Satellite navigation on the cheap - CMark {P}
Much use was made on my recent trip through Europe of my old hand-held Garmin GPS which I had connected up to my laptop for the first time running the new improved Garmin MapSource software (that now often comes bundled with their new units).

My Garmin software [1] gave me route planning, very detailed maps with street names, plus a huge database of fuel stations, food and lodging and loads of other stuff. When connected to my GPS I could get a tracking facility showing my real time location on the laptop screen, which was handy when driving in a large foreign city.

But if you do not already own a hand-held GPS navigator you can now buy a smart antenna (sometimes called a GPS mouse) starting at £80 which plugs into your laptop. The best (and best selling) routing software appears to be Infomap Navigator which is £50 for Europe (16 countries). This software will give you turn-by-turn voice instructions as you drive, as well as other powerful features.

There are also many relatively inexpensive solutions for those with PDAs. Or at the other end of the portable [2] scale is the new Garmin StreetPilot 2610 with touch screen and remote control which retails at £980.

Only a couple of people in the BR have ever mentioned using portable GPS for in-car navigation. Does anyone else in here use a laptop or a PDA for this?

Interesting websites: GPS warehouse www.gpsw.co.uk and
www.pocketgps.co.uk and www.garmin.com

[1] European City Select version 4.00 database with MapSource software upgraded to version 5.3 by free internet download.
[2] portable meaning being able to move it from car to car.
Satellite navigation on the cheap - pdc {P}
I use a Palm m505 with a Navman clip on GPS
Satellite navigation on the cheap - No Do$h
iPaq 5970 with Kane Car Gear.

Not sure I would want a laptop screen wedged on top of my dashboard!
Satellite navigation on the cheap - Phil I
'laptop wedged on dash for no dosh'

with digicam mounted below scuttle to see stones coming for the radiator maybe? :-)
Satellite navigation on the cheap - Nsar
If you want all the benefit of sat nav at much lower cost, buy a map and/or go to the the AA euro route planner on its site.
Satellite navigation on the cheap - No Do$h
If you want all the benefit of sat nav at much
lower cost, buy a map and/or go to the the AA
euro route planner on its site.


What is this, the Viz handy hints page?

Why go to all the bother and expense of maps? Simply pull over every time you see a pedestrian and ask directions.

Oh, and thank you for that thought Phil. I can just see the conversation with the police:

"Evening sir, would you mind telling me why you were staring intently at your laptop whilst swerving all over the road?"

"Er, I'm avoiding the stones, officer "
Satellite navigation on the cheap - Nsar
Just trying to offer a bit of common sense, sorry if I have got you upset. Sat nav just seems to be utterly pointless when the tool to do the job already exists at much lower cost - a bit like NASA spending millions developing a biro that wrote in space, when the Russians took pencils!
I can't claim I've never take the wrong exit off the autoroute, but it's not exactly the end of the world and I'd rather be engaged with my driving than passive, letting the gizmos do the thinking for me.
But thank you for the Viz reference, it brought back happy memories
Satellite navigation on the cheap - Mark (RLBS)
I have SatNav and its connected to traffic master. Absolutely brilliant, I hate it when I'm driving a different car.
Satellite navigation on the cheap - No Do$h
I should have put a TIC smiley on there Nsar. No rant intended.
Satellite navigation on the cheap - pdc {P}
Ah, but does your A2Z warn you of greed cameras?
Laptops in cars - CMark {P}
Hi guys, yes, the sheer size of a laptop presents an issue. We needed it mostly when navigating around in cities, and in remote forests and for quickly finding nearby accommodation. The laptop was being used by the front seat passenger on his lap and then was put away behind the seat when not required.

However, the laptop's large screen size is a delight when reading maps and the sizeable hard disc means that all the map data [1] could be stored on the c:\ drive.

I have seen that some people who use PC based GPS navigation in their off-road vehicles have built a simple de-mountable platform over the centre console. An alternative solution has been built by a friend here in the off-road club. He has taken apart an old laptop for this purpose, mounted the now flat screen in front of his centre dash panel like a giant mobile phone and stashed the rest of the laptop under his seat for the occasional keyboard input. It works well for him [2].

One of the other issues for the latest high powered laptops is the lack of 12v in-car power leads. This is due to the latest processor chips requiring too much power. The solution aparently is to run a 12v DC to 240v AC inverter and use the standard AC adapter. However, a decent inverter suitable for a laptop is around £80 AFAIK. Can anybody confirm this?

[1] 2 CDs to cover Europe and 1 CD to cover the world (in far less detail, and without the so-called POIs - points of interest - fuel stations, accomodation etc.)

[2] His car? A top of the range 2001 model Mitsubishi Pajero (Shogun).
Laptops in cars - pdc {P}
Our righteous American leaders want to be given control over the accuracy of the European Galilleo GPS system that is due to go online in a few years time.

www.theregister.co.uk/content/64/34272.html
Satellite navigation on the cheap - PB
I use TomTom software with a GPS antenna on my Dell PDA. Works very well when navigating to (or home from) a particular unfamiliar address. Touch screen and voice if you want it, the UK map is about 100Mb so easily fits on a 256Mb memory card.

A 300W 12V/240V inverter is about £30 from Maplin if you want to drive a laptop.
PB.
Satellite navigation on the cheap - Big Vern
But if you do not already own a hand-held GPS navigator
you can now buy a smart antenna (sometimes called a GPS
mouse) starting at £80 which plugs into your laptop. The best
(and best selling) routing software appears to be Infomap Navigator which
is £50 for Europe (16 countries). This software will give you
turn-by-turn voice instructions as you drive, as well as other powerful
features.


I have had tried the infomap navigator on a laptop, but was not that impressed. I am looking for a better solution. However until I find it I am going to perservere with Infomap

I am going to buy a PDA and notice that the Infomap software has an export to PDA function. In order to use this do I need some infomap software on my PDA to read these files exported from the laptop?
Satellite navigation on the cheap - Altea Ego
I use a palm 111c and a navman GPS350 sleve. The whole cost was 55 quid off ebay. Now that is cheap.

The GPS mice for laptops are now down to about 50 quid and best coupled with MS autoroute 2004. I didnt go this route due to the agro of trying to use a laptop in the car.

12v to 240 volt inverters are now down to about 40 quid (for the lower power ones - adequate for laptops tho)
Satellite navigation on the cheap - CMark {P}
Thanks for all your replies.

Nsar: One would have needed a box full of atlases and A to Zs in the car to replace the maps we have used on the laptop. However for the most part on our trip we did use good ring-bound road atlases.

An internet based route planning service is a fine tool before you set off but not so handy en route. ;-)

Apart from the ease and speed, I would say that a good, voice prompted GPS system is also a far safer way of navigating an unfamiliar route when driving solo than using conventional methods.

I have shelves full of maps and atlases and even an 8-foot high road map of Africa on the wall behind me. I am a big fan of Michelin cartography (only Ordinance Survey is better IMO). On their detailed maps covering much of Western Europe they have a neat (and I think little-known) system linking their maps to their Red Guides: if the placename on the map is underlined in red then it is listed in the Guide. So one could usefully look up nearby food and lodging whilst on the road.

PB and Renault Family: I understand that cheap in-car inverters do not produce the pure sine wave AC output that is necessary for laptops and I have been told to stay well clear by a reputable computer vendor.

RF: where can you find GPS mice for £50? and was your PDA new from eBay?

Big Vern (or should I say ... Uncle Monty ?!?) What was it about InfoMap Navigator that did not impress? What else are you comparing it to and what else have you tried? Please let me know. For your other question, try the GPS specific forums on www.pocketgps.co.uk
Satellite navigation on the cheap - Big Vern
Big Vern (or should I say ... Uncle Monty ?!?) What
was it about InfoMap Navigator that did not impress? What else
are you comparing it to and what else have you tried?
Please let me know. For your other question, try the GPS
specific forums on www.pocketgps.co.uk


The first 'route' I got it to plan was from Belfsat in the mid east of N.Ireland to Londonderry/Derry city in the North West of N.Ireland. It suggested for the shortest/fastest/cheapest route that I head South all the way down to Co.Monagahn and come up through Co.Donegal. Adding about 200 miles to my journey. This coupled with the fact that it did not seem to support my Fortuna GPS mouse with a PS/2 connector. I had to make a harness up to convert it to a DB9 RS232 connector. Since then I have not bothered too much with it.
 

Value my car