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When you shell out big bucks for a GPS, you tend to think that is the end of the purchase. After all, it gets you where you are going. Then, as time goes on, roads begin to change. Maybe a new highway is added to your county, names get re-routed, or a new mayor decided that adding jug handle turns to major intersections would be safer. Unless you happen to sit on a planning board, there is little that you can do to stop these changes. Eventually your GPS mapping data is going to become out of date. That means you will need an update. If you are lucky, or smart, then you have thought of this before you bought a GPS. Either way, now you need to get an update. This piece will show you where to get them.
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TomTom does its map updates via a service called TomTom map update service. This service charges you an annual fee, and then gives you one free update each quarter. This means that you get four map updates in each calendar year. The advantage to this is that you can also create your own custom updates. This means if you want to report a temporary road closing or a local point of interest your GPS will remember it. Though, there are also some free maps.
Garmin’s updates are done via disk. You buy a disk for your specific region, (North America, Europe, South America, etc…) and upload it to your GPS. These disks can cost up to 70 dollars.
Not the big three
If you have a GPS that is not made by one of these three big boys, you will still need to update your maps. Here are listings for some of the smaller brands of GPS.
Navigon uses a service known a Fresh Maps to update its GPS maps. This is a paid service. It is worth the mention that despite the fact that Navigon has pulled out of the US market, they are still supporting US map updates.
Mio's map updates are free in 2009 for Mio. They have not said if the updates will continue to be free of charge.
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How Often Should I Update
Well that depends. If you have a service that will charge you the same if you update four times a year, then update as often as you like. If you have to buy an update then annually may be a better option. If you are budget lite and local roads haven’t changed much you may be able to go longer. It really depends on where you travel and how many projects are going on in your area. You should update before any long trips or interstate travel.