The debate of road coverage has raged on for years and various map sets have claimed dominance with peripheral suppliers such as Tracks for Africa adding value through their content. But we wanted to know who really covers the whole of Africa in a fashion that meant that one would not have to buy additional mapping.
So off we went to Sandton City and visited the outdoor shops there plus a few others until we got the information we were looking for, to our surprise Tom Tom popped up. A relatively new entrant into the South African market with a good share of the market they have now introduced units that cover over seven million kilometres of roads in Africa and all 57 countries.
This is impressive and an invaluable tool not only for travel across Africa but also for the numerous South Africans who do business in Africa, a acquaintance who runs a travel clinic who will be delighted with the mapping and the ability to upload all the remote clinics he visits via the “map share” function. Approximately 3000 such shares are reported by users each month, a really useful enhancement which allows user generated content to enhance the system.
And the unit, well its part of the GO range which even comes with lifetime updates for Africa. Another feature that we really liked was the fact that the mapping has both the old and new street names as changes are made, given the fact that this is a near every day occurrence this is extremely useful. A colleague recently got lost in the Johannesburg CBD looking for an address quoted as one of the newer streets with no reference to the original name. At least in Pretoria they feature the old and new names on the street signs.
Access to information is critical and these map sets are full of info and points of interest making travel a breeze, that said remember my warning from a previous article-always back the GPS up with a paper map and compass and the knowledge to use them.
We also like the live traffic feature (SA only) where information on traffic back ups is fed to the device enabling you to recalculate your route and still get to your destination on time.
Now all we need are the alternative routes when e-tolling kicks in and the speed cameras, yes they are also available, an extremely useful feature given Metro’s reluctance to do anything other than trap to fill the coffers as opposed to real traffic policing.