Sat Nav Project Report

(Steve Moxey – On Behalf of the Oxford Sat Nav Team)

We all know how useful Sat Navs can be on a motorcycle, and also how frustrating when things don’t go according to plan. The combination of changing technology, and different manufacturers, BMW, Garmin, Google, Apple etc., can make it very difficult for owners, and the documentation might be charitably described as ‘limited’. This article is about the Oxford Section Sat Nav project, an attempt to try and improve the situation.

James McMinn – BMW North Oxford Motorrad

We have an excellent relationship with BMW North Oxford Motorrad (usually known as NOG from North Oxford Garage!) and James McMinn, the parts manager, has a reputation for being able to solve those tricky Sat Nav problems. After consulting with James, we decided to create the Oxford Section/NOG Sat Nav Project to see what we could do to help members get the best from their Sat Navs. The project has two parts: (1) A group of 12 experienced users, the Sat Nav ‘Steering Group’ (SNSG), including James McMinn. Apart from Oxford members we have Dave Williamson from Western Section! The SNSG meets every 3-6 months in the boardroom at NOG to manage the project. Note: The SNSG team usually has as much to learn as the member about the problem. We also have about 80 members of the Sat Nav Users Group (SNUG), able to benefit from the project. Any member is very welcome to join. 

Our broad aims for the Sat Nav Project are to (1) help owners get the best from their BMW Navigators, (2) increase the skills of the expert users, and (3) help NOG to better support customers. The project is aimed at BMW Club Oxford Section members and there is an understanding with James that he encourages other customers to join the BMW Club. After discussion with James we decided to focus our efforts on the BMW Navigator V and VI, as these are the main products used by our members and also those that NOG can provide support on.

The first thing we decided to do was to survey the Oxford Section membership to find out more about the problems members were experiencing in using their Sat Navs – we already had plenty of anecdotal evidence through Facebook and word of mouth. We used Google for a simple free survey.

The results showed that 70% of members who responded were using BMW Navigator Vs and VIs and 68% were using Bluetooth helmet connections; although here the majority use third party Bluetooth rather than the BMW Communication System. The top three tasks that members found difficult were (1) Simple navigation, (2) Planning routes on the device, and (3) Using Basecamp; the problems seem to be with basic operation, not the more esoteric capabilities! We also asked members to indicate which solutions would be most useful to them and the top two items were Help Guides and Training Workshops.

Based on the survey results the SSG decided to pursue three areas for 2017-18: (1) a Problem Solving Forum to deal with any complex problems, (2) a Sat Nav Top Tips guide which could summarise advice for owners to help them improve their knowledge, and (3) Sat Nav events, including demonstrations and hands on question and answer support.

The Problem-Solving Forum is open to members of the Oxford Section Sat Nav Users Group (SNUG), and is hosted on the section website using BBPress, and WordPress. An Oxford Section member joins the Sat Nav Users Group (SNUG) by completing our Google Survey. The forum is NOT designed to be a discussion forum, it is for members to post problems. Once the problems are posted the SSG Users can help to provide answers and discuss the problem. If it looks like the problem needs escalating, then James McMinn of NOG (who is part of the SNSG and Forum) can escalate the problem to either Garmin or BMW Motorrad as appropriate. The forum has two benefits, first it is a seamless problem support system for members with BMW Navigator V, VIs and secondly the problems and solutions are recorded to ensure the solutions are readily available and we learn from experience. The system works since the Problem-Solving Forum and Oxford Section SSG can solve many of the problems which then frees up NOG and James McMinn to deal with the really tricky issues. The SNSG team also has knowledge of third-party products which has proved very useful. The final point to make about the Problem Solving Forum is that it is a volunteer effort so we don’t tolerate any abuse or complaints, and we no longer offer ad-hoc advice elsewhere, for example on Facebook, as this may solve the current problem but does not help the whole community in the future!

BMW Navigator V, VI Top Tips

The survey highlighted the need for a guide to help members with their BMW Navigators, V, VI, and the SSG started collecting ‘tips’. James and NOG kindly agreed to publish the guide under the title BMW Navigator V, VI Top Tips, and the current version includes more than 50 Top Tips. We have made the Top Tips guides available at events to BMW Club members and NOG customers for a minimum donation of £5 to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA), a very good cause, and we have enough booklets to raise more than £1,250 over the next six months.

If you would like to have a copy of the BMW Navigator V, VI Top Tips you can visit NOG and see James, or Geoff Clough has kindly offered to post a copy for £5 + £1.50 P&P: please contact Geoff to request your copy and for payment details ( We have reserved 50 copies for BMW Club members using the postal option. We will also offer the Top Tips guide to local motorcycle groups such as Thames Vale Advanced Motorcyclists (TVAM), and SERV OBN, the Blood Bikers, since they have an interest in supporting TVAA and many members own BMW Navigators.

TVAA Oxford Section Appeal

We have now delivered two Sat Nav Events for members and BMW Customers. An opportunity arose with Bahnstormer Motorrad in July to run a pilot event at their Maidenhead branch, which was very successful. Bahnstormer were collecting for TVAA as well and we jointly raised about £200 pounds at the event, feedback was very positive. We learnt quite a bit about the challenges of running this type of event – many thanks to John Gilbride and the Bahnstormer team for their support.

On September 15th we were able to run the BMW Navigation Workshop at NOG, hosted by James McMinn and the NOG team. By this stage the BMW Navigator V, VI Top Tips guides were finished and printed to BMW Corporate Identity standards (!) (many thanks to Alan Mossman of The Alpha Experience, and Oxford Section member, for his great work). We were able to offer a complete range of Navigation demonstrations on BMW motorcycles, including the GS TFT, courtesy of Andy Byatt, and some excellent Basecamp demonstrations from Carl Flint which proved to be very popular. It was very pleasing to see some BMW Club members from other sections at the event, and they seemed to be having a good time as well. The weather and food were good, and the day was commercially successful for NOG, which is important as it means we may be able to repeat this type of event again in the future. The event was supported by SSG members Tim Bolderston, Ray Cawte, Andy Lawson, Steve Moxey and Nigel Richardson who worked very hard from 10:00 – 15:00, answering question, with just a couple of coffee/sausage breaks. We raised just under £300 for the TVAA from this event.

BMW Navigation Workshop

So, the question now is what next? In about 15 months the Sat Nav Project has met all of its original objectives: we have the Top Tips guide to help members, the Problem Solving Forum is running, and we have delivered two events and raised nearly £500 for the Air Ambulance, with hopefully more to come. We are planning a third Sat Nav workshop with NOG at our Uffington indoor meeting next year.

We will consider updating the Top Tips guide next year to include the new BMW Navigation capabilities that are developing in the GS TFT and are rumoured new TFT display for the R1250RT and K1600? We already have a Western Section SNSG member, so it might make sense to invite SNSG members from nearby sections, Midlands and Southern Sections perhaps? We could then extend the opportunity for events to other BMW Motorrad dealers including Wollaston, Bahnstormer Alton and perhaps Dick Lovett in Bristol? We have also received a request from Vines for a Sat Nav event. We need to continue to build the skills of the SSG members: increasing expertise, and helping others, which are the priorities for the SNSG members. Finally, there may be opportunities to work with BMW Motorrad to develop the project.

Sat Nav SNSG Team at the Navigation Workshop

To close we would like to thank all the members of the Oxford Section Sat Nav Project, and NOG, who have given their time and energy to make the project happen and we would also like to acknowledge the support and thanks from all the Oxford and BMW Club members who supported the events and hopefully we have helped BMW Club members and BMW customers make the most of their Sat Navs: Well done everyone!

Originally posted 2018-12-19 11:51:14.


Author: drdrsteve