Ron Blakely gives his report on his use of the GPS-V in Canada

15 October 2002

To: Joe Mehaffey and Andrew Kalinowski

Re: Garmin V GPS with Garmin City Select 4.01 Mapping

This report of our experience with a Garmin V is for your information.

In April 08, 2002 I purchased a Garmin V complete with the Garmin City
Select Version 4.01 map database and unlock codes for all 7 regions. We have
now had an opportunity to use the Garmin V in four situations:
· Locally in Greater Vancouver
· On car trip from Vancouver BC to the Utah/Colorado area and return
· On a car tour of Nova Scotia and
· On motorcycle tours in  BC and eastern Washington State.

We have had difficulty loading the detailed maps into the Garmin V and have
yet to transfer a file larger than 12 Mb (compared to the advertised 19 Mb
capacity). However, Garmin "techsupp" have made suggestions that may further
reduce this limitation. Also, our hard drive is filling up and that may
affect the transfer.  (Joe's note:  We have not had any other reports of this

The Garmin V unit has performed the functions of satellite reception and
determining present position very well in all areas. Start-up takes only a
few seconds and it loses satellite signals only if most of the horizon is
obscured. The track and backtrack functions has performed well. In general,
the Garmin V unit appears to be accurate and is certainly easy to operate.

Unfortunately, the City Select mapping database has severe deficiencies (in Canada).

Our expectation of the Garmin V/City Select combination was based, in part,
on the Garmin web site
(, which states:
"The software automatically creates point-to-point routes in MapSource and
on the GPS V. It also displays points of interest....."  We were also
influenced by the map at, which shows that all
of Canada, south of 60 is covered. Thus, we expected that the Garmin V and
City Select would perform tracking and routing to street level in the four
designated metropolitan areas and to highway level in the ten provinces.
(Joe's Note:  The Garmin Map Viewer details what Canadian areas are covered and
these include ONLY the major metro areas.  Areas OUTSIDE these metro areas are
covered, but only to the extent of major roads and highways.  )

In the local area of Greater Vancouver BC, the Garmin V and City Select
mapping has performed well, essentially as advertised.

On the car trip from Vancouver BC to the Utah/Colorado area and return we
were able to load only 8 Mb of the theoretical 19 Mb capacity.  With a few
minor exceptions the unit performed well in the areas where the City Select
data was loaded. On one occasion, the unit was very helpful in locating
medical facilities at night in a strange city.  (Joe's note: Again,  no other user has reported
not being able to load up close to the 19meg memory limit.)

On the car tour of Nova Scotia the Garmin V was limited because the City
Select data excludes all of Canada east of Long 66 W. Thus, the Provinces of
Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island plus portions of New
Brunswick and Quebec are NOT in the City Select data (even though they are
clearly included in the Garmin coverage map). The base map provided useful
information, but not of the quality expected.

The unit and City Select performed well in eastern Washington State but City
Select was a dismal disappointment in southern British Columbia.  Below is a
partial list of observed defects.

· All roads on the north side of the Fraser River between Mission and Hope,
(including Highway 7) are missing.
· The north end of Highway 11 is erroneously routed.
· Cities and towns not available in the "find" function include: Nelson,
Kaslo, New Denver, Osoyoos, and Princeton.
· Except in Greater Vancouver area, Points of Interest data are not
· While travelling, the unit failed to identify or track:
o  about 50% of Highway 97C between Merritt and Kelowna, about 130 km.
o Highway 6, Vernon to Nakusp to New Denver, about 120 km.
o Highway 31A, New Denver to Kaslo, about 70 km.
o Highway 31, Kaslo to Balfour, about 40 km.
o Highway 3A, Balfour to Creston, about 70 km.
o Highway 3B, Rossland to Junction of Hwy 3, about 30 km.
o Highway 3 from Junction of Hwy 3B to Osoyoos.
o Highway 3 between Osoyoos and Princeton, a distance of about 100 km.
o Highway 5A, Princeton to Merritt, about 60 km.
o Highway 8, Merritt to Spences Bridge, about 60 km.
o Highway 6 from the junction of Hwy 3 to the U.S border, about 10 km.
o Highway 22 from Rossland south to the U.S. border, about 10 km.
o Highway 8 from Spences Bridge to Merritt, about 60 km.
o Highway 97C Lower Nicola to Logan Lake, about 50 km.
o Highway 5A Kamloops to Merritt, about 100 km.
o Highway 99, Lilooet to Pemberton, about 100 km.

The unit seems to be able to operate properly on only portions of Highway 1
(Trans Canada) and portions of 97C. The unit frequently generated wildly
unreasonable routes. For example, while travelling Hwy 8 and and located
only about 15 km from Merritt, the unit generated a routing to Merritt of
818 Km.

In summary:
1. The Garmin V GPS unit functions well and is easy to use.
2. City Select seems to operate properly in western US and in the Greater
Vancouver area.
3. City Select contains no data whatever for Canada north of 60 or
east of Long 66 E (which includes Newfoundland, Nova
Scotia, and Prince Edward Island and portions of New Brunswick and Quebec).
4. City Select is a dismal failure in most of British Columbia outside  of the
greater Vancouver area.  (Joe's note:  Attempting to route outside the major
metropolitan areas IS a problem as the map accuracy is poor.)

We have now obtained a Garmin update to City Select Version 4.01 and will
install and operate it. This will not occur immediately as we must do some
shuffling on the hard drive to accommodate the 1.7 Gb of the update. Also,
it will likely be next summer before we travel much with the unit.

Hope that this is useful.


Questions?  Comments?
Ron Blakely