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Car and marine navigation, trekking etc on a laptop with Garmin Mobile PC, nRoute
whistle84
The following is a brief tutorial on how to get the most out of your Garmin Mobile PC.
It came to be after a request from friend who had purchase a laptop, a 20X USB GPS and hundreds of dollars of marine maps which he could not use.

The whole idea behind a laptop GPS is flexibility, which seems to evade the developers at Garmin.

We had hope to use the 20x model USB GPS for just about everything, car navigation, marine navigation, trekking etc.

Unfortunately the software package included with "GARMIN Mobile PC" is great for car navigation and that is about it !

I'll spare you all the details and research involved and get to the point;

<<XP pro and Vista 64 tested>>

Software required:
Your original CD which came with the 20X USB GPS
GARMIN MobilePC 500060 Update
GARMIN MapSource
GARMIN MapSource Update (6156.exe)
GARMIN nRoute 276
EARTH Bridge
GPS GATE


1- GARMIN MobilePC (Navigation software)
Install the "GARMIN MobilePC" software included with your 20x GPS, install the update available from Garmin's website (50060.exe).

This will be your car navigation software, the interface has large icons and text, easy to read while driving, and it should be preloaded with maps from your region.

If the GARMIN MobilePC sees your GPS and you get an accuracy of about 12feet, then all the following should work flawlessly.


2- MapSource (Map management software)
You need "MapSource" which is no longer available as a free download from GARMIN.

MapSource is the bridge between the different GPS applications installed on your PC compatible with MapSource. MapSource is also where you install and unlock all your maps, marine, topo etc.

Install "MapSource MetroGuide Canada", install the MapSource update from Garmin's website (6156.exe).

Note: I have read problems with version 6156 of MapSource, some people suggest version 6137 for better compatibility with Nroute. Version 6156 worked fine for me, both versions can be found online.


3- Install your Maps
Install all your "maps software packages" downloaded for free or purchased, MapSource should see them automatically when you open it and offer to go through the unlocking process.

At this point go through the long process of unlocking.

I choose the later to save time, I installed multiple marine maps purchased by my friend, one quite large including the whole St-Lawrence seaway.


4- GARMIN nRoute (Navigation software)
Again "nRoute" is no longer available from GARMIN, I found version nRoute_276 online which I think is the latest.

Install "GARMIN nRoute" which I believe was the first generation software for USB GPS preceding "GARMIN MobilePC". The beauty of "nRoute" is that it automatically detects your GPS and all the maps that are unlock in MapSource.

Run "GARMIN nRoute", wait for the sats to synchronized, load any map from the drop down menu and you're ready to go.

We tested it with marine maps "Blue Charts of America; St-Lawrence Seaway" and navigated the shallow Lake of Two-Mountains without damaging the prop for once.

Use "nRoute" for all detailed maps, marine , track, topo etc. Use GARMIN MobilePC for car navigation.

Note: It is possible to load maps into "MobilePC" software with "MapSource", but detailed maps such as marine charts will not display properly.

5- EARTH Bridge (software to link your GPS to GOOGLE EARTH)
Well this is where it gets really cool, but a litle more complicated especially if you're running Vista 64 bit.

Unfortunately "EARTH Bridge" does not support USB connectivity, only serial COM ports, so a third party software called "GPS Gate" is required.

GPS Gate will create virtual serial COM ports for your GPS to be detected by "EARTH Bridge"

Here's a quick "How To"
1- For your USB GPS install "GPSgate" first it will create virtual "com ports" for your device.
2- Install "Google Earth"
3- Install "EARTH Bridge", pick any virtual "com ports"
4- Start "EARTH Bridge" and it will automatically open "Google Earth" and show your GPS location.

[Special instruction for vista 64]

Note: Google Earth requires the internet to display the digital maps, unless you have a "hotstick" connected to the internet on your laptop you will need to view the general area you are going to before hand in order for the maps to be downloaded to your "Google Earth" cache in your laptop.

Hoping the above will help some...
Best regards

Whistle
Marvin Hlavac
Hi whistle84,

:welcome: to Laptop GPS World,

Re: your point #2 about MapSource availability, check the following post: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/914-how-install-mapsource-add-maps-mobile-pc
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