20100616

Problem ID: 3346842599204070114
Entered by: Ben Simo
Is there a problem here?  

No Roads

My family and I often spend summer weekend days exploring Colorado and neighboring states. Our adventures often lead us down rural and mountain roads that aren't on any map -- including the detailed USGS topographical maps. Having a GPS system in the vehicle gives me an extra bit of confidence that I can go down unknown roads and later find our way back to civilization. This doesn't require that all roads we travel be on the GPS maps.

I recently replaced a broken Garmin GPS unit with a cheaper Garmin Nuvi 1100 model. At first, it seemed that the GPS had most of the same features as the more costly version. However, I soon noticed that the device often failed to show any roads. This isn't just the 4x4 trails or forest service roads; the device was failing to display state highways.

A little investigation revealed a pattern. Many roads are only displayed when the system is giving directions to a specified destination. These roads are not displayed when I've not instructed the device to calculate a route. This means that often no roads are displayed when we are exploring without a particular destination.


The GPS is configured to show the most map detail available.



Now that I've verified that the GPS is configured to show as much detail as possible, what does it display? It says I am driving on US Highway 24 and it shows a line for the highway.  It shows no other roads.



I try zooming in and the device still shows no other roads.  I look out the car window and I can see other roads.  So, I then tell the GPS to calculate a route home.  It now shows me more roads.


Why aren't these roads displayed when I haven't given the device a route? I am more likely to care to see surrounding roads when I am not following a calculated route than when following a calculated route.


Just in case the GPS has gotten into an unexpected state, I reset it.



After resetting the GPS, it again only shows one road -- this time in the default 3D display mode.



I calculate a route and more roads appear.



I set the display back to the 2D mode I prefer. It now shows an upcoming intersection.



I calculate a route and more roads are displayed.



These images do not show the all-too-common case of not even displaying the road on which I am driving. This especially happens on mountain roads and in other places that I want to see what other roads are in the area. This makes the device mostly useless for one of the purposes for which I bought it.

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