/ Motoring, Technology

What would you pay to update your sat nav maps?

Sat nav on map

The whole point of a sat nav is to get you to your destination smoothly. However, several brands make you pay for pricey map updates. Have you faced big bills to keep your sat nav up-to-date?

Sat navs are all about taking the stress out of your journeys. However, with many sat navs you have to pay more to keep your maps up-to-date. Drive with out of date maps and your sat nav may not recognise new road layouts and you could end up just as lost as if you were relying on the old fashioned kind.

Every time I switch on my two-year old sat nav it reminds me how old my maps are. And have I updated them? No. With the TomTom website asking for £75 for a year’s worth of map updates I’d rather pay £90 for our cheapest Best Buy sat nav which includes free map updates for the life of the model. But what about you?

Map updates the cost of a new sat nav

Many new sat navs from big brands like Garmin and TomTom now include lifetime maps, so you never have to worry about digging back into your wallet for up to date maps. But if you’re stuck with an older model like me, what do you do?

Have you stuck with older maps and hoped for the best? Or are you happy spending £75 every year with TomTom or £50 for a one-off update or £75 for lifetime updates with Garmin for up to date maps?

The story is even worse if you have a built in sat nav in your car. When we looked into update costs a few years ago update prices for these were even higher, with some dealers charging additional fees to have these updates loaded.

The question is, what do you expect from your sat nav? Do you expect it to stay up to date indefinitely without you having to pay more – or are you happy paying to keep your tech up-to-date.


Read all the comments on built-in SatNavs. Certainly has made me rethink whether I want to buy a car with a built-in unit!
Currently I am using a 8 year old Garmin (255 Nuvi). Just purchased my first map update from a firm in Russia for 25€. Certainly a lot cheaper than what I have been reading.

Jay Ayliff says:
30 December 2017

Just bought a Toyota Auris. Map updates are over £100 per year. Thinking of ignoring the built-in satnav and carrying on using the standalone Garmin I had for my previous car.

Cheaper still buy a paper road map and learn to read that and follow road direction signs they are still everywhere I have NO need for a satnav and I travel to many places that I have not been to before Another “expert ” gimmick to get you to spend money Useful at times maybe but you can manage to find your way without one A lazy peoples device that’s all

The main advantages of a satnav (for me) are in getting direct to an address (paper maps don’t do that unless you have a lot of A-Zs), and in plotting another route if your chosen one is proving a problem. You can’t read a paper map on the move, but you can follow spoken instructions.Far from a gimmick, I find a satnav extremely useful.

Google maps will show you where any address is if you put into search I have used it many times to find exactly where I need to be You don’t need A to Z s

But using a mobile device to show an address is rather like using a satnav. Many use mobile apps instead of a standalone satnav.

The govt. had a roadmap when they invaded Iraq – if only they’d got guidance from above.

I do things my way you do yours your way I accept that and will not argue with any one at all about some things I give my thoughts on many things but do not want you to agree with me just maybe think Too many seem to be incapable of thinking at all they want others to think for them and to take care of all their needs all through their lives

I have never owned a satnav as I think half the fun of driving is finding your own way about and they are a distraction. I also think they are a danger to other drivers as it only takes a split second at speed to take your eyes off the road to cause an accident. Too often I have been a passenger in a vehicle with a satnav and finished up way out in the sticks on its shortest route or in a dead end somewhere.

Once we finished up in a churchyard and were confronted by a lone grave digger. We had a polite conversation through the window with doors firmly locked and then beat a hasty retreat!

Bishbut says that “Google maps will show you where any address is if you put it into search”. Not so; we have lived at our current address for over five years and it is still not shown on Google Maps, and our postcode is shown somewhere completely different. Shortly after we moved here I notified the emergency services of our location and sent them amended street maps showing the roads on our small development.

Is your fairly new development visible from above in satellite view John? That tends to be more up-to-date than on-the-ground street view.

Until recently, any address in our road would take you to the centre of the postcode and not the actual address. It is still a couple of houses out even now.

Not yet, Alfa. It is still just a clearing in the woods with a few sandy tracks across it. A street name has appeared but it is the wrong one. The postcode marker is now in the right general location but not accurately sited. Nobody here minds very much.

Near Bangor there is a fair bit of new development taking place, and it’s always amusing when our satnav shows the car leaving the road and driving across a field.

[Sorry, your comment has been removed to align with our community guidelines https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/. Thanks, mods.]

Are built in satnavs just another gimmick to persuade you to buy that car ?? Just adding to the unnecessary additions to all cars but I admit some modern additions I find useful and would not do without but not many

Satnavs seem standard equipment in many cars, but I would not pay for one if not. i’d buy a standalone one that I could move from car to car and use when walking in a new town. However, my compulsory inbuilt satnav is very good, but particularly so as it presents essential information in the head-up display – a feature well worth paying for, in my view, even though I am a bit of a scrooge.

We like having a high-spec saloon interior. It would be silly not to have a satnav even though we know most of our routes very well. But sometimes we like to go off-piste if some place or event attracts our attention; we then need to get back on our route without digging out an old road map [I don’t think we have one more recent than 2010].

We haven’t looked at new cars for a while, so I may be behind the times here, but inbuilt satnavs were a very expensive extra that would be out of date within a few years. Add on the extortionately priced updates, and it made them a total rip-off.

I would prefer car manufacturers allocated somewhere on the dashboard for our own satnavs instead of relying on suckers that lose their suck, beanbags that slide off or clips that break air vents. A simple but strong pop-up grip would suffice.

I rely on my passenger to operate the satnav unless I am on my own when it sits in the passenger floor-well and I get verbal instructions only.

We still keep fairly up-to-date road maps in our cars as you often see the AA maps at heavily discounted prices.

SatNavs are better than they used to be, certainly, and I programmed the voice of Wallace from Wallace and Gromit into one of ours, so it makes for an entertaining drive. If it came up, however, I would only buy a car with free updates included.

Ours has an Aussie voice at the moment also entertaining with ‘You have reached your destination: Roll up your windows, grab those sunnies and don’t let the seagulls steal your chips’.

John Ward loves his satnavs I hate them some do some don’t so lets agree to disagree on them

Why do some people need a satnav more than others? Is it just another evolutionary technological device leading to brain atrophy and dependence?

Check this out: YouTube.com – How do animals find their way back home without GPS?

We bought one when we drove to Southern Spain and found it invaluable. Not only did it get us where we wanted to go, it probably saved quite a few disagreements when the navigator would have got us lost (I did the driving).

Sexist comment coming here Duncan, but based on many years of experience

I suspect men rely on them more than women. (Apologies to those men who are happy to ask for directions, but I don’t know any) Most men I know would rather get lost and drive around in circles than ask someone for help. We drove about 100 miles off our route in the USA once before my navigator finally admitted he didn’t know where we were. But looking at the map and working it back in my head, I could tell exactly where we were and where we had gone wrong. Must be something in the genes/jeans? 🙄

We may not have any connection to the earth’s magnetism, but we have eyes that can see the sun and moss on north facing trees, to help us navigate.

Er, could that be be because some people use road travel more than others?

Even if you are a skilled map reader (and many aren’t) you cannot read a map and drive at the same time.

Used sensibly, I think a satnav is an aid to safe driving.

(But I’ve never paid to update the maps on mine. I prefer to buy up-to-date road maps and to use Google maps as additional data sources.)

We drove to Normandy in September. Having a nice lady tell us well in advance what our next change of direction would be and getting us down a network of country lanes to our final destination made driving that bit easier. On the return trip, when a motorway access was closed for resurfacing, we were re-routed and guided effortlessly to the next junction. We did use a map to check our general route, but why make driving any more taxing than it needs to be?

A bit like asking us to use a washboard and kitchen boiler when we could buy an automatic washing machine.:-)

All the science points to men being better navigators than women. There is a correlation between testosterone and hunter gathering but as women apparently possess better memories maybe they can remember a route previously travelled?

The road less travelled therefore, is perhaps better navigated by males, but the more they become to rely upon their satnavs the less they will be able to use their natural ability to find their own way to the nearest pub perhaps???
🙂 🙂 🙂

If we suggest men drive (or even walk) to the pub without a satnav, how would they then find their way home?.

Instinct Malcolm, after a few too many tipples people’s brains regress back to primordial times.

Either that or call a taxi!

As explorers and navigators in our history are predominately men, they might have a wee bit of a head start in statistics.

Add male scientists then modern technology to the mix and the navigational capabilities of women can only be measured over a relatively short span of time.

One with a satnav?

PS: My last comment was meant for DerekP!!!

If anyone, male or female, thinks they are good at navigating, spend a weekend in Bury St Edmunds. Unless you have a binnacle in the front of the car, it is absolutely impossible to maintain awareness of the compass position because all the routes going in from the outskirts turn round on themselves so by the time you’ve negotiated the double roundabouts and the medieval street grid in the town centre your brain has turned to jelly, especially by the third time you’ve gone past the railway station. Unless that’s all due to the heady sensation caused by the powerful aroma coming from the massive sugar factory at one end of the town or the brewery at the other.

When driving anywhere without a satnav ( I do not have one ) I am never lost I might not know just where I am because I can always return the way I came if I have to so I am not lost I like using minor roads with the lack of direction signs to find new and quicker and shorter routes just to avoid the many who follow their satnav all the time most satnavs sending them on the same route Explore of route do will find many unexpected unknown things

I do much the same – but as aided by my satnav.

Bury St Edmunds, or Beodericsworth as it once was, is built on a grid pattern by Abbot Baldwin around 1080 and the oldest part of the town is relatively straightforward to navigate, in our experience. But as the years progressed, several interesting things happened which have made overall navigation of the place something of a test.

Years ago I did a lot of orienteering and mountain safety and leadership, so I became very well acquainted with OS maps and I’ve generally been able to get around by using certain cues. Sun position is the most obvious, changes in elevation, descents towards water, for example and sound. Being able to detect the main traffic noise often affords clues as where you are.

But this is where Bury St Edmunds is possibly unique. The main A14, for example runs S – N, then E – W, so sound is hard to pinpoint. Then the internal roads in and around the town were clearly designed by disciples of Ernő Rubik and Pierre Étienne Bézier; almost no roads follow a consistently straight route across the cardinals. In short, the outer town seems designed to confuse, as John says. To cap it all, a number of what appear to be main roads abruptly end, so the Sat Nav (or a really good understanding of the OS 1:25 series) does become an essential tool.

A good way to “explore” with a satnav – assuming you are travelling for leisure purposes – is to put “shortest route” as the option.

The A134 and A143 also do a fair bit of circumnavigation in Bury St Edmunds changing orientation on large radius curves that the driver does not appreciate. The medieval street pattern was OK until they started making alternate streets one-way in the opposite direction and putting in banned turns so getting to a specific point involves lots of back-tracking.

Oh. yes; when I said it was ” relatively straightforward to navigate” I meant on foot 🙂 Never tried driving around it.

…………..which is often interpreted as “off the beaten track” by satnavs Malcolm.

For example, I headed up to the West Midlands during December a few years ago to visit my daughter and my parents grave. My daughter was driving and had programmed her satnav to take us directly to the cemetery. Road conditions were very poor at the time due to a fairly recent snowfall. Satnav took us off the main road along an ice covered single track narrow country lane edged with snow on both sides, which added an extra 15-20 mins to the journey. We did lose our way once by taking a wrong turning, finishing up at a dead end. Needless to say, the return journey was taken via the main road with satnav silenced and switched off.

I decided there and then that satnav was not for me, although I accept that for some people such as delivery drivers and service engineers whose job depends upon visiting many different addresses, a satnav is a valuable and essential piece of equipment.

If you ask for shortest route, that is what you will get – with all the surprises that might entail. But you can see some delightful places you would not otherwise find. The satnav should correct your route if you stray off it.However, if you are on a mission and want a straightforward journey then put in “fastest route” or similar.

Well we did that on our return journey, only without the help of satnav. Are you aware of what is going on in the space around our planet? Not content with polluting the oceans and land, that pollution has now extended to the space above and around it.

Very true Alfa……….especially as technology is now doing all the manual work for us women’s brains have started to become active again, at least if they do get lost women are better equipped to remember the way back again 🙂

Satnavs now often take in traffic information and will re-plan your journey to avoid hold ups – accidents, roadworks or general congestion for example. Maps won’t do that. They will also give you fairly accurate arrival times which may well be useful to inform people of your delay, if there is one.

We have a TomTom Go 5100 with live traffic that took a bit of getting used to. In the early days, I ignored it telling me to turn off my route thinking I didn’t want to go that way. Half a mile down the road, I found myself in a traffic jam.

Now if only it would stop saying Go around the roundabout, take the first exit 😠

If you use your satnav to remind you of speed limits beware Speed limits have been reduced but the satnav has not been updated with the new lower limit It takes some time for updates to happen I know of a place where the limit was reduced from 40 mph to 30 mph and many motorists were fined for breaking the new limit because their satnav was unable to inform them of the new limit because it had not been updated Road signs still have a purpose so do not expect you satnav to tell you everything

Very true bishbut.

We should treat satnavs as an aid to driving and not depend on them 100%.

…….but many do !!

I think great advice for anyone using a satnav is that observing (and acting on the basis of) road signs and other local circumstances must take precedence over any instructions output by the satnav.

At T-junctions, I’ve lost count of the number of times my satnav has urged me to “turn left” – right into the path of oncoming traffic. (In fact, I usually operate it muted to avoid such distractions.)