Thursday, October 22, 2009

Comparing MalFreeMaps, MalSingMaps and City Navigator (which one is better?)

Today I'm going to compare among the map of MalFreeMaps (MFM), MalSingMaps (MSM) and City Navigator (CN) by viewing exactly the same location with the same detail setup. Then it is very obvious to immediately figure out which one is better.

Maps used for comparison (click to enlarge them):
  • MFM 091019
  • MSM NT 2009.30
  • CN Southeastern Asia NT 4.50
The order of the maps below will always be MFM, MSM then CN. Here we go!

First we go and take a look around Mid Valley Megamall.

Then we go to smaller place, like Teluk Intan.

How about Melaka?

Lastly, we look at higher place, such as Cameron Highlands.

Now, do you agree with me on the following?

  • MFM and MSM have far more POIs than CN.

  • MFM has more beautiful map than the other two.

  • MFM uses better and more precise icons to display the POIs.

  • MFM has more detail lane coverage, especially in smaller town such as Teluk Intan.
So you should know who is the winner.


Kenson said... Reply To This Comment

Does MFM support junction view? How about the accuracy comparison?

I would emphasize on the accuracy of the map when doing comparison. Currently using MSM and had problem in KLCC area for 2 times already. :(

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

Hi Kenson,

MFM supports junction view for Papago GPS.

They have also collected several hundreds of junction view picture to get prepared to support junction view for Garmin GPS in the future.

MFM is updated and released weekly every Monday.If you find any error in their map, just go to their forum and report to them. Hopefully will get fix in a week or so.

hsunl said... Reply To This Comment

Hi, good website. May i know which map do you use now? MSM or MFM. Can we switch either one just a single click? Thanks

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

Hi hsunl,

I have both MFM and MSM in my GPS.

Yes, you can switch from one to another, just check on one and uncheck on the other one.

You can only make use of one of them at one time. If you try to use both of them, it map might not function well due to overlapping issue. So don't check on both.

hsunl said... Reply To This Comment

Hi, thanks for the reply. May i know the reason you go for Garmin instead of Papago? Sorry for the question. Just wanna to know more before getting one. Thanks in advance

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

Hi hsunl,

If you follow my selection list and test on both of them, you will definitely end up with Garmin.

Read on my earlier article:
GPS gadget buying guide

Eichikawa said... Reply To This Comment

visit our website & if anyone have any questions or problems, we try to help you.


hsunl said... Reply To This Comment

Hi, sorry again for asking some not-so-smart question to you. What is your suggestion if you were me... I really wanna a GPS for myself BUT it must be worth it for my usage/paid. I seldom travel around either in Malaysia or Sing. However, sometime i do wanna to go some places that i never been before.. Shall i go for Garmin nuvi 205 or 255w. I really dunno 255w JCV function will assit me more or not.... Or a GPS without JCV is just fine and sufficient for an idiot like me ... (very weak in recognizing malaysia road) ... Is nuvi 255w worth for its MSM JCV?? (IF MFM is supporting JCV i will have no reason to spend more on this unit compare to 205). Please assist me..?

hsunl said... Reply To This Comment

Sorry again... Any ideas where can i get a Genuine Garmin unit. FYI, I am in Seremban. Is it safe to get it in Many of them claimed to be genuine and original unit... with authorized distributor la... warranty by certified local distributor la.. got AECO sticker la..

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

Hi hsunl,

The price difference between Nuvi 205w and Nuvi 255w isn't much, normally around RM50 only.

In terms of hardware I can't notice any difference between them. In terms of software, Nuvi 255w supports additional features such as:
- Text-to-speech (TTS)
- Junction view (JCV)
- Lane assist

TTS is a nice feature which can speak out the street name.

You will only find JCV and Lane assist in urban areas. However, you can make use of TTS in all places.

Even if the map comes with JCV, Lane assist or even 3D buildings, it won't function in GPS that doesn't support the feature.

So for a slight price difference, you get additional features in Nuvi 255w. You decide.

If you want to have bluetooth feature which can pair with your handphone, you can look for Nuvi 265w or 765. But the price gap is wider.

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

Hi hsunl,

One way to check for a Sing/Mal Garmin unit is go to the map update website, and try to get the MSM unlock code with the serial number of the GPS.

If the serial number is invalid, the system won't give you the unlock code.

You can ask the shopkeeper to do this on the spot, before you pay for your unit.

zakaria said... Reply To This Comment

I bought a Nuvi 1460 last month, it preload dual map, during I'm still new on it, when the time will be using malsingmaps instead of Garmin city navigator NT map. but, Last week when travel to Penang, I'm crazy about it, some place one way street, garmin still guiding me to opposite direction of one way street. Crazy !!
Some place not allow the U turn, Garmin still ask me to U turn, Crazy !! When I searching for my relative house address, Can't get the results. Damn !! I'm quite disappointed on Garmin. but now after switching to MFM, I then know garmin is good gps devices, as long as the map is most detail and less error. other feature like Junction view, it's an option, not must have. Last weekend, travel to Klang&KL, quite happy on MFM map, and all the time using it without any major error. I salute on MFM community making those high quality map for garmin user. Thanks.
zakaria@Petaling Jaya

hsunl said... Reply To This Comment


Thanks for the info...
I've just ordered Nuvi 255W. Your selection list is very helpful. I hope u dont mind if i query any doubts about this unit

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

Hi hsunl,

You're welcomed.

hsunl said... Reply To This Comment

Its me...
What should i do first on my newly purchased nuvi 255w.
Please advise me ...
1.) Charging first
2.) Backup ALL the file from nuvi to my laptop. ALL of it
3.) Purchased a sd card and create a folder name Garmin
4.) Install Garmin mapsource version 6.13.7 from mfm forum.
5.) Install mfm-garmin 091109.
6.) Send gmapsupp.img file to nuvi sd card under Garmin folder sub-file.
7.) Play around nuvi....

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

Hi hsunl,

Before you can use your GPS, you need to switch it on under the clear sky for it to initialize and detect your location. That will take at least several minutes.

The original Garmin box doesn't come with any USB cable. If the vendor didn't give one to you, you need to buy one. Make sure you buy the correct cable with the right connector. Better bring along the GPS with you and match the connector with the cable when you buy it.

The USB cable is crucial and is used for:
1. Charging the GPS indoor with your computer power supply.
2. Perform data exchange with your computer, which is required for file transfers, system updates, etc.

It is a good idea to register your GPS in Garmin website for warranty, support, etc.

Then you should backup all the files in your GPS to your computer. Just copy over the folders and files.

Then you might want to update the software to the latest version, if your unit comes with an earlier version. Then update the map(s) to latest version. You might also want to install additional voice files too.

Normally you don't need an SD card because the internal storage of Nuvi is quite sufficient. You will need an SD card if you intend to store many mapset files or the internal storage is insufficient.

hsunl said... Reply To This Comment

Thanks for the advice. All Done ! Latest version msm map,software,msm map.

I do have some question again.
1.) Do we need to do setting on the JCV features? When i tick msm+cnt map and simulate the destination i set but all the way having no JCV at all. Is this right?
3.) Can we alter some route that we think best for us? How to do the setting? Let say.. Final point is D(melaka). Nuvi suggest us to use (seremban to melaka highway) until the final point. What if we suggest it to exit to some state road instead of all the way use highway?? How to do it..

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

Hi hsunl,

You better select either MSM or CNT but not both. Overlapping maps tend to give conflict with each other.

You can select multiple maps of different region, for example, MSM + Japan map + Taiwan map...

Just need to make sure the JCV file is available inside the JCV folder. No special setting is needed. Currently JCV is available for junctions in urban area, for example, try simulate and travel around Jalan Tun Razak of KL.

You Avoidance setting will affect the route picking. If you avoid toll road, then you won't be travel pass any toll, unless there is no other option.

You can also manually change the route by setting a via-point in between the begin and end point. After setting the destination, set another destination again (without cancelling the original route), and the 2nd destination will become the via-point. The GPS will direct you to the via-point first, then continue to the final destination.

hsunl said... Reply To This Comment

Please help me to clear my doubts..

May i know Garmin's latest favourite saving datas are keeping in which file? under which foler?
Is it under GPX folder and file name Current.gpx??? Thats why we need to backup this file from time to time and when performing software update. How about when updating map?? Dun have to do it, right?
What is the position.gpx file for?...saving/indicating our current location coordinate setting?

Is the poi categories files are been kept in gmapsupp.img (merge)??
If we create a folder name POI and install some gpi files, its merely purpose for our Custome POI features only, under the Extra features?? right?

What is gdb file for?? It can be view thru mapsource program and can be sent to device as well... but what files it will be transforming when sending to the device/sd card?? a new folder and files name??right? Or in our favourate files/gmapsupp.img file...

Thanks in advance

A...a.. another question...have u ever thought of replacing the Lit. re. battery? Who can do it?? And the connector as well?

May i know the BEST zoom level you r setting for this unit while traveling (how many levels from the minimum/smallest)... any others additional advice...?

For me, it sometimes a little bit of tricky when approaching y junctions esp those which is very close to flyover/overhead/overbridge..

Thanks again to you.

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

Hi hsunl,

Yes, the favourites are stored inside Current.gpx, and it is an XML file that you can view its content using any text editor.

Updating maps would not affect this file.

I don't have position.gpx in my GPS.

Those POI files are called Custom POIs which is additional to the POIs inside the mapsets. They have additional feature, such as giving you voice alert when approaching.

gdb files are normally produced by MapSource, when you save your own POIs or Routes or other mapping data. You can contribute your findings with the mappers such as MFM and MSM by sending them the gdb files.

You can get the Garmin vendor/shop to replace the battery for you. You can also DIY but that will void the warranty.

The default Zoom level should be good enough for most people. The GPS will automatically adjust the Zoom level based on how much detail you want to see, while not lagging the navigation. The map detail is configurable.

hsunl said... Reply To This Comment


I have tested this unit several times and for my point of view, I MUST go for MFM map instead of MSM and CN. Both later 2 maps are lacking lots of route. Well done MFM. Salute them...
Just wondering...
Is MSM/CN.. having something useful to me here?? Doubt about it...
Right ?? :)

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment


MSM will be useful when you travel along North-South highway.

It can show you the next 3 exits, and the distance to reach them.

Would be useful to know your location and estimate how far away from your destination.

jason said... Reply To This Comment

for bringing up this post.
I was seeing for myself the map for MSM and MFM.
currently i'm in Brunei testing the map and i found out both is almost the same but MSM had more Kampung name compare to MFM but MFM does have more in KL area...

This is confusing. Perhaps theres not enough POI for Brunei area yet...

Jimmy said... Reply To This Comment

Does Junction View really help us a lot? Since MFM have the most POI yet JCV not available yet.

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

Hi Jimmy,

JCV is important if you are not familiar with the place.

Sometimes exiting a wrong junction will cost you a lot in time, petrol, toll fee, etc. to get back to the right track.

Anonymous said... Reply To This Comment

Good lah. Many people work for adil and anthony for free when they make so much money. but this will change !

It is ussing re-captcha from google, actually the whole darn world is digitizing books for them for free.

Danny said... Reply To This Comment

Hi Everyone,
I got a Nuvi 765 from purchasing a Volvo. I need help if there is away I'm able to install a local firmware so that I can enjoy JCV, Lane Assist and TTS.

Any help on how to get my Nuvi to support all those functions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment


JCV, Lane Assist and TTS should already in the firmware of Nuvi 765, but you need the map supporting JCV and Lane Assist in order to see them.

MalSingMaps supports JCV and Lane Assist.

Anonymous said... Reply To This Comment

If I'm only use garmin gps in Malaysia. which map is okay ?

From your reviews, know that the best map is MFM, followed by MSM and last place is City Navigator.

Because of MFM maps update more frequent (once a week ?). How about MSM and City Navigator map, how often they update and release maps for Malaysia ?

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment


You can install all of them in your GPS, but activate only one at a time.

Garmin's MSM and City Navigator release in at least a few months interval.

Peter Yew said... Reply To This Comment

Hi voyager8,

Nice blog and your replies help me understand my problem better. I have a Garmin Nuvi 1460 I bought early this year from a seller in lelong. Registered my unit with Garmin. Did not update my map until late last month and now I lost JCV as well as next 3 exits. Any idea what happen and what should I do to get them back? Mine is the MSM map. Am interested in the MFM that you recommended.

I went to the airport yesterday and the Garmin took me to the rural roads although I set it to fastest time. It was raining and I have to use my gut feeling to get back to the highway. I read in other forums gps navigators are dumb. Is there any way to save the routes I take so that in future the device will follow those routes instead of tracking via the satellites?

Thanks for your help.

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

@Peter Yew

You can update the latest MSM by following the instruction in this article:

Garmin releases MalSingMaps Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei NT 2011.10 for free update

You can get the latest MFM from their website but MFM does not support JCV and next 3 exits.

You can force the routing path by setting via-point in the middle of your preferred route. For example, if your preferred route will pass by a building or a POI, set it as a via-point and the GPS will need to go to your via-point before continue to your destination.

If you use MFM, in most cases, it will give you the best route.

Peter Yew said... Reply To This Comment

Dear voyager8,

Thank you or the advice. I updated the MSM latest version 2011.10 and lost the 3 exit view. Can you help tell me why and how to get to back? It is really useful to me on the highway, knowing when to stop for gas or toilet breaks. I haven't driven yet in KL to test the JCV so I don't know if I lost it together with the 3 exit view.

I would like to try out the MFM since you said it is more accurate. For unfamiliar routes I think accuracy is more important than JCV and exit view. With an alternative map I can at least decide which is more suitable for my use since my sense of direction is not very good.

Your advice on via points is very good. I shall certainly try it but I'd like to know do I have to do it realtime, like while driving and stopping at strategic junctions? Can I set multiple via points in one journey? And when I've completed the journey using the via points included can I save the route for future use?

Thanks again for your valuable advice.

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

@Peter Yew

You can only activate one map for the same region at one time, else the GPS will confuse itself with multiple maps, and you'll lost some function, as well as the routing will not be optimized.

If you use MSM, make sure you untick the other maps including CN, MFM, etc. If you use MFM, make sure you untick the CN, MSM, etc.

After you set a destination, you can go back to the main menu and set another destination, then the GPS will provide you the option to take the 2nd destination as your via-point or to replace your earlier destination.

You can define route and save route using the "Custome Route" function. However, this feature is not available in low end Garmin like my Nuvi 255W so I have no idea how to set it.

Peter Yew said... Reply To This Comment

Thank you. I am aware from reading your earlier replies to only activate one map for one region to avoid confusing navigation. I am using the Nuvi 1460. Any idea if this model can save routes? If not do you know of any brands or models that can? Thanks.

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

@Peter Yew

If only MSM is activated, you should see the MSM logo displayed on the left of the map. JCV should be function.

The 3 exits view can be hide and unhide. It is probably there if you see a translucent arrow at the bottom right corner. Tap on the arrow will bring out the exits view, tap again will hide it. This view is normally available for highways and not normal roads.

According to message from the product website, Nuvi 1460 can save up to 10 routes with the Route Planning feature.

Peter Yew said... Reply To This Comment

The next time I drive to KL I hope the JCV works. As for the exit feature I will look for the arrow you mentioned. Will try to make better use of the route planning of my gps. Thanks for your help. Have a great day!

Peter Yew said... Reply To This Comment

Btw I like the KLSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI widget of yours. Mind telling me how to get it? Great realtime info.

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

@Peter Yew

You can get it here:

Peter Yew said... Reply To This Comment

Voyager8, thanks a lot.

tingwei said... Reply To This Comment

excuse me,can anyone teach or guide me on how to install MFM into my garmin gps using window 7?i have tried a few times but it failed 2 operate~ any guidance? thanks

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment


Check it out here:

Mohan said... Reply To This Comment

i m using nuvi 1460 currently im using MFM and MSM
but suddenly im unable to switch map i only can use mfm (gmapprom.img) even i tick msm (gmapprom1.img )its is still in MFM or both ovelap map any help

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment


You cannot use both maps of the same place. If you select one, you need to unselect the other.

Ernest said... Reply To This Comment

Can i know the approx total of POI for Malsingmaps & Malfreemaps?

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment


Too many to count.

russell merriman said... Reply To This Comment

Hi All.
I have found three maps on the Garmin updater. HERE, MFM, and MSM. Is it still true that the MFM map is best? I note that the HERE map is a much larger file.
I also found that my Nuvi 2465 will only allow USB connection to PC if the car docking cradle is attached even though I use the USB port on the body of the satnav and not the USB port on the cradle. Is there a reason for this?

Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment

@russell merriman

I have been using MFM all the while.

You can compare them by setting to different map at different time, travelling the same route, and see what's the different.

Just remember to only activate one map at a time for the same location.

I am using Nuvi 2565 and I can connect it directly to the PC using a USB cable. The micro-USB port on the navigator for direct connection is of different type from the mini-USB port on the docking cradle, and need USB cable of different connector.

You can try detach the navigator from the cradle before connecting it to the PC.

annie said... Reply To This Comment

Hi Voyager8,

I've read thru your feedback to other, maybe you can help me to solve my problem here. I'm using Garmin nuvi 52LM, my issue is no matter which map I use (MFM, MSM, or HERE), and no matter which option I tick (fastest road, shortest routes or another), my GPS navigator always direct me using rural road, always direct me out from highway. For example from Tapah to KL, the map always direct me exit the highway at every single exit instead off direct me all the way at highway towards duta toll.

I have ask many of my friend, their GPS seems no problem and always direct them thru highway. What is my problem here? I really have no idea. Even I did not set avoid toll also it will bring me out from highway.


Voyager8 said... Reply To This Comment


Check your avoidance setting.

Update your map to the latest version.

Ensure you don't enable overlapping maps at the same time.

annie said... Reply To This Comment


Ya, I always update latest map, and had set avoidance to off road, share road but problem still exist.

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