Which do you use/prefer... GPS or map book?

dcemr7

Forum Probie
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Both the fire department I am on and the Sheriff's SAR unit I am also on use map books instead of GPS. I've used GPS in my pov before and actually prefer the map books but I was wondering what you guys use/prefer.
 

DesertMedic66

Forum Troll
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Mapbooks. Cheaper. Don't run out of battery. You map yourself so you can take less busy roads. Can't break a Mapbook (well you can lose pages and rip them). Can use them in the rain.
 

sneauxpod

Forum Lieutenant
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I prefer GPS, mostly because if you dont know the area, it gets you a lot closer a lot faster. Plus my company does a lot of long distance transports so they help d:
 

lightsandsirens5

Forum Deputy Chief
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I am a big advocate of memorizing the road system in the primary response area. As you roll out, you should know where you leave the ramp. Just quickly glance at the map to check yourself and you are good to go.

Outside of the normal area, or where you don't have memorized, plug it into the Garmin, start rolling, and do a quick double check against the map book.
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
Community Leader
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Both? Both at work and outside at work I used both. Usually one of us would look it up in the map book while the other put the address in the GPS. The GPS is great when you're close, it tells you what side of the street and how far ahead.

It's also helpful when we had no idea where we were going. Garmin, map book, start responding and work out the details in route.
 

Medic Tim

Forum Deputy Chief
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Our map books and the tough book GPS map are the same. When a call drops on us we can see where we are on the tough book map and where the call address is....we also carry alpha numeric pagers that give us the address, code response and map book page number. It is up to us to determine the best way to get there. Whenever the map is off an incident report is made and it is corrected. We have been using this setup for 3-4 years now and it is very accurate.
 

sneauxpod

Forum Lieutenant
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Our map books and the tough book GPS map are the same. When a call drops on us we can see where we are on the tough book map and where the call address is....we also carry alpha numeric pagers that give us the address, code response and map book page number. It is up to us to determine the best way to get there. Whenever the map is off an incident report is made and it is corrected. We have been using this setup for 3-4 years now and it is very accurate.

Why cant my employer give us nice things like that :sad:
 

ffemt8978

Forum Vice-Principal
Community Leader
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Map book - Electronic devices can, and do, fail at the worst possible times.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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GPS all the way. Map books are a great backup, and every ambulance should have a map of their first due and second due areas.

the driver should have a vague idea of where he or she is going. they should know where all the main roads are. the minor streets with 2 or 3 houses on them are a little more difficult.

But having the GPS to say "turn right in 100 feet" on the 5 mile poorly lit road is much easier than trying to find the street on the map.
 

Chris07

Competent in Incompetence
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I used to like using GPS, but then Apple Maps was released, and now I'm back to the map book. :rolleyes:
 

mycrofft

Still crazy but elsewhere
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Both, but I'm not happy with the Thomas Bros books since they were bought out. Smaller lettering, and the page-to-page fit isn't always tight, because it saves them paper (money).
Garmin has searches for where the local this or that is, although it has taken me to a couple vacant store fronts with the recession and all.

I would like Lat/Long capability though so if I'm out in a cornfield somewhere, or all the street signs are down or under water, someone can find me. For Katrina, sometimes three agencies were each using their own maps without coordination.
 

d0nk3yk0n9

Forum Crew Member
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Definitely think that having a map book as a backup is a necessity, but that a GPS is significantly easier in many situations.

The other thing that I think is really helpful is familiarity with your response area. Obviously, if you have a big area to cover there's no way you can know it all, but a general idea of where major things are, big landmarks, good streets to go to most neighborhoods, etc. can be very useful. If you have a small response area, you can go even farther-- our agency requires our drivers to memorize every street in our response area (and many of the buildings as well, but that's because we cover a college campus and so the buildings are identified by name instead of address, plus their addresses are usually not the best access.).
 

NomadicMedic

I know a guy who knows a guy.
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Our CAD in our trucks is invaluable. We have an entire division of folks that work on 911 mapping and our CAD is eerily accurate, right down to the house.

Now, knowing the area is also a huge help. My county is 950 square miles, so it's hard to know it all... but I can usually get going in the correct general direction just from hearing the address. And I've learned some short cuts that haven't been added by the GIS mapping folks yet, although they make changes very quickly when we email them.

We also have map books in all our trucks as well as "back up" Garmin GPS units.
 
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TransportJockey

Forum Chief
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For me, map books. The county I run 911 in is notoriously badly geocoded. GPS units can get you to the general area (which we know due to fire district), but it can't beat a map book for finding the exact road. Although with most roads not being marked and a lot of houses not having numbers, even a map book won't help sometimes.
 

leoemt

Forum Captain
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I prefer the map book. I can see a wider picture of the city than with a GPS.

We don't have an "area" we have to know the entire city so a map book is very helpful.

GPS is usefull for long distance trips like when we take patients to Montana.
 

Bullets

Forum Knucklehead
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Hagstrom laminated book that covers the my county and two adjoining. The lamination allows me to use it in the rain and use a dry erase marker on the pages.

We also have a binder with each street listed alphabeticlly and then the directions from our station to the street. So like "Main St-L out driveway, right on first street, cross highway 1, second left onto pine, 1st left on Main"
 

Handsome Robb

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I am a big advocate of memorizing the road system in the primary response area. As you roll out, you should know where you leave the ramp. Just quickly glance at the map to check yourself and you are good to go.

Outside of the normal area, or where you don't have memorized, plug it into the Garmin, start rolling, and do a quick double check against the map book.

Unfortunately thats not always practical.

I know my cities that we cover pretty well but it's impossible for us to know every single road.

We have both GPS units and Map books, I usually use the GPS and check it against the map book if it's saying something I don't like.

Modern GPS units are pretty good at what they do but you do have to be smarter than the computer sometimes when it comes to routing until you get close to your destination.
 

TRSpeed

Forum Asst. Chief
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We use toughbooks and Thomas bros laminated pages "easy to read". We prefer using the CAD in our toughbook because all we do is follow the blue line and if it takes a wrong way we can't get in trouble. Its rarely is wrong since its the system fire and police use.
 

Ace 227

Forum Lieutenant
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I live and die by GPS. I work in a city in a state other than the one I grew up in so I was completely unfamiliar with the area when I started work. Between running calls, driving around on my own, and the GPS, I can usually find where I'm going.
 

shfd739

Forum Deputy Chief
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We use toughbooks and Thomas bros laminated pages "easy to read". We prefer using the CAD in our toughbook because all we do is follow the blue line and if it takes a wrong way we can't get in trouble. Its rarely is wrong since its the system fire and police use.

This sounds like us.

MDT "get route", then paper map book, then personal GPS units.

Not sure if its just, but we've had a constant problem with personal GPS units taking crews wrong ways, less than ideal ways or not having the roads programmed. We have a policy about this now that says personal GPS is a last resort and if not used as such and there is a response delay caused by an inaccurate personal GPS the crew will face discipline.

Not an issue with the paper books and our MDT/CAD.
 
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