A top of the range satellite navigation machine, given to us as a present at Christmas 2009, is not as new as it seemed.

I could download all sorts of useful elements that the model catered for, however, I was informed that there was a newer map, (note, it did not say a bang up to date one) downloadable at a price. I reckoned that as I had a pretty new machine, it was a fair bet that I could use the mapping within it for at least eighteen months.

It was when we travelled to areas, where we knew there used to be toll bridges and toll roads more than three years ago, twice in three months of receiving the gift, we realised how dated the in-built mapping in our ‘new’ satnav was.

To me, this is sharp practice. It is difficult to raise the issues with the makers of the equipment, a real hassle I would think. I am very disinclined to try. The company must rely on new owners not being willing to face a hassle; perhaps they also rely on many of their machines being given and received as gifts, another solid reason why owners may not take the shine off the present.

No doubt, when we do pay for a newer map, the satnav will choose to recognise where we live, which happens to be longer than domestic satnavs have been available.



  1. I thought you could “sync” them on a PC to bring them up to date? I’m probably wrong, I don’t use one but my mate did and his was damn well determined that we return to Sheffield from Birmingham via the A38 and was still yelling “wrong way” as we were speeding down the M42 to the M1. Hilarious.

  2. Yes, you can sync satnavs with a PC download, which is how I got various bits and bobs that had to be activated; it did not include an up-to-date or newer map, that had to be paid for.

    We have ‘discussions’ with our satnav. One route we refused to take in icy weather would have been the most direct, but all untreated ‘B’ roads. We just happened to know the route suggested needed to be avoided in those conditions. That experience tells you something about caution with these devices.

  3. The device is an up to date model, it’s the software that has been loaded by the company that is not. Apart from the initial cost of the equipment, the company, and others like it, make ongoing business with updates. I am so mistrustful now, I wonder if I would get a good and true update to the software mapping, if I did go online and pay for it.

  4. We are currently trying to get to grips with our SatNav. Most of the time she is well behaved… at least, when the satellites in our area are actually working….

    We’ve called ours Dilys. So when we switch on (and wait for several minutes – the record so far is 15 minute wait for a signal) we always great her, ‘Bore da, Dilys, shw mae?’
    Dilys seems to appreciate that. Her voice softens considerably….;)

  5. Have you thought of re-assigning a new voice to Dilys to create Dylan? You just might get a Thomas or two, (all that creativity now) when the signal is not doing what it should! :yes:

    Our problem is not getting to grips with our as yet un-named and new satnav, I think we are doing that. Our frustration is the out-dated uploaded mapping software in it, and therefore, inappropriate questions it raises as a consequence. I’m not even sure it could keep ‘a welcome in the hillsides’ or one ‘…in the glens.

    You do have to be cautious about accepting every instruction in areas you have some knowledge about, especially in bad weather conditions when roads have not been treated. On the other hand, the device has been useful for giving me two routes through built up areas, avoiding the worst traffic excesses, and for finding an out of the way location with the most unexpected type of sign posting.

  6. We did indeed think of creating a Dylan, but Mr Penry reckoned the last thing we needed was a drunken poet giving directions…;)

    As you say, you have to be rather cautious in accepting all the information as correct. For reasons we have yet to fathom, Dilys occasionally likes to change the route too, perhaps she feels she is keeping us on our toes!

    One thing I was very impressed with though, was when our SatNav, unasked, provided an alternative route to avoid sudden traffic congestion caused by a road accident some miles ahead.

    Of perhaps Dilys was just having a laugh….;)

  7. I have one that I bought about about 6/7years ago for work and I’ve never updated anything. So far I’ve got away with it, but if I ever start traveling by road a lot again I suppose I’ll have to get something more contemporary……

  8. ha ha must say the boy and i have had many debates and what it has resulted in is him keeping the sat nav and many hours later once the cursing and shouting commences as we cross a new road sat nav does not recognise I pull out the trusty printed map from the internet that gets us to our destination!

  9. We do get warnings of fixed speed cameras, even ones that no longer exist, as the road layout somewhere has been changed since the map was uploaded. We’ve just worked out that some of the numbers that are displayed are the given speed limits for particular zones. Some of those were out of date as well.

    As for accident avoidance; so far, we haven’t come across that one yet, I am pleased to say. I still have to suss out one or two things; maybe that service option would have to be a paid for by subscription too.

    (Scratches head).

    I think Dylan, under your control, would have been giving out very sobering thoughts. 😉

  10. For routes around your own study area or home zone, you probably will get away with the software you’ve got on your satnav. Like you say, when you start travelling father afield you may notice a difference.

    We’ve used the satnav for routes we know and some we don’t, to get used to the way it works and to assess it. During the known roads forays, some local-ish, some not, we have discovered the weaknesses in the armoury, notwithstanding losing the signal near to Edinburgh on one occasion. It wasn’t too close to the airport either.

    Then there are the joys of weak or non-existent signals in some locations. Tylluan Penry, who is around North Wales with her navigational device, competes I should think with large lumps of Wales in the form or the Black Mts. I’ve yet to compete with large lumps of Scotland similarly placed, or even The Lake District peaks.

    It’s weird when one considers that the signals are supposed to be bouncing down from above, and not along or through anything.

  11. I am sure there are many people in the same situation as the one you describe. I think if we went on some tour or other out of our knowledge base, I’d take the computer road map too.

    It does not inspire you with total confidence to be asked to subscribe to updating the satnav database with information. Who checks what contributors have offered?

    On a positive note, I was aided to take the best route out of a town last month, via a route I did not know and it avoided town centre congestion. I also got to a secluded and odd destination, which on a previous occasion I had not found.

    But…..”You have arrived at your destination.” I have; where? or, last week, it sent us through the other side of the place we wanted and then gave us the comforting news. In truth, we knew the place we wanted but were testing out what the device might come up with. We found out.

  12. Hmmm…I’ve never had a signal problem in all the years I’ve had mine except when going through tunnels. I suspect extreme weather or at least some variation in the behaviour of the earth’s atmosphere can affect these devices though……

  13. I would go with atmospheric conditions for signal loss or weakness. Certainly, we conjected that as a possibility when our signal disappeared on the one night time occasion. (There were certain conditions prevailing at the time that affected tide behaviours too). The signal loss didn’t last long. We’ve travelled over the Highlands and through them. So far, there have been no satnav problems with instructions or directional pictures on those journeys.

    Of course, we are subject to the goodwill of the source system being kept available to the mass public, aren’t we.

  14. Strikes me (metaphorically speaking!) that the most you would get our of Dylan Thomas would be a recital of Undermilkwood, and Dylis could hum a lullaby.

    I think you’ll have to park in a lay-by till the performance is over. ❓

  15. Good idea…. it was night, night in Llarregub…we’d definitely need to pull over to listen to that lot! But Dilys said there’s no way she’s singing Dylan a lullaby, he can whistle for that! She remembers his antics all too well that Christmas time he threw snowballs into Mr Daniel’s fireplace…;)

  16. Why has Dilys got the hump, the two worst things that could have happened with the snowballs is that a) they melted; b) they dampened the fire, probably making it a bit smokey. Isn’t that what is called high spirits? In any case, what was Dilys doing just observing? If she was so bothered by what happened, she should have intervened. On that basis, I deduce, by virtue of silent complicity, (at least) that Dilys was as much in the wrong as Dylan; therefore, her ire is a personal guilt complex.

    Couldn’t Dilys try a little forgetfulness? I’m sure her sweet dulcet tones would smooth over all traces of whatever.

  17. I’ll suggest she tries a little forgiveness. I asked her what she was doing observing Dylan Thomas and his damned snowballs, but she went all coy and refused to say….;)

  18. :))……………..

    Typical! In the words of the immortal song; Le donne e mobile.

    When you do get your theatrical repartee maybe you could report back on its success or otherwise on all participants. 😉

  19. Just had a bed time thought; you might get a new and original kind of Welsh theatre up and running and on the move. Twittering will never catch up with it!

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