Busting the Malaysian GPS Myths

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a great tool for navigation, it can get you to places you have never even heard off without getting lost. It shows you the shortest route to get to your destination, some can even shows you alternative road so that you can avoid heavy traffic stretches. And also it can shows you point of interests and landmark and how far they are from your current location so that wherever you go, you know exactly where you are and what POIs are surrounding you.

Busting the Malaysian GPS Myths

Postby admin » Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:43 am

Why is it that Global Positioning System is catching on so extremely well in Singapore, and somehow in Malaysia, its still such a premium "toy" with everyone much too much wary about even the most basic understanding of GPS. I'm a very staunch supporter of Personel Navigation Devices, considering I'm really bad at directions, so every so often, Conversations with other geeky people would eventually drift to global positioning systems. I've been dabbling in GPS for the past 5-6 years, since the availability of low cost GPS receivers so here's what i've gathered.

Global Positioning Systems, Malaysian Myths and Truths

Its GPS not GPRS

Very simply, Global Positioning System GPS is not synonymous with General Packet Radio Service GPRS. The latter is for surfing the internet, 1st generation of internet surfing via Mobile. GPS receivers are also known as Personal Navigation Devices. Its like your Mini satellite dish, which receives multiple satellite signals which determines your exact location up to an accuracy of about 3 meters. Very Simply, the system is : Your receiver, and 27 satellites (3 spare) which orbit around the earth. This is the basic idea, and I'm only to be explaning the basics.

GPS is free.

There is no subscription cost invoved in GPS usage. However, AGPS, ie Assisted GPS, like whats available on some mobile phones like the Sony Ericsson c702 and the Nokia n95, incurs some cost. This is because of the "assisted" part. The assistance which is rendered is to use telephone company's cellular network to identify your approximate location, to about say 20 meters, so as to make it quicker to work out your accurate location using the satelites in the sky.

All GPS receivers are the same

This is so untrue. Right now, the industry leader is and always has been GARMIN. I'm not trying to plug GARMIN, but as you will see in the next few topics, GARMIN is by far, the most logical choice for GPS receivers. Many cars which come with non Garmin GPS receivers, i question the reliability of the maps and the ability for map updates. Besides that GPS receiver chipsets are another issue, again, the basic standard is embedded in modern Garmin receivers, which is the sirf star 3 chipset. quick to decipher satellite signals and accurate.

GPS Maps in Malaysia are free

YES!! We are fortunate that for GARMIN Personal Navigation Equipment, We have free Maps for Malaysia and Singapore which are available at http://www.malsingmaps.com Its actually run by a community of people who constantly add new roads and locations to the maps. Once you get into the rhythm of using the GPS, you can also be part of the Mapping community. If you buy a GPS receiver in Malaysia, it is likely that you will get a Malaysia Mapset, so its most likely that you would get a free map, whatever brand of GPS you buy.

GPS Maps always get outdated in Malaysia

Gps maps in Malaysia are updated rather regularly! Up to every two weekly or at the least, once every 6 months. Thanks to the great community of mappers. Mind you, for GARMIN devices only though. As i said prior, for non Garmin GPS receivers, Maps may get outdated, and updates may not be free.

GPS maps in Malaysia are not accurate

YES they are accurate. Especially in city areas, they are extremely accurate. See te picture at the begining of the post. Even small roads are marked out in the map. Obviously, not all maps in Malaysia are marked out, but you will be able to get around with the maps.

More expensive GPS receivers are more accurate

We will not get into the concept of Differential GPS. We're not launching a cruise missle here, so relatively all Personal Navigation devices have about the same accuracy of about 3 meters. So NO, more expensive GPS receivers will have the same accuracy, but will probably allow you to watch divx video files and play mp3 music or have a bluetooth connection to use as a speakerphone for your mobile.

GPS reception in Malaysia is poor

NO... unless you're in between some tall buildings, I should mention that GPS only works when the receiver is in sight of the sky. It doesn't work in tunnels and underground parking lots.

GPS bought in Malaysia cannot be used overseas

Oh yes you can, you just need to "find" the map for the country you intend to use it in. you can buy it. No I don't know how much they cost because I've never bought one before.

SO hope that solves some myths for wannabe users of GPS in Malaysia.

How much does it cost? What do i suggest?

Again, I suggest a basic Garmin Nuvi 205, a basic no frills receiver which should retail at about a thousand ringgit, If you're the type who likes to save a few bucks and risk not having a local warranty, the same model is available over the causeway for about 800 ringgit.

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