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Looking for Bluetooth GPS receiver w/ dataloger, mini USB charger, for my laptop
jtablerd
Well, I've been using a laptop/gps combo for a couple years (older Pharos+Gateway tablet, HP tablet+Novatel CDMA/GPS), but these things have gotten awesome since I last needed to buy one, and I think I find myself in a position to pick my features somewhat rather than using what comes my way.

That being said, I need:

A GPS receiver (really?)
with:
-bluetooth
-standalone datalogging capabilities
-if datalogger, microSD or other expandable memory


The inverter in my mini runs through a surge protector with multiple outlets, so I prefer a DC charger (miniUSB?) that will be plugged in most of the time, and the charge stops when the ignition does. I'd also like something like the Globalsat 359's auto on/off. An external antenna, or the capacity for one, would be nice...

it'll be used to move me to 30-50 destinations a week via automobile for work, with occasional longer trips, and hiking/camping/vacation/etc for fun.

Currently use:
Compaq Presario v6000
MS S&T 2009
DeLorme topo 2007
GooPS plugin for Google Earth

I'm currently using Samsung SPH-M800 with built-in nav software from sprint, but.....

...its not my laptop.

I'll be building a custom mount for the computer in teh mini, probably integrating the work phone with charging dock for BT headset and somewhere to stash my personal phone and maybe a BT speaker...very few calls are made from this phone (just my wife, really) but I'm in/out of DC a lot and they have a handsfree law, and Virginia is about to put one into effect as well

Sorry for the lengthly first post, but I've been racking my brain for the last week trying to find a receiver with ALL the features that I want and it's been tough.

I've read through a lot of what's on these forums (yes I know where the search button is), but here's my personal setup and what I need it to do. Thanks in advance for any recommendations!

-John
Ken in Regina
Hi John,

Just so we understand, are you looking for one unit that can be used as a complete standalone personal handheld navigation device complete with maps and the ability to load maps, plus builtin datalogging, plus transmits GPS data over Bluetooth so that it can be used as a GPS receiver by your laptop? Do I have that correct?

Next question to add to the understanding of your quest, when you refer to datalogging, are you looking for the sort of point-by-point datalogging that captures the actual sentences produced by the GPS receiver? Data that includes each message type as well as the complete details of each and every message? Or are you simply looking for the lat/long of each of the points along your travels along with a timestamp, such as you would find in a track file?

Are you looking for the personal navigation ("...hiking/camping/vacation/etc for fun.") in the GPS receiver or are you okay with a personal navigation device and a seperate GPS receiver (two different devices)?

Do you want a standalone personal navigation device for the "fun" stuff (eg. Garmin Nuvi or TomTom)? Or do you want to use a smartphone or PDA with a decent quality screen (size and brightness) that can have good nav software and maps loaded and will work with the Bluetooth GPS receiver?

I'm assuming you don't want to lug along a laptop for the fun stuff or it will rapidly become not fun.

Do you want the datalogging in the receiver (I assume that's at least a "nice-to-have" or you would not have mentioned the ability to use a memory card in the receiver) or is it okay to have that information captured in the laptop? Do you want to do the data capture for just the work trips or also for vacation travel and even the hiking outings?

So many questions, but without them there are too many possible answers.

...ken...
Ken in Regina
I'm adding this as a seperate note so it doesn't get buried in that other novel I just wrote and to show that I'm not just trying to stir the pot with those question.

Here's one possible option. Garmin's eTrex Legend HCx (Garmin has at least four similar devices that would do the same job, depending upon what features you must have and those you can live without).

First, what it doesn't have:

It's not Bluetooth. You would have to connect it to your laptop via USB cable.

What it almost has:

You can set it to turn off when it loses external power (through the USB connection) but it won't turn on automatically.

It does not do the commercial sort of datalogging that includes complete capture of each and every message from the receiver and all of its various parts.

What it does have:

Very high sensitivity. It will grab and hold a location fix in some of the worst conditions. I have three or four receivers that are SirfStarIII technology and they are wonderful. My eTrex is even better.

It will use a microSD card of at least 4GB.

It captures track files as you travel. Track files contain a Position, Date/Time and, depending upon the device that creates it, may contain Altitude, Leg Length, Leg Time, Leg Speed, Leg Course (direction). You can save these to the memory card with specific names as often as you want. Even if you don't, it will save them at intervals to the memory card anyway, if you have track logging turned on.

You can load any Garmin-compatible maps to it that you want. They can be loaded onto the memory card so there is no meaningful limit on the amount of coverage you can stuff into it (realistically, about 2GB is probably the practical limit).

It has excellent battery life and will run on rechargables and also will take power from the USB connection. It uses AA batteries that must be charged in an external charger (if you choose to use rechargables).

You can transfer Routes, Waypoints, Custom POIs, Tracks and Maps to the device and from the device via the USB connection.

If you have road maps with routing data in them it will do autorouting and provide onscreen text and pictorial guidance along with beeps to alert you to an upcoming direction change. For the fun stuff like hiking and geocaching you can use its compass screen to get guidance to a specific point.

That's only one of many possible options, depending upon what you really want to be able to do and how, eg. how many devices you want or are willing to live with, what actual functionality you want and which device needs to provide that functionality.

If you want the best of everything, you'll end up with three devices for sure. If I've misread your message and you don't want some of the things I think you do, or are willing to compromise, then you're looking at only two devices.

...ken...
jtablerd
oh, firstly - if possible, I'd rather not have a PND...I'd prefer to keep the software all on the laptop. It's always on in the car, and in the past has served wonderfully with the 3 above programs. I'm looking for a pocket-size (or so) device < $100...and am always open to see a badass device that has everything that I want.
Ken in Regina
Okay, that limits the scope and makes it easier to deal with possibilities.

What about the datalogging?

- Do you want true datalogging? Or is track logging okay?
- Does it have to be in the receiver? Or is it okay to do it in the laptop?

...ken...
jtablerd
see answers below!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
Hi John,

Just so we understand, are you looking for one unit that can be used as a complete standalone personal handheld navigation device complete with maps and the ability to load maps, plus builtin datalogging, plus transmits GPS data over Bluetooth so that it can be used as a GPS receiver by your laptop? Do I have that correct?

I think I need everything stated, except the ability to load maps or maps themselves. all display and software will be done with the laptop

Next question to add to the understanding of your quest, when you refer to datalogging, are you looking for the sort of point-by-point datalogging that captures the actual sentences produced by the GPS receiver? Data that includes each message type as well as the complete details of each and every message? Or are you simply looking for the lat/long of each of the points along your travels along with a timestamp, such as you would find in a track file?

I'm not entirely sure how this works, but I'd kind of like it to give me a track file. I've looked at units that can store 300,000 waypoints-1,000,000 waypoints...

Are you looking for the personal navigation ("...hiking/camping/vacation/etc for fun.") in the GPS receiver or are you okay with a personal navigation device and a seperate GPS receiver (two different devices)?

Do you want a standalone personal navigation device for the "fun" stuff (eg. Garmin Nuvi or TomTom)? Or do you want to use a smartphone or PDA with a decent quality screen (size and brightness) that can have good nav software and maps loaded and will work with the Bluetooth GPS receiver?

no, definitely don't need PND.

I'm assuming you don't want to lug along a laptop for the fun stuff or it will rapidly become not fun.

when I'm away from the laptop, I'd like the device to store waypoints or a track file and allow me to output that to Google Earth, S&T, DeLorme, etc.

also, very rare to find me away from my laptop...except when she puts a gun to my head i kid, i kid...Will probably be purchasing a UMPC or very small form factor laptop down the road for this use, but hopefully by the time I get around to that things like WiMax and built-in GPS...as well as the unlimited data plan

Having the laptop when camping is ultra-fun with Google Space (or whatever it's called).

Do you want the datalogging in the receiver (I assume that's at least a "nice-to-have" or you would not have mentioned the ability to use a memory card in the receiver) or is it okay to have that information captured in the laptop? Do you want to do the data capture for just the work trips or also for vacation travel and even the hiking outing

I want pocket-sized datalogging, ideally


So many questions, but without them there are too many possible answers.


no worries, thanks for taking the time to ask them.

As a side note, big ups to SK!!! I work for a large (us/canada) residential/commercial painting company, and one of our ... um..."luminaries" operates out of or near Regina.

Thanks again.

-John
...ken...
jtablerd
think i answered these, kind of...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
Okay, that limits the scope and makes it easier to deal with possibilities.

What about the datalogging?

- Do you want true datalogging? Or is track logging okay?
don't know - I'm a data fiend, so having everything the receiver outputs would be awesome, but track logging would work. This is by no means a necessity...

- Does it have to be in the receiver? Or is it okay to do it in the laptop?

well, if I can take the receiver with me and have it store the data for me to transfer to the laptop later, that's fine...

yeehaw!

...ken...
Marvin Hlavac
Hi John, and welcome to the forums. I have personally never had a need for a data logger, so I have no first hand experience with them. Semsons has a large selection of everything GPS-related. Some of the units at the following link can be used as data loggers and also as Bluetooth GPS receivers: http://www.semsons.com/datalogger.html
jtablerd
Marvin,

Thanks, in my searching i have run across some products from the qstarz line...

in particular, I like the following

preorder for 2.9...the Qstarz BT-Q1000X
Qstarz BT-Q1300 Nano
Really like BT-Q1200U, any other solar devices?
usg_tech
Try the Globalsat BT-335. It is bluetooth. It is a datalogger. It is a receiver. It may be exactly what you are looking for.
Marvin Hlavac
Hi usg_tech,

Welcome to Laptop GPS World. It is nice to have a person from GlobalSat here.

It seems GlobalSat BT 335 is the same as BT-338 plus a dataloger. I used BT-338 in the past. It actually was, as far as I remember, the very first GPS receiver based on SiRFstarIII chipset I ever used. A great performer.
jtablerd
thank you all for the replies...I ended up ordering the keychain device (QStarz BT1300) today...I'll be sure to report back once I get it in (isn't getting new toys in the mail just the best?)

I did look at the BT-335, but ended up deciding it was a bit too bulky, and I want to be able to carry the device in a shirt pocket and have datalogging capabilities as well...
Marvin Hlavac
"Bulky" assures you that the antenna size has not been compromised. Miniaturization is a popular trend, smaller units are more attractive, but in my experience smaller units (units with smaller antennas) don't have as good sensitivity to weak satellite signals as the not-so-attractive, bulky, units.
tcassidy
I have a keychain Qstarz BT-Q890. The surface area should allow a reasonably sized antenna. It seems to work fine for the few times I've tried it. My concern would be more toward battery life due to its small size but I haven't tested it that thoroughly.

Terry
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