laptops with USB GPS dongle

Hi people

i want a tablet or laptop with GPS functionality for live mapping apps

i know a toughbook works with their built in GPS but its hard to find a late model high spec one for reasonable money.

has anyone used a GPS dongle on other tablets or laptops connected via USB port , and can they do everything that a toughbook can do ?

i want to run software in the field like GISRoam , OziExlorer , ARCGis , Esri plus Google Earth , browsing and email

any opinions on laptops used that way or should i stick with the panasonic toughbook ?

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Reply By: Geoff in SA - Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 15:01

Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 15:01
Hi VV
I have used both USB and Bluetooth GPS units on my lap tops and they all work very well.

Current Bluetooth is a "XGPS150A"
Its a better unit as I can BT it to my Ipad as well as windows based PCs

It has a selector switch to switch between Ipad and Windows Bluetooth formats.

Just go a Google search and you will find a supplier.
Mine cost about $35 on line

Regards

Geoff
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 17:21

Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 17:21
Another vote for the XGPS150...works seamlessly with all (well all mine) devices, and the beauty of it is that you can take it with you hiking etc...as it's pretty small. We use Hema Maps on the iPad - and that seems to be a good combination for me...

I don't know where Geoff got his - cause mine was closer to $90 on line... Feel a bit dopey now!

Here is the user manual so you can see how it works:

http://gps.dualav.com/wp-content/uploads/xgps150_om.pdf

Chris
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Follow Up By: Mike & Anne H - Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 22:40

Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 22:40
Hi....the cheapest I can find is $190! Was yours a new device?
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 08:56

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 08:56
Hi Guys

Yep - it was new...I got mine from these guys...they are about $100 now apparently:

http://www.expansys.com.au/dual-universal-bluetooth-gps-receiver-wirelessly-add-gps-to-your-devices-229394/

Pretty good service too - was delivered in about 2 days....

Chris
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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 15:33

Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 15:33
Just get yourself the GPS mouse that is available in the EO shop. Very inexpensive and work a treat. Plug it in to the USB port on your laptop and then the GPS on the dash.

cheers

Dunc.
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Follow Up By: VroomVroom - Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 16:03

Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 16:03
thanks people

either of those sound good

the choice is paying extra for being without cables or not

which mapping apps and electronic toys do you prefer ?

Oziexplorer and memory maps seem dominant ??

the fun part now is choosing through 5000 laptops to get one that has vehicle docks available , and also a good battery life when used on walking tracks

isnt technology a gem ? where would panadol sales be without it :)

thankyou
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Follow Up By: Member - wicket - Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 16:21

Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 16:21
don't forget that you're going to have to charge the bt unit so you will have an extra cable :(

battery life is pretty ordinary on tablets/laptops so you might be better off with a handheld for your hiking.

suggest you investigate the twonav gear, lots of optionsTwoNav here
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Follow Up By: Ross M - Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 22:04

Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 at 22:04
Android tablets can be used but have to access either the internal GPS built in. or a GPS with Blue TEETH cos the Android operating system doesn't have any drivers for a usb GPS as far as I know. Didn't when I got my 3G ASUS TF 101G. No need for a sim card though.

They are good to use and robust enough in a good bracket.
8" screen is possibly all you will need and easier to place in car.

Buy a spare charging lead so when the original stops working your navigation doesn't stop too.

Cheers
Ross M
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Reply By: Andrew D. - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 05:44

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 05:44
Use Samsung Galaxy 8" tablet for Oziexplorer and Wikicamps. Have tablet mounted in vehicle. Use phone hotspot when need internet connection on laptop or take into the caravan and use Wifi.
No laptop I have come across has good daylight screen for car use. Other issue laptop to bulky in vehicle.
Use eTrek when walking or leaving vehicle.
Not to fussed on Memory Map
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Reply By: Brian 01 - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 07:58

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 07:58
As an aside to this debate.
All information that I have been able to glean from those who claim to know is that no Ipads or Androids have an inbuilt stand alone GPS.
I am told that you must have a connection to a cell tower to be able to use the GPS function.
Is this correct?
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 09:35

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 09:35
Brian,

Have an iPad with Hema map app on it, and worked okay between McKinlay and Winton, where there's no mobile coverage for about 200 km.

Just have to buy the iPad with 3G & WiFi, not the WiFi only one.

Bob.

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Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 09:46

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 09:46
Hi Brian

Bob is 100% right, when I purchased my iPad, I forgot to ask about inbuilt GPS - so got the WiFi only, thinking it had GPS. The only iPad with an inbuilt GPS is the one with the 3G and WiFi...(i.e. with a SIM card). From memory the WiFi only one was about $100 cheaper than the other one - but if you happen to have any portable device (better check the compatibility first with the unit and mapping software) then you can buy a portable Bluetooth GPS unit & mapping software and it all works anyway. Friends of ours took their 3G/WiFi iPad to the Cape with Hema Maps - worked all the way!

Chris
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Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 10:14

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 10:14
Hi All

Is there some misconception that the Ipad has a GPS chip in it??
Answer is NO

It used the 3G system to approximate the position of the device from cell tower/site locations.

Doo a good search on GPS and Ipad and read what is written

Regards

Geoff

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Follow Up By: Brian 01 - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 10:20

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 10:20
From the above replies it appears that you are all getting your GPS signal via 3G which is a cellular telephone network.

How does it work when you are outside cell phone coverage areas?

I get the impression that none of these units employ a stand alone GPS aerial but instead interpret a cell tower positioning signal.

BobY...did it actually track you in those area or did you just have the mapping?
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 10:35

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 10:35
Folks - the iPad 3G-WiFi is GPS enabled. You can use the non-3G one but I believe that is uses the cellar phone network, so is therefore useless without coverage as it approximates your location from the towers. There is quite a useful thread on the Apple forum here:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2769338?start=75&tstart=0

So, in summary, if you buy the Ipad with the 3G-WiFi it is GPS enabled - and you don't need cellular coverage.
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 10:37

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 10:37
Also, please read the entire Apple forum thread...it's quite entertaining and detailed.... :)
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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 10:47

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 10:47
Geoff in SA, that is incorrect. The wiFi only iPad has no GPS . The 3G/4G does have GPS.
Bob
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 17:22

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 17:22
Brian,

It did track us, over about 150km of "test mapping".

As we didn't have any cradle at the time, the iPad was used on the dash, on my lap(the Boss was driving) and in the footwell. The only criticism I had, and this may be to do with the varied positions, was the track "cut a corner" around Kynuna. Otherwise very pleased with the set up, and the maps.

Bit OT Brian, but since I've put a sim card in the iPad, it's even more versatile, internet, emails and even Facetime. Bought a $30/month card, and when it needed recharging, went onto telstra site and got 12 months for $180. Didn't know about this option until it was mentioned here some months back by a visitor/member.

Bob.
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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Sandman - Saturday, Nov 09, 2013 at 08:45

Saturday, Nov 09, 2013 at 08:45
Nexus 7 tablet is great. Found the 10.1" things were too big on the dashboard. Has built in GPS, being flogged off around the place for $150-200 for 1st version of Nexus with 16gb.....You simply dont need any more :-)

Pete
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 01:56

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 01:56
For starters there are no cell towers in australia.
We only have mobile phone towers.
And no
Both I thingos and android gave proper gps if they are so designated
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Reply By: 213 - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 16:23

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 16:23
I'm confused!!! I have a ASUS laptop that I could take in my car. It sounds as if I can buy a GPS receiver 'dongle' connected via a USB port that will give me a signal that will work with moving maps.

The questions are:

1. which is the best dongle;
2. which are the best maps to buy/use

I don't have an Android/Iphone/Ipad etc etc - not interested. I do have a Garmin Etrex that I will continue to use when walking and for finding a particular place that I have pre-loaded into waypoints.

Any views/opinions/answers (that a technological dope like me can understand) would be appreciated.

George
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Follow Up By: VroomVroom - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 16:45

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 16:45
mouse cable GPS dongle is around $ 40

bluetooth wireless GPS dongle $ 140 - no wires but needs more power to operate bluetooth

best maps . lol . still trying to decipher that myself

a laptop will run explorOz and hema maps and memory maps , then you have free google offline maps and god knows what else

ask me after i waste a few hundred $$ on rubbish ones and waste about $ 2000 worth of time to find out ?
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Follow Up By: Member - wicket - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 17:11

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 17:11
213

you already have a dongle.....the etrex !

grab a copy of Oziexplorer from this site load into the laptop plug in the etrex and away you go

for maps grab a copy of the EOTopo from this site load them into Oziexplorer and that's it.
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Follow Up By: 213 - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 17:24

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 17:24
WOW - thanks!

Is EOTopo a better (smaller) scale than the HEMA Great Desert Treks do you know???

Thanks for that

George
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Follow Up By: Member - wicket - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 18:42

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 18:42
I think you'll find most of the hema desert maps are 1:1250000 while eotopo are 1:200000
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 19:15

Friday, Nov 08, 2013 at 19:15
Hi

EoTopo (200K) are larger scale than Hema's maps (variety of scales but most from memory are >750K).

They have different purposes though - smaller scale raster maps (500K plus) are good for getting the big picture (and Hema maps are annotated with lots of useful information for the average traveler)...larger scale maps (25K, 50K, 100K) are better for greater detail (e.g. detailed topography, lower order tracks).

250K/200K is what I'd rate as "middle of the road" so a good start...but depends on your needs and expectations. For most they would be more than adequate. If however you develop a map fetish you will never have enough maps at whatever scale :)

Cheers
Greg

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Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Saturday, Nov 09, 2013 at 10:52

Saturday, Nov 09, 2013 at 10:52
Well done Wicket. Exactly what I would have said. This is precisely the set up I used for some years until I got an iPad, which I don't recommend. The one sole advantage of the iPad is the elegance of no cables everywhere. The biggest problem is that it's not a computer in the usual sense, in that lots of things you can do on a lap top or android tablet are a real hassle on an iPad. And MudMaps, the best of the Apple compatible nav programs is not a patch on OziExplorer.

OziExplorer bleep s all over everything else in terms of its simplicity at the basic use level and it's depth of utility, to be able to export trip data, create your own maps from scans of paper maps you pick up here and there, etc etc. But if does not work on Apple devices.

If you're not sure whether to get EOTopo or Hema maps, get both - they're not expensive and you've just saved money using your eTrex as your dongle.

The ExplorOz shop has all you need.

Good luck with your moving map touring - it changes everything!
Paul B Kalgoorlie

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Follow Up By: 213 - Saturday, Nov 09, 2013 at 10:58

Saturday, Nov 09, 2013 at 10:58
Thanks for those posts - yes - I can see I've been totally unaware of all this very very useful map technology.

I've just connected the Etrex to the ASUS laptop and the laptop found and installed a driver and it connected the Etrex to a COM port automatically. So, it looks as if - with the right S/W - it'll all work.

Thanks again all

George
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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 22:03

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 22:03
Paul B,

Thats not quite right. I have been running the full version of OziExplorer on a Mac Book for years. See the Ozi website if you need help.
You are right in that there is no version of Ozi for iOS devices. However there are plenty of apps (including Mud Map) that enable the use of all the usual maps (Natmaps 1:250,000, Hema, WestPrint, NSW 1:10,000, Vic 1:25,000 etc) on iOS devices.
Not everyone needs the complexity of Ozi.
BTW I find using the iPad a lot less hassle than using an Android device, especially when it comes to loading and using maps. Over many years I have set up all versions of Ozi on Windows laptops, the Mac Book, Win CE on PDAs and pocket PCs , and Androids. The iPad is far and away the easiest to set up.

Bob




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Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 00:16

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 00:16
Thanks Bob, I bow to your greater experience. I guess my hugely jaundiced view on iPads is because of the sheer impossibility of trying to use them as computers. Trying to delete unneeded files for example and freeing up space. Releasing the 9 Gb of "Other" storage, for example. The hours and hours I've wasted trying to do what PC does instantly
Paul B Kalgoorlie

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Follow Up By: VroomVroom - Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013 at 18:30

Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013 at 18:30
Paul B

what apps allow the import and use of other topo maps on Ipad please ?

are the following types achievable ?

thankyou kindly

http://www.resources.nsw.gov.au/geological/mineral-maps-data/150-000-NE/mole-tableland-150-000-geology-and-mineral-occurrences

http://nswtitles.minerals.nsw.gov.au/nswtitles/
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Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 20:04

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 20:04
Sorry, only just seen your post VroomVroom. My answer is none, but I suspect Echucan Bob may have better news for us.

I certainly hope so, because if you can import other types of maps onto mudmaps or memory maps without needing a week of trial and error or a computer engineering degree, I'll be delighted.

Bob, over to you mate.

Cheers
Paul B Kalgoorlie

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 20:21

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 20:21
"BTW I find using the iPad a lot less hassle than using an Android device, especially when it comes to loading and using maps."

Android device - copy maps to sd card/internal memory into relevant folder. What's hard about that and what could be easier? Ipad - requires iTunes on "authorised" computer to sync..maybe iCloud? Either way unlikely to be "easier".

Using maps - depends on program - nothing to do with device, most programs are available on a variety of platforms and operate/load in same manner...no advantage in this respect between Android/Apple.

Cheers
Greg



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