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Which Satnav Software for Netbook?
Homerhammer
Hi all, being a newbie to the site I am going to ask the same old question that is probably asked everytime some technophobe like me joins a forum like this and cannot be bothered to search through all the forums for the same question. For that I apologize now.

I have just brought a new netbook and want to use it as a "satnav" or at least for mapping my current position on maps (not too worried about being told how to get from A to B but if that function is there that would be a bonus). I am looking at PC Navigator (Free Version), but if there are better ones about I am open to advice. My main concern is that I have a Bluetooth GPS device so it must work with that. I am wiling to purchase software but no too expensive as I already have a dedicated satnav.

Any advice for a newbie would be appreciated.
Ken in Regina
You left out some basic info:

What country are you in? Is that the country you want to navigate in?

What Bluetooth GPS receiver do you have (brand, model)?

What operating system: Windows or Mac or Linux? What version?

The simple answer is that if you have already found something that's free and works with your GPS receiver, just use it until A) you have determined that it's not what you really want and B) you can make a list of the things it does and does not do that matter to you.

...ken...
Homerhammer
Thanks Ken, sorry for the lack of info.

UK is the main area covered, however I make frequent journeys to mainland Europe.

I have a cheap Freedom Keychain GPS 2000.

My netbook has Windows 7 Starter installed.
Marvin Hlavac
Hi Homerhammer,

Welcome to the forums.

Have you tried the free version of PC Navigator? What did you not like about it? If you didn't like the map data quality, or if you were unable to search successfully for addresses, than consider buying the paid version. The paid version uses map data licensed from TeleAtlas, which should be considerably better than the map data by Open Street Map.
Homerhammer
Hi Marvin,

I downloaded the free version of PC Navigator last night, it looks like it might be suitable for what I need. My only concern is that I was unable to get a GPS fix with my Bluetooth Keychain, but that may have been my position. I will do more extensive testing at the weekend.

If that does not give me what I need, I will consider the paid version of PC Navigator or MS Autoroute. I may also have to bite the bullet a payout for a better GPS device.

Thanks for your help so far.
Ken in Regina
If you have not yet had a good fix from the GPS receiver, take the receiver and netbook outside where the receiver has a really good view of the sky in all directions. Then leave it sit for awhile. Depending upon where and when it last had a clean fix, if ever, and how open a space you can get into, it could take as much as twenty minutes for it to get its first fix. Some folks have had it take as much as thirty minutes for a first fix (aka "cold start"), even with top quality devices.

Once you have had a lock on your location, it will take less time in future because the device will be doing a "warm start".

Exceptions to that are if:

- you have not used the receiver for a long time (a couple of weeks or more), or
- you are a long ways from the location where you had the last fix (a couple hundred kilometres or more).

...ken...
tcassidy
I have a qStarz keychain GPS using the same chipset as that one and it is quite good. The only disadvantage I see in this type of device is you can't replace the battery. As they should last up to 5 years, that is a minor downside.

I suppose its small size means the battery won't hold a charge as long but it seems to be able to do better than 8 hours so that isn't an issue for me.

Terry
Homerhammer
Thanks all for your advice.

I had a bit more time last night to "play" and all is working fine. PC Navigator Free is certainly good enough for what I want at the moment. The search function has clearly been "doctored" to encourage you to buy the paid for version but you can always use another method to find the location and transfer it to the Openstreet maps (if you have time to plan your journey). The streets are there and named just not found in the search function.

Thanks for your help.
Ken in Regina
The search function has not been "doctored". It is fully functional. The free version comes with free maps from Open Street Maps. These maps do not contain the necessary data for searching. The commercial TeleAtlas maps that come with the paid version have the necessary data.

As usual, you get what you pay for.

...ken...
Homerhammer
I totally agree Ken and I must appologise for making it sound like I am ungrateful about the Free version of PC Navigator. I only need the functionality that the free version gives me and as it is free I am grateful for all the effort that is put into the program and the free maps. If in the future the free version does not give me the functionality I need I certainly will buy the full version or an alternative and then I will have the right to complain.
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