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View Full Version : Laptops, GPS and mapping software



Brad
07-29-2010, 09:02 PM
I learned something this week. The laptop I have has an AT&T cell card built into it (this I already knew). But, what is cool is the GPS that you find on cellphones is also available in the laptop off that cell adapter. So, driving with the laptop on the computer desk on the passenger's seat - the laptop GPS was running - and I was able to use the vendor's Google or Bing maps to pinpoint where I was. No extra GPS attachments.

And, I fired up Delorme's TopoUSA software product and it found the built-in GPS and used that for tracking the route I was driving.

I have always driven long trips using a laptop and Delorme's software with an external GPS. But, with this setup the GPS unit is not needed.

Oh well - at least I think this is cool.

BlueDog
07-30-2010, 08:56 AM
Wear your geekness proudly, Brad! :)

(Says the guy that hikes with a digital video camera, iPhone and GPS)

Brad
07-30-2010, 10:21 AM
Wear your geekness proudly, Brad! :)

(Says the guy that hikes with a digital video camera, iPhone and GPS)
Actually with MWO-STP Suby it has the built in navigation system. So, all this is not needed. I was out with Charlie for a day in my Suburban and could have used it then.

BlueDog
07-30-2010, 10:47 AM
You hear that the 2011 Subies will have wi-fi built in, right? :)

Brad
07-30-2010, 11:14 AM
Yes, this is an excellent option and it is the first big step in the "right" direction I have been asking for for several years.

Today my daughter sets her laptop up and running in the car connected to AT&T off the built-in cell adapter, then the kids take their netbooks and connect thru her laptop so they are online for long rides. With the Wi-Fi option this would not be needed as each laptop would connect to the car.

This option would then allow the car to send e-mails or messages to you about service issues. The computer in the car has to adjust the fuel mixture too much and should notify someone, for example. Our house does that today for low temperature or the propane tank is too low. Why shouldn't the car notify us?

Then also the navigation display could have an optional overlay of the weather radar to show you where storms in your area are. Switching to Google Traffic would allow you to see which roads have traffic delays.

Snow Miser
07-30-2010, 12:41 PM
Yes, wear your geekness proudly, Brad! It's a sign of high intelligence!!!:)

And we do have to love all these technological advances. It's really exciting, and coming at us at lightning speed these days.

Anna LeBlanc
07-30-2010, 04:40 PM
Yes, wear your geekness proudly, Brad! It's a sign of high intelligence!!!:)

And we do have to love all these technological advances. It's really exciting, and coming at us at lightning speed these days.



And of course you know I'm going to need your help with all of this Bob!!!:p

___________
Anna

Snow Miser
07-30-2010, 08:29 PM
And of course you know I'm going to need your help with all of this Bob!!!:p

___________
Anna

Anna, you bet!!! Always glad to help out.:)

mtruman
07-31-2010, 09:19 AM
You hear that the 2011 Subies will have wi-fi built in, right? :)

They do indeed, but after looking at the cost it would actually be cheaper to buy a MiFi cell hotspot and pay for the monthly service (and you can use it anywhere, not just in the car). Still a cool gadget though...

Brad
07-31-2010, 03:09 PM
They do indeed, but after looking at the cost it would actually be cheaper to buy a MiFi cell hotspot and pay for the monthly service (and you can use it anywhere, not just in the car). Still a cool gadget though...
But, you would not be able to do radar and traffic displays on the navigation system display.

h2oeco
08-01-2010, 07:52 AM
I have been told that I have to let Abana know what I want by September 15th... :-)

BlueDog
08-02-2010, 09:57 AM
But, you would not be able to do radar and traffic displays on the navigation system display.

Nothing a little hacking can't fix! ;)

Brad
08-02-2010, 07:16 PM
Nothing a little hacking can't fix! ;)
And you, Kind Sir, can stay away from my Subie.

BlueDog
08-03-2010, 09:06 AM
Its amazing what a laptop connected to an OBDII port can do!

billysinc
07-06-2011, 03:01 PM
For those folks who use Google maps mobile on their smartphone the latest version (5.7.0) allows you to download map data for use when you don't have a data connection.

mtruman
07-06-2011, 08:51 PM
For those folks who use Google maps mobile on their smartphone the latest version (5.7.0) allows you to download map data for use when you don't have a data connection.

This is a great feature and it's about time Google maps added it. For hiking with an Android phone I think the best app out there (or at least the best I've tried) is Backcountry Navigator. It has multiple sources for topo maps including MyTopo which have excellent detail and include most of the White Mountain trails. They also support maps cached on the phone and have a much better system than Google for downloading them. You just mark a region on the map and select download. It asks you what zoom levels you want and it then downloads all the selected areas and zooms in the background. Supports all the usual features of using GPX tracks, recording tracks, waypoints, etc. Costs $10 but well worth it. I've used it on the last two hikes in the Whites and am really happy with the performance. Nice thing is that with the cached maps you can put the phone in airplane mode and battery usage is minimal. With my new Droid X2 I easily got in the whole 8 hours on the trail with both GPS use and a few pics with the phone camera and had 40% battery at the end.

Edit: I just looked at the change log for the new Google Maps and see that they've added the ability to download specific map areas (which is what Billy was obviously saying). This is much better than the previous method that tried to figure out what to cache based on where you were most often. I love Google maps on the phone - but still not for hiking...