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#7362 - 01/07/10 10:44 AM Macintosh and GPS
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
The thread "USB question/problem" concerns JER's compatibility difficulties with his Garmin Nuvi GPS. At one point joemike replies that he had a similar problem with Garmin a few years ago, which is why he now has a TomTom.

I've been considering a Garmin GPS (265WT) as I can get a good price, it has hands-free phone capability, and it gets good reviews. However, if it's not going to like my Mac, the rest is moot.

It would be interesting to hear about folks' experiences with GPS and Macs on a more general basis. Who's using which GPS and why? How well do they interface with their Macs? And, what vintage Mac machine and software are they interfaced to?

ryck
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#7367 - 01/07/10 12:51 PM Re: Macintosh and GPS [Re: ryck]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
You might want to check out the following MacInTouch Reader Reports: Applications: GPS and Mac Marginalization: GPS.
Some posts in VirtualPC 7: Other Issues also deal with GPS, and one in particular mentions macmap @ yahoogroups as another good source of info about GPS use with Macs.
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#7378 - 01/08/10 09:00 AM Re: Macintosh and GPS [Re: ryck]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Garmin has done well for me on mac for several years. I just bought an Edge to replace my ancient GPS3+. When attached to the computer via usb cable it shows up as a usb flash drive, and the files are directly accessible. They're also in an open source standard xml, published and available on garmin's web site. So they're compatible with any gps software you can find. (or write... which I did!)

Additionally, there's two sets of free software you can download from garmin that work shockingly well on the mac. One is for training (since the Edge is a trainer, I use it as a bike computer / gps) and the other is more of a traditional GPS software, managing routes and waypoints. It uses a web browser plugin (FF/safari) that integrates seamlessly with your gps when plugged in, and is reminiscent of google maps. It also exchanges with your online profile at garmin and can be used to exchange / publish routes and workouts etc.

Garmin does what all the others do though, sells you map upgrades for things like waterways and other countries etc but the prices aren't out of line.

The new edge does NOT have NMEA serial output unfortunately. This allowed me to write software that sent live GPS position information from my 3+ to my computer. (combined with downloaded satellite imagery, made for some interesting james-bond-ish stuff) If you need that capability, be sure what you get supports NMEA.
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#7571 - 01/15/10 10:08 AM Re: Macintosh and GPS [Re: ryck]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
New Thought

Okay, okay, more of a question than a thought.....but I was wondering about the rumours of Apple introducing navigation functions to the iPod Touch. That kind of move would bring a whole new wrinkle to the decision about buying now or waiting for a while.

Any thoughts?

ryck
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#7574 - 01/15/10 11:23 AM Re: Macintosh and GPS [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Given a WiFi connection the iPod Touch can already pull down Google maps and directions, and turn by turn directions would require hardware features not currently available in the iPod Touch such as a GPS or a phone connection to triangulate your position. In other words an iPhone.

FWIW there are several iPhone apps that do an excellent job of turn by turn instructions. TomTom for one has an iPhone app that is excellent but costs almost the same as a low end stand-alone TomTom GPS. I use GPS Drive from Motion X which is inexpensive, but since the maps are downloaded in real time, it does not work in the boondocks of the mountain west where there are sometimes no cellphone connections much less 3G or Edge data services. (That has nothing to do with Verizon's maps — they don't have service out there either.) I used to take my stand-alone TomTom when I traveled but now rely on my iPhone unless I am headed to the mountains.
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#8110 - 02/01/10 03:33 PM Re: Macintosh and GPS [Re: ryck]
macnerd10 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I recently bought a Garmin 765T GPS because of pretty good reviews. Cannot say that I like it a lot because it can make mistakes or drop satellite connection. However, I have no problem hooking it up with my MBP (see below). The connection is OK and it communicates seamlessly with their web-based updater that you have to download. It recognizes the unit and does the update if necessary. This unit comes with lifetime map updates, so there is no need to pay or anything. Details of the web updater can be found here: http://www8.garmin.com/products/webupdater/howtoinstall.jsp
BTW, the model you are contemplating also has very solid reviews; it is just not that advanced as mine. But most folks agree that it does the job well. I would only recommend to buy a separate stand for it because what they provide is a sticker that may be visible and tell the thieves that car may have a GPS inside. The heavy stand sits well (Unless you brake real hard!) and is easily removed. I got mine from Amazon.
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#8111 - 02/01/10 04:54 PM Re: Macintosh and GPS [Re: joemikeb]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Given a WiFi connection the iPod Touch can already pull down Google maps and directions, and turn by turn directions would require hardware features not currently available in the iPod Touch such as a GPS or a phone connection to triangulate your position. In other words an iPhone.

If you equal the iPhone with a usable GPS chip, that option may not be the only one for much longer. Check out the GPS Navigation & Battery Cradle for iPod touch and the associated app, NavAtlas U.S. & Canada (at almost 2GB easily the largest app I've come across).

I'm not mentioning this to endorse it (the product isn't yet available, only the app is), just to point out its 'existence'. Assuming it works as advertised, the pricing ($180) will tell if this particular product will be competitive with dedicated units.
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#8113 - 02/02/10 03:49 AM Re: Macintosh and GPS [Re: macnerd10]
...JER Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
I too have the 765T. I had problems with it showing up on my G4's desktop--it wouldn't. I solved that by getting a USB2 card for the Mac. I haven't had a problem with it dropping satellite connection. It does drop bluetooth connnections to my phone though.
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#8146 - 02/03/10 02:15 AM Re: Macintosh and GPS [Re: macnerd10]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: macnerd10
BTW, the model you are contemplating also has very solid reviews; it is just not that advanced as mine. But most folks agree that it does the job well. I would only recommend to buy a separate stand for it because what they provide is a sticker that may be visible and tell the thieves that car may have a GPS inside.


In the end I opted for the 265WT. I tossed the idea of combining GPS with another device as it changed the financial aspect significantly - the price from Staples was $100 below their regular price. It also meant I'd be tossing a perfectly good Motorola Razr which just seemed overly wasteful.

Ironically the Garmin's hands-free function (originally of interest) will be unused as my wife and I decided that if there's only one person in the car the phone will just be off. When it's both of us, which is the largest part of the time, the passenger will automatically be the DDP (Designated Device Person) and take/make any calls.

The DDP will also handle any GPS duties. That solves the stand problem you mentioned as the GPS will always be hand-held. The few times there is only one person in the car (around town) the GPS is not essential. Our town is only about 500K population so places are never more than fifteen minutes away and never hard to find. It'll be used a lot when we're on the road.

ryck


Edited by ryck (02/03/10 02:15 AM)
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