have been using my phone with a data connection and Google Maps. I had enough experience at this point I could tell where I should be and shouldn’t be in a large vehicle and the ability to look up addresses and see exactly where docks were made a huge difference. Docks weren’t so much of an issue earlier in my career as I never delivered to a dock. I was always hauling oversize machinery or buildings. That stuff typically went to completely different places.
And I gotta say, Google Maps is great. I mean, there really is no substitute. I say this as I am currently unloading at a downtown location kitty corner to BellMTS place in Winnipeg. Not once did Google Maps lose it’s GPS signal as it led me directly to my delivery location.
Google Maps does not offer commercial routing though and I would love to see this added to the service. In fact, I would gladly pay for it (lump sum, not another monthly subscription) though I generally get around pretty well without that kind of help anymore.
Google Maps is also the right price and yes, as I said, if they added commercial routing to their software I would be willing to pay for it. With the prices of newer GPS devices reaching nearly nine-hundred dollars Canadian in some cases it’s really hard to justify spending that kind of money when Google Maps is free.
I do not have experience with Apple Maps or whatever it’s called but I find it hard to believe it’s as effective as Google Maps. And I guess I will never know since I never plan to own an Apple phone.
I’d be remiss in not mentioning the vehicles I own that have GPS devices built in. My first vehicle with a built-in GPS is my 2012 Honda CIvic Si sedan. It has a decent seven in screen but is really old in design. No swiping on the touch screen to move the map around. Instead you have to use a joystick which never seems to position the screen where you want it to go.
The other vehicle I own that has a GPS built in is my 2019 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X. It has a smaller GPS screen but it’s a better experience overall since you can swipe on it to move the map around.
When it comes down to it I really don’t use either of them as if I’m driving my car I generally have a good idea where I am going.
Do you have a GPS device or app that you prefer? Let me know in the comments.