Google Earth Plus
I was bored so I spent 20.00 to get google earth plus and for practice started looking at a holiday site we plan to visit in July. Easy to use and nice to play with at my desk. I don't expect it would work that well on the road, but I'll try it.
Picked up on my Streets and Trips locater and accuraly picked up my location in the house.
Marvin Hlavac
Cool toy! What type of mobile Internet connection do you use? It would be great of you could download map data before your trip, so you don't even need the Internet!

wwwillem, a member here at Laptop GPS World, has developed an application that can download map data from online services (Google, Yahoo, etc), and then you can travel without the need for the Internet. There is a bit of info about it in the following thread:
Do you actually get geographical data or just map imagery? i.e. once you go offline, can you search for a street address?

This is the key difference of real laptop navigation software like S&T, Autoroute, Delorme, iGuidance vs. the patched-together "download image tiles from Google Maps and view it in your browser" solutions. So I'm wondering if this is any different.

From , this is not listed as an additional feature of the $20 Google Earth Plus, as opposed to the free Google Earth.
Marvin Hlavac
I'm not sure what the capabilities of such solutions are, but I would consider using it only if no other option was available, for example traveling in a country for which there is no GPS navigation software program. It would be better than nothing. But for USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, etc, I'd researched other options.
Hi taoyue..

Geographical..I've tried Google Earth here at home only. It runs offline as well as online. It must be cloudy out today because the locator on the map is about 6 houses away from me. I'm in the basement. When i get my power converter set up in the truck, I'll see what happens. Right now I can enter a postal code and Google Earth will show it to me and give me written directions to get there from here. Haven't tried to switch to a map view yet.

I'm interested because Google seems to get better and better (at least to me the uninitiated) in most of their products. I don't know what the response would be if i tried contacting them if I was concerned about something. But for 20.00 bucks and looking maybe 5 yrs down the road, I figure it's a worthwhile toy. I don't smoke anymore or drink much so I have to waste bucks somewhere, it's the North American way.
Google Earth seems to be working with some Canadian cities, one in BC on the news tonight, so I figure as other cities climb on with them, it has to get better.

If I was planning a trip or going to an unfamiliar local place, I would definitely set the trip up on S&T or iGuidance.

After 35 min my locator on Google earth has found me, but that may be the clouds slowing it down.
Today I drove from Windermere BC to Calgary and set up my laptop with earth plus. Unfortunately because the sun came out and was shinning on the screen I could not see the screen. We stopped for our usual pit stop (old folks like us do this) and the balloon was spot on when I checked. IT tracked until the battery wore down at Calgary outskirts.

I didn't know this before, although it's probably been mentioned, I was able to run Google Earth plus and iGuidance at the same time on separate tabs so I could switch back and forth. I had the sound turned down so I couldn't hear if directions were coming on iGuidance while I had the Google tab on. I figure they would have been.

When I got home I checked S&T with Earth Plus and they work fine together, locator works for both at the same time.

Anyhow, I thought I'd pass this on. Ramblings from an old fogey.

Marvin Hlavac
That's almost 300 kilometers long trip. What type of Internet connection were you using?
Hi Marvin,

No internet connection. Google Earth is in my computer. Wherever I was when I looked at the screen, which was difficult because of the computer location in the veh and the sun shinning on the screen, the Google Earth screen showed exactly where I was. The little green Google balloon had a red line following, showing where I had been.

When I sign on to Google plus offline, there is a notification from Google that I can only access info that is cashed in my computer. I had the route cashed in my computer I guess.

Ken in Regina
Hi Ed,

Does that mean you had a GPS connected to your computer? What brand/model? Did it work directly with Google Earth or did you need Franson's GPSgate?

...ken... (so many questions, so little time)
Hi Ken,

I have Streets & Trips plus their GPS Locator. I also have iGuidance and use the S&T locator with it. I subscribed to Google Earth Plus($20.00) and while playing with it i found that the S&T locator works with it. So coming back from BC I set the laptop to Google Earth with the S&T locator on and it tracked me inch by inch back to the outskirts of Calgary where my laptop battery died. I did not turn on S&T. I did have iGuidance on and noticed that Google and iGuidance worked simultaneously with the locator. The locator seems to work simultaneously for S&T and Google as well. The locator will not work with both S&T and iGuidance simultaneously, only one at a time. I did not have an internet connection anytime on the way back to Calgary. Google Earth Plus, at least the areas that I have looked at while connected, are stored in my computer cashe I guess.

On the way back from BC I had Google earth on one tab and iGuidance on another tab so I could switch back and forth with a click. I did not minimize the screens to have them both on one screen but I suspect that because iGuidance was tracking on one tab simultaneously, if I had turned up the sound I might have been able to hear directions from iGuidance while Google Earth Plus was on the screen.

I am a duffer with computers and GPS so I hope this explains better. The S&T locator works with Google Earth Plus and iGuidance and S&T.

I do not have Fransons GPS Gate, don't know what that is.
Ken in Regina
Thanks, Ed.

For a duffer you're doing fine, and that was an excellent explanation. I have the S&T GPS receiver so perhaps I'll have to drop 20 bucks and try out GE+. That would be great to have the satellite images instead of just road maps. I believe I've already looked at nearly everything between here and the Left Coast that I'm likely to pass through so it's probably nearly all on my computer now anyway. It's simple enough to get online before leaving home and browse everything just to be sure. Now if I can just find a cigar lighter adapter for my laptop....

Thanks for the tip.

Hi Ken,

I have one of those inverters, just have not hooked it up yet. Don't expect too much from Google Earth plus. Some area's appear in better clarity than others. I know when I first checked my cottage area last year I could see the area where my cabin is only, no real details. Now I can see the roof and the neighbors houses clearly. My neighbor started building 18 months ago and I can see his place.

I believe Google is working with some cities who are interested in enhanced features that may appeal to tourists. One city near Vancouver was featured on the news a couple of months ago. Because of that news story I started getting interested. I also figured that if my laptop was parked in front of my wife while we are driving, she might find actual features rather than stick drawings like they have on iGuidance, more interesting.
Ken in Regina
That would be Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. They are working really hard on getting everything .. bus routes, tourist attractions, you name it, into Google.

I understand what you are saying about the differences in satellite map resolution. Pretty much all of Regina gets detail that lets me see the trees in the yards and vehicles on the streets. I can tell exactly when the satellite shots were taken over my house by the location of my garden shed. I think most of the larger centres have pretty good coverage. Medicine Hat, on the other hand, has mostly low resolution. Some of my favorite places in BC have great resolution and others are nothing but green blurs when you try to zoom in a little. But they are working on it. Every time I look I see another area that has the resolution improved.

I've been thinking about this quite a bit since your last message. In all honesty, for laptop use I think Google Earth+ might be the way to go for the longer haul. They update their coverage much more frequently. They don't have to distribute DVDs. They simply update the map data on the server continuously as the data becomes available. I love the idea of never having to pay for another upgrade for two year old data.

It's at least worth giving it a test drive.

I am not interested in an inverter for my laptop. I want a DC-DC voltage converter. I see no point in going from 12VDC to 120VAC and back down to DC again. I think I can get a DC-DC converter that doesn't have such a big lump to find a place for.

Google Earth recently added Ladysmith. I only found out because I had to reinstall Google Earth to get a picture of a parking lot in Nanaimo for an auto accident report.

The convertor for my UMPC was only available at one place in Canada (Quebec) and the price was ridiculous...and it runs on 12v. I got one anyway.
I haven't looked for one for the Toshiba laptop.

Inverters are a lot cheaper and more versatile but you need to lay out the wiring carefully and also figure out where to put the laptop power brick. And that means unplugging the laptop supply from the house and moving it to the vehicle when you need it.

It all depends on what the laptop is used for.

Gordon Kerr
Great conversations

12V to 110V inverters are available everywhere ranging from 75 watts and up.
I have a 300Watt - 2- 110V outlets in my truck running off the cigarette lighter. Unfortunately the power to the lighter is connected to the ignition switch so I go to laptop battery power (lighter image)when I turn the key off.
I'll hard wire it NOTE: WITH A FUSED LINE DIRECTLYTO 12v to bypass the problem. My car cigarette lighters (3) are not connected to the ignition - see, it pays to buy a Lincoln!

EdH - could you send me an email photo of a snap of your track in Google. I still cannot get mine to lay down a track.

How old a fogey are you? I'm 64+ and start my OAP in November.

Broke down and bought a touch screen HP 12" tx1000 for this GPS'n around and hope that track will show up soon.

In the mean time is still a sweetie - at least it lays down a track - waypoints - and all kinds of stuff. give it a look

Gordon Kerr About