The Touring Bands GPS Buyers Guide: Which GPS Is Right For You?

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GPS systems have become one of the most necessary pieces of gear in a touring bands arsenal. Having a good GPS system can be make a big difference in missing some shows, losing sleep, and taking a wrong turn that gets you way off track. We are going to look at some popular GPS systems and figure out which one is right for you. 


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Pros: All of these Phones have the ability to do GPS, I doubt there are many bands in America today that don’t own at least one of these phones. If you have no budget you can get the job done with any of these phones. 
Cons: The turn by turn and re-routing facilities on all of these phones aren’t quite what we would like them to be. The batteries on all of these devices die VERY fast once these features are turned on. 
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Garmin 270 3.5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator

Pros: This is a quite cheap way to get a quality GPS. The most popular GPS on the market right now, including a Point Of Interest database. The standard, popular model(linked above) goes for a little under $150. It is considered by many easier to use than the Tom-Tom. 
Cons: Many people find the re-routing abilities and the Point Of Interest mapping inferior to the Tom Tom.
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Pros: The Tom Tom will get you around the US and Canada touring easily. My friend Alan Scarpa from the band Can You Keep A Secret offers this advice: “If you have an 8 hour drive you can easily find a Walmart 4 hours away and route it to stop there, grab some sleep for a few hours and then get back on route”
Cons: Some people find the Tom Tom difficult to use. Usually costing around $175 slightly more expensive then the Garmin.
Any of these devices will get this job done, as well as a host of others. The common wisdom towards GPS is if you are going to get a dedicated unit, these are the two to choose from. The differences between the two seem to be very minimal but there is one thing that is certain: touring without GPS in 2009 is foolish.

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.