Buying used Memory Map GPS and Mapping Software

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Hand-held GPS devices are popular but expensive and often require specialised software. If you are thinking about buying software for a GPS device or if you don't have a GPS device but want to print your own maps, READ THIS FIRST.

Hand-held GPS devices are extremely popular these days with walkers, hikers, cyclists and other outdoor sporting enthusiasts. There is no doubt that this technology is invaulable for many users and such devices plus their associated software are popular items on eBay. The high purchase cost of new GPS units and software mean that there is a healthy used market for these items.

Memory Map is a company that provides electronic copies of Ordnance Survey (OS) maps for the UK, available as separate regions (1-6) or the whole UK. The maps are supplied with Memory Map's V5 software. Prices for these products range from £50 for a regional map to £300 for a full UK map with aerial photography, so it is very tempting to look for used copies of the software at reduced prices, BUT BEWARE.

I myself was tempted to bid for a used full UK map with aerial photography, Memory Map's premium product with a new list price of £300. I was successful in winning the auction at a bargain price but when I received and installed the software on my PC, I discovered that the licence key provided was already registerd with the seller. A telephone call to Memory Map confirmed my worst fears. Licences for its mapping software products are non-transferable for the life of the product and licences are not available to purchase separately. Registration is essential to be able to use of all the features of Memory Map software, a key example being the ability to print maps or routes/tracks that have been created as overlays on the maps. I ended up paying a lot of money for software that I was unable to use properly and which, according to the manufacturer, belonged to somebody else. I followed Memory Map's advice, which was to return the software to the seller for a refund.

My advice is therefore simple. If you are considering buying Memory Map software on eBay, I would strongly recommend that you go for new and unregistered product to avoid the problems that I experienced. If you are considering buying a used copy of Memory Map software, be aware that the licence is non-transferable, that it will most likely be registered to whoever is selling it, and you will never be able to use features such as map printing. What you would effectively be getting is a copy of the map media, not the right to be able to use it properly. The only possible benefit I can see of buying used Memory Map software is if you already have your own fully licensed copy of the V5 software and you just want to add additional OS maps.

I cannot say whether these licensing restrictions apply to other mapping software made by other manufacturers. If you are at all unsure, e-mail the seller and find out if the item that you want to bid on is already registered or not. If it is, contact the manufacturer and find out whether the licence or registration key is transferable between different owners. Do this BEFORE you bid and you will potentially save yourself a lot of trouble.

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