Car navigation with GPS in Thailand
With a lack of local knowledge, a journey through Thailand can be very nerve wracking. In a large city like Bangkok, this can lead to massive stress. Even with a good street map, orientation is really difficult because the information on the map often differs from the street signs. When driving, the necessity to make a split second decision is too much for some drivers and therefore surely leads to insecurity on
the roads. Once you are lost, the situation seems to get worse and worse. A road map can also only be read by a passenger and does not help a driver who is alone on the road in the middle of a large town.
Directions with the assistance of an electronic navigation system can help the above mentioned problems greatly. The systems are often already built into cars of
a higher class. There are however solutions available for building the system into a car.
In Thailand, I have only managed to find navigation system from the company Garmin. Anyone who already owns a navigation system from the company Garmin, can use their system on Thai streets by purchasing the card software.
Garmin Thailand-Map-Update (1100 Baht)
An alternative to ready-to-use navigation systems is the possibility of using a
pocket PC and extending it with a GPS receiver, car holder and the software required to make it into a navigation system.
The navigation system, of whichever type, is simply attached to the windscreen within direct view of the driver. This type of mounting from Garmin is surprisingly stable. The power is attained from a cable attached to the cigarette lighter attachment in your car. After entering the destination, a graphic presentation as
well as a section of a map will appear and show the position of your car and the direction to follow. The loud speaker function gives you instructions in advance of the direction to take. You are informed of lane changes and receive information about the way to turn and the distance (how many hundred metres). The actual instruction comes when the turning point is reached. Should you be unable to follow a direction e.g. the road is blocked by road works, the system will
immediately calculate a new route and leads you safely to your destination.
I personally use a Garmin Nüvi310 and I am very pleased with the system. It is, however, not perfect and sometimes does not recognise a town bypass but does ease the journey considerably.
The reception performance is very good. Loss of contact to the navigation satellites hardly comes about, even in unfavourable situations. Understandably there is no reception possible inside a multi story car park. For this reason it is necessary to drive out of the car park and manage a few minutes without navigational assistance until the system has found its direction once again.
The price levels for navigation systems (status September 2008):
- Garmin Streetpilot i3 = 14 700 Baht
- Nüvi200 = 9 900 Baht
- Nüvi200w = 16 700 Baht
- Nüvi205 = 12 700 Baht
- Nüvi710 = 24 900 Baht
SmartNav, a software solution for the PDA
-Report on the experiences of Rainer Mattern email@example.com -
I have bought this system in Version 3 and I use it as well. I would describe it as rudimentary and you really have to get used to it. According to my impressions, it
only covers the larger streets and the provincial main towns. It generally does not find the smaller villages. A street level navigation is almost impossible outside of Bangkok. Even in Bangkok the navigation is often wrong. You will usually find your destination but not in the most direct way. You can often lose a lot of time through traffic jams. All together, the system is very inaccurately programmed and is in need of improvement. The large advantage is that it can be used in
conjunction with a PDA with Windows Mobile and is also sold without a PDA. I have installed it onto a Bluemedia PDA 255. If I compare it with the standard navigation systems available in Europe (e.g. Navigon), then this system comes from the beginning of the development of navigation systems. Navigating using the map display does not work at all because all of the important information is not shown. Therefore only navigation with the arrow symbols is possible. In comparison to
Navigon, it is overpriced. It is obvious that there is a lack of competition in Thailand.
I bought the software in March 2005 at the suppliers:
(Mappoint Asia Company Limited
128/188 Payatai Plaza Building 17th floor, Phayathai
Road Rajthevee, Bangkok 10400, Thailand, Phone: (662)
209-9112, Fax:(662) 209-9113)
At this time, the software cost around 12.000 THB without a PDA. You will also have to pay around 350$ to the MappointAsia website for the software. I already had the PDA. MappointAsia also offers complete packages. I cannot recommend these packages, as the PDA system will be delivered with the English version of Windows Mobile. If you want to use the PDA in Germany as well, this can cause problems with the special symbols such as umlauts (even when using European navigations systems).
In-car navigation with mobile telephones
- Report on the experiences of Jochen Bulian firstname.lastname@example.org
Some mobile phones from Nokia (e.g. N95) offer the possibility to use the phone as navigation equipment as an additional function.
However upon delivery of the phone only a simple GPS function is available by
confirming the lines of latitude and longitude. To use the phone as a navigational tool the necessary map material must be downloaded and saved to the phone. The download can be done with a PC or in a Nokia Service Centre. The maps are free of charge and can constantly be updated with the most current version. The map material is very detailed and allows indication of the current position and the course of the roads. Even small unfixed gravel paths are shown. Of course as well as a
good map, a description of the route with voice function is also part of navigation. This can be rented from Nokia for a period of 1 week and up to 3 years. A period of 3 years costs 3300 Baht at the moment (Oct 2007). Payment is possible by credit card using the mobile phone. Only fully valid credit cards with CVC-security code will be accepted. The mobile phone downloads the necessary sound data required for the voice function when the first route is entered. In our test, this
took up to 50 minutes and call costs were incurred in this time. The voice function uses the language saved in the mobile phone which means that voice instructions in English are possible. According to our experiences, in order to use the mobile phone as a navigational tool, a distinct technical understanding is required. The navigation itself is generally good except in exceptional cases.
However on main roads with a green centre line it did seem to possess a strange characteristic at times. If you want to turn left, the navigation system seems to believe you are on the right and wants to direct you to the next U-turn where you should turn around and drive back on the opposite side. You could get the impression that the navigation system has not quite come to terms with the traffic on the left in Thailand. This problem is not present at all times. Whether the same
problems arise on the expressway in Bangkok arise is still to be tested.
In my opinion, using the small screen for directions during the car journey may reduce your traffic safety awareness. To ensure good satellite contact to the navigation satellites the mobile phone should be attached to the windscreen in a mobile phone holder while being used a navigational tool. I assume that the car kit
on offer from Nokia fulfils this requirement. However I would then ask myself the question if it would make sense to buy a standard navigation system for the car
Further links on this subject:
http://www.gadgetrend.com/gps_spi3.php GPS system dealer
http://www.garmin.com Garmin USA
http://www.garmin.com/cgi-bin/dealers.pl (Garmin dealer in Thailand)
http://www.isystem.co.th iSystem (Garmin dealer in MBK Bangkok)
http://www.gpssociety.com GPS society
All data provided without guarantee!
I, the operator of www.Siam-Info.de (Heinz Klaus Thiesen), have no business connection, with the enterprises specified on Siam-Info. I therefore naturally take no responsibility for the information of the enterprises specified above. The contributions show only my personal opinion.