Simple PC SATNAV program for Ireland?
Hi folks,

We'll be going to Ireland late next week, renting a car, and driving for about 9 days. Does anyone know of a cheap or freeware GPS program that we could use? It could be very basic, just showing towns, roads, our location, etc. I just hate to spend a lot on a program I'll probably just use for a week.

I have an Acer 10" Aspire One AOD150 with a DeLorme Earthmate LT-40, and a Garmin NUVI 205W to work with.

Marvin Hlavac
Hi Bill, and welcome to Laptop GPS World. I'd look into buying Microsoft AutoRoute 2007 via eBay or some other place. It was inexpensive when new, and likely you can get it for even less now. It is an excellent trip planner, and it will work with your DeLorme GPS receiver, too.
Marvin Hlavac
...alternatively, you may download the free fully-functional 60-day trial of Microsoft MapPoint 2009 Europe, and when your vacation is over come back and tell us how you liked the software.
Thanks Marvin.

I like the idea of the trial version download of Mappoint, could certainly do that and wouldn't have to sweat whether I would get it before we leave. Might still try to find a cheap copy of Autoroute 2007 on fleabay or somewhere for later use. If nothing else, I see Amazon has it for $36.
Let me get this straight. Are you planning to drive along Irish Roads with a laptop and a navigation programme running on the dashboard or the passenger seat - listen we value our safety on the roads here in Ireland, get rid of the laptop - use your Nuvi 205 - just buy a Garmin Mapsource Ireland and UK map SD card for it in the US before you leave. (You can always find someone else to sell it to on e-Bay after you leave and get most of your money back)

If that is not "cheap" enough for you then just buy a paper map! And by the way - we perfer folk who are willing to spend some money when they get here - don't forget to bring some Euro!

PS - if you want to check and plan your route oustide the car - then no need to download or pay for anything except an internet connection - use MSN Virtual Earth or Google Maps.
Marvin Hlavac
Hi pringle, and welcome to the forum. As the name of the forum implies, here you will find people who tend to be interested in PC mapping solutions rather than personal navigation devices, so your advice, even though well intentional, may not be what the original poster of the question is looking for.
Ken in Regina
Hi Marvin,

I'm pretty sure pringle's intent was to suggest a much safer and more sensible solution to navigating in a strange country ... a solution that uses a device the original poster already owns. It didn't seem to me that he had any intent to start a discussion about PNDs.

A friend of mine was over there last year and after his description of many of the roads and the traffic, I have to share pringle's concern for someone who might be planning to use a laptop in a jerry-rigged setup for navigation. And his fear for the safety of the locals.

If that wasn't cathammer's intention, it should be pretty easy to ignore pringle's (and my) comments as well-intentioned but misguided meddling.

Perhaps Pringle didn't notice the WE with which I started my first message [or presumes I'm royalty? ]. There will be a wife in the passenger seat handling navigation, when WE do use it. I've driven in England and Scotland before, so am familiar with being on a narrow road with a stone wall on one side and a bus barreling down from the opposite direction. Don't worry about the euros, P, WE are even renting an automatic at considerably higher cost to avoid the distraction of having to shift with the wrong hand. WE'll make an effort to spend even more if you promise to keep your sheep out of the road .
Thanks for the suggestion on the Garmin, though.
Cathammer did state that he had a Nuvi 205 - did he not? - then I consider the best advice is to use that for driving and the Laptop for out of car planning !

It's a matter of practicality really - here are the choices:

1. Mount a Laptop on the Missus complete with Inverter Power supply to keep it running - connected to an external GPS which somehow has to be held on the dashboard/windscreen. Hopefully for the sake of your holiday, sunlight will be a problem - so seeing any map you are running on the Laptop may be a problem. Will you be able to hear the Laptop sound above engine and road noise??? And then there will be - "sorry dear can you turn the screen to me so I can see - explain that to me again?.... Darling - wake up - shake the mouse the Laptop is gone to sleep. Try not to sleep Darling - I need you to manage the Laptop!!!!"....... Not to mention that if you purchase Autoroute 2007 at the cheap price you desire - it most likely will have 2006 release mapping - i.e. the first year they had detailed road mapping for Ireland and given the improvements and the 20% new roads and changes every year since then - you may well be driving in the fields with the sheep more than once. (PS my sheep do not walk on roads - I only deal in the special ones for counting !!!) - so this option implies lots of cables - potentially sound and visibility problems and your poor wife unable to have her afternoon snooze!


2. Buy a UK and Ireland map for your Nuvi 205 - Download it for around €40 (US$50 approx) - or buy the equivalent Micro SD card which you can resell when the trip is over. Stick the Garmin to the Windscreen - plug it into the Cigarette lighter and no pestering the missus, good sound, good visibility and no distractions to the passenger seat and no arguments - and a wife that has had a relaxed visit to Ireland as should be the case...

It it were me I would still have the Laptop as well for planning in the evening over a few Pints or in the morning over the "Full Irish" and, of course, for keeping us up to date with your trip if you are posting here or elsewhere.

All the above aside - enjoy your stay - bit showery here at the moment but they say the rest of the month in the East and the South of the country should be dry with some sunshine. The recession has bitten hard here but that means there are great deals in accommodation and food etc.

Céad Mile Failte.... enjoy!

I think you will find that the original poster was looking for advice - and not just:-... "Only Use a Laptop GPS because that is the forum you are on"

I have offered that advice (based on considerable experience in Navigation of all sorts) as I consider it the best for the requirement (and best potential value for money also). I also do not believe that you should be recommending a Laptop for realtime navigation in any vehicle. PC based Navigation software is not generally designed for realtime car navigation use and most laptops and related software need a mouse interface to use them - a major potential distraction and very tempting to undertake when trying to drive at the same time. (I have watched it happen!)

The issue of Safe Use of SatNav's (PND's) and related distraction possibilities, is the subject of a lot of research in Nottingham University in the UK where I attended.

Most PND's have a finger touch interface and minimal keystroke requirements to minimize distraction and restricted use when the GPS detects movement. In my experience, most software navigation programs to be run on a PC based human interface do not deal with these matters at all. For this reason and the safety of drivers and road users, I do not think that you should be recommending any kind of Laptop based navigation solution for use in vehicles.

Laptops and related GPS & mapping software do have some vehicle related purposes as follows:

a. Vehicle Mounted Data Capture
b. Non realtime Information Systems
c. For journey planning/overview when stopped.

All for your info......
Marvin Hlavac
Originally Posted by pringle
I also do not believe that you should be recommending a Laptop for realtime navigation in any vehicle.
You may also contact the makers of laptop GPS navigation software (Microsoft, DeLorme, Garmin, ALK, iNav, Directions, Mapfactor, etc) to let them know about your beliefs.

Originally Posted by pringle
I do not think that you should be recommending any kind of Laptop based navigation solution for use in vehicles.
I hear you loud and clear, you have expressed your opinion well. You may let hardware manufacturers know about it, too. Increasing numbers of PC makers are starting to integrate GPS receivers/antennas in their laptops, and some are including GPS navigation software, too.

PC GPS is not for everyone. Most people are just happy with their PNDs, GPS on their cell phones, or in-dash GPS. But there is a small segment of GPS users who, for a variety of reasons, favor their laptop. I hope it is OK with you.
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