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Best setup for new Asus netbook intended for street and offroad navigation?
DJC
I have used several older Garmin handheld GPS units for hiking and backcountry offroad exploration, but I am totally unfamiliar with laptop systems. I am interested in setting up a new Asus netbook 1018P in my truck for both street and offroad navigation. Since I’m basically starting out from scratch, I’d like to get advice from forum members on my best choices.

My initial inclinations would be to look at a Garmin Mobile PC kit for street navigation. I have used an older version of Delorme Topo US software on my desktop and have been satisfied with it for printing backcountry maps prior to some of my trips. I'm aware that there may be better choices for topo software to work with the Garmin kit.

Can any of you suggest what my best options would be for setting up my new netbook? I can use either Bluetooth or a USB for a receiver connection.

Thank you, djc
Ken in Regina
If you want to see what Garmin's Mobile PC looks like, just fire up any model Nuvi. The interface is not identical but it's very similar. Anyone familiar with a Nuvi will be instantly at home with Mobile PC.

If you like Garmin maps, or like the fact that there are loads of third-party Garmin-compatible maps out there, for free or for a price, Mobile PC is a good choice.

If you plan to do a lot with topos, and if the terrain you will be traveling in produces a lot of contour intervals on a topo map, Mobile PC isn't such a great choice. Contour lines on a high-resolution paper map are a fine idea. But computer screens are very low-res compared to printed maps. At certain zoom levels in mountainous terrain the map looks like nothing but a mass of contour lines with no other detail usable. Garmin makes this worse by using many of the same object definitions that it does in the Nuvi. They display everything much thicker than it really needs to be.

If you have been using DeLorme's Topo and like it and like the map availability, that might be your best place to start. The latest version of DeLorme's Topo has all the features of the old Topo product plus it has all the realtime search and navigation features of the Street Atlas product.

DeLorme pioneered the idea of making raster maps usable on their handheld products (PN-40, PN-60) as well as in Topo. So if you want more real terrain detail than you get in the topos that come with DeLorme's Topo, you can download aerial photography for most of the US now.

I don't think I would use one of DeLorme's GPS receivers. I have an LT-40 and I'm not impressed with it. Fortunately, Street Atlas and Topo are both able to use pretty much anything you want to hook up to them. DeLorme is the only other manufacturer, besides Garmin, who can use Garmin receivers in native USB mode rather than having to use a USB-to-COM-port driver.

I have a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx and DeLorme Street Atlas is happy to use it as a receiver. If I set the GPS selection to "Garmin/USB" it finds it instantly. Faster than Garmin's Mobile PC. I haven't checked it with Topo but if you're interested I can do that for you.

I don't use DeLorme's products much because I'm in Canada and their Canadian coverage kind of sucks. But for someone in the continental US it's a good choice.

...ken...
RJW
I use the Garmin GPS20x that came with my Garmin Mobile PC package. It takes some work to use it without a mobile internet connection but is a lot of fun and works great offroad. Check out the link.
GooPs
RJW
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJW
I use the Garmin GPS20x that came with my Garmin Mobile PC package. It takes some work to use it without a mobile internet connection but is a lot of fun and works great offroad. Check out the link.
GooPs
RJW
Hi RJW,

Just to keep DJC from getting confused, you are using Google Earth for the maps and navigation? And you are using the GooPS program to get the Garmin GPS20x USB receiver to work with Google Earth? Is that correct?

...ken...
DJC
Thanks Ken & RJW

It sounds like the Delorme Topo software may be the way for me to go. It gives me both the topo and street navigation features that I want. I read elsewhere on this site that Delorme should be compatible with a GlobalSat or an iBlue receiver. Any thoughts about that?

I'm a farm and ranch appraiser out of New Mexico so most of my use will be in the Southwest US.

I don't know if it would work for me but Goops looks like it would be a lot of fun for sure!
tcassidy
Delorme is compatible with just about any GPS you might want to try. We like the GlobalSat Bu-353 or iBlue GM-2 for USB devices and the qStarz BT-Q818 for Bluetooth connections. USB GPS is less expensive but any one of these will work with Delorme map products.

Terry
DJC
Thanks Terry,

With all the new equipment I'll be getting after shopping around this website the cost savings between Bluetooth and USB GPS would not be a major factor in my purchase decision. My only current Bluetooth devices are the mouse and keyboard on my desktop computer. Are there any significant advantages of using Bluetooth vs USB GPS besides the lack of a cord.? Would Bluetooth allow me to get more battery life from my netbook? My fastest travel speeds will be going down the highway at +/- 70mph.

Dennis
tcassidy
The advantage of Bluetooth is placement and ability to move the laptop without worrying about accidentally dropping the attached GPS and cord in the steering wheel. It would probably increase battery life slightly for the laptop but not a major amount.

The disadvantage is you have to remember to charge it and the laptop needs internal Bluetooth or a BT dongle. The BT running on the laptop probably takes close to as much power as the USB GPS so that is pretty well a wash unless you are already using BT for something else.

Terry
DJC
Terry,

This new laptop, which should be delivered next week, will have internal Bluetooth. Based upon your input I'm leaning towards this option. Since I should really update to the newest version of Delorme Street Atlas for my business reports anyway I'll probably go with the newest Topo/Street Atlas version instead of the Garmin Mobile PC.

Now all I have to do is decide on a mounting system that will work in both my truck and my suv. I will switch future questions over to the appropriate forums.

Thanks again. Dennis
Ken in Regina
Hi Dennis,

If you do a forum search for laptop mounts you should find some interesting threads discussing various RAM mounts, a couple of other brands and some slick homemade jobs.

...ken...
DJC
Ken,

I see that there are plenty of posts about mounts. I'll work my way through them before I decide. I may try and adapt one of the Ram bases to mount over the console in my Durango and the drop down tray in my Dodge pickup. My new netbook weighs only 2.4 lbs.

Dennis
Ken in Regina
My brother uses a RAM mount in his Dodge 3/4T diesel. It bolts to one of the passenger seat bolts in the floor. He said it was a piece of cake to install. It's solid as a rock and doesn't get in the way of either the driver or the passenger. You can do that sort of thing easily in a pickup truck. Wish it were so easy in my Honda CR-V.

...ken...
DJC
My pickup is a 2001 full size Dodge with a fold down compartment over the front center seat. I think the Ram Pod I w/single socket would work well bolted to the right passenger seat floor bolt. I don't have anybody seating in the center seat very often and I imagine that it would be no big deal to unbolt the floor bracket when necessary. I think I could even transfer it over to my Durango now and then. The center console in the Durango looks like a natural spot to mount a Ram base however. It would sit right over the cup holders. I could probably design some steel straps to hook under the bottom edges of the console and attach them to the Ram base.

Dennis
RAM POD I WITH 1" SINGLE SOCKET W/ 202
RJW
Yes Ken, I am using GOOPS to direct Google Earth and I am usind GPSGATE to recognize my GPS20x.
DJC, I am in the Albuquerque area if you would like to see my setup run. I built my own mount for my Jeep Wrangler. If interested I will send you my phone number.

RJW
Ken in Regina
Hi RJW,

Thanks for the invitation. I'm a long ways north of you so I don't know if I'll ever get to New Mexico. I would love to spend some time farther south in the winter but it's tough trying to tear my wife away from our twin two year-old grandsons for more than a day or two at a time.

...ken...
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