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PDA GPS program?

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I have a fairly nice GPS unit, though it lacks memory and more up to date maps etc. I am in the market for a new PDA, and was wondering what options there are in GPS software that is compatible with PDAs. I am pretty good technologically, but this is all new. A friend was given a GPS chip (bluetooth?) and software to go with his laptop. What does it take to do this with a PDA? Also, is the software/GPS on a PDA as good as the good ole' GPS?


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You may also find your caches with GPS Tuner. I've used this for my first 5 caches together with TomTom Navigator 5. But keep in mind that a PDA is not well protected outdoors. If it falls on the ground or in water, it might be broken...


Therefor I bought a magellan explorist 210, which is a very good starters model and a fair price if you are new.




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It depends on your PDA make and model. For Palm, Cetus is a good GPS program. It's freeware, and you can get a plugin for Cachemate that will export cache waypoints to it. GPSBabel will also create Cetus databases. For mapping, Mapopolis is a great program. It has both Palm and PPC versions, and is the only Palm program that utilizes text-to-speech, for voice directions including street names. PDA software is far more capable than any standalone GPS, because the PDA is a general-purpose computer, with a fast CPU and lots of memory, capable of complex computations. Bluetooth is a great way to go if your PDA has it. If not, you may be able to connect via cable.

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Well I thought I would add my comment. I own 2 Axim PDA's one is an X5 and the other an X51.

The X5 has a pharos Compact Flash GPS. It was good but if not used regularly it would drop the GPS and I would have to reconfigure it. Not that big of a deal but when I needed it, it was an issue. Also it took at least 2 minutes to loc-on. I consistently used Delorme Topo and Pocket software bundles. I started in 04 and i'm now on version 06 topo and 07 street.

My current configuration is the Dell Axim X51 with the blue tooth logger. I chose the logger since sometimes I don't need the mapping but would like to track my bike rides or my hikes if there on a trail that is well mapped. The blue tooth locs-on in seconds and never needs to be reconfigureed unless you hard reset the PDA. Any way the new Topo software is good but I noticed that the zoom levels have changed over the years due to the addition of new products attached to the software. In 04 the zoom was down to 38 feet. That was the best in the market., 06 went to 78 feet and now in 07 its out to about 276 feet. Thats fine for driving but not for Geocaching. The further the zoom the more searching your doing. It may be look like your on the spot but in reality you could be 100 or so feet off target. Since I just started with the new software i'm now testing and contacting Delorme and there forums on this. The paperless is awsom. Everything is in the PDA. The down side is the battery life is a trade off. Get a 12volt charger is my suggestion. Also in Topo 06 it will translate the gpx and loc formats in geocaching.

My moral to all of this is either way you spend alot of money and you're never satisfied, but then again thats technology for ya. I love the outdoors and technology on my hip while i'm there. Geocaching is a blast even if you're 100+ feet off target. I'm not trying to discourage you in any way against any setup because in reality to each there own and i'm sure someone will say i'm wrong. Good luck in deciphering all the comments and the "this is the best" posts.

Edited by edsax
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Also, is the software/GPS on a PDA as good as the good ole' GPS?


Yes. You can get a GPS to hook up to a Pocket PC that has Sirf Start III chipset. This is the best on the market currently and is the same used in all the top end Garmin GPS's like the 60csx.

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The software on a PDA is far better than that on the GPS. You can use any of several mapping programs, on a Palm or on a PPC, and use your current GPS to do it, or use a different receiver. Haicom's SDIO bluetooth receiver looks nice, but it's so new I can't find a price for it. It has a miniSD card slot, so you have a place to store large map files even though it's filling the SD slot. It's gonna be power hungry, though, because it's using the SD slot for power, and your PDA is going to be powering 2 bluetooth radios and the GPS, in addition to itself. In a car, though, with a power cable attached, who cares?

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I've used both an hw6955 iPaq (which has a built in GPS) as well as a standard Garmin E-Trex (the yellow one).


I recommend that if you are going to use a PDA for paperless caching that you buy a separate unit. The handheld units are far, far, far more accurate than PDA GPS', and the refresh speed is much quicker which as any geocacher knows, is crucial when you're in an area with a shotty satellite signal.


The PDA GPS' are very good to get you in the general location of the cache and function excellent for turn-by-turn driving directions, they just do not have the quick-update capability of the handheld models yet.


That could change, though, with newer software stripped down for speed. My iPAQ is brand new (Oct 2006) and just doesn't like quick updates. I have located geocaches with it in good-signal areas, but it seems to require many more satellites to get a solid fix at times. BeeLine GPS looks like the software of choice for the PDA.


Good luck!

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You get the same updates on the PDA you get from the GPS, unless you're using inferior software. That's entirely possible on a Windows machine.


Nope, the handheld GPS is about twice as fast as the PDA's. I've tested a few different applications and they all seem to yield the same results. A noticeable refresh-rate comparison is the speed function, on the GPS it registers almost immediately whereas on the PDA it's delayed 5-10 seconds. This is with both units holding 500 waypoints.


I'm hoping the developers can speed up this refresh rate. Perhaps it's just a registry change? I dunno.


I agree about the "windows machine" comment, my E-Trex GPS hooked up via cable to my other ipaq (h2200 model) was far better with GPE/Familiar Linux installed on the h2200 :D :D

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Most GPS receivers offer a 1Hz refresh rate, a few up to 4Hz. If your software doesn't use that rate, then it's the fault of the software, which IMO is inferior. All the Palm software I've used refreshes at 1Hz. Windows is always slow and bloated, though, whether it's on a PDA or a full PC. It's possible to program it better, but proper Windows software always has to give up time to other programs, so you're going to be stuck with whatever time Windows gives you to operate. If you're running several programs, then you may only get a chance to interrogate the GPS every few seconds. That's both a software and an OS design problem. Any mission-critical software should run in some OS other than Windows.

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