GPs for laptops???? please explain

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 06:55
ThreadID: 75723 Views:2982 Replies:6 FollowUps:6
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Hi Guys
I have a Asus eee 1000h laptop and after reading the posts on the use of laptops as gps units I am still trying to understand how it all works.
At present I have a very old Navman gps in the ute (sure it was last owner was a Mr.Frederick Flintsone of bedrock) and wanting to upgrade soon I am looking at all options.
Since I haven't got a 4wd I just need it for getting around Aus. using it as most of the majority of users do.----So what do I need to turn my little box of tricks into a funtioning Gps unit. Please use non techo jargon and and explain sloooooowly
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Reply By: Willem - Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 06:58

Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 06:58
I asked the same question in 2001 but have forgotten the answer now. I am sure some luminaries will be along shortly :-)

AnswerID: 402416

Reply By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 07:58

Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 07:58
G'day, I'm feeling luminous. You need 2 things to turn a laptop into a gps, hardware and software. The hardware is a gps device that can communicate to the laptop, the cheapest being little $70 units on eBay that talk to the laptop using either a USB cable or Bluetooth. The gps device is a little thing about the size of a matchbox which you sit on the dash so it gets a good signal. Once the hardware is up and running then gps data is coming from the device and streaming into the laptop. To do anything with it you need software which is a computer program. There are programs out there that are laptop versions of the ones that run in gps units but they are a bit pricey eg Copilot. These give turn by turn directions just like a normal gps but on the big laptop screen. Most people using a laptop as gps are not using it in the normal sense. They are using it with software such as Oziexplorer and some version of topographical maps. There are no turn by turn directions this way but you can track your progress in real time on screen.
Using the laptop in the car is awkward and the price of gps units has dropped a lot so using the laptop in this way is less attractive now.

AnswerID: 402418

Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 08:02

Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 08:02
You need a GPS receiver. Usually we just use a mouse type (no screen) that plugs into the USB port.

Then you need software to read the GPS data - Oziexplorer is the main one used around here.

Then you need digital maps to display where you are - Natmap maps covering the whole of Australia are the usual ones used.

Gps $100+
Oziexplorer $100+
Maps $100+

This will give you detailed maps on where you are. This does not give you tyurn by turn street directions.

AnswerID: 402419

Reply By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 08:39

Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 08:39
Also, to run Oziexplorer your laptop needs to be running Microsoft Windows XP, not Linux.
AnswerID: 402421

Follow Up By: Member - lyndon NT - Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 09:07

Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 09:07
I bought ozi about two years ago and am yet to teach myself how to use it. Will it work with vista of 7 ? Have Raster maps, and a Garmin Quest.
Thanks Lyndon
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FollowupID: 671889

Follow Up By: GerryP - Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 09:09

Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 09:09
While you are fundamentally correct in that Linux itself will not run Windows software, however, you can do it by installing emulation software to allow windows programs to work (albeit a tad slower, but certainly very functional). I use a program called WINE which gets Oziexplorer working very nicely with Ubuntu.

FollowupID: 671890

Follow Up By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 09:26

Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 09:26
Yes Ozi runs on Windows7 and Vista.

Gerry, I and other tech heads, like yourself, would not have issues configuring and running Wine but it doesn't sound like the OP could be classed as a guru ;-))
FollowupID: 671893

Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 08:53

Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 08:53
All of the above (if you have windows XP, oziexplorer does not run on Linux) still only gives you a pointer on a map showing where you are. Once you have obtained the maps, some for a price.

Side benefits are:

1. being able to plan a route to get some where if you have time and programmme knowledge of creating a route in the software.

2. recording track where you have been.

If you want to enter a location, and get voice directions there, forget the laptop and get a Tom Tom or similar device. It still shows where you are lost.
AnswerID: 402423

Follow Up By: GerryP - Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 09:25

Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 09:25
Hi Oldplodder,

Very valid points and the reason I prefer using this setup on outback travels. Your average Tom Tom doesn't know half the tracks out there even exist.

I actually spend quite some time pre-planning major trips and OziExplorer allows you to plan the entire trip in detail. Once that is done, it's simply a matter of keeping the arrow on the route line as you're travelling - easy and you know exactly where you are.

Recording where you've been is also very useful. It can not only remind you about where you went, but can be used to show others who might wish to travel, where they can go.

The other thing I find really useful, is that I use the logged track files in conjunction with another piece of software called OziPhotoTool. It uses the track file time and location data to compare with the EXIF header data on all of the digital photos you took during the trip and generates waypoints (linked to the actual photos) to show you where you were when you took the pic. How good is that! I usually take 100s of photos and until I found this program, could never remember where half the pics were taken.

FollowupID: 671892

Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 09:36

Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 09:36
Agree Jerry,

I also find the route planning useful, and I also embed waypoints for major towns.

Like you, I like the less beaten tracks, and these tracks and other detail are not shown on the average point and shoot GPS, hence oziexplorer.

But if Humff does not have a 4wd, the bitumen and good dirt roads most likely to be used will be on a point and shoot GPS like a Navman or Tom Tom.
And he will get points of interest most probably included.

Noticed quite a few people these days run both. :o)
FollowupID: 671896

Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 21:00

Wednesday, Feb 03, 2010 at 21:00
I note some of the replies above that refer to Windows 7 and Vista.

Unless you had a gun held to your head, why on earth would you run such an OS?

A stable version of XP is all you need.

If you want eye candy and functionality, Ozi doesn't run on it.
AnswerID: 402511

Follow Up By: Member - Wayne B (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 04, 2010 at 00:16

Thursday, Feb 04, 2010 at 00:16
Could not agree more. I am so sorry I went to Vista. Now have Windows 7.

Windows 7 and Ozexplorer are not 100% compatible and locating the maps from file can give some problems with Natmap topo maps. You cant do a full install of Nat map on Windows 7 and have to do a typical install first then load the maps later, Ozi then has trouble locating these maps. PITA.
FollowupID: 672021

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