Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 3
Grasscatcher

DeLorme

Recommended Posts

Embra or Cowboy Papa or ???......

 

The last time I had anything to do with DeLorme, they had the mindset that THEY, (not the user) were the only ones to decide what the user wanted /needed.

 

Thinking ahead toward PN-40 ....., can DeLorme Topo USA 7 import AND export a data file in GPX format, and/ or shapefile formats?

 

What about reading a GPX format file with Waypoints, Tracks and Routes in it...can it do that? I'm not interested in reading a PQ.

 

You can only transfer "stuff" back and forth to the unit (PN-20/40) using T7 software right? Will it handle GeoTiff files?

 

GPS Babel converted files work OK?

 

Just concerned, more than a little bit, about compatibility with other softwares, formats and know that you guys are experienced with DeLorme and the PN-20. The lack of an external antenna for hand's free use and DeLorme's previous proprietary paranoia still would be a concern.

Edited by Grasscatcher

Share this post


Link to post

I can't really answer that GC as I have no experience in files of that nature.

 

I think that there are propietary maps that cannot be loaded on a PN-20, and most likely the PN-40. OTOH, I can't go to a Ford dealer and get a Ford fuel pump to go on my Chevy.

 

DeLorme does have another product xMap (I don't have it yet) that can be used to load MrSid and maybe the GeoTiff data. Not sure. Gotta' go for now. I'll check back here later and if Embra has stopped by, I fine a link and put it in.

Share this post


Link to post

There's good and bad news in this arena. I'll try to answer what I know about (and a little beyond), but you may want to pose this in the Delorme User Group for a more definitive answer. Or maybe CP or someone else will know and see this.

 

Topo7 will *import* gpx, loc, gpl and txt files, as well as several other Delorme formats (e.g., sa9). I can see that a track can be saved in gpl. Txt is an export option, but not gpx as far as I can see.

 

Delorme, after some reflection, made the PN-20 communications specs publicly available shortly after bringing the PN-20 to market, but AFAIK no one has done anything with them No one has written a GPSBabel module; nor has Dan Foster added PN-20 support to ExpertGPS. Small market share has been cited among other good reasons; with the open-source GPSBabel anyone with the requisite skills could step forward, but so far none have done. There has been a suggestion voiced a couple times that Delorme ought to write the module, but they haven't indicated their thinking on this yet. Bottom line: you're right that T7 is an essential PN communication conduit.

 

The only alternative I know is (surprise!) another Delorme product. Their XMap Pro software is a step up from Topo7. It has most or all of the T7 functionality plus GeoTiff and MrSID support. Although you're asking about format support, I'll note that many people have taken advantage of Delorme's past offer of 50% off XMap Pro to PN-20 owners to get the software for its ability to register any scanned image for download and use on the PN-20.

 

I don't know enough about shapefiles per se to answer your question..beyond my ken.

 

I think the concern you express is more grist for the mill for Delorme to write a GPSBabel module.

 

Edit: ah, by the time I posted I see Cowboy Poppa pretty much said what he has to say.

Edited by embra

Share this post


Link to post

 

Edit: ah, by the time I posted I see Cowboy Poppa pretty much said what he has to say.

And by the time I got back, you finished it off. :laughing:

Share this post


Link to post

GPSBabel does GPX, Shapefiles, and a bucket of Delorme's proprietary file formats like .an1, .anr, and such, and it does it across OSes. It doesn't do PN-[24]0.

 

Delorme, after some reflection, made the PN-20 communications specs publicly available shortly after bringing the PN-20 to market, but AFAIK no one has done anything with them

I know of nobody but Delorme that has produced code for this family of products.
I think the concern you express is more grist for the mill for Delorme to write a GPSBabel module.
I'd accept a patch from anyone (including Delorme) that was motivated to write and support one that met our standards.

 

I scratched at it a little bit and even began prototyping it, writing packet serializers, coding framers, finding ambiguities in the spec, etc., but never really got it off the ground. Having been burned hard by the last major proprietary USB protocol I implemented cross-platform and with the knowledge that nobody has seemingly converted their spec to code yet, I just had a bad feeling that I was in for abuse if I continued down that road. When I looked at my expected costs to implement it, it just didn't make sense to me.

 

If someone else is motivated to do it and send it my way, it'll be available to everyone as soon as it makes sense to release it...

Share this post


Link to post

Topo USA, XMap, and Street Atlas can Import and Export GPX files for waypoints, routes, and tracks. It also supports exchange with 3rd party GPS devices.

 

Our XMap product allows users to view GeoTIFF files and MrSID Files from your state GIS web site as well as register scanned maps to view as overlays with the topographic data.

 

We're working to expand our protocol to make it easier for third party software to interact with our PN series devices. Currently the documentation is all that is available. We'll be in touch with the right people when we have something to share...

 

I believe the answer is "yes" to all of your questions Grasscatcher... with the exception being that we are actually very concerned with what you all want. Our forum.delorme.com site has several places for users to log requests... I spend a lot of time there and in forums like this one. Just stop by either spot and leave a message... Thanks!

 

Chip Noble

Team DeLorme

Share this post


Link to post

I was scratching my head not finding gpx export for Topo7...turns out I was trying to export a trail layer, which has only txt available. I do see (after checking with the Help menu) that I can get waypoints and tracks into gpx exported files, and I'll take Chip's word on the routes.

Share this post


Link to post

Topo USA, XMap, and Street Atlas can Import and Export GPX files for waypoints, routes, and tracks. It also supports exchange with 3rd party GPS devices.

 

Our XMap product allows users to view GeoTIFF files and MrSID Files from your state GIS web site as well as register scanned maps to view as overlays with the topographic data.

 

We're working to expand our protocol to make it easier for third party software to interact with our PN series devices. Currently the documentation is all that is available. We'll be in touch with the right people when we have something to share...

 

******

 

Chip Noble

Team DeLorme

 

Chip,

OK, then I'm sure you know that one of the "right people" is Robert Lipe (GPS Babel) who made the post just above yours. It would be in DeLorme's best interest for them (Delorme) to provide whatever information is needed, protocol wise, to make it possibe for third party applications to "assist" with cross application compatibility.

Another "r p", in my opinion, would be Dan Foster (Topografix Expert GPS).

The statement in my OP was not just a casual musing...."The lack of an external antenna for hand's free use and DeLorme's previous proprietary paranoia still would be a concern."

Where and how I hike for trail mapping often requires "personal 4WD" where both hands and both feet are "occupied". I don't have a prehensile ? tail......Mapping snowmobile trails requires the antenna to be exposed to the sky at all times but the unit to be inside a coat for protection from sub zero temps for extending battery life, and other outdoor activities often require unit protection from the elements and/or damage.

Constantly holding a GPS in one hand is not an option, neither is signal loss. X Antenna is an absolute MUST.

 

As far as the last part of my earlier sentence....Delorme has a lot of "proprietary paranoia dirt" to kick off ( that they have previously shoveled onto themselves) if they expect to be able to grow. They seem to be making strides toward doing that. We'll be able to tell more by their actions, not words, and how well they continue listening.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks Grasscatcher, we're working hard to keep up with all the great requests that come from forums like this one. Unfortunately, the PN-40 will not have an external antenna. Our new GPS chipset is very powerful... signal from the floorboards of the car kind of powerful. I've used it in a backpack pouch, a bird vest pocket, a cycling jersey, and even a winter jacket without any loss of signal but I do keep it facing out. Describe where you store your device when your hands are occupied and I'll run some tests for you. When you snowmobile do you keep your device against your chest for heat? I used the PN in Yellowstone last winter and had success that way, although the cold sapped the battery life on my GPS and my digital camera faster than I would have liked... I still had a complete track log from inside my jacket... again, attention paid to device orientation.

 

I hear your concern about proprietary formats. We added support for GPX with Topo 5 or 6... I can't recall... allowing communication between our software and other applications. We're working on protocol improvements and will share those when they are ready. Feel free to describe any additional compatibility concerns that you have in more detail... perhaps I can help. Thanks for your feedback...

 

Chip Noble

Team DeLorme

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks Grasscatcher, we're working hard to keep up with all the great requests that come from forums like this one. Unfortunately, the PN-40 will not have an external antenna. Our new GPS chipset is very powerful... signal from the floorboards of the car kind of powerful. I've used it in a backpack pouch, a bird vest pocket, a cycling jersey, and even a winter jacket without any loss of signal but I do keep it facing out. Describe where you store your device when your hands are occupied and I'll run some tests for you. When you snowmobile do you keep your device against your chest for heat? I used the PN in Yellowstone last winter and had success that way, although the cold sapped the battery life on my GPS and my digital camera faster than I would have liked... I still had a complete track log from inside my jacket... again, attention paid to device orientation.

 

I hear your concern about proprietary formats. We added support for GPX with Topo 5 or 6... I can't recall... allowing communication between our software and other applications. We're working on protocol improvements and will share those when they are ready. Feel free to describe any additional compatibility concerns that you have in more detail... perhaps I can help. Thanks for your feedback...

 

Chip Noble

Team DeLorme

 

Chip,

It sounds like you're doing all the things that I would do to test it maintaining a signal lock. (and it's sounding promising!) You might try kind of a double whammy that would simulate mountain snowmobiling conditions a little better, and that would be traveling under heavy tree cover while inside a heavy jacket too.

 

I am using a 76CSx inside a GPS Outfitters case with flap velcro'd closed and attached to a front pack strap for access, and also an external antenna velcro'd to the top of my pack's carrying handle. The 76CSx will also maintain a good lock while inside the top of my pack and inside a coat pocket so the x ant is an insurance policy so that I don't have to retrace and re map if I unknowingly get in a low signal area.

 

Another test you might do is in a narrow, deep canyon environment where there is a physical elevation mask of 45-50 deg on two sides. That's just everyday standard conditions around here in the mountains.

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post

From http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=202242

 

Just KNOW that there is a reason that Delorme has such a small market share.....software and hardware both.

 

Historically, THEY tell YOU what you want and need, not the other way around. That SEEMS to be changing. The PN-40 introduction in Oct, and the following reactions will be very interesting to watch. If that unit is as good as it sound like it will be, Delorme better be ready to (continue to...) make some major changes very quickly.

If, and when, "the masses" of new customers start responding to real or perceived problems they will either sink or swim.

 

Spend some serious time reading the Delorme Forums about map/data transfers, and aquisition times/ signal reception . Maybe what Delorme users are willing to "put up with" or "settle for" or "consider acceptable" is just different.

 

Compatibility with third party developers of other softwares is just about non existent.

 

However, after all of that, I may still try a PN-40 in October, but you can bet I'll get it at REI for obvious reasons.

I wanted to bring this over from the original thread because I didn't want to take things off topic there...

 

Grasscatcher, I replied to your last concern about DeLorme's attentiveness to our customers and thought that we'd made some good progress... I shared about our .gpx support and the efforts we've made to optimize the way we import cache details.

 

I see that you're still worried that we're not listening to what our customers' needs are. Well, I can tell you that a significant portion of the development effort that went into the PN-20 was driven by feedback from our forum as well as from this forum. We've released 5 firmware updates in a year or so, each one of them bringing new features as well as bug fixes. Look at the evolution of the comment field in our waypoints. We expanded to 800 characters based on a recommendation from an REI GPS trainer, we added the cache details to move toward paperless caching, and have reordered the cache details for the upcoming Topo USA 7.0 service pack when comments from this forum pointed out that we overlooked the cache size and type.

 

The PN-40 is gearing up for a fall release and we've actively pursued solutions to the performance issues you've been reading about on our DeLorme forum. We're using a new ST Micro Cartesio chipset, we've got dual processors powering the device, transfer rates are greatly improved... The third party software support is a tough issue; we released our transfer documentation but did not have any developers implement the support. I know enough about resource issues to understand why people have held off but know that there are plenty of threads here on gc.com that talk about our efforts to improve this... I'm working with a team right now for a cross platform tool that will help in this area. In the short term I'm still going to point to our existing support for the standard .gpx format.

 

You said we'll need to make changes if the device is successful but I believe we are already working hard to listen to feedback coming in from our customers. We have a forum where our users can go to get help from other very knowledgeable users as well as from support, sales, and even members of the project teams. I don't know of any other companies doing that right now... I'm very glad to hear that you're considering the Earthmate PN-40. I've been using it for a while now and am very pleased with the performance improvements. Please remember that we offer a 30 day money back guarantee on our products. You can put it to the test and return it if it doesn't stand up to your expectations. Drop me a note with your thoughts too, I'm pretty open with what we're trying to accomplish... make a quality GPS device that has all the standard features plus innovations in the map data that we make available... I think it offers something new to the geocache experience. High resolution color aerial imagery showing you the features on the ground... it's helped me on several geocaching adventures.

 

One last note... we're geocachers here at DeLorme too. Team DeLorme broke through 50 Finds during testing... and we've got lots of people in the building who log to their own accounts. The president of the company had geocaches on his device while traveling just last week. You'd be surprised at the number of gc.com forum posts that get sent around the building because someone was lurking and caught a glimpse of something... good or bad. The GPS Map Challenge thread that you replied to landed in my inbox this morning. So give the new hardware and software a spin, I’m confident that you’ll like what you see… Thanks!

 

Chip Noble

Team DeLorme

Share this post


Link to post

Chip,

I didn't mean that post as negatively as it may seem.

 

I honestly believe that Delorme will have hit a "home run" with the PN-40.......if it is as good as it sounds., and so far, I have no reason to think that it won't be. As I said, Delorme SEEMS to be changing and they SEEM to be listening more than other manufacturers and are genuinely concerned about customer service.

 

However, I'm from the old school, (really really old) and I used to have a Boss that had a sign on his office wall that said...... " When all is said and done, there's a whole lot more said than done".......

 

The comments about small market share and needing to make changes if the device is successful was only addressing the fact that right now, Delorme as a company is addressing responses from a "relatively small" pool of people, both customer service related and suggestion related. How big of an influx of both "Real" and "Perceived (these are worse)" problems would it take to totally inundate the service dept and customer service response dept, and turn them into another "Magellan"? (wash my mouth out!)

 

I'm waiting for OCT 15 and hoping for the best!

Share this post


Link to post

Now if only there were some Canadian Topo maps available...... :laughing:

 

Stuck with Garmin for now....

 

Love my 60CSx, but I'd like to go paperless for caching.

Share this post


Link to post

When do features and abilities we'd like to see become the realm of more expensive GPSr's--real tough marketing choices?

 

I was puzzled early on with the Colorado's backlight issue and why Garmin doesn't offer a 5 V external battery pack that could be kept in a warm location? The backlight intensity between 2.4 V and 5 V DC is significant. Does the PN-20/40 have this backlight intensity issue?

 

Would an external battery pack run the PN-20 without internal batteries or does external power only serve to charge batteries installed?

 

Sorry, I don't know how to tie this into the op topic.

Edited by Ratsneve

Share this post


Link to post

When do features and abilities we'd like to see become the realm of more expensive GPSr's--real tough marketing choices?

 

I was puzzled early on with the Colorado's backlight issue and why Garmin doesn't offer a 5 V external battery pack that could be kept in a warm location? The backlight intensity between 2.4 V and 5 V DC is significant. Does the PN-20/40 have this backlight intensity issue?

 

Would an external battery pack run the PN-20 without internal batteries or does external power only serve to charge batteries installed?

 

Sorry, I don't know how to tie this into the op topic.

My take on the functionality of an external bat. pack on the DeLorme PN-X0 would be :

 

If running the supplied lithium battery, the light would be reduced till such time as that

internal bat. is recharged, then full brightness.

If using rechargeable AAs, immediate full brightness, no charging of AAs.

If using disposable AAs, be-they Alkaline or Lithium, full brightness, no charging of bat.s.

The above would need qualification from Chip, or DeLorme staff.

 

Norm

Share this post


Link to post

...

I was puzzled early on with the Colorado's backlight issue and why Garmin doesn't offer a 5 V external battery pack that could be kept in a warm location? The backlight intensity between 2.4 V and 5 V DC is significant. Does the PN-20/40 have this backlight intensity issue?

...

 

No. I find the PN-20 screen very readable in all daylight situations without the need for any backlight.

Share this post


Link to post

Chip,

I didn't mean that post as negatively as it may seem.

 

I honestly believe that Delorme will have hit a "home run" with the PN-40.......if it is as good as it sounds., and so far, I have no reason to think that it won't be. As I said, Delorme SEEMS to be changing and they SEEM to be listening more than other manufacturers and are genuinely concerned about customer service.

 

However, I'm from the old school, (really really old) and I used to have a Boss that had a sign on his office wall that said...... " When all is said and done, there's a whole lot more said than done".......

 

The comments about small market share and needing to make changes if the device is successful was only addressing the fact that right now, Delorme as a company is addressing responses from a "relatively small" pool of people, both customer service related and suggestion related. How big of an influx of both "Real" and "Perceived (these are worse)" problems would it take to totally inundate the service dept and customer service response dept, and turn them into another "Magellan"? (wash my mouth out!)

 

I'm waiting for OCT 15 and hoping for the best!

We took a gamble with the forums back when the PN-20 first came out... started talking with users, answering questions about the design, helping with problems, guiding people through special use scenarios. Up until then our interaction had been with the private design and testing forums. It was a little bumpy at first but eventually everyone realized that open communication between the company and the customer benefited both sides.

 

I expect an increase in traffic for all of our customer contact points when the PN-40 releases. Sales, Service, and Support... forum.DeLorme.com and blog.DeLorme.com... we'll be able to handle the volume, remember that our sales, service, and support groups are used to Street Atlas launches and other big releases that hit a very wide audience all at once. We are also pretty efficient with our triage process for user feedback... five firmware updates for the PN-20 required us to process the real and the perceived problems in a timely fashion without running from one side of the boat to the other… at least not too much! We'll get feedback from our geocache users, our hikers and bikers, our hunters and anglers... and then we'll balance the requests and look for more feedback as we plan updates.

 

So keep track of the DeLorme forum and the blog, we'll be announcing more information there... a Newsletter is actually due out September 3rd with info about the SE model... I can't even get my hands on one of those yet! You'll be able to read more about the SE on the blog. After that, try out a device... we'll be waiting to hear what you think.

 

Thanks,

 

Chip Noble

Team DeLorme

 

Side note: RRLover is correct, charging the Li-Ion will reduce the backlight until charging is complete, it has to do with the power requirements to charge the battery while the device is on. Since the remaining battery types can't be charged in the unit, there is no impact on the backlight. Check out our forum.delorme.com site for more power info. The users on that site are great, I have to check in with them for reminders from time to time...

Share this post


Link to post

Since I can't yet work with a T7 file directly, can anyone (Chip ?) download some track/waypoint (mainly track) data into T7 from a PN-40 then without any editing, export that download as a gpx file and attach it to an e-mail or post it here?

 

I'd like to see what I can do with it, compatibility wise, with several other programs I use.

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post

@Team DeLorme It is really great that Delorme is not only watching these forums, but also is talking with the customers - thank you !!!

 

Maybe, i am not up to date - will the PN-40 also be avaliable in Europe (e.g. Austria, Germany). (for me, there is no german language on the unit necessary)

I think the maps could be the problem.

 

(We could really need a good gps in europe after the Colorado-desaster... and the Oregon is still in progress)

Share this post


Link to post

Since I can't yet work with a T7 file directly, can anyone (Chip ?) download some track/waypoint (mainly track) data into T7 from a PN-40 then without any editing, export that download as a gpx file and attach it to an e-mail or post it here?

 

I'd like to see what I can do with it, compatibility wise, with several other programs I use.

 

Thanks

 

GC, a recorded track from my PN-20 in GPXas exported from my Topo USA 7.0? I can't imagine that it would be any different from one generated by a PN-40. That is, assuming that Topo USA 7.0 would also have to be modified to accept and process tracks from the 40 as different from those of the 20, or export them in two different GPX formats (which is a contradiction in terms).

 

Hopefully, Chip will concur that I'm not violating any PN-20, Topo 7 license that I've accepted.

Edited by Team CowboyPapa

Share this post


Link to post

[

 

GC, a recorded track from my PN-20 in GPXas exported from my Topo USA 7.0? I can't imagine that it would be any different from one generated by a PN-40. That is, assuming that Topo USA 7.0 would also have to be modified to accept and process tracks from the 40 as different from those of the 20, or export them in two different GPX formats (which is a contradiction in terms).

 

Hopefully, Chip will concur that I'm not violating any PN-20, Topo 7 license that I've accepted.

 

TCP or CS

I was just trying to cover all possible differences......since Chip says it takes a different version of T7 to be compatible with the PN-40, and I didn't know if there were any official objections etc, (like you referred to).

 

Thanks, we'll see what their response is.

Share this post


Link to post

We're releasing a service pack for Topo USA 7.0 to update the Exchange Dialog to give proper instructions to Earthmate PN-40 owners. We've also fixed some bugs and added a few small features. Otherwise, there's no difference in terms of how the devices and software handle waypoints, tracks, routes, and maps.

 

An exported GPX from Topo USA 7.0 and the Earthmate PN-20 will look the same as an exported GPX from the service pack and the Earthmate PN-40. I'm not sure why there were references to license agreements... we want people to share data using any of the supported file formats.

 

Let me know if there are any other questions...

 

Chip Noble

Team DeLorme

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 3

×
×
  • Create New...