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Do you really need GPS in the car?




For about a year or two, car GPS systems have started to become available in the Philippines. There are at least 3 or 4 different companies offering portable GPS in the country and some car dealerships have also started bundling them with a new purchase of a motor vehicle.

Before the time when local maps were available to navigation systems, I used to rely on printed maps (I bought a whole book for Metro Manila at NBS or was it 7-11) and trace my route a day before I travel or head to my destination.

For longer trips, Google Maps was also a great help (much more with WikiMapia). There was a time I also used Ovi Maps on my Nokia E71 and it was pretty good. In several occasions, my iPad 3G was also was also a good tool for me to figure out what street I an driving on.

So far, the current line-up of GPS devices are pretty capable. They’re not that complete or very extensive but they’re able to do the job most of the time.

Anybody out there using a GPS in their car or have some other solutions (as a cheaper alternative) like Ovi Maps on their phone or iPad too?



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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35 Responses

  1. Eason says:

    Well they are useful to people that are not too much road oriented.

    I may not have the luxury to have a GPS or it just seems that I feel I don’t need one.

    I usually go with a companion when going to a place I don’t know. Most of the time I want to go to the place first by commuting then go the 2nd time using a car. So far my skills to navigate and preparedness by researching via google map helped me a lot before leaving for a trip.

    So I guess having a GPS would be more useful, but I’m still confused, does using a GPS need internet or that is the AGPS?

    • Calvin says:

      nope. no need for internet on these GPS navigation system.

      i use avt and it’s really helpful to navigate those small streets in makati. as long as malakas yung signal since pag maraming mataas na building malilito ka lang.

  2. jun says:

    for me it is very useful specially when I am not familiar with the place.. just curious with it and get the garmin with osm map loaded.. very useful the first time when i am in baguio :)

  3. Dan MD says:

    This is where Nokia Symbian phones really shine with its Ovi maps pre-installed in my Nokia N8. I have used it countless times when driving and even guiding a cab driver (and to make sure) I’m not being cheated with the route.
    Advantages of Ovi Maps:
    1. Lifetime free turn-by-turn navigation (Google maps is yet to provide this feature)
    2. Doesn’t need an online network connection to work (again, unlike Google maps)
    3. Ability to plan route before travel
    4. Maps marks important (Points of interest) POI’s during navigation mode w/c is really helpful if you’re locating the nearest hospital, gas station, car repair station, etc.

    The latest version for Symbian 3 also supports multi-touch and compass mode.

  4. go15 says:

    we have a garmin for a navigator. It is helpful especially when travelling to unknown or far places. When it is not on the garmin map, that’s the time I use google earth or wikimapia to look for the place’s coordinates and enter it in the navi.

  5. problematik says:

    i have been using GPS with my driving for 3 weeks now. It seldom gives me wrong directions (i got lost twice), but it has been helpful on most occasions.

    The map though, i believe, is not that updated cause when i tried driving along cavitex, the gps shows that i am driving though the water.. hahaha

  6. jhoeforth says:

    Having a GPS on your car is not a must but can be a life saver! On our way back from a trip in Bicol, we got caught up in a heavy traffic in Quezon because of the holiday rush. We bypassed the traffic by looking for alternate routes using iPad 3G on every town while avoiding the main road.

  7. Andre says:

    Well there are many alternative devices to a incar GPS, but ofcourse the source of the data always matters. So if you have a Garmin, get the free Philippine Map based on OpenStreetMap

  8. Benchmark says:

    Years ago, when I am in sales, we use to travel a lot. There is once, from Manila, we have to go to La Union to visit a company…days before the trip, I use WIKIMAPIA to trace our path, from start til the destination by following the whole stretch of the road…and since WIKIMAPIA has this tagging or pictures of some landmarks, I use to open it and remember the landmark it shows. And it was a total successful travel. :-)

    All I need is wikimapia, plus my memory to visualize our travel. :D

  9. bryan says:

    I think having a gps device is good to have, but if it were intergated with traffic update from the mmda, its a must have.

  10. Ben says:

    For me, I use Garmin MobileXT for Symbian on my N82 phone. It’s a way better and accurate than Ovi Maps. I first used this when I travel from Manila to Surigao and back..

  11. Maniniyot says:

    I could still remember when I lost myself in the middle of Cebu’s downtown. I was driving a motorcycle back then and I don’t know where to go. I lost track and good thing is I have my Nokia N82 that time. It has an A-GPS on it and I installed Garmin XT on it. Run the application and locate myself and voila, I got home safe! :D

  12. Matthew says:

    i’m using garmin xt in my nokia n8 and it’s great besides i already have the phone and and the maps is free

    • Dan MD says:

      I also have an N8 but use Ovi Maps. Haven’t tried other softwares before. You said Garmin XT was free? How did you get the app? and the maps? pa-share. Haha! Thanks.

  13. warfab says:

    Garmin units/software + Contributor maps from roadguide.ph = best routing GPS in the Philippines!

  14. Drey says:

    Having been able to familiarize myself driving in Manila using maps sold on bookstores. I can attest that printed maps are sufficient enough.

    However, after transferring to Mindanao. I occasionally drive from Metro Cagayan to Davao City which both cities I am not all too familiar of. I invested in GPS units and it helps a lot finding ATM and Restos.

    Streets need some updates tho. But pretty soon, these things are gonna me on the need-list.

  15. zgkent says:

    I’ve been using OVI maps for navigating in the metro and garmin mobile xt for tracing my routes for places that are not yet mapped in my nokia 5230, I’m also using the route data from garmin in creating maps and for contributing in open street mapping phils.

  16. supernaut says:

    As a Telecom engr, GPS device really helps in finding our destination (cell sites) given just the coordinates or the address. I use NAVDROYD to find my way around the Metro or the province. Just last April when i went to Mindanao (Davao-Surigao), very helpful to locate your destinations although main road and name of town lang nakikita ko sa navdroyd.

  17. Iyan Sommerset says:

    Yep, I’ve used my mom’s Android phone to navigate around the Metro especially when going to places I’m not too familiar with *or* looking for alternate routes to places (those side-streets are a traffic-saver).

    We’ve used MapDroyd in the past (offline maps) but we’ve recently moved over to Maverick (downloadable offline maps) which, when you pre-download the maps you need, is way better. And it has access to a crapload of maps, from Gmaps, Mapnik, Bingmaps all teh way to Ovi.

    Oh, and I don’t use navigation apps themselves, just overhead maps and gps locators. I do the routing myself.

  18. rom says:

    Im only using Papago app for my Iphone.

  19. katy torres says:

    Being directionally challenged, google map became my bestfriend.i use it on my ipod touch with my myfi device not only in the streets of manila but also in hongkong kong and singapore too

    -Sent via YugaTech Mobile App

  20. biLLy says:

    Using Sygic for Android, cool little app! Not aGPS, so no need for internet connection.

  21. Tak says:

    I also use Navdroyd with my android phone and it works really great. We always have trips out of town and it has really been indispensable. Best 350 pesos that I’ve spent.

    • supernaut says:

      I downloaded the Navdroyd for free but you bought it for P350? are there additional features?

  22. noel says:

    Do you really need GPS in the car? – kung ayaw mo ma carnap habang nag tatanong ng directions sa walang alam na tao, bili na!

  23. alvin says:

    where can I download a GPS Philippine map for my Garmin Nuvi 1490t?

  24. PJ says:

    I still rely on my map book since Metro Manila is small for me to consider getting a GPS. The only places i haven’t been to yet are Taguig, Pateros, Malabon, Navotas.

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