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Best Laptop GPS Software?
corlando52
I am newly registered here, so please excuse the open ended question that I'm sure must have been asked hundreds of times.

I intend to put this in my show car, a Knight Rider conversion.

I have a Panasonic AVIC Z-3 in one of my other cars, and would love to have all the features. I'm not sure there is a software for laptops that offers them, but can't understand why the features can't be incorporated. Anyway, here is what I'm after...

  • Voice recognition (I'll be using VR Commander)
  • Turn by turn voice guidance (using a voice of my choice)

Everything else is typical, good maps, seamless guidance, etc.
I will also be incorporating Bluetooth into this for my cell.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Thanks, everyone!

Chris
Larry
Quote:
Originally Posted by corlando52
...must have been asked hundreds of times...my show car, a Knight Rider conversion...
Welcome to the forum!

You are right - common question....most of us on the forum have Knight Rider show cars so you've come to the right place.

I'm sure someone will be able to assist you shortly.
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry
I'm sure someone will be able to assist you shortly.
Naw. I predict that anyone who is into doing Michael Knight/David Hasselhoff imitations will be resoundingly ignored.

But seriously, if the voice of corlando52's choice is a showstopper, I think Mobile PC might be the only PC nav software that can have voices added. That rather narrows the choice of nav software considerably.

I'm not sure how it interacts with voice command software on the PC but I wouldn't expect it to be a problem. It is, in most respects, a pretty well-behaved windows application. It has been reported to play nice with third-party onscreen keyboard (OSK) apps so it should be okay with being fed it's input from a voice recognition app.

...ken...
corlando52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry
Welcome to the forum!

You are right - common question....most of us on the forum have Knight Rider show cars so you've come to the right place.

I'm sure someone will be able to assist you shortly.
Larry,
Thanks! Are you on the Registries or Foundation boards?

Ken,
Thanks for the information. I'll try Mobile PC and see how that works for me.
I appreciate your help.

Chris
t1d
Ken, is the 60 free trial available for that for him to try it?
tcassidy
That is the advantage of S&T. The others don't offer a trial.

Terry
Ken in Regina
As Terry said, Microsoft Streets&Trips is the only navigation program with a fully-featured free trial, complete with the maps that come with the purchased version. It's the real deal. It's a 60 day trial that stops working when the trial period is done, unless you purchase it in the mean time.

MapFactor PC Navigator also has a free version. It is also fully featured but it does not come with the purchased maps. The free version comes with Open Street Maps (OSM) free maps that you have to download and install seperately for your region. That gives you a chance to evaluate all of the features of the program.

The bonus is that if the OSM maps are sufficient for your needs, you've got a program and maps for free. There is no trial period for this one .. it works forever. The limitations are in the maps. MapFactor has nicely converted the OSM maps for use in the free version so you don't have to do that .. just use the installer to select the ones you want and it downloads and installs them for you. But they don't have them all done yet. At this time there are no maps for America. I have been able to look at it because there are OSM maps for Canada. I was surprised at how good they are.

You can actually install one of the Garmin Mobile PC "updates" if you know how. The updates are only the nav program and don't have maps with them and it's useless without maps. If you already have maps in Mapsource that did not require unlocking, like Metroguide Canada or Topo Canada or perhaps some free maps from OSM, you can use Mapsource to install them into Mobile PC for testing. You need to know what you are doing but it's not impossible.

...ken...
corlando52
Ken,
I think I'll go with the Garmin because of the voice option. It's not that expensive. I wish I could find a cheap 20X receiver for it, but again, not too bad at $51 on Amazon.
Thanks for the recommendation.

Chris
corlando52
PS...I'm in the USA, so any software would have to be exclusively the USA, mostly North-east, specifically, New York area. I have a weird disability that prevents me from traveling longer than 40 minutes in any direction.

Chris
tcassidy
If you don't buy the hardware version of Mobile PC that comes with a 20x (or Bluetooth 10x), a 20x would not be a good choice for a stand alone device. As a package, it is acceptable.

Make sure you investigate that the voice you want to use is actually available in a form that Mobile PC can use. Unless I am mistaken, Mobile PC isn't really that flexible in its voice options. Maybe I am missing something though.

Terry
corlando52
Terry,
Thanks for that. If I have just the software, what GPS receiver would be best to use with it?
Do you know what type of file the voice needs to be to work with Mobile PC? I can usually convert to any file, unless, of course, it is proprietary.

Chris
tcassidy
One of the USB favourites here is the SirfStar III GlobalSat BU-353. It is magnetic, waterproof, inexpensive and easy to set up. For Bluetooth the qStarz BT818x looks to be an excellent device. However, the version of Mobile PC including a 20x would probably be a less expensive approach than buying the software version and a separate GPS.

If you want Mobile PC to speak street names, it uses the voices available with Windows like Microsoft Anna and Microsoft Mary. Others have experimented with other voice packages but I don't recall outcomes.

Terry
Ken in Regina
@Terry,

If the Microsoft voice stuff has been installed, e.g. by installing Streets&Trips or Mappoint or other applications that use them, you will see Microsoft's Anna and Mary text-to-speech voices in the list in Mobile PC, along with the ones that Mobile PC installs. But you won't find those voice files in the ...\GarminMobilePC\Voice folder. That's the clue that Mobile PC has found them elsewhere on the computer.

@corlando52,

As Terry said, you might find it's cheaper to buy a Mobile PC bundled with the GPS20x, which is a very good USB GPS receiver, as it is to by the Software-only version and buy a separate GPS receiver. Also, you cannot buy the lifetime map updates (if you want them) for the Software-only version but you can for the hardware-bundled versions. And if the maps that come with the software-only version are out of date, too bad. If they are out of date on the hardware-bundled version, you can get one free update when you register it, just as you can for, say, a Nuvi.

To "add" a voice to Mobile PC you replace one of the existing voice files.

You will find the voice files in C:\Program Files\Garmin\GarminMobilePC\Voice.

Any voice files you find for Mobile PC will need to be renamed, e.g. "English_American_.vpm" and the trailing underscore is not a typo ... check the Voice folder. So...

1) remember to make a backup of your (English_American_.vpm) found in the voice folder.
2) copy the file of your choice to the voice folder (must be named correctly).
3) your selection of English American will now be the voice you just substituted.

You can use any of the voice file names that you find in the ...\Voice folder. So, if you want to preserve the original American English voice, you can rename the new voice(s) to any of the other voice file names in the folder. If you don't want to lose the originals, remember to move them somewhere safe or rename them in a way that's obvious when you want to restore them.

Right now I'm using the original English British as my voice of choice so there are 6 other file names I could use for adding custom voice files.

I have a few custom voices, like the Governator, Stewie and Borat, but not Kitt's. I'm sure I've seen it, though.

You can make your own as well.

Garmin Voice Studio

http://turboccc.wikispaces.com/TTSVoiceEditor

Here are some voices on Garmin's web site in the Garmin Garage.

Garmin | Voices

You can also get a bunch of new vehicle icons for the indicator on the map display. Just click "All Vehicles" at the right side of the screen.

And you can use your favorite search engine to look for even more "garmin voices" and "garmin vehicles" from other places on the internet.

Knock yourself out!!

...ken...
tcassidy
Thanks for the update Ken. Do the added voices do street names?

Terry
corlando52
Ken,

WOW! That's a bunch of information! Thanks so much. I'll print it out and refer to it later. How can I tell if I am buying the lifetime map version?

If I have KITT's voice already saved as a WAVE or MP3 file, can I use it in the voice folder to replace the default voice? If not, what type of file does it have to be?

Thanks again!

Chris
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