I went to Atlanta this past weekend, armed with a nuvi 1490T and the Atlanta edition of Garmin’s new CityXplorer maps. And I have to say, I was quite impressed. I’m blessed with a good sense of direction (though I find it much easier to lose N, S, E and W in the city), but I’m not a real urbanite. I can probably count the number of times I’ve ridden a subway / light rail on one hand. So I had some nervousness about leaving my car behind and venturing into the city via MARTA, with only a nuvi to guide me. It turns out that my fears were misplaced. Quite simply, CityXplorer rocks. Read on for the details…
CityXplorer is very easy to use. Rather than drag my wife and 21 month old on too long of an excursion, we drove the mile from our hotel to the Lindbergh MARTA station, with the nuvi 1490T guiding the way. I left the parking garage to be confronted with an image similar to the one below (I screwed up this screenshot, so this one is from a simulation; the rest are real).
There is no compass to point your way, though you can see a direction arrow in the next image. I quickly realized how helpful it would be to turn on the tracklog – that’s the blue line trailing the position cursor.
Doing so allows you to see where you’ve been and which way you are moving, which is a huge help in getting you properly oriented. It took less than a minute to figure this out each time I had to do it – once at the parking garage and once when exiting the MARTA station downtown.
I did see an urban canyon effect, causing reception problems as shown in the next image.
Once, when walking between two large buildings with connecting overhead walkways, I lost reception completely. But it only happened once, and the turn by turn directions were more than adequate to keep me on route.
Here are a few more details on the interface and options:
- You can view your upcoming (or preceding) turns by tapping the icons in the left and right corners of the top information bar
- The icon below the zoom in and zoom out buttons lets you re-center the map on your position should you decide to pan the map
- You can select what transit types are included in calculations – bus, train and/or metrorail
Since our destination, the Georgia Aquarium, was an equal distance from two MARTA stations, I was given two options that included light rail. Oh, one other thing, the time estimates of 30 minutes were spot on.
I was very impressed with how well CityXplorer worked, and I expect that I will use it in the future, on trips to other cities.
CityXplorer maps, available for download directly from Garmin, run from $9.99 to $14.99 per city. They are compatible with a wide range of Garmin products, but the pedestrian / mass transit features only work with the forthcoming nuvi 12xx, 13xx and 14xx series.