Is PC GPS software as simple like in dash nav?
I have used in dash nav systems (usually Pioneer) for years, and they have worked perfectly for me, and done everything I need them to, until recently. The new systems restrict entering of information while moving, and restrict access to even the most basic system functions (no longer defeatable/bypassable as they use GPS movement to determine motion not ebrake sensor).

I want to know if there is a simple nav software solution for my laptop that similarly replicates the Pioneer/Alpine/Magellan systems without restrictions.

I want it to:
  1. Know where I am.
  2. Allow me to enter an address simply and route me there at any time (preferably give me option to add waypoint to current route, or cancel current and go to new destination.)
  3. Allow me to use ALL functions unrestricted regardless of vehicle motion.
  4. Allow me to have a simple overhead map view of my currently location and show me moving around on the map listing streets names and showing poi's in the vicinity.

I have read some reviews online, and it appears that according to one source or another someone claims that these simple things cannot be done. I'm assuming that's user error, but I'd like to find out from people like you that actually use these units what really works.

I have also heard that the Microsoft Streets and Trips program loses it's location multiple times a mile and causes a "recalculate" once it re-acquires the current location, and audibly informs you of this... I believe if this were to happen to me I would be involved in a lawsuit as the person's windshield my laptop ended up crashing through would not be happy about my sudden need to teach it to fly at 70mph down the highway...

Feel free to give me product name suggestions to help narrow down my options.
Ken in Regina
All of the packages supported on Laptop GPS World will do all of the things you want and more.

As with all technical software and hardware, each nav program has its own strong and weak areas. Which one you might prefer will depend on what is most important to you. The only one of your requirements that will be the least bit contentious will be your requirement #2. Not that they can't do it but each one will do it differently.

As far as the Streets & Trips performance you mentioned, that would have nothing to do with the nav program. It was probably posted by people who don't have a good GPS receiver and/or don't understand that for decent performance you need to be sure the GPS receiver is positioned where it can get a good view of the sky and doesn't get a lot of electrical interference.

If they have a little GPS dongle stuck directly into a USB port on the laptop and the laptop sitting down on the passenger seat, it's pretty much guaranteed they'll have problems, no matter what nav program they do it with. This will get even worse if they try to operate like this in a city with tall buildings all around or in mountain canyons or heavy forest or on a rainy day.

Sorry I can't give you a more specific recommendation but any nav program will do what you have mentioned. Take a look around at the reviews of the various programs here. If you've got some more specific questions just holler.

Thanks for the input, I was hoping it was user errors, I don't think I'm asking for too much!

If I go with Streets and Trips (simply because it's readily available) what GPS unit should I get for it to have the best performance? Should I just extend the supplied dongle with a longer extension? Or should I buy the version that doesn't supply a dongle and buy a third party device? I've got no problem permanently install the receiver on the dash.
Ken in Regina
For someone looking for a really inexpensive deal for both software and receiver in the same box, it's hard to beat the Streets&Trips bundle. However, I'm not crazy about the new dongle that MS supplies with Streets. It comes with a cable so you can get it away from the laptop but the cable is fairly stiff (unless they've changed it for this year's version) so it's hard to keep the dongle laying right side up with that cable. My personal preference would be to go with just the Streets&Trips software and a good USB receiver like the Globalsat BU353 or similar.

There's a thread somewhere in the Streets&Trips section about compatible receivers that folks are finding work well with Streets. It should be near the top because there have been a couple of new posts in it in the past day or so.

Or if you would rather not deal with the cable you can spend a little bit more for a Bluetooth receiver. It's nice not to have to deal with a cable at all, but it can get a bit more complicated. If your laptop doesn't have a Bluetooth radio built in you will need to get a Bluetooth dongle. The latest Bluetooth dongles are dirt cheap and some are so tiny that you can pretty much just leave it plugged into a USB port permanently because the don't stick out enough to bother anything.

...ken... About