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PC GPS Software Suggestion For Off Road Navigation
Yetirunner
Hi! I'm new here and have not been able to find what I am looking for. I will soon be building a small PC that will fit in my truck that I would like to use solely for off road GPS navigation. I am planning on using a GPS antenna hooked into the computer so I will not need an internet connection or a service provider. Now my question is, what would y'all suggest for a good map software (preferably with topograph) open source or not that will be able to work directly from a GPS antenna? I am no stranger to Linux/Ubuntu, so I would be fine with any suggestions from those to Windows. Thanks in advance!
SpadesFlush
Unfortunately, the market has moved away from PC-based navigation with the development of mobile telephone navigation software. For instance, Microsoft dropped its mapping and navigation software a few years ago.

In any event, off-road topo has always been a problem as there are so few of you enthusiasts out there demanding that sort of support. Even road-based navigation which should have appealed to a broader audience never really took off with the general public.

Good luck.
Boyd
Unfortunately the party is over for PC based GPS software. There's OziExplorer, if you know how to make your own maps or can find somebody who has already made one for your area of interest. It is really a keyboard based program that is awkward on a touchscreen.

There is also Garmin nRoute, which is very old software that also doesn't adapt well to touchscreens. You can download it here: http://www.gawisp.com/perry/nroute/ and there are plenty of free maps here, as well as other sites: https://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/

I don't know what you expect, but this is old software that doesn't seem to take advantage of newer graphics cards, so it is slow to update the screen, I find it unusable in "track up mode" with a complex topo map.

But really, IMO you would be better served with an Android tablet. Quite a lot of apps are available, my favorite is OruxMaps which is free. The good apps all allow you to store the maps on the tablet so you can load them at home using wifi and no data connection is needed on the road.
tcassidy
I guess I need to comment, at least on the idea of building a small PC for a vehicle. I did such a thing not too long ago and discovered today's tablets (Windows based in my case) are no more expensive and vastly superior to what I could come up with, especially as far as the display technology.

While I know nothing of Android products, I bet you could acquire a half decent one at less expense than constructing a 12v Windows one of your own. A lot less fun but you might want to consider your end goal as I suspect Boyd is correct as far as Topo mapping goes..

Terry
Ken in Regina
I agree with Terry and Boyd with one exception. I have both a Windows tablet (MS Surface Pro 3) and an Android tablet (Google Nexus 9). The options available for Android are many and current, and are designed for touchscreen operation.

The exception is the GPS receiver. Android tablets normally have a GPS receiver built in; Windows tablets generally don't. The built in receiver in Android tablets is both good and bad. It's very convenient not having to mess with an external antenna. But you lose the flexibility of optimal positioning of the receiver that you get with an external one.

Some Android tablets will let you connect an external receiver with Bluetooth or a cable adapter but it can be a hassle to initially set it up.

In any case, I agree with Terry and Boyd that you might want to look around at existing products on the market and you'll probably find something that has the performance you're looking for for less than a custom build with the same specs. Perhaps even better if you're willing to look at something used or refurbished. And you should take a serious look at the Android environment and OruxMaps as perhaps the best solution.

...ken...
tcassidy
Yes, I have 6 Win 10 tablets (actually one is Win 8.1) and only one, the Asus VTN8 has a built in location sensor. But all work great with a wired or BT GPS.

Terry
Boyd
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
Some Android tablets will let you connect an external receiver with Bluetooth or a cable adapter but it can be a hassle to initially set it up.
AFAIK, any Android tablet can use a Bluetooth GPS receiver, although it is not natively supported. There's a free little app called "Bluetooth GPS" that makes this possible, and it isn't too hard to set up. The procedure is described in the Garmin FAQ for their GLO receiver, but it should be pretty much the same for any bluetooth device: https://support.garmin.com/faqSearch/en-US/faq/content/1BEq2yXIPj5SdcTfdXrdd6

I didn't think there was a way to use a wired USB GPS with Android, but awhile ago someone posted a solution. However, if you are going to buy an external GPS receiver (which is what I think the OP actually meant when he said "antenna") then you should consider getting a bluetooth model. I think there are some that have both USB and bluetooth interfaces.

The basic USB models are cheaper than bluetooth, but are not going to be as flexible if you later want to use them with a phone or tablet.

But if you buy an Android tablet, make sure it has an internal GPS receiver. If it doesn't, then Google Play will not even allow you to download many navigation apps - even if you have an external GPS. I found this out the hard way when I got a Dell tablet on sale at Best Buy that didn't have an internal chip. Fortunately Best Buy has a good exchange policy.
Boyd
Just remembered, CompeGPS Land is another program to check out if you are determined to use a PC. They had a free trial that was fully functional for 30 days when I started this thread: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/5528-compegps-land-mac-windows

Again, you will need to find a source for maps of your area.
GoneNomad
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd
I didn't think there was a way to use a wired USB GPS with Android, but awhile ago someone posted a solution. However, if you are going to buy an external GPS receiver
That may have been me. External USB GPS receivers work on an Android tablet by using software like "You are Here" ("This app allows you to use an external GPS receiver via the USB port of your Android device.").
The Android tablet must either use USB-OTG, or have a full-size USB host port built in, which very few do (the LG GPad 8 & 8.3 F & X tablets are exceptions, and that's why I own one).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd
The basic USB models are cheaper than bluetooth, but are not going to be as flexible if you later want to use them with a phone or tablet.
but BT receivers have to be recharged, or connected to a power cable, which partly offsets their "wireless" advantage over a hard-wired USB receiver, some of which are designed for permanent exterior mounting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd
But if you buy an Android tablet, make sure it has an internal GPS receiver. If it doesn't, then Google Play will not even allow you to download many navigation apps - even if you have an external GPS...
That's a great tip, and another example of google's overbearing insistence on knowing better than you do backfiring in the typical auto-stupid way.

...

As for the OP's idea of building a small PC, forgetttabout it.
If you wanted to use a standalone box that runs on DC power, one of the Intel NUCs would be the way to go, but one of those costs about at much as a basic laptop with similar specs. You can get more bang for the buck with a Windows tablet or notebook PC. The tests last year showed the Win10 maps app to be comparable to Googlemaps for on-road nav., but as the others have already pointed out, your choices are slim for off-road nav.

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