I know you’re a mapping company, but I though I should alert you to a basic truth about maps you seem to ignore – they’re wrong and will always be wrong. Maybe it’s the temporary inaccuracies that you can’t do much about – the council closing a road or restricting it to light vehicles only while there’s a street festival, for instance, or maybe it’s the larger issues like new roads (in new housing developments) or informal bike paths across parks that we all use but that aren’t captured by people creating the maps. Open Street Map is still one of the best organisations for accurately collecting a database of geographic information, but even that data is always out of date. Data provided to you by Navteq is significantly worse.
Routing is a particular problem. Not only must the map features (eg. roads) be accurately captured, but the metadata for them must be accurate. What type of road is is? What connections to other roads does it have and how routable are they for specific traffic? Are there barriers like a gate preventing access at night-time? When it comes down to it, the person on the ground must be the ultimate expert and the map must remain a hint service, thus preventing situations where trucks get stuck under low bridges or cars drive into rivers.
Yes, you say – this is obvious… why then can I not turn off navigation popups on my cycling GPS device when following a course? Navigation with cars has problems such as those mentioned above, but cycling has a superset of issues since we frequently traverse terrain where maps record no valid route eg. bike paths and the occasional pedestrian path. My GPS should either not complain incessently that I should make u-turns or ride in peak-hour traffic, or I should be able to disable guide popups (or turn by turn navigation prompts – whatever you want to call them)
There’s another major issue I’d like to bring to your attention, Garmin. It might also come as a shock to you but cyclists load mapping data onto their devices for use in getting fit – comparing their performance against a benchmark for a specific course and trying to maintain a level of activity that matches that benchmark. I know, I know; you market your cycling computers in a fitness device category, but it doesn’t appear to me that you seriously consider that navigation and fitness are orthogonal use-cases for the devices. I should be able to load mapping data to get me from A to B without getting interrupted every 5 seconds with incorrect navigation prompts (see above) – unless I want to – and I should be able to concentrate solely on the fitness aspect of cycling.
The Edge 810 has some nice design features… it allows you to specify separate activity profiles, and these should ideally enable me to do what I described. One profile (maybe called Training ) would contain settings that totally disable navigation and guide popups and don’t attempt to route me along roads the course doesn’t follow. Then I can have a second profile in which I can enable navigation; when I want to go exploring unfamiliar territory, I’ll use that profile and be happy that I’m getting some indication of what turns I should make (whether I’ve loaded a course, or just navigating to a POI) and what map features I should avoid (ferries and freeways, for instance).
Unfortunately, there’s also a set of semi-customisable routing profiles like Cycling, Direct Routing (whatever that is), and Mountaineering (seriously? on a cycling computer?) which are linked from the Activity profile and then mis-used in the process of loading a course. The result is that all my navigation settings for the Activity Profile are overwritten in an arbitrary manner. If I wanted to avoid climbing trails, for example, that information is lost once I start following a course since the Mountaineering route settings would have changed to Cycling.
In summary, please fix your routing/navigation issues. Allow us to disable guide popups, and don’t override our navigation settings. I’m not convinced that you will listen (and not just because I’m a nobody blogger) since you have a history of ignoring user complaints about issues with the Edge devices (as evidenced by years of discussion in your user forums), but I hope you’ll prove me wrong.