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tucsonlou

Nov 2, 2014, 4:42 PM

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GPS bicimapas

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I am looking for a gps map of Mexico. From what I hear the preloaded maps on a GPS are not very good for Mexico. I see that bicimapas works on Garmin but no other brands are mentioned. I can live with that.
http://www.bicimapas.com.mx/MexicGPSAtlasEn.htm gives some info
Seems they have a topo map, too. I want a highway map, including the little roads and villages.
So, have you used bicimapas in Mexico?
I know they have problems with routing to one way streets or through NoLeft Turns etc. and of course no traffic updates. I can handle that.
Beyond that what are the pros and cons, praise and problems?



chinagringo


Nov 2, 2014, 6:08 PM

Post #2 of 7 (8502 views)

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Re: [tucsonlou] GPS bicimapas

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We have been using a Garmin GPS since 2009 for approximately two driving trips per year. Since we purchased the lifetime map updates, I make sure to do an update on all our maps including their Mexico maps. Through the years, these updates have greatly improved the Mexico maps! In fact, our two trips this year covered over 5000 miles and for the first time ever, I never had to pull out the Guia Roji Mexico map book for clarification.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



chicois8

Nov 2, 2014, 6:08 PM

Post #3 of 7 (8502 views)

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Re: [tucsonlou] GPS bicimapas

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I startred with the bicimapas, then the next year Garmin came out with their SD micro chip for Mexico, just for fun I did a side by side comparison 2 years ago and Garmin won hands down...bici wanted to take me 300 miles out of my way to go 100 miles up the QRoo coast,LOL...only funny thing with Garmin is speaking up coming street names like saying CALL instead of CALLE, but you get used to it..........Garmin, SI ---BiCi, no........
I have 95,000 miles in Mexico with my Garmin/Garmin setup and not lost yet.
Rincon de Guayabitos,Nayarit
San Mateo, California


tucsonlou

Nov 3, 2014, 7:10 PM

Post #4 of 7 (8453 views)

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Re: [chicois8] GPS bicimapas

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I have since called Garmin support re buying a Garmin GPS. Talked to a really helpful man who explained that in the newer model Garmins that are preloaded with the North America map (Canada, USA, and Mexico) they have all the Mexico data from Bicimapas except the topo. I am not planning four-wheeling or backpacking. So I don't need Bicimapas nor do I need the microSD chip that Garmin sells for Mexico because it is simply redundant if I get the North America map. The microSD is for someone who owns a Garmin with USA only on it and now wants to add Mexico.
I also called MexicoMaps where I buy my Atlas de las Carreteras de Mexico and he praised the Garmin maps. Assured me that I would be happy.
Thanks for the responses to my post.
Lou


at7mbe


Dec 12, 2014, 7:05 PM

Post #5 of 7 (8285 views)

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Re: [tucsonlou] GPS bicimapas

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Lou, I have dealt with Alberto Najera at Bicimapas since 2004, when he sold me high-res electronic images of some INEGI 1:50,000 topos that I needed. He was also the source of INEGI and GPS maps at MexicoMaps.com, though I don't believe that relationship continues.

For a long time, Bicimapas was the only source of Mexican GPS data for Android phones. They used a Russian GPS app called Navitel that is very popular in Europe. I had it on my Motorola Droid in 2010, and it had the unfortunate habit of crashing just when I got to a critical road intersection. It improved with later Navitel releases, but was never as polished as a Garmin. (I've only seen a Garmin with US, not Mexican, maps.) At some point Navitel did an upgrade to version 5 that was incompatible with Bicimapas' GPS data format, and both Bicimapas and MexicoMaps discontinued Android support.

Recently I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S3, and out of curiosity went to the Navitel website http://navitel.ru/en. Surprise, surprise, they list a GPS map for Mexico. For US$15, I purchased the app (now version 9.3) with the Mexican map set from Navitel. The map set boasts: "257,137 settlements, allowing address search and providing road network for 1,964. The POI database includes 36,291 POI. Length of the road graph is 683,286 km."

And amazingly, it works, including house numbers being displayed on the map when zoomed way in. While waiting in traffic two nights ago in Morelia, I checked the house numbers displayed on the GPS with what the car was next to, and most of the time they agreed exactly.

The strange thing is that when I drill down into the "Downloaded Map" page, it says "(C) Jose Alberto Najero Cruz", so other than the "a/o" spelling error at the end of Najera, I think Navitel is getting this map from Bicimapas, even if he doesn't show Android availability on his Bicipapas website.

In small pueblos, say Erongaricuaro, they don't show individual streets, only the main thoroughfares through the town. Moving up to a city the size of Pátzcuaro, they have all the streets. I think those are the 257,137 vs. 1,964 numbers quoted above.

And with the limited testing I've done, it hasn't crashed yet.

Garmin may still be the better solution. Sometimes the old Bicimapas showed me driving where there's no road, even though the actual road I was on had been there for years. Their resources for updating maps may not approach Google or Garmin's Navteq maps. I can't speak to the current map's currency because I haven't had it long enough, nor can I tell whether the map is knowledgeable about one-way streets.

I do remember a conversation with Alberto about four years ago where he mentioned that there were things about the Mexican street naming and numbering system that were incompatible with Garmin. Navitel altered their program to accommodate Mexican peculiarities, though he never told me exactly what they were. The fact that he sells a Garmin chip makes me wonder whether Garmin changed their system to accommodate Mexico, or whether there are some features that will work with Navitel that won't work with Garmin. Or maybe Garmin has gone to Navteq for their street maps and is only offering Bicimapas for their topo map. No se.

Android users with a stout enough Mexican data plan can just use Google Maps as they drive, since Google's Mexico coverage has gotten quite good. But not wanting to feed TelCel and Sr. Slim more than necessary, having Navitel's (Bicimapas's) maps loaded on the phone for $15 is an inexpensive option if you already own an Android, iPhone, Blackberry, WindowsCE etc. device. All are supported by Navitel. You make sure you have SD card storage for the 1.5GB of Mexican map data.

Or don't push the tech envelope with Russian software and just buy a Garmin.

-- Mark


chinagringo


Dec 12, 2014, 7:26 PM

Post #6 of 7 (8284 views)

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Re: [at7mbe] GPS bicimapas

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Mark:

As you are aware, we recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5" and I have been testing various apps here NOB. I keep rejecting most of them and keep going back to the Google Maps Navigation even though they are claiming it is the Beta testing version. As a long time Garmin user (since 2008) when there were very marginal Mexico maps, I tend to use them as a benchmark. Beta or not, Google Maps are satisfying our needs more and more. I do enjoy the Google option where one can can view mapping in the satellite view and see actual buildings. I will be quite interested next trip to see about the accuracy of address numbers since that has typically been a shortcoming of Mexico mapping.

This tablet was purchased to be dedicated to recording, documenting and tracking our travels. It is a US connected device through Sprint but we can unlock to accept a Mexico Sim card to use with 3G/4G capability or better yet WIFI which doesn't cost for downloading larger files.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



at7mbe


Dec 12, 2014, 7:52 PM

Post #7 of 7 (8275 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] GPS bicimapas

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Hi Neil,

Google Maps has the ability to download and cache for up to 30 days pieces of a map, which you can then drive over without a cell data connection (not terrain or satellite views though). I've played with it a little bit, downloading via WiFi, but found it unsatisfactory. If you want good resolution at street level, you have to cache a LOT of little tiles for where you might be heading. So while Google Maps is quite useful in the US when driving, along with their Android Navigator app for turn-by-turn instructions, I don't think it's going to be suitable for Mexico.

Driving to Morelia the other day with Google MyTracks running, I forgot that I had data roaming enabled, so it was downloading Google map data via TelCel. (I had been expecting a black screen because I just wanted to record a track as a test.) As soon as I saw the map, I shut down MyTracks, but looking at Data Usage afterwards, it said that it had downloaded 418KB of map data via cell just in the course of driving 0.8 miles on the highway. Until I get a data plan, that's just flat unacceptable to burn phone minutes that way.

Keep Navitel in mind as an option if the data costs of using Google on the road in Mexico get too high. I figured for US$15, it was cheap insurance when I get lost or have to re-route around manifestations in Morelia.

Saludos,
Mark
 
 
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