A GPS device is only as good as its maps, so you want to make sure that you have the newest, most accurate map data available before you hit the road. This week, we're taking a look at the process of updating the map data on Garmin's Nuvi line of portable navigation devices. In the weeks that follow, we'll be covering how to update devices from TomTom and Magellan, among others.
Updating the maps on your GPS device used to be a complete pain in the butt. You'd have to order your update on CD, DVD, or SD card and wait for it to arrive in the mail. These days, fresh map data is often only a download away, but that doesn't make it any less of a pain in the butt. Case in point: grabbing Garmin's maps required no fewer than three software downloads and about an hour of waiting for the 2GB of map data to download and install. It can be a bitter pill to swallow, but it's a price we'd gladly pay to make sure that we actually get where we're trying to go.
Of course, map updates usually aren't free, but nearly all of the major GPS device manufacturers are starting to offer devices with free lifetime map updates. Additionally, most new GPS devices feature some sort of map guarantee that entitles users to one update to the newest map data within the first 30 days of ownership, free of charge. So, there's really no excuse to put up with outdated maps, even if you've purchased an older GPS unit.