Road map to RVing  .  Full-time RVing  .  GPS & mapping software

GPS & mapping software

A mapping program and GPS can be useful for RVers for planning their trips and arriving at their next destination smoothly. Not that we should give up our atlases or paper maps! These programs are not infallible.

In November, 2011, we polled RV Lifestyle Ezine readers about the GPS devices they used. Garmin, Magellan, Rand McNally Tripsetter for RVs, and Microsoft's Streets and Trips were mentioned. At a forum I moderate, additionally the Tom Tom 550 XXL and Delorme Street Atlas in GPS mode were mentioned.

Some things to consider:

  • Does it have lifetime maps?
  • Can you input points of interest (POIs) from the POI Factory or other sources?
  • Can you use a laptop to run the program as you travel or does it have a GPS dongle?
  • Does the program or device let you know about heights of bridges and overpasses or allow you to input yours?

Click on "What GPS/mapping program do you use?" to see the comments that were shared. Not all give the model used, unfortunately. You may have to research that company's models to find the one best suited for you. We'll update this page as we receive more input.

The programs that appear to be more useful for RVers are:

Microsoft Streets and Trips. See George's review of newest Microsoft Streets and Trips at our blog.

Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 7710 7-Inch RV GPS

Magellan Pro 9165T RoadMate GPS Navigator

Magellan RoadMate RV9145 - new for 2012. See PC magazine for review.

Lifetime map updates?

At a reader's request, I checked to see if the TripMaker or RoadMate programs had lifetime map updates. From their FAQs:


Q: What updates are included, and how often are they available?
A: The TripMaker RVND is fully functional out of the box, but as a Rand McNally customer, you are entitled to exclusive Rand McNally updates. The frequency of updates varies from every month for free Rand McNally road construction updates, to quarterly for free software updates. Rand McNally also provides free RV restriction updates throughout the year based on feedback from Tell Rand, as well as our own ongoing research. The Tell Rand feedback requires research verification and updates are 2-4 times per year. Once per year, a full map update will be made available for a competitive price.


How do I update my map?
When available, map updates can be purchased from the Magellan website. For the latest map update please visit our maps software page by clicking here.

*Some units will require you to download and install Content Manager onto you PC. To see if you unit is compatible with Content Manager click here and clicking on the Compatible Units tab.