GPS giant Garmin has switched to a new subscription-based GPS map updates program. Customers who purchase the Garmin nuMaps Lifetime service can download quarterly map and POI updates for the LIFE of their GPS device.

The nuMaps Lifetime map updates program has been expected for some time, but the initial fall 2008 release date had to be pushed back. Now Garmin nuvi, StreePilot and zumo users can purchase nuMaps Lifetime and start downloading Garmin updates up to four times a year, as new NAVTEQ map data become available.

The "pay once, update for life" program is a big improvement over having to purchase a new GPS update package every year. And it's nice that maps and POIs for Garmin navigators can now be updated more frequently than on an annual basis. In both of these respects Garmin had been falling behind its competitors. The nuMaps program is essentially similar to Navigon FreshMaps, which also offers quarterly update--though for three years, not for the life of the device. And unlike the TomTom MapShare program, nuMaps will offer "offical" NAVTEQ data, not user-generated updates.

NuMaps also guarantees that buyers of new Garmin GPS devices will receive the most current maps, regardless of what came preinstalled with the unit. Simply register your new nuvi or zumo GPS device on the Garmin website within 60 days of first using it, and you can download the latest map update for free.

The new program is bound to be a popular with Garmin users. The price for Garmin NuMaps Lifetime map updates is comparable to buying two of the old City Navigator annual updates--definitely worthwhile if you want to keep current with map and POI data, and plan to be using your current GPS for two years or longer.

The nuMaps Lifetime package comes in three versions, for North America, Europe, or both. Although the program has a "nu" name, the maps are simply the latest updates to the City Navigator NT map packages that Garmin had been issuing each year.

NuMaps Lifetime can now be purchased from a number of online retailers. Those who don't want the lifetime service can still purchase the City Navigator 2009 North America NT map update as a single package.

NuMaps updates are compatible with most recent and current Garmin nuvi, StreetPilot, and zumo personal navigation devices. If you have any doubts, check compatibility on the Garmin website.

Ebay is a great place to find the best deal on Garmin numaps packages. Check the listings below, and be sure to notice whether it is the lifetime or "onetime" package that being offered. The listings displayed here all offer Free Shipping for your Garmin nuMaps card.

Garmin nMaps Lifetime Map Update
Garmin nMaps Lifetime Map Update
Paypal   US $119.99