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Can my laptop receive GPS data from my phone?
Wiz-Nerd
Hello Everyone,

It looks like y'all have some very knowledgeable folks hanging around here. Maybe someone has experience with what I am trying to do.

After deciding it was time to get a gps and starting to research what is best it occurred to me that I already had the two components (simplified) necessary... a gps in my phone and a laptop. So began the quest to try to use the gps on my cell phone with the laptop. True, I could use my phone gps, but it would mean adding a data plan (20.00) and TeleNav (10.00) /month. That seems a bit steep to me.

To date I can access my phone via bluetooth and usb cord, have tried Windows & Toshiba bluetooth stacks, set com ports, etc to no avail. Each time I run gpsgate it does not "see" the gps on the phone. Inside the phone are some options for the gps, but none that specifically lets me allow it to use nmea.

Bottom line is that I am outta my league here. Googling has not found a solution, but one or two other's that have had the same idea looking for answers. There has got to be a way to hack the blackberry 8310...

Or maybe not.

Has anyone here tried to do this? Is it technically doable? Or should I just give in and buy the stuff? If so, what is the overall recommendation for hardware?

Thanks in advance!
Ken in Regina
Hi Rhonda,

That's a tough question. I expect you've checked much more thoroughly than I could, but have you looked at Google Mobile Maps For Your Phone? It might be possible to sideload the maps you need onto your phone rather than having to use them interactively through a data connection.

I haven't been able to find a way to do a realtime NMEA connection to the PC but I've only been looking for five minutes. If I stumble across anything I'll let you know.

...ken...
Marvin Hlavac
Rhonda, another alternative, if you want to use your laptop for navigation, is to buy just an inexpensive laptop GPS receiver. A USB one, such as GlobalSat BU-353, costs only about $35 these days (and it is very good), and Bluetooth ones are not much more expensive than that.
Ken in Regina
Okay, everything I've checked makes it seem like there's no way to get the GPS data out of your 8310 in realtime. I did find one application that will dump it to the memory card on a timed interval and then you can use the data on the PC after the fact. I think that's probably not what you're interested in. ??

(EDIT: in case you are interested, here's a link.)

To help you better with suggestions of what to buy (or acquire for free) for your navigation needs, could you share with us what sorts of things you imagine you would like to be able to do?

Some people want really strong trip planning and research. There are applications like MS Streets&Trips and DeLorme Street Atlas that do that really well. They both have versions that are bundled with a good quality USB GPS receiver. And they're both dirt cheap, especially if you catch a sale at one of the big box stores or online retailers.

But I prefer to just use Google or any other search engine (Yahoo!, Ask!, etc.) in combination with their associated online map services (Google Maps, Mapquest, Yahoo! Maps, etc.). You have access to so much more, and current, information that way.

If your interest is mainly in the realtime navigation functions, there are a number of good programs available. Most have forums sections on here, with a review in varying degrees of detail to give you an idea what they will do.

How important is it to have maps of various parts of the world? Topo maps? Free maps? Regularly available map updates of a particular part of the world? The ability to update your own maps?

Give us more detail about what your GPS/navigation/planning dreams are and we can help you a lot better.

...ken...
Wiz-Nerd
Ken & Marvin,

Thank you for the input! I still believe that a hack could be done on the phone; I am just not savvy enough for the job so going with buying the equipment seems the best way. That is such a shame, though, all this redundant equipment/technology, but it does give us good reasons to buy MORE GADGETS! haha!

I did put a program in my phone called TrekBuddy that works with the gps, but I don't know how to route with it or maybe you can't route with it. Each map is only for one city. I tried to bring in the State of GA and that was too funny.

Ken, my dream would be to own an RV (psychedelic micro-mini van on steroids) and travel the U.S. stopping at a different Best Buy parking lot every week or two so I can meet the people, fix their computers and see America.

In reality I do in home and small office computer services here in my area. It would be nice to get in the car and have turn-by-turn directions to all my appointments that day. No more getting lost! Since I carry a laptop anyway it made sense to use it as a navigation system (unless y'all advise me it would be a pain removing it at each stop - I really have no experience in gps). Currently I get up and print my calendar, mapquest each stop and go. Many times the map is not accurate enough and I end up lost. It takes time to do a wide view then zoom down to the small area around to get each pecadilio that is missed on a wider view.

The area I am in is north of Atlanta GA. I rarely go downtown, but do some work up in the foothills. The roads up there (and to a degree here in the 'burbs) are twisting and have multiple names, not to mention numerous forks. Traffic here is a nightmare (not a joke - Atlanta has the second worse traffic in the U.S.) so getting around bad spots would be nice.

It seems Garmin is all over the place, but there are usually lesser know better equipment that the folks in that area of expertise know about. Does each receiver work only with the maps/software that comes with it? Is there a better receiver that works with a better map?

This whole GPS stuff seems so interesting and I can see me using it in many different ways (geocaching looks fun), but it will take time to sift through the information and I would like to start the new year out with the basics to fit my business needs.
Wiz-Nerd
Forgot to add that I really like the pictures y'all post of the inside of your vehicles. My only experience with that is "war drivers" and I work with some of the local police departments to educate folks on what to look for in their neighborhoods. I caught one a year ago in my cul de sac hacking away, but have to admit the setup inside his suv was fabulous... made me a little envious.

It never dawned on me until starting this that there are good folks doing this for fun!
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiz-Nerd
... Ken, my dream would be to own an RV (psychedelic micro-mini van on steroids) and travel the U.S. stopping at a different Best Buy parking lot every week or two so I can meet the people, fix their computers and see America.
Ah, now there's a dream I could participate in.

Quote:
In reality I do in home and small office computer services here in my area. It would be nice to get in the car and have turn-by-turn directions to all my appointments that day. No more getting lost!
That's not unreasonable. If the maps are good enough, probably the simplest and cheapest would be MS Streets&Trips 2009.

It's the full unlimited version with no restrictions except it dies after 60 days if you don't buy it. You won't be able to do anything with the navigation functions without a GPS but it will allow you to look at the maps in detail for the areas that give you the most heartburn and see if they'll get the job done for you.

Another reason to look at the maps in S&T 2009 is that they are from the same map data supplier as Garmin's North America street maps. So if the S&T maps don't get it done, it's highly unlikely that Garmin's will either.

If the maps look good in S&T 2009 and it feels like you can get along with its interface without throwing a hissy fit when you try to set up one or two of your routes you'll have a choice to make about how to proceed.

Choice 1: Dump the trial version and look for a good price on the bundled version with the USB GPS. That way you're good to go with software, maps and GPS all in one cheap bundle.

Choice 2: Buy the trial version and buy a nice Bluetooth GPS, like the GlobalSat BU-353 or a dual-mode (USB or Bluetooth) like the i.Trek M7. These give you the option to place the receiver and laptop in the optimum position for each without any consideration for the length and routing of a USB cable.

This gets you going easily and cheaply with one of the better planning packages and nav capabilities that work well.

(Just so you know I don't make this recommendation lightly, I'm an unrepentant and unapologetic Garmin fanboy. What I really want to recommend is that you use the trial version of S&T 2009 to see if the maps are good for your area, then go get yourself a bundled version of Garmin's Mobile PC with their beautiful Bluetooth GPS10x receiver. C'mon over to the Garmin section and we can talk... )

Quote:
This whole GPS stuff seems so interesting and I can see me using it in many different ways (geocaching looks fun), but it will take time to sift through the information and I would like to start the new year out with the basics to fit my business needs.
I recommend the trial version of S&T 2009 only as a starting point. It will let you ease into the technology with something that is relatively painless to buy and to learn the basics that will give you immediate business value. It will also give you a baseline for those things you would like better or different, that it does poorly or not at all.

One of the things you will quickly discover is that a laptop is, in most respects, a great planning tool but a lousy navigation device. When you are ready to look at geocaching (or mountain biking/hiking in the boonies, etc.) you'll begin to discover a very different way of viewing the technology.

If you determine that the maps in S&T 2009 are sufficient to make you want to connect a GPS receiver to your laptop and give it a go, you will come smack up against the question of where to put it so it's actually usable. That's one reason I suggest an option of using a Bluetooth receiver rather than a USB receiver. It's enough of a headache trying to figure where to put the laptop for navigation use without dealing with the USB cable and the limits it puts on where the receiver can be placed.

Quote:
It never dawned on me until starting this that there are good folks doing this for fun!
As with most things that get abused, there are w-a-y more folks doing it legitimately than the tiny few abusing it. Unfortunately it's the bad guys who get all the publicity. I'm glad you found us. There are loads more just like us out there. Just check out any RV forum or forums for over-the-road truckers and you'll see how many are using it for business and for fun.

...ken...
Wiz-Nerd
Thanks for all the help. I think I have decided to use the Garmin 10x. It seems the best option for my needs. Now on to the software and mounting issues. haha!
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