Car GPS and app reviews


Yes we’re interested in accuracy. Yes I looked to see what the underlying mapping units were, but could not find that. I’m not sure what Hema use. We have found them reliable for find tracks e.g. off the Birdsville track, which the car nor Apple / Google units could not show. They also have the option of showing topo maps that help locate places. There also useful in the city.

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Accuracy won’t vary much between models and brands as they will all use the same satellite signals. There may be differences in how they process the signals (processing speed and time taken to display the information), but any slight differences in time causing a slight shift in accuracy/actual location from this processing won’t be noticeable.

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It depends on that you mean by accuracy. Is it just an accurate position or an accurate map, or an accurate route to your destination?

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I’d previously commented on the gps article as it lacked any regional of remote testing. We’ve just returned from two months travelling around Queensland, when we used Apple & Google maps via Apple car play and also had a Hema X-1 which we have used for some years. Once we were north of Mossman / Port Douglas, Apple & Google were useless. Typically we had a blank screen, with the arrow wandering around, or just an image of the likely road we were on (no side roads shown). It didn’t matter if we set a route (starting from a large town where something worked) or just used the apps in an 'explore / drive mode. It seemed the gps position worked, but not the background maps. When Apple & Google showed the road we were on, it at times split into two and the arrow ended up bouncing between them or sat in the middle. Even in many villages and towns where you had a mobile telephone service we couldn’t get Apple or Google maps to work properly - they didn’t seem to have any local maps. At other times they took us to a supposed petrol station, where it was obvious none have ever existed. We did over 11,000kms in Queensland and for much of the time Apple & Google maps were useless - we left them running to provide some amusement. In contrast the Hema worked faultlessly, though once it wanted us to go down a farm track instead of the main road, 19kms away. The Hema has both drive and explore modes with the later providing very useful topographic maps. Choice do need to revise their testing procedures as I’m sure people will often head off on a serious trip to suffer the problems we encountered. Make sure you take a printed map.


Not surprised about Hema - they actually drive most of the roads they map.

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That’s a lot of kms out of the more than 33,000km of main roads. :wink:
Is the difficulty when mobile coverage is not available for extended periods? It’s typical of how QLD mobile coverage has been implemented.

Our experiences travelling recently through mid western NSW differ. Relying on Apple’s navigation and an iPhone the pre-set route instructions were continuous and reliable even when we had lost coverage.

Note, there are options to download maps and routes with Google Maps. From memory one requires internet/ mobile service to create a new route setting.

Being from an older generation we always travelled outback QLD with road maps. RACQ member free. The HEMA maps are equally useful. It’s a skill set not learnt or taught these days. To our detriment it appears to be in the best interests of the media to promote expensive digital products over all else.

I would suggest everyone who does not want a dedicated GPS gadget, and also does not want to get caught up in Apple/Google… look at the free Navmii for your phone, which uses OpenStreetmaps Yes I know Waze is free, but its Google too.

For a small fee you can remove advertisements from the back end (they dont appear on maps) and for an equally small fee you can get other addons. I’ve paid for speed cameras. Th POI database is decent and mapping is as accurate as any other. Where I once loved Sygic, I find it gives less than it did at first and its off my radar now, has been “off” for years.

Navmii is my choice these days, and the good news is, if you go overseas you can get free maps for there, too.

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