What GPS system shoudl we use?

Submitted: Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 11:15
ThreadID: 13207 Views:2055 Replies:4 FollowUps:10
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Just checking to see who has an opinion on what GPS set up we should use/buy and why? Intended travel is for 6 months around Australia, on our own in a 2 year old Toyota LC staying off the beaten track (sealed roads) as much as possible. Is a standard GPS and maps acceptable? Hopefully we will have a lap top with us but I'd prefer not to have it connected to the GPS while we are moving. Thanks.
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Reply By: Member - Bob - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 11:19

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 11:19
once you have had moving map display its hard to go back to the paper maps. A Magellan 315 or better will plug into the serial port of your laptop. Use the Auslig 1:250,000 series (available from the Shop on this site) and OziExplorer software. A lot has been said on previous posts - try the search tool.
If you don't like the idea of a laptop on your lap, try and external display- see my second photo for how it looks in real life.
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Follow Up By: Alan S - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 11:24

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 11:24
Thanks Bob, I guess it all depends on how much money I want to spend, I have used the search tool and have read many many conflicting reports so I am still undecided. Whats the approximate damage on an external screen?
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Follow Up By: Member - Bob - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 11:33

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 11:33
you can get smaller ones for a couple of hundred, but I use a standard 15" which I paid $540 over a year ago. I think thay are about $400 now. Its best to get one that can run on 12V rather than need an inverter.
One of the big advantages of the dash mounted screen is that everyone in the car can see it and it adds an extra dimension to your travel to be able to see the mapped features as you approach them.
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Follow Up By: GaryW - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 13:46

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 13:46

So you are using a laptop still with an external display? What a the spec on the laptop.

BTW I have quote on a GPS Antenna for laptop and/or PDA for $175 a fair bit cheaper than a hand held GPS unit if you already have a laptop or PDA. (albeit not as portable)

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Follow Up By: Member - Bob - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 14:47

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 14:47
the laptop is a 700MHz Toshiba with DVD drive. It works more than adequately. In fact, I experimented with an old 333MHz machine running off the inverter and it performed perfectly well too. It seems that running OziExplorer and refreshing map images isn't that processor intensive.
The advantage of the DVD player is that kids can watch a movie on the long boring stretches.
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Follow Up By: Richard - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 21:43

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 21:43

I gather from your comments that the 315 will provide a live GPS input to the laptop to run an Oziexplorer moving map?
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Follow Up By: Member - Bob - Friday, May 28, 2004 at 11:26

Friday, May 28, 2004 at 11:26
yes. There are contacts on the back of the unit. The data cable attaches to the unit, plugs into the serial port, and can be used by various programmes to provide real time mapping. Such programmes are OziExplorer, or Magellan's DiscoverAus.
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Reply By: Member - Murray C (VIC) - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 14:33

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 14:33
G'day Alan, I bought a USP GPS on Ebay for about $A100 delivered. After some fiddling(search my earlier post on the subject GPS mouse) in setting up etc. it works just fine. It is not as portable as a hand held gps but if you overcome your reasons not to have your laptop running in the car, it works beautifully with Oziexplorer and will be cheaper than having to buy a hand held gps.
Regards, Murray
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Follow Up By: Alan S - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 16:34

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 16:34
Thanks for that. I am just not sure what to do with the lap top or where to put it (no rude responses please!), maybe I'll search the forum to see how others have installed them. I don't think my better half will appreciate holding the lap top for hours at a time. My original idea was to download relevant sections of the map to a small GPS screen when ever it was necessary but I can see many new ideas being hatched now. Can you explain your set up to me? Thanks.
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Follow Up By: Member - Murray C (VIC) - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 17:35

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 17:35
Alan, I am still to finalise my in car set up, but in terms of the physical installation I have made up a tray that hangs from the passenger panic handle, propped back to the glove box, this is adjustable as to height & angle.
The laptop is secured to the tray by a hi-tech Australia Post rubber band and I am working on a shield to keep the sun off the screen.
The usp gps sits on top of the dash, secured by magnetic base, and connects to side usp port in laptop.
The navigator does not have a hot laptop warming her legs, unless she wants to, and can move in & out of the seat without upsetting the laptop or usp gps.
I have seen on this and other forums, reference to commercially made brackets and stands for laptops etc. Others may recall the names of these units or a search of the archive here might bring them up.
There has also been plenty of reference on this site and others about in car pc systems, some of which incorporate touch screens. Worth a look at.
Good luck, Murray
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Reply By: BrianB - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 16:31

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 16:31
Hey Alan,

I can only talk from personal experience as I have a GPS adapter rigged to my PDA and it is not brilliant. I really think as far as using PDA's for this role, they are not rugged enough. A couple of friends have had problems with PDA's suffering from dust, vibration etc in the bush.

Hope that helps a bit.


AnswerID: 60461

Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 18:05

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 18:05
Only prob I have with the pda is screen size.
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Follow Up By: Greg Harewood - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 23:28

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 23:28
Would have to say based on personal experience that a PDA is a tad more rugged than a Laptop...smaller, lighter and no moving parts..though keep in mind that PDA's and Laptops both require a considerable more respect than a GPS, as in standard form they are not designed for outdoor use.

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Reply By: Crackles - Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 18:06

Thursday, May 27, 2004 at 18:06
Alan. As you shouldn't rely solely on a GPS / computer mapping system you will need to have a paper map & compass anyway so the question arises how much technology do you really need? For cross country desert driving these set ups are brilliant allowing you to follow your route exactly but for general track driving a plain map & paying attention to your speedo will allow you to navigate safely for a fraction of the cost. Adding a simple handheld GPS will confirm your location on the map, give ETA & program simple routes. For general touring I find this is more than enough. The legalities & safety of mounting a laptop or screen on the dash have put me off fitting one at present but you can only be impressed after seeing real time moving maps in action. Cheers Craig.................
AnswerID: 60475

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