Over the last ten years, portable GPS devices have been one of the top selling consumer gadgets on the market. If you don’t own one yourself, you probably know someone who does. But in recent times, portable GPS units have faced fierce competition from smartphone navigation systems, with apps that also promise turn-by-turn navigation directions.

The problem with a smartphone as a navigation device, however, is that using your phone’s navigation app can result in data charges – and even data roaming charges when you’re headed outside your primary coverage area. If you’re not careful, your phone’s “free” navigation app can actually cost you a small fortune.

As a result, many consumers are still happy to use their old portable GPS. But what about map updates? Depending on how long you have owned the device and which unit you have purchased, you may be able to download updates for free for for a nominal fee.

Here’s a short overview of the different options available for the different units.

Garmin Nuvi GPS Map Updates

Garmin offer three different download models: nuMaps Guarantee, nuMaps Onetime, and nuMaps Lifetime. The Guarantee option is the free map update version – but is only applicable to car drivers that are in the first 3 months of ownership of their Garmin Nuvi GPS. Should you wish to purchase new maps after 3 months of ownership, then you can buy the Onetime update for $50 Dollars, or the more expensive Lifetime update option (which is just what it sounds like – updates forever) at just under $80.

TomTom GPS Map Updates

TomTom offers free map updates via their TomTom Map Share Technology. This lets their customers upload their own changes to a centralised website resource – however, TomTom won’t guarantee the accuracy of these changes. Should you want official TomTom upgrades then you will need to register the device with them and sync your GPS up to the TomTom Home website to view all available options, as the pricing changes depending on the model and original purchase date.

Navigon GPS Map Updates

Navigon is a German company who also sold a lot of portable GPS units in North America. They run a map update service called Fresh Maps, but unfortunately it’s not possible to download any free updates. Instead, the customer has to purchase an update online with prices starting at around $120. Considering the cost, one might be better off with a new GPS device from TomTom (which offers quality free updates via Map Share).

More Information on GPS Map Upgrades

For a full list of other manufacturers and more information on the different options available, please visit the independent advice website at http://www.mygpsmapupdates.com. It contains full listings on all brands and models and lets the customer choose their GPS model and find out how to update the latest software install.

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