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Which GPS software for a laptop equipped motorhome?
codabass
I have a laptop running Windows 7 and need some advice on which GPS software to go with.

I plan on traveling the U.S. in a motor home and will mount the laptop in the drivers station to be used for navigation and other computer functions. I have a small Garmin GPS now but want the splash of a 17 monitor easy to see and read. I also want to mount the GPS antenna on the roof for the best reception I can get. Can I use Garmin and Streets and Trips together? Google Maps and Earth with Streets and Trips or Garmin?

Too many choices for a novice like me so thank you in advance for your time and experience.
tcassidy
Streets and Trips 2010 is very popular with the RV crowd because of its excellent trip planning facilities. Garmin Mobile PC is a better program for navigating your trip on a big screen and duplicates the Garmin Nuvi in most aspects.

In either case, I would recommend getting these programs with an included GPS. Save your Garmin handheld for what it does best.

Terry
tcassidy
If you wish to use 2 navigation programs at the same time, GPS Gate can do that, providing a COM port connection for each. If that is your desire, a good GPS would be the GlobalSat BU-353 as it is magnetic and waterproof. The cable is a little short for reaching an outside mounting location however other users have found it works ok with a USB extension cable.

Terry
codabass
Thank you for the insight. Is the MR-350 antenna a good pick for an external gps antenna that will work well with either software?
tcassidy
I'd suggest it is a little overkill. I believe it was designed for truckers as it requires a mast mount. Except under really poor conditions, most reasonable GPS of SirfStar III or newer design will work fine on the dash. The BU-353 is a SirfStar III chip as is the MR-350. In my experience, the need to mount the GPS antenna outside of the vehicle dates back to the era before the SirfStar II and that was quite a while ago.

If you have a specific need not to have the GPS on the dash or maybe, a windshield coating that is GPS unfriendly, the MR-350 should fill the bill. Make sure you order the right connector.

Terry
Mandolin Guy
I have a Fleetwood RV. I'm not going to go through a laundry list of things that could be used. Rather, I'm going to suggest Microsoft Streets and Trips and the antenna that can come with it. I've been using it for years with complete success. I've used others just to check them out but I always fall back to S&T. There are overlays available that will show you Flying J, Pilot and other RV-friendly service stations. In addition, they'll show you some clearances, Cracker Barrels, rest areas, state parks, and much, much more.
t1d
I prefer Streets and Trips for the software.

I also prefer to not purchase the GPS receiver with the software. The cost to buy the components separately is almost identical... within a few dollars. By purchasing things separately, you get to control quality and features.

The GlobalSat BU-353 seems to have better feedback than the receiver that is currently bundled with S&T. I like it better than the Pharos 500 that came packaged with S&T 2008, though the Pharos is a great unit. The GlobalSat is exterior grade and has a magnetic base.

If I ever have to purchase another receiver, I will want to be moving to a wireless Bluetooth model. There is a Qstarz that has a review link on the front page of the forum. I think it enjoys a good reputation.
Mandolin Guy
Quote:
T1DUNN:
I also perfer to not purchase the GPS receiver with the software. The cost to buy the components separately is almost identical... within a few dollars. By purchasing things separately, you get to control quality and features.
Your point is well taken but the Pharos unit does an excellent job, at least in my opinion. Buying the complete package at one time is less trouble. If one is looking for simplicity, I think the package deal is better.
tcassidy
The GPS shipped with S&T is no longer the Pharos 500, but the Navation 168. It is a good device but I think the BU-353 is more flexible.

Terry
Larry
Quote:
Originally Posted by codabass

I plan on traveling the U.S. in a motor home
Hello Codabass,

Have you heard about the increasingly famous "POI Megafile"? It is ideal for RVers who want easy access to custom point of interest collections such as:

  • height restrictions
  • various travel centers (Pilot, Flying J, Loves, TA, Petro, etc)
  • Rest Areas
  • State Parks
  • National Parks
  • various campground collections (Passport America, AOR, Camp Club USA, Coast to Coast, Excapees, Thousand Trails etc)
  • Dump Stations
  • Large retail stores (Walmart, Sams Club, Cracker Barrels, Kmart, Costco, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shows, Camping World, etc)
It's a free download and it is updated monthly to keep the locations up-to-date.
mattcolie
I know I am kind of late to this discussion, but what I have been advising recently is that a perspective user find several friends - each using the different packages. That way you can make up your own mind which you prefer.
I was an S&T user and was turned to SA because of the simpler yet more effective planning. As that is what I use it for, it made sense. We use a little GPS during the driving day. I have not run CoPilot for several revisions.
There used to be a free trial version of S&T, but I don't know if it is still available.

Matt Colie
Marvin Hlavac
Yes, it still is available. Also, a new version of ALK CoPilot is apparently only a week or two away from it's launch.
jespeg
Quote:
Originally Posted by codabass
I have a laptop running Windows 7 and need some advice on which GPS software to go with.

I plan on traveling the U.S. in a motor home and will mount the laptop in the drivers station to be used for navigation and other computer functions. I have a small Garmin GPS now but want the splash of a 17 monitor easy to see and read. I also want to mount the GPS antenna on the roof for the best reception I can get. Can I use Garmin and Streets and Trips together? Google Maps and Earth with Streets and Trips or Garmin?

Too many choices for a novice like me so thank you in advance for your time and experience.
I am looking for the same thing only I am using VISTA
jesse
tcassidy
S&T 2010 and Garmin Mobile PC work the same with Vista as with Win 7. You may follow whatever advice as suits you above.

Terry
SpadesFlush
You really should look at this: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/3860-gps-motorcoach-using-40-hdtv-monitor.

Also, you might want to consider a very useful accessory for mobile use of a laptop: a USB-connected touchpad. See Ergonomic Touchpad works on all computers, laptops, tablet PCs. Works with your desktop mouse, laptop mouse pad, or tablet touchpad.. I use this attached by velcro to the center console so that my fingers easily drop on to the touchpad. I've done thousands of miles with this and I love it!
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