UPDATE: Read my hands on review of the Magellan RoadMate 5230T-LM with Landmark Guidance.
I’ve been testing the Magellan Roadmate 5230T-LM for the last few weeks, which (AFAIK) is the first navigator in the US to feature Landmark Guidance. Basically, in addition to using street names for guidance, it will tell you to turn at “landmarks” like a McDonalds or a Chevron station. You can see and hear it in action in the admittedly shaky video above. Apparently I need a camera with image stabilization, although the main point in this video is the audio.
Of course the big issue here is POI accuracy. For example, many BP gas station franchises around the country have changed brands since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Yet there are plenty of former BP stations in the POI database listed as BP. And therein lies the problem — without an accuracy level that we’ll probably never see, this feature will give you misleading directions. Is it cool? Yes. But it compromises the core navigation function of the device. Which is probably why we haven’t seen Garmin or TomTom introduce it (and hopefully never will). This is nothing but a gimmick and a likely deleterious one at that. Fortunately, Magellan has done two things which help – in almost all cases they give a street name for the turn too, and the feature can be disabled under Settings > Navigation.
NAVTEQ or Tele Atlas?
It is unclear if this data is being provided by NAVTEQ or Tele Atlas. The latter is referenced as a data provider in the manual, but both companies are listed in the EULA on the device. And we do know that Magellan has been switching over to Tele Atlas maps.
Nevertheless, I don’t recall Tele Atlas releasing such a product. When NAVTEQ announced theirs, it was dubbed Natural Guidance. However, Navman is using a NAVTEQ product with this name (Landmark Guidance) in Australia. To further complicate things, Navman is owned by MiTAC, parent company of Magellan. Confused yet? You’re not alone!