Tuesday, January 22, 2013
iPad user? This may be "the" RV GPS app you've dreamed of
The new application, available on the App Store, provides RV class-specific routing (and with a quick toggle, over to car routing) based on the company's proprietary road data and navigation, plus thousands of RV parks and campgrounds, RV-friendly locations, RVer tools and pre-planned trips. The app also includes dynamic weather, a map overlay feature that helps drivers anticipate conditions such as high wind and precipitation along the route. Here's a bit of fine print: You'll need to be connected to the Internet for that real-time weather data.
. Unlike off-board navigation, the maps load on an iPad, providing access everywhere — even in remote areas where a cellular or Wi-Fi connection is not available. For real time navigation as the vehicle progresses, a GPS signal is required. Sure enough, here's more fine print: If your iPad is 3G/4G enabled, you've got what you need already. If not, then you'll end up adding an external GPS receiver--which in our minds kind of defeats the purpose.
Before we get into any more nitty-gritty, you may want to know the price of the app. You're looking at breaking up a $100 bill in a hurry at the ap store. Still want to know more? Read on.
Here's a list of the features that Rand McNally touts, along with our own views after having use the stand-alone GPS system.
• Safe and easy routing for 11 types of RV in the U.S. and Canada; also includes car mode for cars towed to the destination and used for excursions, or for everyday use.
• Routing based on legal and physical restrictions, such as height, width, weight limits and propane restrictions, and favors right- or left-hand turns depending on RV class. Includes Rand McNally proprietary RV-specific road attributes and Rand McNally exclusive highway construction project information. That "favoring" of right and left hand turns based depending on RV class can be a bit disconcerting at times. We've driven past our "destination" just to go a mile or so farther to give us "favorability" for turning.
• Warnings for speed limit changes, sharp curves, dirt roads, and other potential hazards. This feature can be a godsend in unfamiliar territory.
• Millions of general and RV-specific points of interest including thousands of RV parks and campgrounds listed by category; RV parking, rest stops, exits and other locations; RV dealer information; and Rand McNally Editor’s Picks, including Best of the Road® adventures, trips, and getaways. Fortunately, you can toggle these POIs off and on as desired. We do use it when we're looking for our favorite eateries when traveling.
• Real-time weather information including current and forecasted information for current location, destination, and anywhere along the route. Choose from 10 different map overlays to display important information for RVers, such as wind speed, current and forecasted precipitation, and weather-based traffic impact. And this is a feature we've never tried for ourselves.
• RV Tools such as RV checklists to prepare for trip departure, campsite setup, and more; Trails to record a “bread crumb” path from the campsite, or a favorite shortcut; Quick Planner to calculate time, distance, and cost for trips between major cities; Fuel logs to track fuel purchases, including where purchased, gallons and total cost; Tools to record vehicle maintenance. Yep, they can be useful if you're into details. Bread crumb trail feature is great for those into boondocking.
From our own experience, Rand McNally's map database is far more useful to the boondocker set than those provided by competitors' units. Rand shows a lot more "off road" detail than do the other guys.
Here's where to go to look for more information or to buy a copy for yourself.