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GPS question


NAXJA Forum User
Modesto Ca.
Hey all, maybe this should be on the non xj tech forum but here it goes.
I am looking into a gps unit. I really like the hand held jobbers that Magellan and Garmin make. I like the electronic compass adn the elevation readings. They would be perfect for hiking. My question is do you know if they have any sort of video output? While these are cool for hiking they won't do a whole lot of good for driving around and using map functions due to the small screen. I was thinking about have a small (5" or so) LCD screen that is permantly installed in my vehicle of choice and when I want to use the GPS, I just plug it in. Any thoughts? I haven't had a whole lot of luck doing searches on the net.
Hmm..I don't know about high end ones, but not on my Magellan Meridian. Although you can hook it up to a laptop and with the proper software have a "You are Here" dot following you all over creation. You could build a small PC with a small LCD screen and hook it all up...or a laptop...depends on just how much pain you like! :)

If you do have a laptop, check out DeLorme Earthmate Its a small gps unit that plugs into your laptop and comes with all the proper software. Thats what I am using and other than a bulky laptop, I love it.
I have a Garmin unit, and it (with the proper NMEA cables) can be connected up to a laptop, for a "real time" picture.
Thisis my 2nd Garmin GPS, and I swear by them. I run boats for a living, and have used many of the other brand GPS's out there, and the Garmin is the one I bought for myself.
I have the GPS Map76, the unit is waterproof (it floats actually), has a ton of memory and featuers, and is very lightweight.
If you have any questions. let me know

So I guess as of now, I can't do what I want unless I have a pc of some sort. Bummer :(

What about a PDA? I wonder if I could incorporate one to be the interface?:confused:
yes, there is a lot of information out there on using a pda with GPS. A google search will turn up a whole bunch of info for ya.
That Delorme Earthmate i was talking about earlier works with PDAs as well.....

I have a Garmin (older E-Map) and it's hard to go wrong with the quality and connection features. Most of the modern GPS mapping units will interface to a PDA and PC for live tracking (mine will, and my father's DeLorme Earthmate unit will).

I find if you cannot read the handheld GPS screen, and you really need to know the info the GPS provides..., you are going way too fast (a larger screen is not always the good solution). I sit my GPS in a cup holder or cell phone mount and can read it just fine when stopped at an unfamilar trail crossing.

If you don't care to have the handheld portability check into marine units that will allow land based mapping software. Most have the 5-inch screens and a remote antenna for better vehicle reception (but be aware they cram a lot of data on the screen, leaving the readability at speed about the same as a handheld). The Marine units do add a number of nice features: heading view map displays, plan view (normal map) displays, and programmed feature proximity alarm functions (alarm sounds when nearing mapped dangers). I do not know how I managed accurate sailing without knowing the true course direction provided by a GPS (the GPS really shows the current and wind effect error on the sailboat compass).

The GPS electronic altimeter functions are not aircraft quality (unless connected to differential beacon equipment), and neither are the compass readings. If you want accuracy a separate handheld device is more reliable (and the terrain lines on the topo map backgrounds are more than good enough for trekking).
I, too, use an older Garmin (GPS III+). For me, a GPS has 2 major strengths -- they tell me where to look on the paper topo map (by using the lat/lon funcs), and they can tell me how to get back to where I was a few hours ago now that its dark and every logging road intersection looks the same ;-) (by using the track and waypoint info).

[gratuitous unsolicited advice] Don't rely on it to the exclusion of other tools .. topo maps, compass, radio, and friends. Doing so is a sure path to disaster.

All that being said, IMO you don't need a PC, use the GPS with paper maps for better results. A PDA or PC is just window dressing.
I guess I should clarify a bit so that you may understand my dilema. I understand that the handheld GPS units will work just fine for mapping etc and would be helpful when traveling down the trail in my Jeep or hiking. But I actually drive other places too. I have always needed one while driving around in an unfamilar city (which happens alot for me). Or when I miss a freeway exit (California does not have the convient numbering system yet). I don't want to have to try to focus on a small 1.8"x2.5" screen like my friens Garmin Etrex Vista to try to see which road to take while I am driving 70 mph. I have also driven my Boss's Toyota with the nav system and have had quite a success (I sometimes wish that I would have gotten it with my Toyota except it was a $1700 option). The screen was very legible, bright and probably 5-6" wide. So I am trying to get the best of both worlds. Something large and visible to see while driving on concrete and something durable and useful to take while hiking and jeepin. My wife and I do some hiking and it is sometimes useful to see some of that info to guage yourself.
I humbly apologize for misunderstanding ... Garmin's web site is down right now so I can't find the unit I am thinking of (street pilot maybe?) but at least one of their units has what you're looking for, moving map display on a small built-in screen and output for for monitors and/or pc's/pda's (iirc). I happen to like their equipment but there are others just as good, from what I hear.

Garmin's web site is down but this one's better anyway... by far the most comprehensive GPS site on the net: www.gpsinformation.net
Here's what you want to do:

build a PC into your truck, pipe the vide into a 7" LCD, and attach your hand held Etrex Vista.

It receives the GPS data, talks to the computer, and the software takes over.

If you don't shop price, you could easily do this for $1000. As well, you have a full-on PC in your rig, and all the capabilities that entails <realtime logging of your engine's parameters, etc... makes tracking down tuning problems MUCH MUCH easier.>. Also- you can pipe it into your stereo and play MP3's, and so on. The possibilities are literally endless.

This is what I'll be doing!
IMHO that's great for a daily driver but if you wheel at all make darn sure the pc is MILSPEC tough.
OK. Here's the nutty reply for the day.


What about putting a Fresnel lense in front of the cheapy GPS unit.
Tucker said:
IMHO that's great for a daily driver but if you wheel at all make darn sure the pc is MILSPEC tough.

Err-- if you'd have RTFURL, you'd have seen that they ARE Milspec tough....
Tucker said:
rtf = read the f**king
url = uniform resource locator (the http://www... thing)

I won't rise to the bait, not worth it ... but do your homework.
Should have known that. I thought you were just spouting off technical accronyms. :dunce:
Tucker said:
rtf = read the f**king

Actually, I meant "fine", but draw your own conclusions.

<additionally, I also meant that in a chiding/joking way, so apologies if anyone thinks otherwise>