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Garmin TOPO on Laptop
f5fstop
Not new to GPS, but new to trying this on a laptop in vehicle.

Can a person connect a GPS antenna to a laptop, and run Garmin TOPO 2008, without any additional software?

I have always used Garmin software and hardware. However, now I need to run a laptop in my vehicle to do some major route tracking. It has been suggested I used Delorme; however, since I have Garmin and I’m familiar with how to use the Mapquest program, before I run off and purchase DeLorme I want to find out if Garmin would do what I need.

1. Need to track a route on roads most people will never go. These routes will primarily be in the states of WY, MT, ID, UT, NV and the normal city maps are worthless. In fact, I’m sure in some of these areas there will be no roads or trails shown in Mapquest. So, I need the software to track the route.

2.
In some cases, it would be nice to make a route in Mapquest that I could follow. An example would be the route I currently make up for the Garmin 60CSx on Mapquest, then download to the device. (I know, one option would be to record the tracks in the Garmin 60, while running a route on the laptop.)

Reason for both a route and tracks are the routes maybe guessed at, while the tracks would be accurate.

Thanks for any help.
tcassidy
The US Topo maps would be usable on a laptop with Garmin nRoute. I suspect you could use the 60 as a GPS as well. Unfortunately, those Topo maps are not routable unlike the Canadian version.

Terry
Ken in Regina
Not new to GPS, but new to trying this on a laptop in vehicle.

Can a person connect a GPS antenna to a laptop, and run Garmin TOPO 2008, without any additional software?
No. You need to get the equivalent of all the functions of your 60CSx into your laptop, not just maps.

... since I have Garmin and Iím familiar with how to use the Mapquest program, before I run off and purchase DeLorme I want to find out if Garmin would do what I need.
When you say "Mapquest program" do you mean Garmin's Mapsource program?

A Garmin solution will work fine. You just need more than the maps.

You have multiple options.

1. As Terry said, you could use Garmin's old nRoute program on your laptop. It's available here. Just scroll to the bottom of the list for the latest version (2.76).

It's old and no longer supported by Garmin. On the other hand it has the advantage of being free and it looks and works a lot like Mapsource. If you are familiar with Mapsource you will find it fairly easy to work with nRoute. nRoute has all the functions of any fully featured laptop navigation program, including autorouting and recording tracks, etc. Or you can make routes in Mapsource and load and run them in nRoute. It will have all the nav features that your 60CSx has. Any data and maps you have in Mapsource will be directly usable by nRoute, except the very newest Garmin maps, which will need to be run through a reverse converter program to work with nRoute because of a change in format.

You can probably just connect your 60CSx to your laptop, turn it on in navigation mode and use the GPS signal from it to run nRoute.

If you can do autorouting on the maps you load into your 60CSx, nRoute will do autorouting with those same maps. As Terry said, the American topos have never had any autorouting capability.

2. A variation on option 1, if you don't want to use the 60CSx as the receiver for the laptop, you can get a Bluetooth or USB receiver (NOT an antenna .. you need a proper receiver) to use with the laptop. If you choose to do that, you will need a program called GPSGate Express to translate the GPS protocol from a standard GPS into the Garmin protocol which is all that nRoute understands.

3. You could get Garmin's Mobile PC. It looks like you stuffed a Garmin Nuvi into your laptop .. looks very similar and works very similar to a Nuvi. Same deal with GPS receiver as nRoute, except three options: (1) get the software-only version of Mobile PC and use your 60CSx or (2) get a new receiver for the laptop, or (3) get one of the versions of Mobile PC that comes with a GPS receiver (choice of either Bluetooth or USB).

If #3 is a solution that interests you, we will need to talk more about map unlocking issues with Mobile PC that aren't issues with nRoute.

I hope that helps and doesn't confuse too much.

...ken...
GadgetGirl
I use nRoute with a GPS60CSx and the Topo 2008 maps. It works very nicely. The only problem is, like Ken said, Topo 2008 is not "routable" per se. What I do is establish my active route using City Navigator maps then switch the maps to Topo 2008 while the route is active. The route will transfer over to Topo just fine. The only problem with this method is if nRoute needs to recalculate in the Topo maps, it will calculate a straight line! Easily remedied by switching back to CN, recalculate, then go back to Topo.
f5fstop
No. You need to get the equivalent of all the functions of your 60CSx into your laptop, not just maps.


When you say "Mapquest program" do you mean Garmin's Mapsource program?

A Garmin solution will work fine. You just need more than the maps.

You have multiple options.

1. As Terry said, you could use Garmin's old nRoute program on your laptop. It's available here. Just scroll to the bottom of the list for the latest version (2.76).

It's old and no longer supported by Garmin. On the other hand it has the advantage of being free and it looks and works a lot like Mapsource. If you are familiar with Mapsource you will find it fairly easy to work with nRoute. nRoute has all the functions of any fully featured laptop navigation program, including autorouting and recording tracks, etc. Or you can make routes in Mapsource and load and run them in nRoute. It will have all the nav features that your 60CSx has. Any data and maps you have in Mapsource will be directly usable by nRoute, except the very newest Garmin maps, which will need to be run through a reverse converter program to work with nRoute because of a change in format.

You can probably just connect your 60CSx to your laptop, turn it on in navigation mode and use the GPS signal from it to run nRoute.

If you can do autorouting on the maps you load into your 60CSx, nRoute will do autorouting with those same maps. As Terry said, the American topos have never had any autorouting capability.

2. A variation on option 1, if you don't want to use the 60CSx as the receiver for the laptop, you can get a Bluetooth or USB receiver (NOT an antenna .. you need a proper receiver) to use with the laptop. If you choose to do that, you will need a program called GPSGate Express to translate the GPS protocol from a standard GPS into the Garmin protocol which is all that nRoute understands.

3. You could get Garmin's Mobile PC. It looks like you stuffed a Garmin Nuvi into your laptop .. looks very similar and works very similar to a Nuvi. Same deal with GPS receiver as nRoute, except three options: (1) get the software-only version of Mobile PC and use your 60CSx or (2) get a new receiver for the laptop, or (3) get one of the versions of Mobile PC that comes with a GPS receiver (choice of either Bluetooth or USB).

If #3 is a solution that interests you, we will need to talk more about map unlocking issues with Mobile PC that aren't issues with nRoute.

I hope that helps and doesn't confuse too much.

...ken...
Thank you! That is more helpful information than I have received from Garmin in six email messages.

I have loaded nRoute and played with it a bit this afternoon, and it appears to be exactly what I want and need. I will try some this weekend with the 60 attached for the receiver.

Especially happy that this works since I cannot stand the Nuvi screen. I actually purchased a 265T (pretty sure that is the number) to test out with a topo map and it was a failure. Something I need to sell in the future now.

I still might want to keep my 60 free from attachment to the laptop since many times I will be exiting the vehicle and hiking. So, is there anything I need to look for in a receiver/antenna?

As for routing, I do not need voice commands, but will be making up some possible routes and just seeing them on the screen as with the 60 is fine.

Again, thanks and thanks to everyone else who helped me with the subject.

Doug
tcassidy
You can use any GPS device such as the USB GlobalSat BU-353 but will need GPS Gate to convert its output to the data format Garmin nRoute requires.

Terry
Ken in Regina
Thank you! That is more helpful information than I have received from Garmin in six email messages.

I have loaded nRoute and played with it a bit this afternoon, and it appears to be exactly what I want and need. I will try some this weekend with the 60 attached for the receiver.
Hi Doug,

I'm glad it was helpful. That's the great thing about these forums on the internet. You can talk to people who have actually figured out how to use this stuff. Please keep us posted on what GPS receiver you choose and how things work out. As Terry said, any decent USB GPS receiver will get the job done. The BU-353 is nice because it's waterproof and has a nice strong magnet on the bottom so you can even mount it on the outside of the vehicle if that turns out to be useful. If you put it out on the hood or the roof it gets an even better look at the sky than when it's on the dash.

GPSGate Express is cheap like dirt ... I think it was about $13 when I bought it. It translates the NMEA data protocol that all generic GPS receivers supply and spits it out on a virtual COM port as Garmin protocol for nRoute to use. Holler if you need any help getting it going.

EDIT: Another neat feature of GPSGate is that it will create more than one virtual COM port so you can actually have more than one GPS nav program running and share the output of one GPS receiver. Karen (GadgetGirl) shared an interesting application with us where she has one nav program in one window zoomed out so she can get a high level look at the entire route and another window zoomed in to see details. Pretty slick.

...ken...
f5fstop
Again, I thank everyone. One more question.

Will these programs (nRoute/GPSGate) work with Windows 7? Thinking of actually purchasing a smaller laptop for use in the Hummer, but all I look at are running Windows 7; whereas, the one I'm on right now is running Vista.
GadgetGirl
All of these apps work fine in Win 7. If you have Win 7 64-bit, GPSGate will have to be tweaked:
GpsGate for 64-bit Vista and Windows 7
f5fstop
Would like to say thanks to all. I have ordered the Ram mounting system, going to order the receiver/antenna and get it all installed before heading into the mountains of Wyoming.
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