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  #1  
Old 01-21-2007
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GPS laptop

I'm looking for opinions on a LOW budget PC GPS build for my truck. What is the bare minimum PC I can use with some good software like emaps. Also what is the most popular GPS receiver you are all using. I saw what Jason (Ironelk) uses and I really like his setup. Any opinions?
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Old 01-21-2007
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Why get a Laptop computer when you can get a hand-held unit that can also be mounted in your window? I have a Garmin with a window-mount in the top left corner of my windshield. It's out of the way, but only a glance away if I want to see where I'm at or where I need to be going!
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Old 01-21-2007
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If you're offroading, the handheld/auto units are about useless. Offroading with downloaded (free) photo maps from the USGS site and (free) software called USAPhotoMaps is great. I popularized that setup here and more and more of us are getting it.

I use a Panasonic Toughbook CF-27 laptop and it's adequate for that. You really don't need the best laptop for GPS mapping, but you do want enough hard drive space to store the map data -- which can get large. I have several gigs of photo map data for all the sites I offroad, as well as both Garmin and DeLorme mapping software.

I use a dedicated GPS module also from a police car for my setup, but I used to use a Garmin eMap. There are USB GPS modules available for about $100 or so that work fine with all the above software. Make sure your laptop has both USB and regular serial ports and you'll have the most flexibility.

If you can get a GPS that can use an external antenna, that's your best bet. I've used GPS's on the dashboard, in the window and it's never optimum. You'll eventually hit a situation where you lose enough sat locks that you can't get position fixes. Get your antenna outside if your need for navigation demands full-time performance.

If you want to see more about the USAPhotoMaps software, then search USAPhotoMaps on this board, and go to http://jdmcox.com to download a free copy to play with.

USAPhotoMaps is almost useless for street navigation. It does not support turn-by-turn routing as the commercial street navigation packages do. You can buy used, older revision copies of navigation software at ebay or half.com for like $10. It doesn't have to be a "major investment".
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Old 01-21-2007
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This one seems good and small with a 10" display but it says the HD caddie is not included. It does have a USB port though. And do you think I can just get a car adapter for it instead of using the battery?

Ebay Item # 120075756290
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Old 01-22-2007
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I use a compaq presario v5000 and Delorme GPS program. only have streets 2006 but am planning to upgrade to topo usa 06 and streets 07 bundle.

Check out this site.
DELORME
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Old 01-28-2007
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OK, I picked up a Panasonic CF-45 toughbook
450mhz
128MB RAM
Win2000
Wifi card
12" touch screen
ect ect....

I paid only $150 for it shipped and plan on getting a USB GPS receiver and some mapping software but I'm still trying to decide what to get.

I've looked at the Garmin GPS 18, Holux GR 213 Sirf III and the Delorm earthmate receivers. What are the best of all these as far as baud rates and channels. Also, what would be the best mapping software that will let me record where I go, put notes in, have detailed roads/trails and TOPO.

(I really liked Ironelk's setup but can't remember what he had)

Last edited by EricTodd; 01-29-2007 at 05:39 AM.
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Old 01-29-2007
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bump
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  #8  
Old 01-29-2007
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CF-45 is very nice! Touchscreen makes it even better!

You can download the proper drivers for it if they're not installed from the Panasonic site. I think the url was http://tcc.toughbook.com or http://www.tcc.toughbook.com (if it's still there under that url)

Note: the site is IE specific. Firefox doesn't work right on it.
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Old 01-29-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
CF-45 is very nice! Touchscreen makes it even better!

You can download the proper drivers for it if they're not installed from the Panasonic site. I think the url was http://tcc.toughbook.com or http://www.tcc.toughbook.com (if it's still there under that url)

Note: the site is IE specific. Firefox doesn't work right on it.
thanks once it comes in I'll try that
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  #10  
Old 01-30-2007
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If you already have a laptop, +1 for the DeLorme SA maps, and GPS. The Delorme solution is MUCH cheaper, and has more features than the "HAND HELD" GPS units!!!!
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  #11  
Old 01-30-2007
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I use garmin mapsource. It will do what you want, at least as far as you have mentioned here.
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  #12  
Old 01-30-2007
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Yeah I'm probably going with the Holux GR 213 receiver and the Delorme SA software. And I'm still deciding what sat imaging to go with, it has WiFi so I might go with google earth.
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2007
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Hey guys I have another question. I've been looking at software to use and I really like what Delorme TOPO 6.0 has to offer. Do you think that laptop I get could handle this or should I just stick with SA?
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2007
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Just came across this thread.

As for my setup:
-My notebook is a HP ze4560us, I think it's an AMD Athalon XP 2.4 with a 40 GB hard drive. I upgraded the ram to 1G from 512MB.

-I'm using the DeLorme LT-20 GPS with Street Atlas 2005. It's a USB GPS, but you can download free software for it from DeLorme that will make it appear to your PC that it is actually connected to a serial port and it will conform to the NMEA standards. It's called a "Serial Emulator" program. You use it so that other programs can recognize the GPS as a serial connection. A lot of programs out there will not recognize a USB GPS. This is a good thing though.

For just using Street Atlas alone, you don't need the serial emulator. But if you want to run 2 programs at the same time like I do, it's absolutely great. Normally, if one program is already accessing the GPS, a second program will tell you it's already in use and will not recognize it. But you can configure Street Atlas to find the GPS as a USB device and another program to see it as a serial device and now both programs can access the GPS at the same time.

I use this setup all the time without any issues whatsoever. I almost always will run DeLorme's Street Atlas. Then I'll either Microsoft's Streets and Trips or USA PhotoMaps (Thanx Griggs for letting me know about it). It's really nice being able to run 2 programs at the same time, because you can switch between the DeLorme software, using it for searches, routing, notations, etc, and then switch over to USA Photomaps and have the satellite images marked of exactly where you are and have been.

You can purchase a USB GPS bundled with MS Streets and Trips, but I wouldn't recommend it. I tried it side by side with the DeLorme LT-20 and the MS GPS had issues. While it seemed to be accurate with longitude and latitude, it's altitude reading was absolutely ridiculous with how inaccurate it was. Standing the same location, connected to the same number of satellites, the DeLorme would give a good, steady altitude reading. The MS GPS on the otherhand would vary, literally by hundreds of feet, while standing stationary in the same location. I tried the comparison at various locations and even tried a 2nd MS GPS just in case, but experienced the same results.

I am definitely very happy with the DeLorme software and GPS and highly recommend it. You can find the bundle on line for as cheap as $75.
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  #15  
Old 02-08-2007
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Thanks Jason, I ended up buying the LT-20 bundled with Delorme SA 07. I like it so far and it runs great on the laptop I picked up. It's only a 450mhz 125megs of RAM and a 6 gig HD but it does the job and the whole program is loaded on the HD. I found that for buying the Street Atlas 07 I get $40 worth of credit towards satellite and aerial images of where ever I want and you can use them as an overlay over a regular street atlas and you can still see your track over the satellite or an aerial image. I managed to DL most of Wharton with the $40 they gave me. I can probably share these with you if you are willing to DL 40megs of sat maps. I don't know if they work on 05 so you will have to check.
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