Results 1 to 6 of 6

Article: Laptop GPS Navigation

  1. #1

    Default Laptop GPS Navigation



    I have my trusty Garmin 60Cx handheld that never leaves my side on the trail. It's dust proof, waterproof (doesn't always mean river survivable), and simple enough to leave on and not worry about.
    After the loss of my more vehicle and toilet-solitaire suited Garmin iQue 3600, I needed something else for trail driving. I started looking into a laptop option that could use my handheld as its antenna.

    There are a lot of schools of thought on the subject, but you know if you're wanting it for the bumpy roads (or lack thereof) it's going to need to be rugged and/or have a solid state drive. I liked the idea of finding a used out of commission commercial unit, something under $200 (I paid $240 for the used 60csx), to fit my budget and so I wouldn't have to worry too much about it. I ended up with a ebay listed Itronix GoBook II (Review 1) (Review 2)

    This article is less about the unit involved and more about software and keeping this added gadgetry updated and on the cheap but here's what my budget PC's specs are:
    • Processor Type: Intel Pentium 4 M
    • Processor Speed: 1.7 GHz
    • Screen Size: 12.1 inches (Touchscreen)
    • Memory: 512 MB
    • Hard Drive: Shock mounted ruggedized 40 GB
    • DVD-ROM
    • Waterproof glow keyboard
    • WIFI + 3G
    • Originally retailed at $4,500 - ebay 2011 = $185


    Driver list: http://www.jaredritchey.com/itronix-...ptop-software/

    Aerials
    My main desire was to add an aerial view into my navigations. Google Earth seemed the easiest since the program offers realtime tracking on with its imagery. (Tools-->GPS-->Realtime-->Garmin PVT)
    The hitch with this is that your route or exploration area must be "preflighted." Just like internet software, GE's images are cached to speed up future uses. Increasing your GE's cache size to its max 1024MB will lessen your limits. So as long as you view your area at a desirably close resolution/altitude, you'll be all set on the trail, able to see what's around the corner or if the next wash over connects for you. For road trips, running GE's simulated to/from route while connected to the internet can secure your main thoroughfares for later.

    You can also download the old usgs topographic overlays from this great site (as long as you are connected to the internet: http://www.gelib.com/usgs-topographic-maps-2.htm
    The program allows you to download for free quads of your choice. They then not only overlay but will wrap to terrain. I prefer the older topos because there is more detail for finding older forgotten roads, structures, and ruins.

    Screen shots of topo overlays in action:

    Iron Mountain quad selected


    Zoomed with wrapping


    Topographic and road use
    Garmin's flagship trip manager program Mapsource, used to have a realtime track option but as their product library grew they eliminated the feature in favor of having customers buy their dedicated Garmin PC software. Before Mapsource and G-PC though, Garmin used to market a simple program nRoute for mobile use. This product's executable file can still be found on helpful websters sites such as http://www.gawisp.com/perry/nroute/ (you'll want the last file listed).

    nRoute program details: http://www.gpsinformation.org/penrod...ful_to_me_if_I

    nRoute screen shots:

    Night Time Street maps


    100K topo


    nRoute only works if Mapsource is loaded onto your computer first. If you did not receive it with your Garmin device, don't fret.
    First download Garmin's Training Center: http://www8.garmin.com/support/colle...t=999-99999-04
    Then you can download Mapsource: http://www8.garmin.com/support/downl...ils.jsp?id=209
    With Mapsource installed you may run nRoute using Garmin's street or topo maps in realtime.

    Stands:
    No reason to pay more for a stand than the computer itself
    DIY cup holder stand: http://www.mdpub.com/laptoptray/index.html
    Very cheap option with colorful font site: http://www.mobilelaptopmount.com/indexBB.htm

    Great resource: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/
    GPSGate mapping: http://gpsgate.com/products
    Garmin Mobile PC: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=165&pID=13484
    Free AZ Topo maps (for your Garmin GPS unit): http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

    I helped James the gun toting mailman (2ndChance) begin setting his laptop up for navigation use. Will try to get some pics of them in action and will add to this thread as more info and products come about.

    Feel free to display your own set-up
    Last edited by Skatchkins; 03-10-2011 at 12:47 AM.
    Disclaimably quotastic
    I are photographer
    armchaircrisis.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    8,531

    Default

    Great write up and very informative, Mike.

    I have had great success with the slightly less expensive, but very user friendly roof top mounted navigation system pictured below:

    The Dusty Gnome / White Collar Publishing
    Follow @thedustygnome on Twitter and at www.thedustygnome.com or White Collar Publishing on FB

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    1,796

    Default

    Since Mike and I spoke about this, I started researching this little rugged notebook. They are currently available for $145 on eBay. The biggest issue with this GoBookII (IX-260) is finding drivers for the hardware. Well, I found some for the Itronix IX250 and IX260.

    http://www.jaredritchey.com/itronix-...ptop-software/
    2009 4-door JK - 85% daily driver, 15% hunting vehicle, 100% fun!

    It's better to be prepared, than scared.
    Mailman by day, Gun Nut by night.
    NRA Certified Instructor - 5 disciplines.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    1,796

    Default

    Woot! My Garmin GPSmap 60CSx arrived today!
    2009 4-door JK - 85% daily driver, 15% hunting vehicle, 100% fun!

    It's better to be prepared, than scared.
    Mailman by day, Gun Nut by night.
    NRA Certified Instructor - 5 disciplines.

  5. #5

    Default

    Cool Jimmy.
    The Google Earth topographic overlays from http://www.gelib.com/usgs-topographic-maps-2.htm are working again. There was a change in GE regarding links.

    Adding screen captures to 1st post
    Disclaimably quotastic
    I are photographer
    armchaircrisis.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
    Posts
    1,796

    Default Up and running!

    I wanted to use my Netbook and run this setup. The netbook is a Asus 1005-HAP, which has a 10" screen, USBs, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and is equipped with 2GB memory and a 160GB hard drive. It's very light and, at best of times, will give me 8 hours of continuous use. It's also very lightweight so my laptop mount won't have to be a BIG one, and can probably mount in my cupholder.

    Since the Netbook didn't have a CD/DVD drive, I had to create images of the Garmin Topo West CD and the Garmin Waypoint Manager/Mapsource CD. This way, I could install it on the Netbook. I downloaded nRoute to the Netbook, so I was good there. Google Earth was also installed directly via an internet connection.

    To install the CDs, I used Daemon Lite to create Virtual Drives and mounted each CD. The USB drives are installed when the Waypoint/Mapsource CD is installed. Once installed, Garmin Topo West is required to be in the drive to work. So, I left the image file on my drive. The CD thinks its in a real drive, so it works just fine.

    Everything seems to be working fine. nRoute was able to find my exact location, as well as Google Earth. I'm going to take it out for a test drive tomorrow.

    Bonus! I can also share my internet connection from my cellphone to the Netbook. Now, I can add Google Earth or Google Map in realtime, without caching any maps!



    2009 4-door JK - 85% daily driver, 15% hunting vehicle, 100% fun!

    It's better to be prepared, than scared.
    Mailman by day, Gun Nut by night.
    NRA Certified Instructor - 5 disciplines.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •