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GPS receivers for laptop? Software?


I know this is slightly off topic, but I figure some of you are knowledgeable in this area.

I'm taking a road trip next week from Dallas to the Pacific Northwest and I'd like to be able to see my location on a map displayed on my laptop.

What do I need to do this? Obviously I need a GPS receiver that has a USB interface. What mapping software? Is this something that MapPoint does?

Any recommendations on equipment and software?

For part of the trip, we're going to fishing in Puget Sound and some folks have warned us to make sure that we don't cross into Canadian waters while fishing since we don't have Canadian fishing licenses. Does any of the mapping software out there show international boundaries, even in water? The obvious idea would be to use the GPS to keep us from drifting into Canadian waters.

Of course, it's more of an excercise in geekdom and playing with cool toys than anything else!

Mark Hoffman
Thursday, June 24, 2004

I'm sure that others are more into this stuff, but from casually looking into it I've heard a lot of recommendations for this: http://www.delorme.com/earthmate/ Both their software and receiver are supposed to be the best choice.

JWA
Thursday, June 24, 2004

"we don't cross into Canadian waters while fishing since we don't have Canadian fishing licenses"


I haven't fished in Canada lateley, but I remember this is VERY important.  They have some stringent fishing/wildlife laws there.

As far as GPS add-ons for your computer...many have thier own software that you load maps into...similar to the handheld ones..

Yo
Thursday, June 24, 2004

You don't need a USB interface - in fact, I am not sure what ones do.  My Garmin eTrex has a serial connection, and there are a variery of windows based applications that can interface to the GPS receiver and update the display in real time.

The data rate is not all that high.

Ken Ray
Thursday, June 24, 2004

I haven't tried it, but CompUSA sells a package of Microsoft Streets and Trips with a GPS receiver that plugs into either a PCMCIA slot or CompactFlash slot. Streets and Trips includes support for GPS devices. http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?product_code=50356939

Philip Dickerson
Thursday, June 24, 2004

You do need a USB interface, since fewer and fewer laptops have serial interfaces.
Many GPS units have serial-USB adapters, tho. But I'd just get one that's native USB.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Microsoft MapPoint works great with a Garmin III GPS.  Been there, done that, works great.  Amazingly great.

That's all I can really tell ya.

hoser
Thursday, June 24, 2004

My GPS is serial port only.  USB would be nice.

hoser
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Garmin + serial->USB adapter = Success on a USB  only laptop.

The Garmin stuff is quite good and available everywhere.  I've even got one on my bicycle ... zoot!

Mitch & Murray (from Downtown)
Thursday, June 24, 2004


Thanks for the info everyone!

For the money, DeLorme looked hard to beat.  I went down to CompUSA and picked up the Earthmate with the Street Atlas 2004 software for $129.00.

Although this is the only mapping program and GPS I've worked with, color me impressed! The GPS receiver was relatively accurate (within 50 yards) and the software is easy to use.

Most importanly, it clearly shows the international boundary between the US and Canada in the Straits of Juan de Fuca where we will be fishing.

...now if someone could just figure out how to get the salmon to jump in our boat, I'd be all set.

Mark Hoffman
Thursday, June 24, 2004

> I haven't fished in Canada lateley, but I remember this is VERY important.  They have some stringent fishing/wildlife laws there.


It is a way of accelerating the evolution of intelligence in fish - the brighter ones will stay on the Canadian side of the "line" and be safe. Of course, they'll have to go out and buy GPS gadgets first so that they know where the "line" is.


Friday, June 25, 2004

"The GPS receiver was relatively accurate (within 50 yards) and the software is easy to use"

Locates you within 50 yards anywhere in the world and you only call it "relatively" accurate? For a price of $129? Man, you're a tough customer  :^)

Tom H
Friday, June 25, 2004

"The GPS receiver was relatively accurate (within 50 yards) and the software is easy to use"

Provided I have a clear view of the sky (and out on the water fishing should be no problem) yuou should expect better than 20 feet accuracy.  Check the "available satellites" display on your GPSr - this will show you just how many the receiver is getting a good signal on.

For some other fun things to do with GPS receivers - look at Geocaching - www.geocaching.com

Ken Ray
Friday, June 25, 2004

Yea, with more expensive equipment it's incredibly accurate. When these coal miners were trapped a couple of years ago they used a GPS to fix the spot to drill within one centimeter!


http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/07/28/mine.turning.point/index.html

Tom H
Friday, June 25, 2004

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