Your Thoughts on Nav Aid

Submitted: Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 15:53
ThreadID: 76045 Views:2578 Replies:6 FollowUps:12
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I have all the gear loaded on to my laptop for mapping and GPS. However the larger lap top is cumbersome when used in the vehicle.

I am thinking of getting a small 10" lap top as it could be mounted easily for mum and me to see.

The other alternative is a programmable GPS unit in which I can store maps and Plt points etc. I just think the GPS is not as flexible as the lat top setup.

What is your experience with these things.

Wayne B
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Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 17:29

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 17:29
I have moved from a laptop with ozi on to a Navman with OziCE and Hema maps and find it great. I used it last week up at Fraser Island for a week and found it very good.
AnswerID: 404328

Reply By: Crackles - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 18:00

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 18:00
Either a 7" Win CE touch screen or GPS enabled mobile phone like a HTC touch are ideal for a compact in car mapping solution. Their resolution & SD memory is now good enough to make them easy to read & able to load every map of Oz you will ever need. The laptop is ideal to carry in the car for planning or backing up routes.

Cheers Craig.............
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 03:37

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 03:37

I like that spot but I have a few reservations. Mainly on rough roads you wouldn't bump it if you hit a rut etc.

Please tell me if you had your drothers how would you improve what you have for some one else. Any problems with averting the eyes so far. Not being destructively critical of yours just thinking aloud.

What's it like operating the screen while moving? Yeah I know - you shouldn't do it but well we . . . . . . . (quietly do it)

We have the fully integrated indash VMS one running OzeCE and am happy with that but we have two sons upgrading their cars and need something more up-to-date.


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Follow Up By: Crackles - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 07:30

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 07:30
Phil in the Wrangler the mounting position above the mirror is fine for headroom & as the window area is small, my eyes dont need to wander too far to find it. Being under the roof there is also minimal screen glare. Opperating the screen is not ideal up high but OK for minor adjustments. As it can be easily removed from it's cradle we find the passenger just pulls it out and does the setup work in their hands then puts it back. I have it in a fixed position at the moment so everyone can see the screen but will refit it with a 'Ram Mount' so it can be angled to the driver.
On my Cruiser it will be mounted on the dash with a screen shade.
An in dash unit would have been good but I have 2 x 4bys to swap between & this works well for just $250 :-)
Cheers Craig................
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 09:47

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 09:47
All good. That was one thing wrong with the indash unit. I had to make a shade for it. The light from the window can be bad. Fine now.

Appreciate the candid and very helpful response.

I will pass the comments on to the sons.

Have a good day

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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 20:12

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 20:12

This is a never ending quest for the "ultimate" product that does all, but unfortunately each one of us has different criteria a I have come to the conclusion that no one device gives the best solution.

I have changed from a laptop, (SWMBO didn't like the intrusion) to a PDA, (best solution for a single device that does all, but a small display), to my current choice, a 5" Hema Navigator which gives me a great solution for OziExplorer and maps for remote area navigation, but an ordinary solution for city navigation and the problem that you cannot run both at once.

So, my solution for voice guided city navigation is a separate Tomtom Go 720 which in my opinion has the best solution for voice guided City navigation and includes ongoing map updates to keep the device accurate and practical.

The Hema Navigator has a practical and compact screen for both visual reference and touch screen interface and as it runs OziExplorer, using the Hema range of maps, gives me a very good moving map reference wherever I travel and records the track plot file and waypoints I add as required.
The voice guided city navigation application (Route 66) is nowhere near as good as Tomtom and as you can't run both OziExplorer and Route 66 at the same time makes this device lacking as a single device solution.

My PDA running OziExplorer (Country travel) and CoPilot (Voice guided city navigation) concurrently, with the ability to switch between both active programs, (using GPSGate) is the closest I found to the ultimate one device solution, with two exceptions.
The PDA is a little too small for my aging eyes to take in the available detail and the CoPilot city navigation application (a really good solution giving almost as good a solution as Tomtom) will apparently not be supported in the future for Australian use.

So, if you are looking for a single device to give you both Country and city Navigation solutions, your idea of a 10" laptop is a practical solution if you can find a practical way of mounting it. Unless you buy a touch screen capable PC however, you will need to use a mouse, or built-in mouse pad, to control the applications. I strongly recommend the addition of Franson GPSGate if you intend running multiple applications as it creates a virtual port for GPS input that can be shared concurrently between active applications.
Unfortunately though, A practical voice guided city navigation solution is becoming harder to find. Both Tomtom (the best) and CoPilot (almost as good) do not or will not provide a standalone application for use on a PC or PDA and my experience with Route 66 so far does not give me the confidence that I would recommend other people to invest in.

When I travel, I start OziExplorer to track my entire journey and as I reach the larger regional cities or towns, I can use Tomtom to give me voice guided directions through the built-up areas, without the need to shut down Ozi and thus lose continuity.

There are other solutions for both types of navigation requirements, such as the Garmin Nuvi device, but I have no practical experience with Garmin and their solution is "proprietary" in that it is only suitable for Garmin devices, unlike OziExplorer which is the "adopted" standard for Country wide moving map navigation and shareable with any device that's runs the OziExplorer application.

Unfortunately, both Tomtom and CoPilot are no longer available in Australia as a "stand alone" application that will run on Windows based devices. This is unfortunate as both provided great solutions for voice guided city navigation.

Route 66 may be OK for people that haven't tried the above two solutions, but is an "average" performer IMHO.

OziExplorer speaks for itself. There is no better solution for a open application to record, track and give moving map display wherever you may be in Australia and uses a wide range of reference maps. NAVMAP Premium and the excellent range of HEMA maps are two that I can recommend.

So, this is my experience with "these things"



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Follow Up By: Member - Wayne B (NSW) - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 20:57

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 20:57
Thank you all for the assistance. and Bill for your first hand experiences.

I had already decided to use my normal Nuvi for city and main road work.

As for Off Road I am thinking my laptop connected to remote 7 or 8" monitor mounded on the dash what are your thoughts on that. The lap top will fit nicely under the seat.

I can get a Touch screen monitor for around $150 or less sounds like that could be all good ???? What do you think.

Wayne B
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 03:44

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 03:44

I wouldn't worry too much about using one unit for both city and country. We only use one. We started using two but with all the stuff we put it in the car it was easier just to have the one unit and swap as required. Only takes a few seconds depending on what base system you have. You certainly do not need both running at once.

Excellent info by the way Bill.

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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:16

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 21:16
Great info Bill. I am currently using an old Toshiba laptop with Ozi and the Natmaps etc hooked up to a Garmin 72 with power cable and separate mouse.

It's great for screen use but is incredibly cluncky and space intrusive; never mind the safety risk in having heavy loose weights in the cockpit.

In your experience, would the Hema N5 give me similar functionality, albeit with the much smaller screen pls?

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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 19:01

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 19:01
Hi John,

Yes, the Hema Navigator would give you similar functionality, but in a more integrated form. No separate GPS, power packs, touch screen, etc.

I find the 5" screen gives good visible reference and if you wish to add a waypoint, you simply press your finger anywhere on the screen and the waypoint will be recorded. The waypoint reference can be edited at a later time to better label what the waypoint represents.

The Hema Navigator comes with a full range of Hema Maps, including the Great Desert Map series, etc.
I also have a spiral bound Hema map book and now the display on the Navigator is the same as the printed map.



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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 20:14

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 20:14
Thks Bill, that's v. useful.

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Reply By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 21:43

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 21:43
Dear Forumites near Perth (Mt Lawley).

I'd love to have a look at the HEMA 5" in operation - is anyone near me that's happy to have me have a shoofty??

AnswerID: 404363

Reply By: Mark B - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 08:23

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 08:23
Hi Wayne,

As you've found, and has been noted above, there's lots of alternatives.

I currently run a GPS PDA setup - ASUS A639 which has a built in GPS patch antenna, running Windows CE. I have OziExplorer on the laptop (which I take to route plan, load photos, video etc.). And OziExplorer CE on the PDA, with the HEMA mapset. This works well for off road travel. Ozi CE and the HEMA maps are loaded on a separate SD card. You can see a photo of the PDA, mounted in a window ram mount, in my profile pictures.

Recently I bought another SD card, and loaded on TomTom with the associated maps of Australia, and can use this for round town navigation. Just swap over the SD cards, and choose the "Tom Tom" app. from the PDA.

Only negative to this, which I can personally live with, is the smaller screen (4.3") compared to other more recent devices such as the HEMA and VMS types.

Good luck with your choice.

Cheers, Mark.
AnswerID: 404384

Reply By: Member - Chris & Debbie (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 11:10

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 11:10
Hi Wayne
I, like you ran a laptop loaded with Ozi but found it too cumbersome. The laptop was then moved to the back seat and connected to am 8" touch screen, I found the touch screen pretty useless for Ozi and now use a bluetooth mouse which works well.
The wife like to keep a running log of sorts of trips we do, so I now run a 10" Dell which sits on a home made mount on her side.
The Dell is run in dual screen mode with Ozi running on the 8" and a word program on its screen. If the Dell in not required in the front it gets moved to the seat cover pocket of the drivers seat and the mount is removed.
It's probably all a bit of an overkill, but I like my gadgets and trying different things.
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Follow Up By: Member - Wayne B (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 23:02

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 23:02
Yes I think this may be the way to go. Remote screen.
I have found most of the main Tracks are on the normal GPD anyway.

A friend and I went into Wallaroo forest for a play the other day and i had my Laptop setup and it worked fine.

What surprised me was his normal GPS had most of the major tracks and their names. It was only when we went down some obscure track did his GPS lose the plot and my ozi setup came into its own.

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Follow Up By: Member - Megan and Kevin D (AC - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 14:17

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 14:17
Hi Chris
Am planning to use our small ACER on our forthcoming trip for OziExplorer but am concerned that the screen glare might be a problem and am wondering if a separate touchscreen, like yours, might be better. Could you advise on this aspect of things and also let me know where you got the touchscreen. If you don't use the touchscreen facility now, would you still buy that screen? If not, what would you get? And also, were there any technical problems using the mouse with the (touch)screen? Would very much appreciate your advice. Have battled to configure my GPS to OziExplorer over a number of weeks, but having achieved it today, am very excited at getting the system set up.
Thanks in anticipation!
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris & Debbie (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 21:31

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 21:31
Hi Megan,
Glare will depend on the type of screen you have, my touch screen has a matt type finish and is not affected much. You can always make a small 'visor' to keep the sunlight off it is a problem.
I just got my touch screen as a cheepie off ebay, came from China I think. I originally thought the touch screen would be good but have found it unusable due to the small buttons and controls in Ozi. I have found it much better to just use a small bluetooth mouse.
No, there is no technical problems with using the mouse with the screen, the only tricky bit can be setting up your display settings to run your screen as an external screen or as a dual display. This will depend on what operating system and video control your laptop has.
If you have trouble working out your gps setting try downloading GpsPortChecker program, which is available on the Oziexplorer site. When you connect your gps and run this program, the setting you need to configure Ozi with are shown.
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Follow Up By: Member - Megan and Kevin D (AC - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 22:21

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 22:21
Thanks very much Chris. Will probably stick with the ACER. Hope to trial it in the car tomorrow.
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