Can a GPS navigation system work in Taiwan?

I was wondering if I buy a GPS global navigation system in my car will it help me get around and navigate the streets better. Will the system adjust for the change in language, I cannot read chinese only english.
Anyone use one. Thankyou, Rick

The GPS will place you on the map OK, but the maps you get are Chinese AFAIK.

From the information I’ve gathered regarding GPS navigation in Taiwan, the maps that are available are all in Chinese…I guess the effectiveness of the map depends on how often the provided updates it…From my experience with the GPS navigation from a Lexus LS430 (I am guessing they are using Toyota’s maps), the unit works well in Taipei City core…but if you want to find obscure alleys in some of the outer regions of Taipei County or other parts of Taiwan, the unit is quite a disappointment.

If you get a handheld model like the GPS76 (about 12,000- 15,000 NT) it comes with Chinese language as standard and the basemap is in Chinese.

What you need to do - and you can do this - is to buy a unit that has English installed. Usually, this means that the shop will have to order one in for you. Unfortunately, this will have the Taiwan base map in it. However, you can download the English version of any map in the world currently available for use with Garmin units from their website or you can order the CD’s.

Garmin also has a factory in Taiwan (It is half Taiwanese after all) and I believe you can order staright from them.

DM: It’s my experience that if a particular Garmin model is available in Chinese, they will not sell an English version here through official channels. Furthermore, the US/English models are at least 20~30% cheaper when you order them in the US. Next, there is no Taiwan base map. There are US, European and World base maps, none of which have much useful detail on Taiwan. They don’t have any City Navigator or Metroguide maps for anywhere in Asia, let alone Taiwan. Yes, Garmin is a Taiwanese company but you’d never guess that from looking at the map products they have available.

I don’t mean to contradict you, but I bought a new one two weeks ago. It took a day to order because they didn’t have an English version in stock.

The 76 has a decent road map of Taiwan. I didn’t buy this particular model, but I was allowed to play with it outside for a while under management supervision.

You’re right about them being extrmemly expensive here though, but I don’t care because they cost 30% more in the UK than they do here, For me, they’re incredibly cheap :laughing:

DM: Maybe Garmin has changed it’s policy and decided to sell both versions. When I was looking for a 76S last year they only had the English one (though I didn’t buy it because of the price difference vs. the US) and the base model 76MAP was only available in Chinese. The funny thing was that the 76S was about the same price as the 76MAP because they have to discount the English version in order to sell them.
You can see the map detail on Garmin’s site, here. Select ‘WorldMap’ off the bottom of the drop-down menu. Even on it’s own, the level of detail in Taiwan is all but useless. Against the maps built into some of the auto manufacturer’s onboard navigation systems the Garmin maps are IMO sadly lacking. If that unit was loaded with a detailed Mapsource product not listed on Garmin’s site I’d really like to know what it was, because I’d be in the market myself. Actually, the lack of decent local maps for the Garmin is one of the reasons I haven’t upgraded from my old eMap…

I couldn’t agree more. Even most maps built into PDA’s with a GPS function are much better than those supplied by Garmin.

This is entirely possible, although I was told it was just the standard Garmin map. However, what we are told and what we actually get can be worlds apart here in Taiwan.

I need to go back this week or next to buy a motorcycle bracket. I’ll enquire for you and let you know by PM.

interesting thread…

I’m just about to get a Garmin Quest…

Reason being that it’s very small, very light, has all the feautures you need, accurate to 3-5m, and crucially it can be fully submerged in 1m of water for up to 30min making it properly weatherproof for use on the bike. It comes with the car mount and power connectors standard and I’m going to order the RAM mount and the Garmin motorcycle bracket/power lead to run it on the GS… For car use it’ll handle just fine with the provided cradle and lighter power cable…

I’ve looked at the unit and it’s solid enough, and it comes very highly rated by the motorycle press / forums in Europe… I’ve not seen the mapsource yet, but I’ve been assured by everyone I’ve asked that the Taiwan mapsource is at least almost as pukka as the mapsource for most other places, although I’ll reserve judgement on that front until I’ve seen it in action… although the city navigator and metro guide are not available as they are only features on the Quest 2 :unamused:

Irritatingly Garmin released the newer, faster Quest 2 last year but Garmin Taiwan have decided in their infinite and innate stupidity that they will only sell the previous generation Quest 1 in the Taiwan market… At least it’s not too overpriced at NT12,000 inclucing the car mount braket and mapsource…

I was told by the Garmin dealer I spoke to that people had brought overseas versions of Garmin GPS’s with them but had issues with the Taiwan mapsource not operating without the chinese fonts etc and displaying rubbish i/o the local mapsource… They did tell me I could order an English unit (only English buttons really since the menu language can be selected on all models I was told) that would come with the Taiwan mapsource loaded on it as standard units would, but I don’t really care much, I’ll probably make do with the Chinese version (after years of the only remotely accurate maps all being in Chinese, English maps of Taiwan seem odd somehow)

My major concerns are:
1.) Does anyone really have any idea what the full picture of Taiwan’s bloody horrible mess of a road network actually looks like and when they made the mapsource version did they get the Garmin Taiwan half trained chimps to make a “cha-bu-duo” version or did they get people from the US office to do a proper rendering from the satellite info?..

2.)Being that they build, knock down, re-route, close, re-open, find, loose and deny the existence of roads on a daily basis here, how often are they going to provide updated maps and who’s going to provide them?..

3.)If Garmin is a joint TW / US company why the hell are they screwing over their own countrymen by selling the outdated, half washed up, previous generation version of the only real weatherproof compact GPS they sell on their home market while the EU / US markets get the nice new shiny Quest 2?.. :rant:

  1. Go look at the Mapsource viewer I linked to above. That’s what is probably loaded into it.
  2. Not very often.
  3. Because they can get away with it, of course. It could also be that the Chinese interface takes a while to write.

I would want to see a much higher level of detail on the basemap than Garmin has up on their site before splurging on this, since what’s loaded into mine is useful for finding the coastline and not much else. I just use mine for navigation to waypoints and for track logging. If the local version has a better map, I bet it’s still not as good as the PDA-based systems out there. I realize weatherproofing is important to you, but I’d rather have an accurate map than a waterproof one.

Took a look at the mapsource viewer you linked to but the only thing that even featured Taiwan was the World Map… and you’re right, it’s bloody awful… “T-Ai’'Choong” was merely a dot on a flat brown background, not exactly 21st century satellite navigation…

Took a look at the Taiwan Garmin site and they mention here that the only way to get the real Taiwan Mapsource version is to buy the CD from a Garmin Taiwan dealer… whilst there is no indication or sample viewer available it is in fact a Taiwan specific Mapsource map, [b]MapSource

Garmin does an okay job of updating the US maps. Those Mapsource disks are quite pricey and still they sell well. Other areas like Europe or Australia? Magellen does much better there. Garmin’s home turf (Taiwan)? I would just try to find out when the latest version of that Mapsource disk was published for an idea.

Well, the other choice here is PDA + separate GPS receiver + map software.
With cheap PDA (ASUS) it can be less than 15000NT

I had an occasion to use in the car the PaPago Navigator V7 (Dell PDA)

It includes nice voice warnings (in Chinese of course)
for speed cameras and other important traffic directions for the major roads.
One can download map updates form their website.

As far as I checked the map covers even the smallish farm roads around my house (HsinChu area)

Just finished my first semester of Chinese class and I’m pretty much still illiterate in Chinese.

So, after a lot of research, I ended up buying the Garmin c320. The Mapsource CD already includes both Chinese and English. Yes, the English traslation is a little goofy; for example, the main road here in Taichung is Tai Zhong Gang Lu (according to the pinyin spelling) but the software shows Tai Jhong Port Road (literal translation to English). It’s not perfect but i’ve successfully used it to go from Taichung to my friend’s home in Taipei all by myself.

The way the Garmins work is there’s the map software (Mapsource) and the GPS unit’s operating system. It seems that in Taiwan, only the c320 comes with both an English and Chinese operating system built in. Others like the Garmin Quest (Taiwan version) which my friend has, only contains the Chinese operating system. You can install the English map in the Quest but the menus and the voice are all Chinese.

As I’ve mentioned, the included CD contains Chinese and English versions of the Taiwan map but you can only install one or the other. I installed the English map but I regularly switch back and forth between the Chinese and English operating modes. I use the Chinese voice guidance just for Chinese practice but I use English when I need to get somewhere on time.

Using the English map definitely has some limitations which could be lengthy to explain here, but I’ve managed to work around them. Bottom line though is, my c320 has allowed me to get around the island from Taipei to Kenting quite well.

i have a mio pda/gps which i use… but no english… works well… i could change the menu into english, but that’s it… the navigator voice and the map still use chinese…

my advice : if you’re going to be living here for anything more than a year… go and learn some chinese :wink: