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Wanted: Laptop GPS for a big truck
ashumann12
I am an over the road truck driver and am looking for a good Laptop based GPS system. I have seen several including some by Garmin but cannot discern whether or not they are commercial vehicle routes and maps. Any normal system will get a big truck into big trouble in a hurry. Any one here have any suggestions?

Thanks,
Ken in Regina
My brother was a commercial trucker for years. He currently uses Streets & Trips for his personal travels. I've emailed him the link to this thread in case he might be able to help. I've never been a trucker so I wouldn't know what to look for.

I'm a professional computer guy so I do know how to drive a search engine pretty well. I found something that might work. This is a Canadian site but it looks like it's a North American product and is likely available many places. It's called CoPilot Truck Laptop. In my infinite ignorance it looks like it might deal with some of the things you are concerned about.

Here's another link with some more descriptions about the same program. It looks like the basic package comes with USA maps and there is a Canada map add-on if you drive up here. There is a link in the middle of the page for a downloadable fact sheet.

I have a Garmin iQue 3600 integrated PDA (Palm Pilot) and GPS. I can confirm that in the routing preferences you can select from a variety of things. As well as the usual car/Motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian modes, you have these additional choices:

Truck
Bus
Emergency
Taxi
Delivery

Garmin's Street Pilot series has similar options. The new Nuvi series might also have them. They are standalone Nav devices, not laptop software.

I have Garmin's "nroute" program installed in my laptop using the GPS receiver from Streets & Trips. It also has the above options selectable in the routing preferences. I have Garmin's City Navigator North America map product installed on both devices. If there is anything I could do to test something for you I would be happy to. Like if you know of a particular route you are familiar with that I could test to see if it will cause you problems or do the right thing.

I've never used these preferences. I'm pretty sure there is nothing in the Garmin map data that will give things like low clearance. There may be info about commercial routes but you can be sure it will never be right up to date. The map data provided by Garmin's map suppliers is usually one to two years old by the time the map updates are available to buy. This will be true of most consumer map products, I think. But that's one of the things you are concerned about in the first place, yes?

I hope this helps get you closer to a solution.

...ken...
ashumann12
Thanks Ken!
Marvin Hlavac
Adam, drive carefully! We should have a warning here at the website: "Don't read the forums while operating a motor vehicle!"

I've heard several truckers say they use Microsoft Streets & Trips. Even after they've used some programs specifically designed for truckers.

Streets & Trips has the advantage of allowing you to modify your route easily the way you wish. So even if the program cannot generate truck-specific routes, it can let you do modifications to your route "manually" quite easily.

I think the programs that do truck routing, they only have truck specific data for highways, so you are still left on your own planning the last mile. But don't take my word for it. I don't drive any large vehicle to speak from personal experience. Let's see if Ken's brother can give some feedback on this. Or perhaps there are some other operators of large vehicles reading this, and they could give opinion from their experience.

There are some truckers in the Streets & Trips section of this forum, too, but I'm not sure if they venture to different parts of this website occasionally.
petetrucker379
When I'm in doubt, I always pull out ever faithful Rand McNally Motor Carriers Road Atlas.

I'll never do away with my atlas, (we all remember what an atlas is don't we?) after all my large scale atlas can never break down!

A driver is only as good as the tools he/she carries.
Wayne in Red Deer
Hi,

I am Ken's brother. The 2 packages I am most familiar with are S&T and Street Atlas 2008.

Street Atlas is not bad but I find it cumbersome to use and most of the time it is tracking my route about a 1/4 mile off the highway and trying to route me back to the road I am already on, so only use it a bit for planning.The one thing that made it worth the investment is that it has a fantastic phone directory for North America.

Streets & Trips is a fairly good overall package and with a little searching there are some good POI data bases that you can import with a lot of the info you need or would find useful. Also as you travel you can easily mark in areas to avoid. What I do if I am unsure of a route and want to see more detail is click on live search and look at the satelite view of the area. For the price you can not go too far wrong and as was noted there are a lot of drivers out there using it and willing to share data and help out with routes.

One of the things I did when running a new route was grab a paper map and make notes for myself as to turns, bridges, overpasses and larger streets, with S&T you can do similar and then plan your route and let the computer keep track of where you are and warn of upcomiing turns etc., after you complete the route make any updates and save the route and you are set.

I will try and find a few links to info other than what has already been noted above and post them here.

Wayne
TomP
Check out this site. It is for truckers.
http://www.alk.com/pcmiler/

Hope this helps as my son uses it.
TomP
Marvin Hlavac
Tom, does your son use ALK CoPilot Truck, or some other of their products?
TomP
Marvin:
No, he just uses the PcMiler. He contrats to only pull travel trailers.
He was talking about geting a "Tom-Tom" and I talked him out of it due to the size of the screens.
I use my bluetooth laptop with S&T 2008 and my gps is the "i-Trek M5+.
I only wished it was touchscreen.
I want to take the time to thank you for all the info you have provided to the people and myself. "Thanks"!
As you can tell I do more reading than posting.
Again, many Thanks!!
TomP
Racer X 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomP
Marvin:
No, he just uses the PcMiler. He contrats to only pull travel trailers.
He was talking about geting a "Tom-Tom" and I talked him out of it due to the size of the screens.
I use my bluetooth laptop with S&T 2008 and my gps is the "i-Trek M5+.
I only wished it was touchscreen.
I want to take the time to thank you for all the info you have provided to the people and myself. "Thanks"!
As you can tell I do more reading than posting.
Again, many Thanks!!
TomP
PC Miler is not mapping software. It can only give point to point mileages. I.E. you enter the city you start at, the city you are going to and it calculates the distance (zip code to zip code).

The same company produces CoPiolt Truck, which is kind of like a cross between Streets & Trips and Delorme Street Atlas. It is expensive and clunky.

From my experience Streets & Trips is the best deal for the money. It is also easily configurable, and runs well on a Windows machine.
malaki86
I've used CoPilot Truck for years now. It's far from clunky. Expensive? Well, it is truck specific. Streets & Trips for use in a big truck? Never again. It got me into way too much trouble.
Racer X 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by malaki86
I've used CoPilot Truck for years now. It's far from clunky. Expensive? Well, it is truck specific. Streets & Trips for use in a big truck? Never again. It got me into way too much trouble.
How can software get you into trouble?
Boyd
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer X 69
How can software get you into trouble?
http://www.kval.com/news/local/GPS-leads-trucker-up-gravel-road-223555931.html
Racer X 69
It wasn't the software that made the driver decide to drive up a road that he (or she) had no business on in the first place.

I pull flatbeds, and sometimes do jobsite deliveries. Anytime I have a delivery off the beaten path I have the consignee meet me, and take me in with a car or pickup first to make sure that I can get in and turned around, and that the surfaces I will be on can support the weight.

The driver in the story you linked to made several very bad decisions. The first was to trust an electronic device over his eyes and judgement. The next was to continue rather than get out of the truck and asses the situation.

And the decision to continue instead of back out was the one which ruined his day, and likely his career as a driver.

In the larger industrial cities like Chicago, Detroit and New York drivers frequently drive into bridges with low clearances, because their GPS "told them to".

I think anyone stupid enough to follow the GPS instead of look out the window and actually read the signage along their route deserves to be pulled from the driver's seat and beaten severely.
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