(MapSource) CityNavigator maps
with a Canadian twist.
A review by GPS Nuts
MapSource CityNavigator (CN) is a
set of maps designed by GARMIN to work with the StreetPilot III receiver. It
allows for turn by turn routing right on the receiver and / or on the computer.
Depending on the target market, the SP3 comes with American or European
The American version of CN includes
detailed maps of major metropolitan areas in 10 different pre-defined regions in
the USA and Canada. Purchase price of the SP3 includes the unlock key for one of
the regions. Additional regions can be unlocked by purchasing a key from GARMIN
or one of their authorized dealers. Traditionally, the USA has always had good
map coverage from various GPSR manufacturers. Coverage of Canada, however, was
always poor to non existent. The
first wind of change came with GARMIN’s MapSource Canada MetroGuide with
Roads & Recreation. CityNavigator is the next step in the increasing,
Areas and detail covered:
According to the Garmin
website, region DCA 11 includes Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba,
New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island,
Saskatchewan, Quebec and the Yukon Territory. This isn't entirely correct.
The detailed coverage of the CN maps on CD ends just west of Montreal and does
not include the Atlantic provinces nor Yukon Territory. The most detailed
coverage is for the shaded areas in the screenshot below.
Outside of the shaded areas, there
is no additional detail that can be uploaded to the receiver. Saying that; the
receiver's base map already does include some good base map detail for all of
Canada. For example, Halifax NS does not show at all on the CN maps, when viewed
on the computer, yet a quick check on the receiver resulted with the screenshot
This is very good for a base map!
Not everywhere is the basemap
detail so good, however.
The CN (uploadable) coverage
of Canada contains a total of 31 maps ( 25.2 MB total) and is most detailed for
the areas of:
|Toronto / Hamilton / Niagara, ON|
For the above cities (and some surrounding rural areas) the map detail includes street level coverage that includes addresses, numerous Points Of Interest information and other information that is sufficient for the receiver to create a turn by turn routing that will take into account one way streets and such.
The above CN screenshot from
Whistler is representative of the most detailed areas. It offers (what could be
called) a 1st class coverage.
For the uploadable areas outside of
the 1st class coverage area (between the listed cities), the detail varies
It may be as good as:
Or it may be limited to only the most important roads like in the screenshot below.
In such cases, a ramp on a major
road may be shown, but it leads to nowhere.
The 3rd class coverage is offered
by the BaseMap detail. That detail is not uploadable - it already resides in the
receiver and can be also viewed on the computer. Surprisingly, it often shows
more roads than the 1st and 2nd class detail maps.
The above screenshot shows the
Highway 144 all the way. It's a Base Map screenshot.
The screenshot below shows the same
area, except below the horizontal line, the uploadable detail is shown.
No highway 144...
Confused? It's virtually impossible
to describe the varying levels of CN coverage for each area. Fortunately, GARMIN
provided a tool that can be used by the potential user to preview the maps. See http://www.garmin.com/cgi-bin/mapgen/mapgen.pl?p=131073&z=1&w=350&h=350&rz=0&k=1&sc=1
Why would we call "3rd
class" the maps that potentially have more detailed coverage than the
2nd class maps? It is because of a very important factor:
The Map Accuracy
Checking the base map detail to the
CDAL database we found that the BaseMap may be frequently off by several hundred
The same area covered by the CN
uploadable maps is depicted very accurately.
In fact, the detailed, uploadable
maps are spot on and possibly even more accurate than the CDAL database...
CN includes many POIs for the
cities with the street level detail (1st class coverage areas). There are few
POIs for the 2nd class coverage areas. Other than that, not much about the
POIs has changed from the MetroGuide Canada. Instead of us retyping the same
thing over, you can see the comments here.
SP3 is using maps to create the
turn by turn routes. By design, it is always trying to use the most accurate
maps first and base map detail later. Creating an automatic route between a
point that is within an uploaded map coverage area and a point that is covered
only by the base map detail may lead to unexpected results.
Look at the screenshot below. The
(yellow) route was automatically generated between two points that were just a
couple hundred kilometers apart. The software was forced to look for a common
point that is on a border between the base map and a detailed map to lead the
route from one to the other. The detailed map was missing a section of highway
144. The closest route that could be automatically generated was....
That's a trip that we would not
Fortunately, there is a way around
the problem. If the route is generated on the receiver, one needs to do it in
two stages. First, generate a route that takes you close to, but within the
border of the detailed coverage. Once there, deactivate the uploaded maps and
then generate the final leg of the route.
It is even easier to deal with the
problem using the computer. Just
insert a couple of the intermediate stop points to force the route over
the section of the uploadable map that lacks the necessary detail.
Naturally, one could generate the
entire route using just the BaseMap detail, but that solution would be too
simple for... the GPS Nuts!
Since GARMIN already uses in CN the
best Canadian detail that NavTech can supply, the real solution to the problem
possibly may not be found until better data become available.
and personal, subjective opinions.
For primary use outside of the 1st
class coverage areas, users may find it hard to justify the cost, because the
included maps do not show many secondary, minor roads in the 2nd and 3rd class
coverage areas. That could be mostly fixed by purchasing MapSource™ Canada
MetroGuide with Roads & Recreation and loading to the receiver the
Canadian, Enhanced BaseMap. The Enhanced BaseMap could not be used to generate
turn by turn routes and the maps are not as accurate as CN, but it works well on
the SP3 and provides a good visual reference.
On the other hand; the Street Pilot
III with CityNavigator is an excellent product for Canadian travelers who
frequently drive within or to the 1st class coverage areas.
In short: If you are the right
user, we highly recommend the unit.
CityNavigator information on Garmin website.
Street Pilot III - vehicle (GPS) navigation system. A review by GPS Nuts