PDA with GPS

Submitted: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 22:28
ThreadID: 57615 Views:2113 Replies:9 FollowUps:12
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First of all please accept my apologies for not properly searching the archives (I tried but can't find a quick answer)..

I'm about to start owner/building a house (Brave or stupid? I'll let you know down the track) and was thinking of digging out an old laptop and buying an inverter to keep in the car for all the onsite record keeping/data management but I'm starting to think I could kill two birds with one stone by buying a PDA/Palm Pilot-thingy that could also double up as a sat-nav/GPS unit...

I am a GPS-virgin so please be gentle here...

Can someone recommend a unit that doesnt cost a squillion dollars that would handle both tasks with aplomb? I would like to be able to run topo maps as well as the regular maps and voice guidance that come with a Navman/TomTom etc and would also be keen to have BLuetooth so I could have handsfree mobile...

Thanks in advance for any tips

CHeers and beers

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Reply By: Member - Tim - Stratford (VIC) - Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 23:05

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 23:05
Jeez Rich - you know how to open a can of worms! You've just started another Toyota/Nissan debate :-)

The choice is really yours. Most newer style PDA's with a bluetooth function will do what you want. Just check a few sites ie Oziexplorer and a voice navigation site to make sure the make/model you choose is compatible.

I got a second-hand Dell X51v Axim from ebay - there's a lot of PDA's being sold due to a lot of people going over to Blackberry/Phone-PDA's etc.

I run Ozi with Natmaps and Rooftop maps on my PDA. I have recently scanned and calibrated more maps to use which work very well in Ozi.

As far as voice-navigation goes. I also use Destinator 6 - I had to get an upgrade as the first version had a few glitches - but a phone call later and a disc arrived in the mail at no cost.

As I said - the choice is yours - there is heaps to choose from.

Good luck!

AnswerID: 303856

Follow Up By: Member - Richard K (NSW) - Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 23:44

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 23:44
Cheers for the reply Tim

Some dumb questions if you have the time to reply:

Voice navigation site? Please explain....
Scanning and calibrating maps? I assume you dont mean running a paper map thru a computer scanner....
Destinator-6 - Is this a program on a disc trhat I load onto the PDA?

Like I said - I'm a virgin at this...

FollowupID: 569963

Follow Up By: Richard W (NSW) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 09:50

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 09:50

I also ran a Dell X51v Axim PDA for a few years with a Globalsat BT338 GPS reciever. The PDA started overheating and going to sleep intil it cooled down.
Worked well in it's early days firstly with Navman replaced by Tomtom together with Oziexplorer and GPSGate to run both applications together.

Replaced it with a laptop as the eyes aren't what they used to be.

Have fun.
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Follow Up By: Member - Tim - Stratford (VIC) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 16:37

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 16:37

There's probably a few answers below by now - by a navigation site I mean a web site for either Destinator, Tom Tom, etc - they normally specify what PDAs will work with their software - they'll also nominate what operating system work too. The operating system is similar to XP or Vista on your desktop. The newer PDA's now run Windows Mobile 6. I think some brands use a different system a bit like Apple Macs.

With Ozi you can scan paper maps through you computer scanner creating a digital file. Once you have this file you can calibrate it and then load it to the PDA to use. It's a bit more complex than this but I managed to fumble my way through it. Rather satisfying looking at a map you had a hand in creating!

Destinator 6 is voice guidance software. It comes on CD and you load this to your computer. You then attach your PDA (called sync'ing) and load the software through the computer to your PDA. Someone below did mention that some Bluetooth GPS' can be a bit 'fiddly' to load. I've had a few problems which ended with a hard reset (like formatting a hard drive) and then I upgraded the internal ROM. This fixed all problems and I haven't looked back. There's pro's and con's for an inbuilt GPS in a PDA.

Again, good luck!

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Reply By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 23:41

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 23:41

Try this one

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Follow Up By: Member - Richard K (NSW) - Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 23:46

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 23:46
Ta for that Doug - will give it a good looking at over the next day or 2

FollowupID: 569964

Reply By: Skippy In The GU - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 06:55

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 06:55
How about a ipac 112 PDA, and then buy a sirf111bluetooth GPSr, you can run Tom Tom and Ozi, surf the net, use it to record your notes, store many HTML files.
When not using the PDA you can use the Blue tooth receiver on the laptop
AnswerID: 303870

Follow Up By: Member - Richard K (NSW) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 07:07

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 07:07
Skippy - how does the sirf connect to the ipaq - Bluetooth? WIll this setup allow me to run the phone as a handsfree? (audio thru FM radio perhaps - or is that wishful thinking?)

Thanks for the suggestion - prices on ebay look good!

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Follow Up By: Skippy In The GU - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 07:13

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 07:13
1 : Yes Bluetooth

2 : No sorry rich it won't work thru the FM, you will need the Nuvi, Tom tom type GPSr but then you won't have all the other features,

Your better off using a Blue ant receiver for your Phone
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Follow Up By: Member - Richard K (NSW) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 07:21

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 07:21
Re point 2 - are you saying thats the GPSr I need for what you originally recommended? What other features are you referring to?
I might have to go for the Blue Ant, was just trying to minimise the gadgets in the car..

Cheers again
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Follow Up By: Skippy In The GU - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 07:35

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 07:35
The features i use a lot on the PDA are, Calender, Voice recording, I store all my Geocaching notes on the PDA, view HTML files , set appointments.
I can surf the net when at home or driving past a wifi hotspot, many Libraries have these now, view photo's , listen to music

The Road Nav units can view photos and play music but I prefer to use my Car Cd player and see the photos on the big screen

The Nuvi's and tom tom Units won't run Ozi
FollowupID: 569980

Reply By: Grungle - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 07:51

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 07:51
Hi Rich,

I have had several PDA's over the years that I have used as phone & navigation. The cheapest way to go would be to buy a secondhand O2 XDA II or similar from ebay and carkit/PDA holder from same or Expansys and setup in the car with either a bluetooth GPS or serial GPS mouse. This is what I currently run in the patrol.


There is a wide range of programs you can buy (or download a trial and if happy buy the licence) but the most popular mapping one is OziExplorer and most popular street navigator is Destinator for PDA's. With Ozi you will need maps to load onto a sizable memory card and the best would be the Auslig and Hema range but you could load any map once it has been callibrated and converted - all of which you can do once you get started. Destinator has had a few releases over the years but the maps are pretty good and continually updated to include new streets and changes to roads and traffic rules. I haven't used any others as I have found Destinator great.

What I have also done is when it came time to upgrade all our work phones to Next G, I got 10 x Imate JasJam PDA's for free on a 24 month contract. We are in Telecommunications so navigating to remote repeaters is a requirement and I wanted to kill 2 birds with one stone ie have phone contact through Next G as well as navigation via installed programs and maps through a bluetooth GPS connection. You can also get a good carkit for the JasJam in the form of a Bury kit.

Even though I still have the O2 XDA II in the Patrol as a permanent navigation tool, I carry the Imate JasJam and Qstarz bluetooth GPS with me for both work and pleasure. The Qstarz GPS is the size of a matchbox and is a 32 channel, 32 Hours of use SIRF GPS that has worked exceptionally well. Works well through the windscreen of the car as well as carrying around in shirt pocket. The JasJam has proved to be a reliable device but the screen is a bit on the small side for navigation - saying that however, placement is the key and you can always zoom.

Anyway, thats what I run and have never had a problem. As others have said there is a lot of devices out there so it is a matter of reading reviews and deciding on what you want the device to do.

Before you decide on anything though, I would suggest you make sure the device can handle the program you intend on running (ie newer versions of destinator will not run on older devices because it checks processor type first before running) and you can get a good solid mount or carkit for the PDA to either hold, charge, talk or interface a GPS through - depending on your requirements.

AnswerID: 303874

Follow Up By: Member - Richard K (NSW) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 09:29

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 09:29
Great info and advice - thanks David
FollowupID: 569996

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 09:45

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 09:45

If you are not "familiar" with PDA/GPS hardware, I would strongly recommend you buy a PDA with a built-in GPS unit.

Configuring a GPS to link to the PDA via bluetooth is not as straightforward as you may think.

Apart from that, Oziexplorer and NAPMAP Premium will give you moving map functionality throughout Australia and Navigator 6 (TomTom) or CoPilot 6 will give you voice guidance in the cities.

You comments re record keeping/data management conjures up an interesting vision. Entry via the PDA is via an on screen keyboard and is not that quick to perform.

Maybe you would be better off with that Laptop, which can still run all the other navigation software and a bluetooth GPS is much more user friendly than a PDA link. (at least with my Dell axim PDA)


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AnswerID: 303892

Reply By: Member - Willie , Sydney. - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 10:20

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 10:20
If your eyesight is not perfect , a PDA screen is too small . Also it gives you only a very small part of the map so you have trouble seeing enough of any map to give you an idea of where you sit within a larger area .
Willie .
AnswerID: 303898

Reply By: Member - Richard K (NSW) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 18:00

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 18:00
Thanks for all the info and suggestions - there were some amazingly well thought out and prepared replies that will help a lot more people than just me. I'm going to have to mull over all the options and I may end up sticking with a laptop for the house project and wait for Santa to bring me a GPS... but we'll see!!

Cheers and beers

AnswerID: 303967

Reply By: Member - Tom V (WA) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 18:23

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 18:23
I have a PDA, pocket pc with gps running navman. given to me with a new jeep i brought several years ago.
a couple of months ago the software disappeared & i got a new magellan.
the navman maps are on a sd card.
as the pocket pc is just sitting here u are welcome to it, if u want.
u will have to ask the boys out there what software & maps u can load into it. let me know.
cheers Tom
AnswerID: 303972

Follow Up By: Member - Richard K (NSW) - Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 23:02

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 23:02
Now there's an offer!
email is richardkenna1 at optusnet dot com dot au or you can send me a member message and I can organise exactly how I might take you up on this generous offer?
Muchos gracias
FollowupID: 570126

Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Friday, May 16, 2008 at 07:45

Friday, May 16, 2008 at 07:45

Look at the HP 312. It is not expensive and will run OziExplorer CE as well as the street mapping software that it comes with.

Has bluetooth for handsfree mobile.

Will play MP3s and DIVX.

There is a trick to getting OziExplorer on it but it is not too difficult.

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Follow Up By: Member - Richard K (NSW) - Friday, May 16, 2008 at 16:03

Friday, May 16, 2008 at 16:03
Thanks for the recommendation - does this have Word/Excel etc? Thats what I mainly want for the house building project, with GPS as an added bonus..

Looks like I have had the problem solved at this stage, so thanks anyway!

FollowupID: 570231

Follow Up By: Kumunara (NT) - Friday, May 16, 2008 at 20:44

Friday, May 16, 2008 at 20:44

No the previous model had word, excel, etc but the new 312 does not. That is why it is so reasonably priced.

I do not require those programs as I usually have a lap top with me when I travel. If I am travelling at work I always have the lap top.

The places I go for work don't exist on Tom Tom and similar programs. Hence the need for oziexplorer.

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