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Garmin MetroGuide Canada v4


For parties who are interested in detailed Canadian map data and 
street-level data for their Garmin GPS, read on. I just purchased the 
Garmin MetroGuide Canada v4 in the hope of getting the most complete data 
available for Canada. In some ways, this product meets that need while it 
falls short in others.

MetroGuide Canada v4 replaces v3, but it is a different product from a 
different data supplier, so you should not expect this to be an "update". 
Unlike v3, v4 has much more detailed data (more complete listing of 
roads), as well as searchable street address data so you can look up 
addresses on the PC and GPS, and not just cities. You can also create 
point-to-point routes that adhere to the roads ("rubber banding"), as you 
can with the CityNavigator product. For example, using this data you will 
be able to create an auto-route on your compatible Garmin GPS from your 
door to the Friday The 13th Port Dover Ride-In in August 2004, and for 
the brave, also in February 2004.

MetroGuide Canada v4 also includes 750,000 points of interest, which are 
helpful for finding the nearest gas station, ATM, or convenience store, 
as well as more detailed data of creeks, rivers, and small lakes which 
MetroGuide Canada v3 and CityNavigator lack for Canada. Otherwise, 
MetroGuide Canada v4 is a very similar product to the CityNavigator 
product, with the proviso of having coast-to-coast Canadian coverage, and 
providing detailed street-level data for much more geography than just 
the 7+ major cities that are covered in CityNavigator.

Now for the down-sides: If you're thinking of buying MetroGuide Canada v4 
with the vision of it being a more detailed and comprehensive 
CityNavigator, as I did, then you may be disappointed. When you get out 
of major centers, you will find places where roads are depicted on the 
map, but they are unnamed. They are labeled simply as "Road", as can be 
seen in parts of Prince Edward Island and other places across Canada. 
It's a step up from the CityNavigator which lacks much of the Canadian 
Maritime provinces' geography altogether, and detailed roads for much of 
Canada, as well as being an improvement over MetroGuide Canada v3 which 
lacked the detail of smaller roads, but I expected a road to be named 
properly if it exists as GPS data.

The much bigger bad news is that the data on the newly release MetroGuide 
Canada v4 is at least 3 years out of date! I noted that at least parts of 
the data are older than the data contained on the CityNavigator 4.0 CD, 
as well as the MetroGuide Canada v3 CD which it replaces, both of which 
were selling a year and a half ago when I bought my StreetPilot III. 
Apply this information to real life, such as to my realtor wife: she can 
now auto-route to the front door of a listing in the small town of 
Dunnville, Ontario, but she has virtually no data for a three-year-old 
subdivision located a quarter mile from our own house while CityNavigator 
4.0 does. In this way, the newly released MetroGuide Canada v4 is a step 
backwards, by about 3 years.

The MetroGuide Canada v4 is the most detailed and comprehensive Canadian 
street-level data available for Garmin GPSes. It would have been an 
unqualified smash hit, had it been released in the year 2000. It's still 
a very useful product for travelers in Canada who are not overly 
concerned with the changes that have taken place in the past three years.

MetroGuide Canada v4 is priced at US$116.65, and it is available from 
Garmin (www.garmin.com) and many GPS retailers. The data is compatible 
with the following Garmin GPS units: eMap, eTrex, Legend/Vista, GPS V, 
GPSMAP76/76S/176/176C, Rino 120, iQue, StreetPilot, StreetPilot ColorMap, 
StreetPilot III, StreetPilot 2610/2650, GPSMAP 196, GSPMAP 
182/182C/188/188C/232/238/2006/2006C/2010/2010C/GPSMAP 295. Some units 
may require a Garmin data card.

- -Steve

 Oakville, Ontario, Canada
 2000 R1100S/ABS, Mandarin