GPS for truckers

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GPS for truckers

I've received multiple requests from my loyal blog readers for help in finding a GPS solution that works well for truckers. The problem with standard GPS solutions is that they were designed with regular vehicles in mind and not 18-wheelers or other large vehicles, including my beloved Garmin StreetPilot 2720. 18-wheelers often cannot go down certain roads or on certain highways due to restrictions, such as low underpasses. Using a standard GPS solution the mapping software typically doesn't allow you specify that you are driving a large truck. I checked the settings for my motley of GPS software/hardware solutions I have including Destinator 3, TomTom 5, Garmin StreetPilot 2720, and an old version of CoPilot. None of them had the ability to set your vehicle type to a large truck or to avoid roads that are restricted to truckers. They had some avoidance options such as avoid toll roads, but that was it.

So I set about to see if I could find a good GPS solution for truckers. One solution I found is from CoPilot called CoPilot CPT11-NA Truck 11 It uses the National Network Routing based on the federal government-designated highway system for oversized vehicles. In addition, this GPS software supports expanded HazMat routing options including General, Explosives, Inhalants and Radioactives. Though if a trucker driver is transporting radioactive materials and doesn't know which road to take, then we all have bigger problems.

In any event, CoPilot CPT11-NA Truck 11 also has a 53' Trailer Routing feature that incorporates state governments' legal road designations for 53' trailers. One nice bonus feature for truckers is "Lane Change Warnings alerts" that warn you of upcoming left exits, ensuring that you have plenty of time to safely get to the proper side of the highway.

There is another model called the CoPilot CPT9US-USB CoPilot Truck Laptop 9 USB which uses a wired GPS connection over USB, but if you're going to buy this product, may as well go with the wireless Bluetooth model.

Another interesting product is from TourSolver. Truckers often have complicated routes often cross-country and spanning multiple stops. TourSolver Version 4 is a fleet-management software, which they claim significantly reduces logistical costs and operates more efficiently overall. Essentially, the software is a route-optimization solution. Major savings and benefits include reducing driving distance and the number of resources used and making better use of working time while considerably improving customer service.
Magellan Ingenierie expanded TourSolver's functionality to industries with more complicated routing problems. This version includes a new, activity-focused approach ideally suited to maintenance, service, and after-sales service staff. This addition can manage long site visits spanning several days, and the automatic incorporation of overnight stays away from home based on the distance of the work sites.

Early on, the software incorporated legal driving time requirements for road transportation companies. Transport and logistics professionals will appreciate the new enhancements such as "Delivery Pick-Up" for managing delivery and collection activities as part of the same route; and "Multiple Depot Management, making it possible to distinguish between a company's address, the sites of its various warehouses and possibly the home addresses of the drivers. TourSolver can also handle even the most complex journey scenarios and automatically takes account of the closest warehouses for each trip. Choice of road travel options include the use of main roads as a priority, the avoidance of toll roads, and more.

TourSolver 4 also has an updated the route calculation engine. This new technology guarantees better use of the computer's memory, and allows the possibility to optimize routes over larger areas, covering the entirety of North America.

Personally, I like the Garmin nuvi GPS products. While they are not specialized for truckers, they have NAVTEQ maps, which are the most accurate. Though I'm not a truck driver, so I can imagine getting on a road with a low underpass or being directed to a street not available to trucks might be a problem.

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