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Google maps as a GPS software navigator on laptop?
onavatte
I was looking for specific infos about GPS software on a laptop (UMPC EeePC actually) and I've found most of the answers. It's really an awesome place! Thanks Marvin. (By the way, I'm Canadian, too, so it's nice to always have infos or exemples about Canadian contents in your reviews ).

Now I've some questions...

What about Google Maps as a GPS software navigator?

Its interface is very useful, its routing algorythm pretty good (with some peace of humour... "swim accross the Atlantic"... too bad they took it away), its road / satellite / relief view, it's Navteq powered and above all, its obvious integration with Google search.
The biggest and most up-to-date POI database don't you think?

But there are 2 problems:

- On handheld devices like PDA, the google maps version has a GPS option... but not in the regular version ! And we can't install handheld version to our laptop ! It's unfair !

Does anybody has a trick or something to bring GPS navigation to a PC / Laptop Google maps version ?

- On handheld version, there is no "cache" mode. So you need to be connected to internet all the time when using it.
If I manage to use it on a laptop, this problem will stay: it needs to be connected.
... and the problem here in Canada is that internet mobile access is not affordable !
I've tested connecting my cell phone as a modem to my laptop... a single route calculation and display took about 1 Mb of data. It's charged 5 cents a Kb. About 5 $ for 20 sec of use !!!

That leads to my 2 others questions:

- If I manage to use Google maps as a navigator, is there a way, a hack or something to use it on a "offline" mode ?

( I've read the post http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/288-pc-gps-software-south-east-asia. It looks fine but the downloaded maps seem to be usable only with GemGlobal. I would like to have them locally to be able to use them with google map itself ).


- Does someone know a provider or a cell phone company which offers unlimited data or non-expensive package on a mobile internet access in Quebec province ?

Thank you.

Olivier
Ken in Regina
- On handheld devices like PDA, the google maps version has a GPS option... but not in the regular version ! And we can't install handheld version to our laptop ! It's unfair !

Does anybody has a trick or something to bring GPS navigation to a PC / Laptop Google maps version ?
Good News!! :clap: No tricks or hacks. Just download Google Earth for free (if you don't already have it) and then upgrade it to Google Earth Plus or Google Earth Pro.

- On handheld version, there is no "cache" mode. So you need to be connected to internet all the time when using it.
Google Earth Pro has 2GB cache. Google Earth Plus has a much larger cache.

The cache is the biggest negative to using Google Earth for navigation. You must browse all of the area you want to navigate through before you leave (if you don't want, or can't, be connected to the internet). You must browse down to the most detailed zoom level that you might need to use along the way. That is a very very tedious job. The bigger the area you need to have in the cache, the longer it will take to get it in there.

There also does not seem to be any way to tell what is actually in the cache so it's hard to know if you may have put too much into it and lost some of the first part you have been browsing, except to disconnect from the internet and go back to look at the early areas to see if they're still there.

I was also not very impressed with the navigation for the little bit I tried it. I didn't like the positioning of the vehicle indicator on the screen and the controls seemed a little primitive and limited to me (I've been using an excellent Garmin handheld personal navigation device for quite a few years so my expectations are pretty high).

It looks like you can have everything you want with one of the Google Earth upgrades without any hacks. It will work just like the PDA navigation version. Just download it and give Google $20 and it's yours to play with on your laptop for a year.

...ken...
onavatte
Thanks for your answer Ken !

Actually, I've already been using Google Earth Plus. But I was talking about Google Maps, the web site, which is a little bit... lighter than google earth.

Thanks anyway for all of your nice advices. I actually plan to use Google Earth in "offline" mode for the passengers of the car.
But I think it's too heavy and lacks good directions and reroute features to use it as a navigation Software.

Indeed, I'm not sure that Google Maps do have more navigation stuff than Google Earth but I really love its interface and path planning features. And bye the way, no need to have in cache large satellite bitmaps, the road view is enought for me.
I know it's a web site and not a standalone application but I would love to be able to use it offline. Most browsers offer "browse offline" capabilities but off course, Google Maps is not a simple HTML page. :P That's the reason why I was talking about "hack" to be able to pre-download maps or geographical data locally into the PC.

But maybe I should stop dreaming.

By chance, do you know some alternatives ?
For example, be able to find a direction or a "POI" in Google Map and send it as a destination point directly in a navigation software ? (I mean, without copy / cut the entire address or GPS coordinates or any other manual keyboarding).
onavatte
Google Maps Offline ?

It now exists on iPhone or iPod Touch...
http://www.touchpodium.com/2008/04/13/view-google-maps-locally-with-maps-offline-01/
onavatte
The cache is the biggest negative to using Google Earth for navigation. You must browse all of the area you want to navigate through before you leave (if you don't want, or can't, be connected to the internet). You must browse down to the most detailed zoom level that you might need to use along the way. That is a very very tedious job. The bigger the area you need to have in the cache, the longer it will take to get it in there.

There also does not seem to be any way to tell what is actually in the cache so it's hard to know if you may have put too much into it and lost some of the first part you have been browsing, except to disconnect from the internet and go back to look at the early areas to see if they're still there.
By the way, I've found something interesting about Google Earth using multiple cache files cache:
http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/40371/page/vc

By monitoring the dbCache.dat file size, we may be able to see if we reach the maximum size.

Even better: "Google Earth Voyager: an automatic way to cache images for offline use":
http://destinsharks.com/google-earth-maps/162#more-162
ryanface
OK I dont know if you have figured it out yet, but I sure haven't. However I did find a couple of cool programs. The first allows you to download google maps directly from their server onto your computer, so you can view the maps in offline mode extremely easily. get it here http://www.allallsoft.com/gmd/ The second is a cool little program that detects your gps plugged into your laptop, and at the click of a button puts your position onto google earth. Its really easy http://www.dgadv.com/ Yes, storing cache files and using google earth can be tedious. So I want to find a way to combine the two programs I have just listed somehow. Does anyone know of a program that allows you to use offline google maps, and detects your gps so it tells you where you are on those maps? Ive been searching so much and cant find anything...Any help would be really appreciated
Ken in Regina
ryanface,

You need Google Earth Plus or Pro.

...ken...
ryanface
Sigh... Unfortunately that's not what I was asking. Thanks anyway though
ppxdf
Hi guys,

The problem with “Google Satellite Maps Downloader” http://www.allallsoft.com/gmd/ is that Google blocks your IP when you are trying to download many images.

Now, I am trying the “Google Earth Voyager 5.0”. When I test in the north hemisphere, it works. At least I see Google Earth scanning automatically many places to get the caches.

However, when I test in my region, BRAZIL, south hemisphere, I don’t know what I put in the Latitude/Longitude of the Northwest corner.

I think I have to put 20 S (my top right corner)
I have tested just -20 (minus sign and 20)

Google Earth Voyager 5.0 works like 10 seconds, and go to 100% completed, but I cant see nothing in the cache neither in the GEVData.KML file.

If you think it is my mistake, please, help me.

Thanks in advance,

Helio
from Brazil.
PetalumaLoco
Helio

I just downloaded GEV5, all I managed to do is make the program lock up.

Another dead end piece of vapor ware I guess.
ppxdf
it happens with me too.
The program ran, until freeze the GE.
I had to reduce the Snapshots size to 0,3 (snapshots width horizontally) and Snapshots Height to 0,2 km vertically.

The system went until 30 % and stopped.
next time I will reduce the area from 30 km to 5 km
PetalumaLoco
Maybe I'm asking it to do too much. I basically want a path clear across the US, about 5,000 km, by 500 km high, 2.5 x 2.5 km snapshot by 3km altitude.

I never get a progress display, nothing happens.
ryanface
Guys, with Google Maps Downloader you should be able to download as many maps as you want , up to thousands, as long as you put 8 in the threads count.
PetalumaLoco
I don't want maps, I want sat view.
ryanface
http://www.allallsoft.com/gsmd/ Google Satellite map downloader. That program is the same as the maps, but downloads the sat view versions.
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