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Budget Auto-route Option...i'm So Confused


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I love my etrex legend but my new job has me traveling to many different houses around the city. It's time to find an auto route option. Please provide any opinions you may have about my options.

 

TIA

 

1) 3ghz laptop with GPS receiver (what software and what receiver)

 

2) Pentium 133mhz tablet PC running win98 with 13" screen mounted on the dash and GPS receiver. (Is this possible? what software?)

 

3) Same options as above using my legend as the GPS receiver

 

4) Buy Pocket PC with receiver etc.

 

5) Spend $1000 on a fancy full featured car GPS (Is it worth the extra $$$$)

 

6) Buy a Garmin quest or equiv from eBay for around $300

 

Am I missing options? I figure I'm losing 1-3 hours a week driving around neighborhoods looking for houses.

The laptop options are bulky but I would have a full sized keyboard. I would like it to talk to me if possible.

 

Am I missing anything?

 

Thanks for the help oh great collective of GPS knowledge.

 

Tim in MN

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If I understand correctly you do not have a laptop at present? I'm not clear on that. If you already have a laptop, take a look at this Garmin GPS 18 setup. For $129 (Garmin list, probably less online) you get a WAAS receiver and City Navigator to load on your laptop. In part it states; "a GPS sensor bundled with nRoute™ and City Navigator® software that automatically guides you with turn-by-turn directions and voice prompts to get you safely to your destination."

 

One option to look over.

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I live in Sweden so tha absolute prices will be different, but maybe not the relative.

 

I have just bought a Navman iCN 530 for the car, costing me about USB 480. For geocaching I bought an Magellan eXplorist 100 for USD 175. Buying an Garmin Gpsmap 60 CSX costs roughly USD 800 in Sweden and that is without the maps.

 

The Gpsmap lacks the void guiding telling you to turn left in 300 meters and has one or two beeps instead, if I have understood correctly.

 

So at least for me buying two separate devices in the lower price range gives me much more money to spend on other things. Buying one device to fit all situations isn't always the best thing. Although the geek in me wouldn't mind owning a Gpsmap 60 csx...

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I'm not sure how the Quest would compare price-wise to your other options, but it sounds to me like it would do all you want it to. I think it represents a great value, since the package includes virtually all you need (includes software and windshield mount...I think the only thing I added was a $4 nylon case). The voice prompts work well, and it offers a lot of the customizability in routing offered by higher-priced automobile navigation units.

 

Even if it doesn't come with the most current software version, garmin would give you a free upgrade.

 

About the only drawback for the kind of use you describe is the need to use the buttons for input--it doesn't have touch-screen capability. However, the address searching is efficient enought that I don't find it to be a bother. if you were entering multiple addresses each day, I can imagine that you might ideally want a more convenient data entry mode (e.g., computer keyboard or touch screen).

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If I understand correctly you do not have a laptop at present? I'm not clear on that. If you already have a laptop, take a look at this Garmin GPS 18 setup. For $129 (Garmin list, probably less online) you get a WAAS receiver and City Navigator to load on your laptop. In part it states; "a GPS sensor bundled with nRoute™ and City Navigator® software that automatically guides you with turn-by-turn directions and voice prompts to get you safely to your destination."

 

One option to look over.

 

nroute is interesting b/c you can use it w/ your garmin gps also (e.g. gps feeds nroute, which then does all the work). I was playing w/ it the other week .. download from garmin.com.

 

One thing to check if you do go this route (no pun intended) is whether the voice prompts say the upcoming street name or not. (vs. turn RIGHT in x# of feet). I think the verbilization of the acutal street name is really helpful, but it one thing to check (vs. a dedicated auto device which is ergonimically designed for auto use (vs. a laptop which isn't) and can also say the street name (depending on what you spend).

 

I had city nav v8, which is the same data as in the nuvi, for example, which can say street names I believe, so I believe I had the data to say street names, so if nroute doesn't, then it's b/c of the pc software, not because the data was lacking.

 

just a tidbit, but hope it helps!! good luck!

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You can hook the Garmin up to the PC, have it provide NMEA data, and use any number of auto-routing softwares.

 

If you don't want to haul the laptop around, I'd recommend buying a cheap palm OS or Pocket PC device and getting Mapopolis - there are a few different mapping softwares around, but I'm a fan of this one. For ~$100 you get the software - if you get a bluetooth enabled device you can get a Bluetooth GPS for ~$70 (there are ways to get the garmin to be bluetooth as well, and cables to hook up the garmin to the pocket pc / palm - i prefer cordless solutions). Buy a used device on ebay for ~$100, and for the price of a cheap auto-routing GPS car unit you get a voice-navigating (with street names read) routing software with the addition of the features of a handheld organizer.

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Why not a GPS V? A little old but the price is right.

 

I use one to find 2 to 3 houses a day as a home inspector. It comes with a "shoe" that I mount to my dash temporarily with Silly Putty. Works well and if it is stolen I'm only out <$200.

 

Think about what you are going to do when you get to the address, you will have to stow the unit/laptop each time you park.

 

Here is a picture of it in a RAM mount in my wife's minivan:(I used to be a real speed demon)

Picture058.jpg

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An issue with a laptop or in-car unit is possible theft.

 

I've had my car broken in to in what should be "good" neighborhoods. This is a 1992 Toyota Tercel with absolutely nothing of value left inside.

 

Convenience is another: compare a GPS you actually carry with you versus one cringe at the thought of packing with you for a hike.

 

Even if you don't get the "turn right" voice prompts, the turn warning beeps are quite good from any of the Garmin auto-routing models like the 60CSx or eTrex. My 60 is mounted on the dash with a bolted on belt clip. (gotta take a photo of that...)

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How about a PDA????

 

The laptop would be a used one scrounged from my former career as an IT guy. It's still worth $250 but i wont pay that for it. Most of the time I take exterior pictures so stashing it wont be a big deal. I still have my legend to hike with.

 

The GPS V sound like a good option too. I had the III and liked it.

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Try Delorme Street Atlas. You can use any external GPS as long as it output NEMA. What I like about Delorme over Streets and Trips is that you can use High Contrast colors to make it easier to use at night and you draw in new streets also in the GPS window you can check the status of the GPS and see how many and which satellites you are tracking. Also the GPS tells you when you have either a 2D,3D, or 3D DGPS (WASS Correction) signal. I have used S&T Faithfully for about the last 4 years. In March a friend turned me on to the Delorme product and I find it works better than S&T. BTW I am a field service engineer and cover a huge territory so I spend a lot of hours on the road and cannot afford to be lost. My suggestion is to find somebody with both programs and try them out to see which one you like. If you get S&T with the GPS locator then decide to try Delorme the GPS from S&T will work and the Delorme has voice guidance (I do find this feature a little annoying so usually turn that off.)

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