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lolbro
Jul 24, 2003, 11:10 AM
I am looking for a USB-enable GPS system that I can hook up onto my laptop (PBG4 12) like Deluo Navigation Kit: USB GPS (www.deluo.com) or the DeLorme USB Earthmate (www.delorme.com)

I was just wondering if any of you guys have any good or bad experience with these GPS's or with other brands?

or what you recommendation for the best USB GPS for my Mac Laptop?

or whats a good websites to read about GPS system reviews?

Eniregnat
Jul 24, 2003, 11:48 AM
What and where do you plan to use it?
I havn't ever used a GPS with a Mac.
I have used GPS units that have computer interfaces.
I have used a GPS for running transects, for geolgy classes, and for navagation. Before I make comments, I want to read about what you want to do with a GPS unit.

lolbro
Jul 24, 2003, 12:18 PM
I want to use it for roadtrips around the USA. That I can hook up this device, and easily navigate for location and direction
for cetrain places...(ie tourist attraction()

According to Deluo, its GPS supports Mac OS X, but I dont know if its any good?

I just want to know if other Mac users have been succesfully hooking up thier Laptop with a USB-enabled GPS or they have major problems with certain (brands of GPS) or driver problems.

Eniregnat
Jul 24, 2003, 12:50 PM
I havn't connected a GPS to a Mac.
So my comments won't help much.
Yesterday, Kristy fell asleep while checking a book. This wasn


Some things to look for:
Something better than 7channel reception. (More channels = more satellite connections.)
A good antenna.
A built in compass.
In expensive batteries or very a long lasting rechargeable pack.
For a car, a 12v power cable.
Stand alone operation (Why risk damaging your laptop)
Weather resistant. (Not really an option for up-linkable units, less BlueTooth)


Try finding some links via this organization.
Geo Caching (http://www.geocaching.com/)

It is very cool and a lot of fun!
There should be a link to some Forums.
This site has very good advice about buying GPS units.

idkew
Jul 24, 2003, 01:19 PM
it MUST have WAAS. THis increases accuracy signifigantly.

You will also want a portable device which does not require a laptop to be used. GPS's are way too useful to be stuck hooked to a laptop all the time.


well, as an avid GPS guy, i can reccomend one thing.

get a garmin eTrex GPS, the legend is a good price/feature combo.

then get virtual pc, garmin mapsource, and an adapter to huuok up via usb.

i know this sounds really annoying, but it works perfectly fine. plus, you will have a GPS that will work as a portable, not only when hooked to your laptop.

i have done this, and I actually find it better just to leave the computer at home and use just the gps on the road.

jtown
Jul 24, 2003, 05:56 PM
Before getting too excited about GPS navigation using a laptop in your car, go sit in the car with your laptop and make sure the screen looks good enough for you. Unless your laptop has a reflective or transflective screen (and, unless I'm mistaken, current Apple laptops don't), you will have great difficulty seeing anything when you're outside during the day. No backlight can compete with the sun.

Assuming you're satisified with the display of your laptop, the next step is to pick the best software. Drivers are a red herring. Any GPS with a serial port will spit out standard NMEA. You don't need any drivers to use them. At most, you'll have to get a USB->Serial converter. You can get one for $20 from any number of sources. If you happen to find a USB GPS that has Mac drivers, that's great but don't let it be a deal-breaker.

The key is finding good software that can make use of the data from the GPS. Frankly, I don't see a whole lot for the Mac. Before you spend any time looking at GPS receivers, get the software figured out. Without software, there's no point in moving ahead with the hardware.

I've been using mobile mapping GPS hardware and software since the late 90s and I've used just about every combination of laptop/pda/standalone you can imagine. My first setup was a subnotebook (Toshiba Libretto) with a Sony Etak reciever and Sony SkyMap software. It worked okay in the car but I often had to shade the display to see what was on the screen. Not very safe. But I was able to load several different map/navigation/POI programs and switch between them as needed. Sony for driving maps because their color scheme was the only one I could read in the car. National Geographic for finding POIs. And some other program with a more current map database for finding streets in new subdivisions.

The next setup to get long-term use was a standalone mapping unit from Garmin. This system wasn't very flexable (crappy routing, low-res screen, minimal POIs, no detail maps, etc.) but it was compact and self sufficient. It would run all day on one set of batteries. Since I was using it on a motorcycle, portability and simplicity were the most important features. While I never got lost, I missed the extreme detail found in street level maps.

Now I use a combination of PDA and Garmin eMap. The PDA has a reflective color screen which is the best choice for outdoor viewing. Also side-lit for indoor/night time use. With a 512 or 1024 meg storage card, it can hold detail maps for most of the US. I keep it zoomed in fairly close so I can use it to navigate streets. On the other side is the eMap which shows an overview of highways and major streets. That lets me navigate surface streets on one display and highways on the other without having to make any changes. Both displays look great both indoors and out, day and night.

With decent mass-storage options available for PDAs (I've seen 2 gig CF cards already and 4 gig cards are on the way), they're really becoming a viable platform for mobile GPS use. Even without huge storage capacities, most of the current models can fit the data for several states in the built-in memory. There are quite a few software packages available so you can pick the one that best suits your needs. They're getting pretty fancy, too, with 3D navigation displays and lots of POI data.

Eniregnat
Jul 24, 2003, 07:12 PM
I think that jtown meant NMEA (http://www.nmea.org/) 183 data format and communications protocol (http://www.nmea.org/pub/index.html). I make traspositions like that a lot. Heck look at my name.

A link to A generic Garmin (http://www.garmin.com/manuals/gps4beg.pdf) manual on slection and use of a GPS is here. It should provide some more basics.


For fun
If you want NEMA- National Electrical Manufacturers Association (http://www.nema.org/) try here.
or
If you want NEMA- Norwegian Elkhound Minutemen Association (http://nema.elghund.com/) try here.
or
If you want NEMA- National Environmental and Meteorological Association (http://www.nemas.net/) try here.

jtown
Jul 24, 2003, 07:32 PM
Smartass. :D

I mean...What are you talking about? ;)

idkew
Jul 24, 2003, 09:56 PM
basically, what i think others and myself are saying is that it is very possible to get what you want, but it will come at a premium price...

jtown got me thinking- garmin just came out with iQue (http://www.garmin.com/products/iQue3600/). This might do it.


But truthfully, this may be your best bet - StreetPilot (http://www.garmin.com/products/sp2610_2650/index.jsp)