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Best car GPS for built-in mapping + bluetooth laptop
tcb
I'm looking for a way to access current GPS coordinates from a custom application running on my laptop. I'm planning on using GpsGate for most of the low-level work.

I need a GPS device that can remain mounted in my vehicle and communicate with the laptop over bluetooth.

Additionally, I hope to find a GPS device with built-in mapping software that can function as a navigation tool even when the laptop is accessing the GPS data.

Is this possible? Can a normal "vehicle GPS" run its normal mapping software and concurrently send GPS coordinates to a bluetooth laptop?

If it's possible, what receiver would you recommend? I'm looking at the TomTom GO 720 because it's on sale at bestbuy for 180. Would that be able to do what I'm trying to do?

Thanks in advance,

Jeff
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcb
...
Additionally, I hope to find a GPS device with built-in mapping software that can function as a navigation tool even when the laptop is accessing the GPS data.

Is this possible? Can a normal "vehicle GPS" run its normal mapping software and concurrently send GPS coordinates to a bluetooth laptop?
Hi Jeff,

In one very specific case the answer is a definite Yes. But I don't know if it's an answer that will work for you.

I have a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx. It is a standalone handheld personal navigation device that I use on my mountain bike and for a wee bit of occasional geocaching. I just tested it and it will do what you want. I plugged in the USB cable and powered up the Legend. As it was searching for a satellite lock I started up the Garmin nRoute navigation application on my desktop PC. nRoute found the Legend's GPS data stream immediately and displayed the satellite status on the appropriate tab. I tried creating a route on both the handheld and the desktop at the same time, to two different locations. Each cheerfully did its thing.

So, it appears that the Garmin eTrex Legend HCx handheld will do what you want. If you are interested, I can test it with GPSGate. I know it works with GPSGate. But I've never tried using the nav applications on the computer and the handheld simultaneously. I see no reason it shouldn't work.

By inference, the eTrex Vista HCX and the eTrex Venture HC should also work because they are the other members of the same product family. And I'm going to stretch and guess that the GPSMAP60Csx and GPSMAP76Csx will also probably work, but I have a little less certainty. I have a friend with a GPSMAP76Csx and it would be easy to borrow it to test if it matters.

The reason I mention that it might not work for you is that the screens on these handhelds are quite small .. about 2.25" diagonal. They are called handhelds for a reason.

They will allow you to load various types of maps and waypoints and routes and tracks and custom points of interest (POI) and they have a search function for finding addresses, intersections, cities, waypoints and POIs. They will do autorouting if the map data supports it. They do not have voice guidance. They do have onscreen guidance and they beep when in proximity to a change in direction in the route .. once when about 600 metres or so away to alert you to an upcoming direction change and again at about 100 metres to the direction change. When I tested it, I found this quite useful and the onscreen guidance is in large bold graphics so, although the screens are small for visual map use while driving, the onscreen guidance is useful if you mount the device near your line of sight, as you would likely do with the TomTom or similar Garmin Nuvi device.

I have two other personal navigation devices with larger screens so I don't use the Legend for in-vehicle navigation. I just thought I would test it to see if it was useful in a pinch and I found it to be surprisingly so.

I have no idea if the TomTom GOxxx devices or the similar Garmin Nuvi and Magellan products output the GPS data stream on the USB port. I know for sure that many, if not all, of the Nuvi products do not.

The key here is to NOT assume that just because a GPS nav device connects to a computer it will transmit an NMEA (or Garmin proprietary) data stream to the computer. The USB connection on these things is primarily for managing waypoints (Favorites, whatever), adding custom POIs and that sort of thing. Most will not operate as external GPS receivers.

I hope that helps.

EDIT: Ooops, I just noticed you seem to be asking if there's a Bluetooth GPS receiver that will do this. I don't think so. The devices I mentioned are all USB connected in order to use them as externa receivers for the PC. I don't know if there are any standalone nav devices that will output GPS data on the Bluetooth radio.

...ken...
Marvin Hlavac
... probably not Ken, so the only options for Jeff will be a USB setup, as described by you, or a separate Bluetooth GPS receiver (they only cost around $40 to $60 these days).

Welcome to Laptop GPS World, Jeff.
ldivinag
bump...

anyone connect a TT (i have a ONE XL) via bluetooth to a laptop so MS Streets & Trips can use the data?
tcassidy
Have you tested to see if your computer Bluetooth can see the TT as a GPS (or at all)? I don't think this functionality is available on PNDs

Terry
Ken in Regina
What Terry said... I'm pretty sure the only use for the Bluetooth on the TomTom is to communicate through a cellphone for downloading voices and weather and traffic and speed cameras.

...ken...
Marvin Hlavac
... however, that should not prevent you from using Streets & Trips, or any other GPS navigation program. Laptop GPS receivers, USB or Bluetooth, are very inexpensive these days.

Welcome to the forums, ldivinag.
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