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megamapper

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Everything posted by megamapper

  1. The RAA-3 external antenna is 'simply awsome'. You can also pick up decent ampliphied antennas on EBAY. Some friends picked up a GAA-3 external antenna for about $50.00 CDN. They tested it, and it works great on the iFinders providing an obvious signal boost. Regards, ---- Robb ----
  2. That's a pretty big assumption. You are assuming that how the data is stored in a USR file, is how it will be represented inside the unit. I suspect this assumption is incorrect. My Lowrance iFinder PhD GPS, does not store date / time / elevation in the track data. The PhD has an altimeter, but yet, when I look at the USR files being output, there is no altitude or time data included in the track. So obviously, there is no room for storing altitude with the track inside the unit. I therefore would not be so assuming "9 bytes per track point" representation you describe in the USR file, as how data is represented inside the unit. Based on what I'm seeing, an "absolute track point" would store up in 5 bytes, with 2 bits being spare. A 'relative position' track point could be done in 1 to 2 bytes depending on the amount of distance between points. When the GPS saves a usr file, it adds zeros for elevation, converts relative points back to absolute values, resulting in the size of the resulting USR file considerably. Even with all the possible ways the data can be compressed, the storage of only 2 MB is quite small, and I do not see how one could that much data in there. If the unit had 3 MB internally, then things would calculate out alot better, and I could see the unit being able to store all that track data. Regards, ---- MegaMapper ----
  3. I believe its actually 99 trails of 9,999 track points in each trail. 99 trails * 9,999 points = 989,901 track points. Up to 100 means 99, and up to 10,000 means 9,999 points. Anyways, I am not going to get into hair splitting over 989901 and 1,000,000 points. LOL! ??? Where are you getting this 58,000 point limit and factor of 17 overstatement ?? If the GPS will store 989,901 points... If we assume for a moment, that "up to" is inclusive (which it is not) then we get the following calculation. 10,000 points * 100 tracks = 1,000,000 points assumed. 9,999 points * 99 tracks = 989,901 total points actual. 1,000,000 - 989,901 = 10,099 points assumed overstated. 10,099 / 1,000,000 = 1.0099 % overstating assuming you are correct that the wording "up to" includes the value stated. I'm confused? Please tell me where you get the 58,000 figure from? My Current Track list in my GPS looks like: RouteA . . . . . . . . . 8,730 track points HardToReach. . . . . 1,887 track points BeaufortTrail. . . . . 892 track points BeaufortRDS. . . . . 4,345 track points BeufortSpur . . . . . 5,297 track points FranklinRDS . . . . . 46 track points FranklinSpus. . . . . 62 track points SatPath. . . . . . . . . 3,317 track points ========================= . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24,576 track points I would have to say no to this. "Up to" does not include the value. I probably will. But it's going to take me a few years to do it. Well, you are entitled to your opinion. My opinion is, "if the GPS fails to store the 989,901 points, then that would be false advertising". I've managed to fill 24,576 points so my GPS is mostly empty <GRIN>. I spoze you actually believe the mass media news that you see on TV, and in the newspapers to be true as well. Well, the U.S. courts state that it is not illegal for news broadcasters to broadcast information that they know is untrue. This is documented here. Therefore the mass media is "allowed to lie to you". The news is classified as 'entertainment'. Kindest Regards, ---- MegaMapper ----
  4. For me, I use 3 different sets of maps. I use OziExplorer with digitized contour maps of the area. These are pretty darn good, and produce a nice looking paper map when printed. But sometimes, you want to see your tracks in 3D ontop of a 3D satellite image. Google Earth (paid or free version, does not matter) works great for me. I convert all data from my GPS into a GPX file with GPSBABEL. But loading a GPX file into Google Earth results in something 'less than nice looking'. Waypoints, and Icons all show up with the same icon type. Tracks are meshed together in one google earth folder making them more difficult to work with. As a result, I have a perl script that reads the GPX file, and splits each track into its own GPX file (Hiketrails.gpx, mainroad.gps, spur.gpx). This allows me to load all trails tracks into a single Google Earth folder. I am then able to edit the colors and other attributes of each track type 'globally'. The Perl script also collects all waypoints / icons into their own respective GPX files based on what icon (mountains.gpx, campsite.gpx, etc) was selected for the waypoint. By doing this, I'm able to load all mountain waypoints/icons into it's own google earth folder. From here I can then globally edit all mountain peaks to show the correct corresponding google earth icon. Regards, ----- Mega Mapper -----
  5. Even with the Free version, you can load a GPX file into Google Earth using File, Open, and then selecting GPX as the file type. Since that is the only way I can load track, route, and icon data into google earth, there is essentially no difference between the paid and free version of Google Earth. Regards, ---- Robb ----
  6. Black lines on the display. Sounds like you got a bit of water in your unit. Regards, ---- Megamapper -----
  7. Hey, why are you folks messing around with COM port software when Lowrance has the FREE GPS Datamanager software available? For the iFinders there, read about the GPS Data Manager V.6 here first. This package is however 'useless' for you GO2 users because it will only READ / WRITE lowrance USR and GDM files. I gave it a quick run to see if it knows about COM ports. It doesn't do serial ports, so I wouldn't bother with it. Download GPS Data Manager Version 6 Here But, more interesting for you GO2 users, read about GPS Data Manager V.3.1 here which is used for connecting to lowrance GPS's over a serial port. The GO2 is not listed as being compatible, but if I were you folks, I'd give it a try anyway and see if it works! If it does work fully, you'll be able to make your own maps, and DL it into the GO2. 99 tracks * 9,999 points for each track is one HECK OF A PILE OF DATA! Please let us know here if these packages work for the GO2, and to what level. Are you able to read/write TRACKS, routes, waypoints, and Icons? Regards, ----- MegaMapper -------
  8. Oddly enough, for me, I like being able to 'DIM' the backlighting on the lowrance when I'm running on AA power. This causes the GPS to conserve battery power, yet still provide me with backlighting while I'm out boonie bashing at night. I've run for 8 - 12 hours with backlighting continually turned on, no battery problems. I also found that high capacity NiHM batteries appear to last 'way longer' than alkaline. Regards, ---- Robb ----
  9. If you are: Making maps - Updating the topo maps Lowrance is better than a Garmin. Track & waypoit storage is much better than Garmin or Magellan. There is so much extra storage, that I've been able to essentially UPGRADE the MapCreate 6.3 topo maps. I'm at 30,000 trackpoints, and I'm not even 1/2 way full on my GPS's capabilities. I'm primarily map making, and boonie bashing. Storage is 'everything' for my particular environment. That is why I went with Lowrance. Boonie Bashing with Map Upgrades If you are just boonie bashing, both GPS's are close to equal. The Topo maps show most of the roads around here without much issues. The Lowrance maps are out of date, and I do see some highway streaches that do not show on the maps. So Garmin wins here, assuming their maps are more up to date. For me, dirtbiking, the roads on both GPS's would be the same. If you are primarily boonie bashing, autorouting is not all that important. Most of the roads in the boonies will not show up in the topo map upgrades, therefor I would suspect that autorouting in the boonies would not work very well. City and Street Navigating The Lowrance topo version also contains city / street / busiess address directory info. I was able to punch in a street name, and the GPS was able to guide me to where I wanted to go. Same is also true for a business, the gps would be able to guide me there, and will tell me the busness's phone number. But lowrance is not in the 'turn by turn' format that garmin does with its autoroute software. So Garmin wins on this regard. If you are primarily doing city navigation, the autorouting would be handy, and that would make me go with a garmin gps. Traveling Place to Place without having to re-load maps. I have a 400 MB topo map loaded in my GPS on the SD card. As you navigate, it reads the info from the topomap on the SD card to show the enhanced detail. That stores around 2 complete provinces no problem. I'd have to travel quite a distance before I'd have to re-load load a new topo map onto the gps. Boating and Navigation Charts Lowrance boat charts are quite well done. They come from a Marine navigation & Avionics background, so their boat charts are probably as good or better than Garmin. Lots of lake bottom enhancements on the website. Planning a trip to Europe or Iraq? Garmin wins. No map upgrades for these areas available. In summary I would look at it this way Making your own maps / Boonies / Boating / Bang for the Buck - Lowrance Autoroute City Navigation / Boating - Garmin Kindest Regards, ---- Robb -----
  10. megamapper

    Track Logs

    OK, so you are out running your quad in the backwoods. You need massive track storage (because the topo map upgrades do not show all the roads) so you can track all the roads, and make your own maps of your dirt bike trails. Autorouting, is probably not all that important, and if your at all like me, you'd be happy with mega track storage. Routes are not much use, and auto-routing is not going to help you very much. Here is what I'm running: Lowrance iFinder PhD GPS OziExplorer - Useful for track editing / waypoint / icon editing MapCreate 6.3 Topo - Useful for upgrading the background maps. - Useless for track editing. I'm pretty much doing what your wanting to do. So far ONLY LOWRANCE GPS's are able to work for my purposes. In my map pic, you'll see lots of 'extra tracks'. Each track has different display properties on the GPS, as well as on the computer. RED = road that I haven't biked on. (plotted from maps) GREEN = Trail , not safe for biking / quading on BLUE = Mainline roads that go somewhere. PINK = Spurs I have 'WELL OVER' 10,000 trackpoints in my GPS. I find your parameters rather limited. Look at the lowrance line of GPS's, and you'll end up SAVING BIG MONEY, and getting a GPS that is superiour to both Magellan or Garmin for what you are trying to accomplish. I'm running an iFinder PhD, but even the iFinder H2O has the following characteristics. One Hundred track each storing up to 10,000 points in each track. - Each track can store lots of segments (start/end points) Each track can be displayed differently on the GPS. 1000 - Waypoints 1000 - Icons 100 Routes consisting of 100 waypoints. If you examine the below map, you'll see that for backwoods dirtbiking, roads (aka tracks) are the most useful things to store, and I've never bothered with routes. Also you can see that the lowrance antenna is handling the thick forrest canopy on Vancouver Island quite nicely. I would expand the track storage your asking for, it's pretty small, and I've seen some GPS's that do not support segmented tracks. That small section of mountain is about 10,000 points. My maps are well above 10,000 points. Magellan and Garmin do not make GPS's that are able to match the amount of track storage in an H2O. Kindest Regards, ---- MegaMapper ----
  11. I wonder if it's possible to download tracks into the GO2? Maybe we should see if we can examine the ROM listings for other lowrance GPS's and see if we couldn't find some kind of an NMEA track statement. That would be 'pretty darn coowel'. Regards, ---- Robb ----
  12. OH, OK, now I can see where you were going. Oh well, onward and upward... Do you know if there are any plans to have GPSBabelGui show the available sub file type information, and remember the users settings from a previous run? I could modify my version over to support the filtering, and serial devices fairly easy. But truth be told, I would much rather see this stuff being done in your gui front end. So if you folks are planning on coming out with that functionality fairly soon, I would simply not bother with my BabelGui front end, and keep it simple. Also, I have access to some software installer technologies, so if you like, I could whip you off a single .EXE installer for GPSBABEL in about 30 mins. Kindest Regards, ------ MegaMapper ------
  13. is more complete - Well I would have to say yes and no on this. I took a look at the newer gpsbabel before I posted in this thread. I saw a few things that still make the standard stock gpsbabel 1.2.8 gui front end a little harder to use for novice users. Where I think the home brew GUI is better (or more complete): 1. The home brew gui shows the main file types, and shows the user what sub options are available. The Beta 1.2.8 gui, only shows the main file types, and you have to manually know what sub options are available, and manually enter these in. It was mainly because of this (and the below) that I posted my home brew front end in this thread. 2. The home brew gui remembers the main file types, and sub options and settings. Where as standard 1.2.8 gui only remembers what main file types were selected, and you have to keep manually enter and or select options over and over again each time you run the program. It looks like it works this way for at least the file types sub options. 3. The home brew gui presents more of a wizard like interface that guides users through the process. Where the standard 1.2.8 GUI is better (or more complete): 1. It supports serial devices better then my home brew gui. So if your trying to send serial data out a com port, my interface may not work for you. 2. It supports the extra filter options, where as mine does not have this. On the GPSBABEL command line, there are extra filtering options that you may need. The new 1.2.8 GPSBABEL gui will handle these better. (and definitely more actively maintained) Part of my experiment, was a 'proof of concept' in that if the gui front end was written in a certain way, it would automatically adapt to newer versions of GPSBABEL.EXE without having to do any code changes. Actually, while I was working on it, it found an older version of GPSBABEL.EXE in the Google Earth directory, and it adapted to the command structure of this version automatically. Here I was trying to figure out where all my 1.2.7 options went LOL! As well, the home brew gui (written for 1.2.7) automatically adapted to the new version 1.2.8 without any code changes. Barring any changing in how the help screen is formatted, it works fine, displaying all of the the 1.2.8, 1.2.9, . . . 2.0.1 options to the users. I would have asked, but you must understand, I was just sitting in front of my computer, read this This Topic one day, and in only 4-6 hours. POOF - there it was, running on my machine. This took only a few HOURS to make, not even a full day to make. Since it was the result of reading the above topic, I posted it. Obviously this was not a difficult thing to make! If this computer readable interface you describe has user friendly text and comment information that can be displayed to the user so they know what they are selecting, I could quite easily adapt. If the only thing it presents is single word options, well then, maybe not. I hope from the description of how this program came about, that you can understand that it 'just happened', and was only made to try and make things a little better for the other babel users. Regards, ---- Robb ----
  14. I also threw together a GPSBABEL front end for Version 1.2.7. I wanted a GUI front end that would automatically adapt to any new version of GPSBABEL without me having to constantly re-code. It does this by issuing a GPSBABEL -H and then examining the help screen to work what options are available. So as long as the -H screen's format does not change, the wrapper will adapt automatically showing any new command options. It then displays these options to the user using a wizard like interface. Any options selected by the user will be saved in the registry, making it real easy to re-run without having to try and remember the last options you used. I just tested my home brew wrapper against verions 1.2.8, and it still works fine. You can read more about is Here.... Regards, ---- Megamapper -----
  15. For the price, and what you're getting. You can't go wrong with the H2O. The major things I look at: 1. You want AA battery power instead of non-standard battery packs. It's kinda nice to be able to pull more batteries out of the pack and keep going. 2. Track storage is important to me. I've found that all lowrance GPS's rule over all Magellin and all Garmin in this regard. I haven't seen one that can match the lowrance. But the lowrance does not store altitude, or date/time in the track points, which some users want. Myself, I need the extra points. 3. External antenna jack for driving around in the car, or in thick forest canopy. 4. Screen. The bigger the better. 2 color Black/White or Grey shades?
  16. BTW: are you a Amateur Radio Operator? I also threw together a quick and dirty 'snake code' program that will act as a front end to GPSBABEL. You probably won't need it (being a UNIX junkie), but what the heck, may as well let you know about it. I am not sure if it will work on WIN95, WIN98, WIN/ME. I've attempted to make it 'compatable' with these versions of windows, but I'm not sure. I am reasonably sure it likes NT 4.0, Win 2000, Win XP, Win 2003. Download GSAK 1.2.7, and install it on your computer. (Unzip the files someplace on your C drive ). There is a GUI version which is really 'stripped down' and does not have all the options available. So for me, I ended up falling back to the command line version which is much richer in capabilities. So to make your lives a little nicer: Download Download GSAK 1.2.7, and unzip the files some-place on your computers C drive. Next, download the GPSBABEL Wrapper and save it directly to your desktop. When you run it, it will automatically: 1. Locate the copy of GPSBABEL.EXE 2. Figure out what command line options are available. 3. Guide you through a wizard like process for doing the conversions. 4. Remember what you did, so you can more easily re-run the conversions. Issues: Dunno if it works on WIN98/95/ME? The search may locate an older copy of GPSBABEL.EXE. The third screen will show you which copy of GPSBABEL.EXE was located on the 3rd screen. If you find that it is running the wrong copy, then simply rename the bad copy temorarily and run wrapper once, then rename the file back, if you're so inclined. Remember to check that you have the current version, which should be 1.2.7. I've noticed an ancient version of GPSBABEL in the Google Earth directory! The program is written using Wise installer. That means it needs admin rights to the desktop. It sucks, but what do you expect for a free program. It also writes to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\GPSBABEL registry keys for storing various settings. The program does not support GPSBABEL filtering options. The program does not properly support SERIAL / USB gps's very well. It will try to add a -f <file> option to the command. That's about the only issues I can see coming up. Regards, ---- Megamapper -----
  17. OK, hopefully this will make your life a little nicer. I am not sure if it will work on WIN95, WIN98, WIN/ME. I've attempted to make it 'compatable' with these versions of windows, but I'm not sure. I am reasonably sure it likes NT 4.0, Win 2000, Win XP, Win 2003. Download GSAK 1.2.7, and install it on your computer. (Unzip the files someplace on your C drive ). There is a GUI version which is really 'stripped down' and does not have all the options available. So for me, I ended up falling back to the command line version which is much richer in capabilities. So to make your lives a little nicer: Download Download GSAK 1.2.7, and unzip the files some-place on your computers C drive. Next, download the GPSBABEL Wrapper and save it directly to your desktop. When you run it, it will automatically: 1. Locate the copy of GPSBABEL.EXE 2. Figure out what command line options are available. 3. Guide you through a wizard like process for doing the conversions. 4. Remember what you did, so you can more easily re-run the conversions. Issues: Dunno if it works on WIN98/95/ME? The search may locate an older copy of GPSBABEL.EXE. The third screen will show you which copy of GPSBABEL.EXE was located on the 3rd screen. If you find that it is running the wrong copy, then simply rename the bad copy temorarily and run wrapper once, then rename the file back, if you're so inclined. Remember to check that you have the current version, which should be 1.2.7. I've noticed an ancient version of GPSBABEL in the Google Earth directory! The program is written using Wise installer. That means it needs admin rights to the desktop. It sucks, but what do you expect for a free program. It also writes to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\GPSBABEL registry keys for storing various settings. The program does not support GPSBABEL filtering options. The program does not properly support SERIAL / USB gps's very well. It will try to add a -f <file> option to the command. That's about the only issues I can see coming up. Regards, ---- Megamapper -----
  18. Ok then, you'll have no problems then. I really should throw a quick and dirty 'GUI wrapper' around the GSAK command line tool. It would only take about 4 hours to do, and would make the whole thing much easier to use. Sure. My ramstick has 512 MB on it, I could fill it with thousands of USR files. When you put the RAMSTICK in, the GPS does not load all the usr files automatically. You have to manually select, and load each usr file manually from the gps. As you load new USR files, the gps 'merges' all the data found in the usr files with what it currently has in memory. After you load all the USR files, then all the data would be in the GPS. If you were to manually save a new USR file from the GPS it would contain all the waypoints, tracks, icons and routes stored in the GPS. So one USR file with lots and lots of geocaches and waypoints is quite possible. I have a single USR file that contains 10,000 - 20,000 points of track data, and around 1000 waypoints and icons. All this is stored in *ONE* usr file. If you are a premium member on this site, you can download a single LOC file that contains hundreds of geocaches. You could then GPSBABEL them into being a single USR file with all the geocache waypoints stored on it. If your not a premium member, but are a Unix geek, you could use PERL to merge all the 'single waypoint' LOC files into one big loc file with all the data merged into one output file. I suspect that GSAK could also help with the merging process as well, but I haven't gotten into GSAK that much. In either case, your obviously better off keeping the number of USR files small number. You betcha that would stink. You can load lots and lots of USR files onto the ramstick, or one file onto the ramstick that contains all the waypoints in one file. It's all in how you create the file. The GPS does not automatically load the files so you would have to manually load each file into the GPS. So if you had 50 or more files on the SD card, it would really suck having to sit there and load each file manually. So keeping the number of USR files down to a dull roar is preferred. I can understand where you're coming from. You'll find that once you get the data loaded into your GPS, you'll probably never do it again, except to add the odd 'newly created' geocache. You'll also find that the amount of storage in the unit is simply huge, nutty huge. I pretty much just leave all my data in the GPS as I haven't been able to 'fill' my gps with data. Call me wierd, but I like using Google Earth to virtually fly over the areas that I've been out and about in. So loading my lowrance files into the free version of google earth is kinda handy. Since your a Unix junkie, here's a quick and dirty perl + bat + gsak script that will convert a lowrance USR file into a series of files that GOOGLE EARTH FREE VERSION will slurp up. You simply load google earth, click file open, then select GPX for the file type. It will then load whatever GPX file you like. You'll have to fix the paths in the bat file, but you can get the idea... ----------------------------- CONVERT.BAT ------------------------------------------ gpsbabel.exe -i lowranceusr,break -f lowrance.usr -o gpx -F lowrance.gpx c:\perl\bin\perl.exe c:\perl\eg\gpx.pl lowrance.gpx pause ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- The first line of the BAT file calls gpsbabel to convert the lowrance USR file into a single lowrance.gpx file. Lowrance.gpx as it sits will load in Google Earth, but looks like hell. The tracks only show up as one color, and it's hard to change the colors, line thickness's of each track individually. Icons and waypoints all show up as one big blob and you'll have to customize each ICON and WAYPOINT individually. When you start getting around 1000 icons+waypoints, well this can be a serious pain. The below perl script reads in the lowrance.gpx file, and converts it into a series of files. Each tracks is split out into its own file as trk_trackname.gpx Each icon type is split out to its own file as ico_iconnames.gpx Each waypoint is split out to iss own file as wpt_iconname.gpx This lets you load each part of the USR file into google earth, and from there you can more easily customize the settings for each file individually. ---------GPX.PL--------------------------------------- #!/perl/bin/perl if ( $ARGV[0] eq "" ) { print "Correct Usage:\n\n"; print "gpx.pl <filename>\n\n"; exit; } print "Arguments $ARGV[0]\n"; open (FILE,"<$ARGV[0]"); system ("del ico_*.gpx"); system ("del wpt_*.gpx"); system ("del trk_*.gpx"); $state = "header"; $hcnt = 0; while (<FILE>) { chop ; $line = $_; #====================== WAYPOINT AND ICON PROCESSOR ================================= if ( substr($line, 0 ,9) eq "<wpt lat=" ) { $state = "waypoint"; $wpt = 0; $Waypoint[$wpt] = $line; $wpt++; while ( $state eq "waypoint" ) { if ( not ($_ = <FILE>) ) { $state = "EOF"; }; chop ; $line = $_; $Waypoint[$wpt] = $line; # print "waypoint[$wpt] = .$Waypoint[$wpt].\n"; $wpt++; if ( $line eq "</wpt>" ) { $state = "" } } #=== We have loaded a waypoint or Icon=== $file = ""; if (substr($Waypoint[6],0,7) eq " <sym>") { #==== We have loaded a waypoint $_ = $Waypoint[6]; s/ <sym>// ; s/<\/sym>// ; $sym = $_ ; $file = "wpt_$sym.gpx"; } else { #==== We have loaded an icon ==== $_ = $Waypoint[5]; s/ <sym>// ; s/<\/sym>// ; $sym = $_; $file = "ico_$sym.gpx"; } if ( not ( -f $file) ) { #---- File does not exist better add it to the list $Files[$fcnt] = $file; $fcnt++; #---- File does not exist better puke out a header open (WPTFLE,">$file"); for ($i = 0; $i < $hcnt; $i ++ ) { print WPTFLE "$Header[$i]\n" ; }; close WPTFLE ; } if ( $file ne "" ) { open (WPTFLE,">>$file"); for ($i = 0; $i < $wpt; $i ++ ) { print WPTFLE "$Waypoint[$i]\n" ; }; close WPTFLE; } $state = ""; $line = ""; } #================================ PROCESS TRACKS ==================================== if ( $line eq "<trk>" ) { $state = "track"; $_ = <FILE> ; chop; $line2 = $_; $_ = $line2; s/ <name>//; s/<\/name>//; $trkname = $_; $file = "trk_$trkname.gpx"; # print "newtrack $line. .$line2. .$file.\n"; #============== If file hasn't been processed before, better puke out a header file if ( not ( -f $file) ) { #---- File does not exist better add it to the list $Files[$fcnt] = $file; $fcnt++; #---- File does not exist better puke out a header open (TRKFLE,">$file"); for ($i = 0; $i < $hcnt; $i ++ ) { print TRKFLE "$Header[$i]\n" ; }; close TRKFLE ; } open (TRKFLE,">>$file"); print TRKFLE "$line\n"; print TRKFLE "$line2\n"; while ( $state eq "track" ) { if ( not ($_ = <FILE>) ) { $state = "EOF"; }; chop ; $line = $_; print TRKFLE "$line\n"; if ( $line eq "</trk>" ) { $state = "" } ; } close TRKFLE ; $state = ""; $line = ""; } if ( $state eq "header") { $Header[$hcnt] = $line; $hcnt++; } # print "$line\n"; } ; #========= Add end of XML data mark ====================== for ($i = 0 ; $i < $fcnt; $i++ ) { open ( FLE, ">>$Files[$i]" ); print FLE "</gpx>\n"; close FLE ; } close (FILE); ------------------------------- END ------------------------ Regards, ---- Robb ----
  19. Comparing the hardware, I find the lowrance is simply awsome. I would go with the lowrance. You have concerns about converting geocaching.com loc files into usr file. I would just download the free GPSBABEL utility for convert LOC files into USR files. You'll have to work with a command line utility. There is a GUI version of GPSBABEL, but it's quite limited, so most people end up falling back to the command line version. gpsbabel -i geo -f geocache.loc -o lowranceusr -F geocache.usr And POOF, you copy the usr file onto the RAM stick, and load it into your lowrance unit. No problemo. The topo maps are pretty good, and even the streets are quite nice! So you'll like that part. The route/waypoint/icon editing is workable. However track editing is NON-EXISTANT, aside from deleting them. The only thing I use mapcreate for creating new base maps on my gps. With the Magellan mapsend, there is a similar issue. They will let you delete track points, but you can't add / edit tracks as well. So you'll be somewhat dissapointed in the track editing area, no matter which way you go. I ended up having to get a third package 'oziexplorer' for doing track/waypoint/icon editing. It would be nice if these GPS makers could include a decent track editor in their software. Regards, ---- Robb ----
  20. I believe that you could do better for the prices your paying. Check out the gpscity.ca website, check the features. Here's a few ones that I'd look at. WWW.GPSCITY.CA All the GPS's listed have: SD Memory cards - A great idea 12 Channel with WAAS - No problem here. AA Battery power source - Excellent power source! Avoid nonstandard power sources. The Lowrance iFinder H2O sells for $180.00 cdn. Specs: 99 tracks each storing up to 9,999 point. 1000 Waypoints 1000 Icons (similar to waypoint, but no text label) External Antenna Jack No serial transfer of data possible. SD Card and reader is used to transfer data to your computer. WAY more track/icon data storage in the unit, plus you save $ 70.00 cdn over the meridian gold. Screen is 16 grey shades, which I suspect is probably better than the one on the meridian gold. ----------------------------------------------------------------- The meridian gold sells for $250.00 cdn Specs: 20 track, 2000 points. 500 Waypoints No Icons? Not mentioned No external Antenna Jack Serial Cable to Transfer data to your computer. SD Card would probably also work for transfering data? ----------------------------------------------------------------- Lowrance iFinder PhD = $280.00 cdn Adds in the MP3 playback/Sound record capability. Adds a built in Barometric Altimeter. Adds a built in Barometer. Adds a built in Compass. So if you add in another $30.00 bucks over the price of the meridian, you can have a fully loaded GPS. ----------------------------------------------------------------- I have a hard time recommending a Magellan or Garmin for a black and white GPS as they are over-priced for what you can get for the same cost in the Lowrance line. The Lowrance company BTW have been around alot longer than Magellan or Garmin doing Avionics and Marine navigation equipment. Regards, ---- Robb ----
  21. The track storage in these units is to DIE FOR! Comparison: Magellan Meridian Gold $251 cdn - Lowrance PhD $280 cdn I was looking at a friends Meridian Gold, and from what I can tell, the unit will only store one track as one contiguous segment. If you power off the GPS, drive to another city, power it on, you'll end up with a line from where the track ended to the new current location. You can't have a track that consists of various smaller segments. Not to mention only 2000 track points kinda suck. On my unit, (100 tracks max) one track can consist of hundreds of smaller track segments, each with their own start and endpoint. Nowadays, I'm working with tracks that consist of 5,000-10,000 points, each with upwards of 200 track segments. I've managed to use a grand total of 5 out of the 100 available tracks. LOL! And I'm pushing 10,000 - 20,000 track points! The way each track displays is customizable, so I like to have a main roads track, a spur track (roads that dead end), and a trails track. I have mine customized like this: When I'm driving, solid blinking lines are main roads. Large pieces blinking lines are spurs. Small dotted blinky lines are trails. In this way, it makes navigating a snap, as I can simply glance down and see which way I need to turn. Many of the roads that I'm on do not show up on any of the map upgrades. So I use tracks to 'update' my topo maps. They also look really coowel in google earth. I picked up a 1GB SD stick, so my GPS also doubles as my iPOD, so I listen to my MP3 music on it as well. But 1 GB is pretty small by todays standards! Oh well, what do you expect for a cdn$280.00 GPS + cdn$120.00 SD ramstick? Regards, ---- Robb ----
  22. I've been very happy with the Lowrance iFinder GPS's. Is it perfect, no. Lemme take you through the good, the bad, and the ugly. This should give you a good idea of what you want to look out for. Track Storage: 100 tracks with each track storing up to 10,000 track points. Each track can consist of multiple individual track segments (start/stop) without having that annoying line joining each segment to each other. Each track can be displayed using diferent line types. I show trails, spurs and roads all with various line types. When you have that kind of track storage there is no need to remove or reload tracks into the GPS when you trek from area to area. It's all there! I've found it next to impossible to fill my GPS's track capacity! With other GPS's people use Waypoints and Routes for hiking. With the kind of track storage available in the ifinder, making up routes using waypoints if kinda well, IMHO useless. I can simply at my tracks ( now about 12,000 points) to see where I'm headed. I took a look at a Magellan Meridian Gold, and found that it can only store *one* track consisting of only *one* segment. There is no ability subdivide the track up into segments. So for this unit you'd need to make lotsa waypoints and routes. That isn't to say that I do not use the 1000 icons and 1000 waypoints. For me, icons show points of interest or hazards. Waypoints show me turns and describe where the right and left fork goes. I haven't used routes at all so far. But, that being said, if I were on a long, pre-planned road trip or boat trip, then using routes and waypoints would be very useful. But while I'm out in the woods, they are not very useful. iFinder tracks store only location information. No altitude, or time is stored in tracks. The more I use the unit, I would much rather have the points. I get the altitude from Google Earth, or from the topo maps. Batteries life in the iFinder units is simply awsome 8 hours with no power saving and backlights on. 12 - 24 hours possible depending on lighting and how well you save the battery power - On regular alkaline batteries. I've found that rechargable NiHM's appear to work even longer. My last 15 hour ride I did (2PM to 5AM) (backlights on from 5 PM to 5 AM), the batteries never failed so I can't comment on the battery life other then to say its long. There's nothing worse then having a GPS with a dead battery. If the GPS uses a nonstandard power source, your down for 14 hours recharging, assuming that you have a 120 V light socket to plug into. For me, I simply pack along a couple of Alkaline or NiHM spares 'just in case'. They're small, and don't weigh the pack down. Both Magellan and Lowrance mapping software work great at getting maps into the units. However the ability to edit track data in both these products 'suck'. I've found that you need to buy their software anyway to get the maps upgraded on the GPS. After that, then you may want to go to some software like OziExplorer to edit tracks and the like. So no matter which way you go, you may end up having to buy Ozi. Lowrance has been around for like a 'bazillion years' doing boat and water navigation before GPS existed. Their marine mapping charts appear to be quite well done. Lots of updates for lakes and fishing spots on their website. I've seen some of their charts being displayed on the GPS, but I don't really know what I'm looking at. Planning that fun filled vacation in Iraq? Well, the iFinders suck for this. I haven't seen any map upgrades available for Europe or Iraq. In terms of bang for the buck, the iFinder is unbeatable. You can get a top of the line Lowrance with Compass and Altimeter for under $300.00 Cdn. The screen is quite large, but they only have greyscale Black and White screen. So if the GPS has to be color, then you're probably looking at other manufacturers. Also the color appears to eat alot of battery power, so you may end up spending around $300-400 Cdn to get color. It will also cost you in battery life, as color tends to eat battery power. On my iFinder PhD, it's spozed to be waterproof to IPX7 standards. Well, it's not!! Submerging the unit gently in a 3 inch sink of water, well I got water into my unit. With rain, and downpour conditions, I've had ZERO problems. I took it to the swimming pool, and used the GPS like an iPod listening to music. Did I the GPS get wet? You betcha! But if it gets submerged under water, you're going to get water in the unit. So if you're really worried about water, then look at the iFinder H2O or the iFinder Hunt versions. The PhD BTW sinks in water. The H2O will float. My unit was 'very steamy' with the LCD doing the black funky chicken. I had to use a hairdryer to heat the unit, and then use a foodsaver to suck the air out of the GPS. It took me about 6 hours repeating the cycle over and over again. My unit is fine with no issues. The antenna on the iFinder is pretty good. No real issues. I found a steal of a deal on the Lowrance RAA-3 amplified antenna. With the GPS sitting next to the antenna, I see an instant 25-50% gain in signal strengths with this antenna. It sure helps in the thick forest canopy around here. This antenna does not effect the power consuption of the GPS in a very noticable way. Many GPS's do not have the external antenna capability. When your in the car, or in thick canopy, I've found the combination of RAA-3 and having that external port to be a great asset! Anyways, That about covers it. Regards, ---- Robb -----
  23. If I were you, i'd make up a list of you want the GPS to do, and then look at all the various brands and see which one fits the list. Here's a sample list of things to consider: 1. I wanted a GPS that I could download maps into. Topographical maps. Quite often, the 'basic maps' are pretty useless. Magellen, lowrance, and Garmin sells a software package the lets you download maps into the GPS. 2. I wanted something that is water proof, or at least rain proof. 3. I wanted something that runs on simply AA batteries. If the GPS uses some sort of non-standard power source, there's nothing worse then being out in the woods with dead GPS batteries. I usually run my on AA rechargables, and have a pile of batteries in my backpack. 4. I wanted the ability to plug an external antenna into my GPS. When your in the car, it's kinda nice to have an external antenna. 5. I wanted something that would allow me to make my own maps of all my favourite trails and such. So I was interested in how many tracks and waypoints could be stored. A track a list of datapoints that show everywhere you've been with the GPS. People often use these to make their own maps, and use these for short hikes because they give you a path out of where you hiked into. Tracks are usually specified as X tracks with Y points. A waypoint is point that you name, and has an icon. People use these to plan longer trips by creating routes made up of waypoints. These are generally used to remind you of when and where you want to turn. Or can be used to mark interesting places. This is usually specified as a total number of waypoints. Most higher end GPS's can store about 1000 or more. 6. Cost was an issue for me, I wanted a GPS for $400 cdn or less. 7. You wanted something that uses SD cards, I'd have to agree. 8. You want a compass. 9. You want a barometic altimeter. 10. Color or black and white. Some users have noticed that color GPS's eat batteries faster then the black and white GPS's. Color usually adds about $300 to $400 to the cost of the GPS. But color is much nicer to look at. 11. How big is the screen? I then compared all brands against the list. After comparing, I ended up getting a Lowrance PhD, and it came in so far under budget, that I was able to get the downloadable topographic maps as well. A few good places to shop on the net would be gpscity.ca and gpscentral.ca as well as many others. Some of these sites have online comparisons which will allow you to compare the features vs cost across each brand. Kindest Regards, ---- Robb -----
  24. Does anyone know if they will be fixing the 'non-existant' track editing? Mapcreate 6.3 is what I would call a 'semi-functional' package. I use it only for upgrading the base maps on my GPS. For $124 Canuk, Yeah, it was worth it as I really like the base map upgrade that it provides. But when it comes to editing tracks and other data provided by my GPS, it seems pretty lacking. Regards, ---- Robb -----
  25. Thank you for telling us a little more detail like the GPS model and price. It kinda makes the whole thing much easier to understand. $75.00USD isn't a bad deal for a GPS that sells on the net for $230 - $250USD. I wouldn't be sitting there pondering it, I'd be running/clawing over bears / cougars and over hill and underbrush to check that GPS out PRONTO PRONTO PRONTO and give it a quick check out. Sometimes it's better not to blindly believe what others tell you unless you see it for yourself. Especially when there's a $240.00 USD GPS up for grabbs for $75.00! I hope it works out for you. Regards, ---- Robb ----
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