Jump to content

Research for New GPS Receiver


Guest Firefishe

Recommended Posts

Guest Firefishe

Hello all. Firefishe again.

 

A gentleman by the handle of "alan2" posted a reply in the iFinder vs. GlobalMap 100 thread, quipping me about whether or not I was engaged in research because he thought I was "asking so many questions." icon_biggrin.gif

 

Well, I indicaed that I wasn't, quipped with a few smilies, then let the matter drop. Well...then I got to thinking, which I am want to do.

 

We all know we'd like to see features on one unit we'd "just love to have" on another unit. Well, after I've given it much thought, I have decided to tackle that very matter and put all of these mundane ramblings of mine, and my desire for answers myself, to good use.

 

I am going to ask all of you to help me brainstorm an idea for "The Ultimate GPS Receiver/Navigation Tool."

 

This is not an idle notion; in my honest opinion, I can see no reason to not have control over what we desire to put into our own GPSr's, the features we want at any given time, or the ability for removeable data storage cards AND the aspect of soldered-on-board memory.

 

Why not just have both? Why not have a casing like a Garmin (read: TOUGH AND SECURE), with the features of the Meridian Platinum/GPS-V/GPSmap 76S all built-in...along with this one difference: One can load them in and out of memory as desired, or have them all in there all together, as one desires.

 

I think that an hermetically-sealed case is a necessity, not an option. This is why I enjoy the Garmin line's cases so much: the battery compartment has no access to the internal electronics. This is not the case with the Magellans. The SD/MMC card socket has a bit of green circuit board showing, and I find that the two slider-type locking latches are not as robust as Garmin's screw-type, lock-down method.

 

I've decided to go ahead and start work on designing a GPSr for the rest of us, those of us who want it all, but also want the choice of keeping certain things out or not. I also plan on marketing this system as a complete outfit, with software that you don't have to purchase unlock codes for after the purchase of the initial cd-rom (Garmin).

 

I think that the active electronic compass/barometric altimeter/temperature indicator is a prime necessity in a GPSr/all-in-one unit. I also don't believe one should pay an arm and a leg for it either, but it should also be dead-on accurate.

 

I also think that one should also have the most advanced mapping systems available for upload to the unit, and that the unit should be able to give a razor-sharp, detailed representation of what is being looked at, whether in greyscale or color relief. I also believe that a color display should be available in a unit the size of a Garmin GPSmap 76 or a Meridian-style GPSr, but with sharper contrast than both, combined.

 

What would you think if you had the light weight of a GPSmap 76, a color display, and the ability to upload a three-dimensional map system, like say, the DeLorme Topoquad system? The concept of "strategic partnerships" is flowing through my axons and dendrites as we speak!

 

I'm serious! I downloaded DeLorme's demo for their mapping software and fell in love at first sight with the TopoQuad system immediately! To me, being able to see that 3D map in the field has to be the ultimate in portable GPSr capability--capability I don't see as of yet.

 

If DeLorme couldn't be convinced to license their own software, then an open-sourced type could be written. Since all of the data is taken from USGS maps anyway, the effort would be from that, and up-to-the-minute methodoligies, as well.

 

So that's it. I think this is enough information to get this thread going. I would ask one thing for this thread. As this is a serious researching and brainstorming thread, please no critical comments as to the idea. I am interested only in pro-active opinions on how this *can* be accomplished, not how it *can't*.

 

That said, I will also say that *constructive criticism* as regards design of the unit and system software will be, of course, Ahem icon_biggrin.gif "Heralded and Welcomed" icon_biggrin.gif

 

I leave you now to fire up your brains for brainstorming.

 

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with any GPS manufacturer or maker of GPS software whatsoever. I have a very strong desire to do what I have said, nothing more, nothing less. Do I stand to make millions? Well, the originator of an idea, the person who takes the risks, reaps the benefits. Those of us who are contributors will probably make a buck or two in the long run, and I see no problem with that, so long as it's an honest one.

 

Warmest regards,

Firefishe

Stephen Brown

Traverse City, Michigan

Link to post
Guest Firefishe

I'm going to post the first reply with a couple of ideas.

 

The ability to create your own 2D and 3D maps of the immediate terrain in front and around you.

 

This would be an advanced capability that might have to be incorporated later into the design. Oh, did I mention that a capability to have additional devices for map-creation-in-3D--say out to 200 yards--available, could also be available?

 

This might require the use of a remote scanning unit plugged into the main unit, but it could also have the same thing built-in (at least for the 2D capability) which might increase size a little...or not, it just depends upon the technology available.

 

I also think that hydrogen-gas-powered electric fuel cells in place of batteries would finally solve the power issue problems we now face with traditional rechargeable battery technologies.

 

Warm regareds,

Firefishe

 

------------------

Firefishe,

<*[[[[><

Link to post
Guest phantom4099

glancing over most of your post I relized a PDA and a GPS can do most of that already. I also belive there is rugged PDA's out there(may even be water resistant too). So I do not think there is as much money in it as you think.

 

My $.01

Wyatt W.

 

------------------

The probability of someone watching you is directly proportional to the stupidity of your actions.

Link to post
Guest brokenwing

Reading over your post, I'm struck with one thought: It's obvious that my needs and desires are different than yours. I guess that's why there are so many different models of GPSr's. We all have different needs and desires. In the end, I don't think there will ever be some perfect unit for everyone.

 

------------------

Brokenwing

http://www.cordianet.com/geocaching

 

[This message has been edited by brokenwing (edited 02 March 2002).]

Link to post
Guest Firefishe

quote:
Originally posted by brokenwing:

Reading over your post, I'm struck with one thought: It's obvious that my needs and desires are different than yours. I guess that's why there are so many different models of GPSr's. We all have different needs and desires. In the end, I don't think there will ever be some perfect unit for everyone.

 


 

Greetings, BrokenWing icon_wink.gifcool.gif <---To me, that's what I find "cool."

 

Okay, enough said.

 

Warm regards,

Firefishe

Stephen Brown

Traverse City, Michigan

 

 

------------------

Firefishe,

<*[[[[><

Link to post
Guest Firefishe

quote:
Originally posted by phantom4099:

glancing over most of your post I relized a PDA and a GPS can do most of that already. I also belive there is rugged PDA's out there(may even be water resistant too). So I do not think there is as much money in it as you think.

 

My $.01

Wyatt W.

 


 

Most PDA's sell for well over $500 dollars from what I've seen. Add a waterproof case to that and you have even more expense.

 

I'm looking at a GPSr-only concept here, not a PDA-based solution with and add-on GPS system. However, That doesn't mean by any means that the internal processor(s) can't have the abilities of a PDA. Handled GPSr's already have address databases and such, so it problably wouldn't be too hard to implement, say, a "To Do" list type of thing. I just don't want to get away from the "user-specific" purpose of the product.

 

Warm regards,

Firefishe

Link to post
Guest Firefishe

quote:
Originally posted by st_richardson:

Any idea what the costs would be to make one?

How much do you think people would be willing to pay for the ultimate GPS?


 

I'm looking at a target cost of perhaps $450 MSRP. That should give a decent amount of leeway to the dealers. Your thoughts?

 

Warm regards,

Firefishe

Link to post
Guest Firefishe

quote:
Originally posted by Firefishe:

I'm looking at a target cost of perhaps $450 MSRP. That should give a decent amount of leeway to the dealers. Your thoughts?

 

Warm regards,

Firefishe


 

Cost to make one? Depends on price of available raw materials and such. I'm checking out the cost of such things now. I'll get back within the coming week.

 

Best regards,

Firefishe

Link to post

Ok, here's my idea :

 

Every GPS will have a receiver, maybe the electronic compass and altimeter.

 

Why not make it like the generic PCs that you find around i.e. the hardware is all there but each user just needs to load the flash ROM with whatever code/features that he needs.

 

Each of those software components can be modular so someone may load the firmware with code that makes it work like a garmin, another might load it with code that makes it work like some other product.

 

If the hardware is sufficiently "OPEN" then people can start writing code and features for what they want, even writing it themselves or patching existing code, much like the many flavours of Linux you find today.

 

This would be very much like a generic PC on which you can load any software that you think you need or even write it yourself if necessary.

 

This would mean you may need to provide the ROMs in the unit for the standard screen/buttons and sensor interfaces but have the rest of the code sitting on flashable ROM, maybe even on those removable media cards so that by just swapping cards I can get different features of behaviour.

 

Naturally, the track data, waypoints etc. should reside on a separate removable card (i.e. two removable slots - One for the "OS" and the other for the data) That way, I can swap a card that may consist of software to do statistical analysis of my track so far from data on the other card or use another card for navigation purposes and maybe yet another that does nothing except maximizing memory space by just logging NMEA data constantly.

 

This open architecture will allow the GPS's potential to be fully exploited to exactly the user's needs.

Link to post

Following from what I wrote above, it would then be possible to even have a separate memory card that contains code for driving the serial download from the "data" memory card to the PC.

 

This download software can then be written to "massage" the data before output into whatever format that the user's mapping of GIS software uses or understands as well as maybe even allow you to "input" commands to the GPS to control its behaviour and configuration.

 

The basic idea is like a PDA - the basic features (or hardware in this case) is there but you can install whatever else you want.

 

I think the basic hardware would require :

1. GPS receiver

2. Electronic Compass

3. Electronic Altimeter

4. Miniature speaker (or piezo electric speaker to minimize power consumption) nice feature so that proximity to hazards, waypoints, turns etc. can be signalled

5. Reasonable resolution screen, either Color or B/W with backlight.

6. The "function" or control keys or "click stick" as in some models - I don't have enough experience with broad numbers of different GPS to be able to comment on the ideal no. of buttons or manner of control that is best

7. The memory slots (2) I think those that support the Multi Media Cards / SD cards are probably the best but needs research on which is the cheapest to implement to keep costs down.

8. The basic BIOS system to interface the hardware to the user's applications

9. The type of CPU to use - this can be critical to performance - being able to handle the streaming data coming from the GPS and compute the position while managing the display and waypoints etc. and ALL this while keeping power consumption down!

10. Satellite table - so that the satellites can be easily and quickly acquired based on last known position but "cleared" if the user location has moved significantly and automatically rebuilt.

11. Temperature compensator sensors for accuracy

12. external power and data connection, maybe even IRDA, but again power management is the key here.

 

. . . . more to come ?

Link to post

quote:
Originally posted by infosponge:

All of those things are great from a consumer standpoint, but terrible from a manufacturer's standpoint, because they point to the commoditization of the market (i.e. what happened with PC's).


 

I disagree. Why do you think that the PC became the standard that it is today.

 

Let me just throw out a few of names that did NOT open their standards: Atari, Commodore, Apple...

 

Of the three, two had their hardware business die, and the other is still around, but has only a niche market.

 

IBM used off-the-shelf hardware for their first PC, and nothing other than their original ROMs were proprietary. While they do not control the PC business any more, they still make some money off of it, and quite possibly more money than Apple does.

 

About the new GPSR.......

 

It sounds like a great idea, and I would even buy one. HOWEVER - do not underestimate how much money it will take to get a project like this off of the ground. Whoever attempts this should have a bankroll at least in the multi-100K range in order to stand a chance. And be prepared to loose your investment if things don't work out. While there are GPS chipsets which make things easier, it definately takes skill (experience) to make the >1GHz receiver work.

 

My favorite feature would be to open up the map format so that Microsoft, Delorme, and Rand McNally could upload their maps to the product.

 

-----

Any similarity between my opinions and reality is entirely coincidental.

--Harrkev

Link to post

I haven't looked at GPS units in a while since I'm pretty happy with my Garmin at this point, but I've always thought it would have made a lot of sense to have a solar recharger-equipped unit. Ideally, I guess, it could have a small nicad or lion battery that is constantly being replenished by a small solar cell, but still accept plain old batteries, too. Thus, the solar-rechargable feature would serve to augument the battery life and perhaps even run without batteries in an emergency.

 

The cheeseball geek in me would like to see units that are capable of communicating with each other (bluetooth? 900Mhz? 2.4Ghz?). Imagine how interesting it would be to pick up signals from other cachers in the area, unless they're operating in "privacy mode" or some such, or being able to transmit waypoints and coords to your buddy from a distance in order to meet up at a specific location. I'm not sure how viable that would be, considering that transmitting any sort of signal through dense woods probably wouldn't go very far, but still... It'd be kinda cool, wouldn't it? icon_biggrin.gif

Link to post

quote:
Originally posted by Jinkeez:

I haven't looked at GPS units in a while since I'm pretty happy with my Garmin at this point, but I've always thought it would have made a lot of sense to have a solar recharger-equipped unit. Ideally, I guess, it could have a small nicad or lion battery that is constantly being replenished by a small solar cell, but still accept plain old batteries, too. Thus, the solar-rechargable feature would serve to augument the battery life and perhaps even run without batteries in an emergency.

 

The cheeseball geek in me would like to see units that are capable of communicating with each other (bluetooth? 900Mhz? 2.4Ghz?). Imagine how interesting it would be to pick up signals from other cachers in the area, unless they're operating in "privacy mode" or some such, or being able to transmit waypoints and coords to your buddy from a distance in order to meet up at a specific location. I'm not sure how viable that would be, considering that transmitting any sort of signal through dense woods probably wouldn't go very far, but still... It'd be kinda cool, wouldn't it? icon_biggrin.gif


 

Sorry I've been out of service for a while now.

 

Catching up this thread, May I draw your attention to the new Garmin Rino's? Cool icon_cool.gif is the word for these things.

 

Warm regards,

Firefishe

 

196939_600.gif

Link to post

Since my last post, sometime in March (not counting the post-reply to Jinkeez before this), I have been working on some ideas.

 

Those ideas are, hopefully, going to be addressed by an individual working in conjunction with the Small Business Administration in my area. This person is an engineer and works with new product development.

 

The gist of this would be an SBIR (Research Grant) business/product development grant to bring this product to market.

 

I just met with my primary SBA officer in my area, and was informed she would refer me to the engineer, who has more experience than she in my particular area of interest.

 

I will keep this thread updated at least weekly from this point on, and let you all know how product development is doing.

 

Please feel free to share your comments.

 

As always,

Warm regards,

Firefishe

 

196939_600.gif

Link to post

quote:
Originally posted by CountryLover:

Following from what I wrote above, it would then be possible to even have a separate memory card that contains code for driving the serial download from the "data" memory card to the PC.

 

This download software can then be written to "massage" the data before output into whatever format that the user's mapping of GIS software uses or understands as well as maybe even allow you to "input" commands to the GPS to control its behaviour and configuration.

 

The basic idea is like a PDA - the basic features (or hardware in this case) is there but you can install whatever else you want.

 

I think the basic hardware would require :

1. GPS receiver

2. Electronic Compass

3. Electronic Altimeter

4. Miniature speaker (or piezo electric speaker to minimize power consumption) nice feature so that proximity to hazards, waypoints, turns etc. can be signalled

5. Reasonable resolution screen, either Color or B/W with backlight.

6. The "function" or control keys or "click stick" as in some models - I don't have enough experience with broad numbers of different GPS to be able to comment on the ideal no. of buttons or manner of control that is best

7. The memory slots (2) I think those that support the Multi Media Cards / SD cards are probably the best but needs research on which is the cheapest to implement to keep costs down.

8. The basic BIOS system to interface the hardware to the user's applications

9. The type of CPU to use - this can be critical to performance - being able to handle the streaming data coming from the GPS and compute the position while managing the display and waypoints etc. and ALL this while keeping power consumption down!

10. Satellite table - so that the satellites can be easily and quickly acquired based on last known position but "cleared" if the user location has moved significantly and automatically rebuilt.

11. Temperature compensator sensors for accuracy

12. external power and data connection, maybe even IRDA, but again power management is the key here.

 

. . . . more to come ?


 

Wow! Talk about being late for the best post to date on detail! CountryLover...you rock!

 

This is *exactly* the kind of feedback I'm looking for, read: needing! Two long posts of great information and ideas for the gpsr!

 

Okay...*breathe, grasshoppa, you must slow down and learn to breathe* icon_cool.gif

 

Now that my jaw is back up on my face, we can go on. I've made a bit of progress--today, July 17th, in fact--in that I've gotten a *little bit closer* to someone who *may know something* about design-to-market issues for this type of device.

 

My local Small Business Administration (SBA) liason referred me to a gentleman who should be able to assist me with my particular needs. I will keep this thread updated at least once a week to keep things rolling--no more 3 month waits, I promise!

 

I'm printing out your posts to show to developers; this so they can get an idea of what others are saying. I hope this meets with your approval. I'm optimistic about this project, and hope to see results within a six-month to one year period, perhaps next summer.

 

This is highly optimistic, so don't be surprised if there are delays here and there. If all goes well with no delays, I will be greatly surprised, as this is the usual nature of a new product. However, miracles never cease, soooo..... icon_wink.gif

 

Thanks again for your highly insightful comments.

 

The very best regards,

Firefishe

 

 

196939_600.gif

 

[This message was edited by Firefishe on July 17, 2002 at 05:07 PM.]

Link to post

You may be glossing over the heart of the matter when you refer to "GPS Receiver" with no further detail. I kinda get the feeling there is a lot the manufacturers aren't telling us about their algorithms for processing the signals, like: how often is the location computed; and is there any position averaging going on? Watch what happens to your reported velocity when you stop a car.

 

In short, I'd like to have several methods of signal processing available, with a discussion of which type is appropriate for which activity.

 

Antenna sensitivity is another issue. Lowe sells a very rugged and very sensitive external active antenna. [Although the Garmin GPS receivers are rugged, I've had two of their external antennae go south on me before I switched to Lowe.] What are the pros and cons of including a more sensitive antenna in the unit itself? If it's a matter of battery life, again -- give us the option: high sensitivity/short life or less sensitivity/longer life. My guess is that it's also a matter of the quality of the components.

 

What I'd like would be a way of zeroing in a GPS at a known location -- like the back deck of your house, for example. Accuracy will degrade as the satellites move, but perhaps it's a start.

 

But the bottom line is that there are only a few fundamental properties that are really important: accuracy, sensitivity, and stability come to mind.

 

Your SBA folks are going to want an estimate of the market for the product. An ideal set of features and algorithms for a boater would be very different than what a geocacher might want.

 

Hope this is useful.

BD

Link to post

One add-on I would like for my Legend is a remote control. I kid you not! When the saleswoman suggested one for my Sony car stereo, I laughed. When I nearly ran off the road fiddling with the buttons, I turned around and had it installed. When driving, I now never have to take my eyes off the road to adjust anything, and when you look at the GPS, you have to refocus,fumble, etc. a wreck waiting to happen...

Also, I wanna see the option of carrier phase recievers on the market. They can provide accuracy that makes our current 17-25 feet look like the old Selective Availability days!

Sure, it would end our sport of geocaching, and the industry of surveying would never be the same, but I like the idea of 3-4 millimeter accuracy....

 

Norm

Link to post

quote:
but I like the idea of 3-4 millimeter accuracy....


Carrier Phase receivers typically provide 10-30 cm GPS position accuracy with differential correction. Carrier Phase receivers provide the higher level of accuracy demanded by certain GIS applications.

 

Carrier Phase receivers measure the distance from the receiver to the satellites by counting the number of waves that carry the C/A Code signal. This method of determining position is much more accurate; however, it does require a substatially higher occupation time to attain 10-30 cm accuracy. Initializing a Carrier Phase GPS job on a known point requires an occupation time of about 5 minutes. Initializing a Carrier Phase GPS job on an unknown point requires an occupation time of about 30-40 minutes.

 

Additional requirements, such as maintaining the same satellite constellation throughout the job, performance under canopy and the need to be very close to a base station, limit the applicability of Carrier Phase GPS receivers to many GIS applications.

 

"The Alphawolf"

Link to post

In reading, and re-reading and trying to digest the posts I was struck with just a couple of thoughts. I would prefer a color display - the reason I bought a GarminV was features - if the same GPSr was available in color I would have gotten it. Also, add bluetooth to it!! That way your GPSr can "talk" to your bluetooth equipped PDA or phone. Heck, maybe even your bluetooth equipped GPSr can "talk" to your printer and print your backtrack log (for example)...other than that - all of the features - in an acceptable form factor and price point are very fascinating!!!! icon_smile.gif

Link to post

Firefishe,

Here's my thoughts on some additions.

 

1) InfraRed Port - so you can exchange waypoint/route data with another unit, pda, or cell phone.

2) How about a screen like pda's with touch capability. Leave the buttons on just in case, but also the ability to touch the screen and enter commands would be useful.

3) Definitely use Compact Flash cards. And supplemental to that, make sure that the map file format is a plain file format, in otherwords nothing fancy. I use CF cards, and a digital wallet to dump pictures from my camera. The new wallets will allow you to upload from the wallet to the flash cards. If they were accessible this way, my 10gig wallet could hold all the maps I could possibly want, and I could upload them to the CF card if necessary. Also CFII compatibility. Those 1 gig microdrives are incredible.

4) USB/USB2/FireWire capability.

5) The ability to use internal and external memory as you want. In other words, if you have 128mb flash card in the unit, and you want to use it all for log data, then use it, instead of forcing log data to go to the internal memory. I don't know if this makes sense if you don't get what I am talking about, so I will rephrase it a little. Basically the ability to specify the location of all stored information. Being able to point it to either internal or external memory, and the ability to pass files back and forth.

6) Definitely route mapping, with voice. I bought the GPS V for this ability alone. It will need a headphone plug too. I ride a motorcycle and can't even hear the V beep at me. With a headphone jack, I could wire my helmet.

7) Replaceable screens or possibly like my Nokia 3360, where you can buy new covers, which include the clear screen by the way. The reason I mention this is I am really worried about scratching up the screen on my GPS V. I scratched the screen on my Samsung phone, and there's nothing I can do. My Nokia, if the screen gets scratched, I buy a $10 cover, and voila, new screen. Much less stress when carrying it around knowing I can replace the screen if it gets scratched (which it will!) BTW, I have put a WriteRite protector from a Color Palm on there, and so far it's working pretty good.

 

That's all I can think of for now. I'll keep mulling it over.

Fig

Link to post

Imagine IR so that you could interface with your Palm and Laptop without cables. Also, for the fashion conscious, how about changeable case skins? icon_eek.gif

 

icon_eek.gif Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son!

Link to post

quote:
Originally posted by Alphawolf:

]

Carrier Phase receivers typically provide 10-30 cm [/url]

 

"The Alphawolf"


I thought we were talking about the features we most wanted in GPS units.

http://www.trimble.com/gps/advanced3.html

I was taking my information about 3-4 millimeter accuracy from this page. I apologize if it is incorrect. I did not verify their information from a knowledgable source.

Norm

Link to post

Seeing how we are looking for a GPS that "has it all" power is going to be a main concern.

 

In fact even with my current GPS its a problem once I hook it up to my PDA and have it output NMEA via the serial connection constantly => the GPS batteries don't last too long driving the serial port.

 

I was thinking that a simple solution which we had even in the 70's with the walkman was a small power connector that allows you to plug it to an external power source, either to the mains via a transformer (non-applicable here) or to a pair of D-size batteries in a clip holder.

 

In fact, I've been needing extended battery power so much, I'm thinking of running wires in parallel out of my GPS battery case so that I can connect external D-size batteries!

 

Lastly of course . . . Do away with proprietary connectors . . you guessed it . . I own a Garmin.

 

Also, take a look at the Timex watch that has GPS features . . . wouldn't it be cool if the same thing is done except that we can now access basic GPS info via a watch and using the GPS screen for more complex operations, otherwise keeping it strapped to the backpack harness or worn on the arm like the Timex? This would be much better than the Casio with limited functionality.

 

Maybe this same "wireless" feature can then be made to work with other products eg. digital cameras that can receive the location info and imprint it on the pictures, two way radios that can now work like the Rino etc.

Link to post

The current (August 2002) issue of Popular Science has a "What's New" segment (p. 14) on a new Tissot watch that supposedly has a half dozen functions (temp, altitude, electronic compass, chronometer, etc) accessible by touching different locations on the watch face. I've not personally seen one, but it caught my eye and got me thinking along the same direction as this thread. Why couldn't that technology, if it already exists and is already embedded in a commercially available wristwatch, be likewise used in a GPS, with a mode to selectively access key features? I'd like to see that happen.

 

[This message was edited by Garmen (& Women) Group on July 24, 2002 at 08:20 AM.]

Link to post

Hello everyone.

 

I'm pleased as punch with the replies that I've been receiving in my Inbox from all of you choosing to post on this thread. I am certain the information, shared opinions, and advice are going to prove highly relevent in the coming months.

 

I am linking up with a Small Business Administration (SBA) liasion who, I am told, has a technical background in engineering and has experience in new product development and also some product research and development (R&D) grant connections.

 

Just wanted to say a heart-felt "thank you" for what has already been contributed, as well as what will continue to be contributed.

 

I am also receiving feedback on geocaching's "birthplace," if-you-will, the USENET Newsgroup: sci.geo.satellite-nav .

It is also proving to be highly informational and relevent--just like this continuing thread.

 

I am saving all the replies to this thread for possible inclusure into whatever kind of technical manual may come out of any R&D that occurs.

 

Just so it is easier for you to contact me, I may be emailed directly at anytime. I will respond, usually within the week. Please be patient, as I am involved with going over a great deal of information each week on GPS technology-in-general, possible marketing areas, and other related matter. However, I will endeavor to return any emails received within a week's time.

 

Again, I thank you.

 

Warm regards,

Stephen Brown

 

196939_600.gif

Link to post

quote:
Originally posted by CountryLover:

Seeing how we are looking for a GPS that "has it all" power is going to be a main concern.

 

In fact even with my current GPS its a problem once I hook it up to my PDA and have it output NMEA via the serial connection constantly => the GPS batteries don't last too long driving the serial port.

 

I was thinking that a simple solution which we had even in the 70's with the walkman was a small power connector that allows you to plug it to an external power source, either to the mains via a transformer (non-applicable here) or to a pair of D-size batteries in a clip holder.

 

In fact, I've been needing extended battery power so much, I'm thinking of running wires in parallel out of my GPS battery case so that I can connect external D-size batteries!

 

Lastly of course . . . Do away with proprietary connectors . . you guessed it . . I own a Garmin.

 

Also, take a look at the Timex watch that has GPS features . . . wouldn't it be cool if the same thing is done except that we can now access basic GPS info via a watch and using the GPS screen for more complex operations, otherwise keeping it strapped to the backpack harness or worn on the arm like the Timex? This would be much better than the Casio with limited functionality.

 

Maybe this same "wireless" feature can then be made to work with other products eg. digital cameras that can receive the location info and imprint it on the pictures, two way radios that can now work like the Rino etc.


 

Power, Power, who's got the Power? I hear you on this one, and I'm now looking for "a better way." icon_wink.gif

 

Is there a better way? I may have an idea, but I don't know where the maturity level of it is. Micro Electric Fuel Cells had some press last year or so, but I have not heard of this technology being mature enough to put into miniature devices like GSP Receivers yet.

 

Better Batteries? This would seem to be the "Duh" answer, but I haven't seen anything much newer than the Lithium Polymer technology. Cleaner, Safer, and "Greener" than current Lithium Ion (LiON) batteries. Safer, essentially, for those making them; I hear making LiON batteries is a dangerous process...as well as needing special electronics in the battery, itself, to make it work safely.

 

I'll do some research this week (of July 24) and post another entry to this thread in the coming weeks.

 

As always, responses like this help me to focus on what the actual users need and not just what is convenient to industry. Again, I thank you icon_smile.gif

 

Be icon_cool.gif Cool

 

Warm regards,

Stephen Brown (Firefishe)

 

196939_600.gif

Link to post

q: the first since you are opening up for ideas what about benefits? ie: if you are going to open a company, any chance of a groundfloor entry for some fellow geocachers? who better to keep up the latest designs than the most avid users? ( i ask cause im unemployed, need a career and dont want to end up working 12 hours a day 7 days a week at the car plant w/ my dad and brother in law)

 

on to ideas. i dont know much about flash memory, but i do think removable chips would be a great idea, store a set of waypoints then load them up when you need them.

one thing i think would be great is to make external memory for the garmin etrex series, this is how it would work, imagine your computer cable if the part that hooks to the GPS had a memory chip in it, containing a program similar to easygps (so you could upload and download waypoints and tracks and whatever else to it w/out it needing to be hooked to the computer) i have 2 legends one of which i upgraded tonight (software) i also have an ipaq which can be synched to my desktop. when it is synched a new window comes on the desktop that is not normaly there, that is my ipaq window for uploading/downloading between the two. the etrex chip could work the same way etrex = desktop chip = ipaq. now i know you wanted ideas for YOUR gpsr, but no reason not to also look into making peripherals for existing ones right?? the drawback you would need to get garmin compatible software, mostlikely sourced by them, or maybe not, i guess the program would be in the chip, and it would be the interface on the GPS, since thats your thing no prob for you

 

2.also, i say go the way of the rino, some kind of transmitter, maybe closer to the nextel cellphone walkie but this would not only be fun but a good safety feature. would there be a way transmitt from a gpstr to a gpsr in case of an emergency???

 

3.some kind of "online" feature not full internet but some way out in the feild to d/l caches, waypoints, applications, maps, whatever.

 

4 fully customizable waypoints for those special occasions, mark the spot you met your wife. so when you put the pointer on it on the map screen it says "McDonalds parking lot [where billy and suzy first met]" some people may not care but others may like to for whatever reason mark significant events in that way. (you could even mark the seat you were sitting in at the ballpark when your favorite team won the pennant, whatever, and it would say that)

 

5. thats about it for now, i have other ideas rolling around up here somewhere but im not sure where up here or what they are right now.

Link to post

quote:
Originally posted by CountryLover:

In fact, I've been needing extended battery power so much, I'm thinking of running wires in parallel out of my GPS battery case so that I can connect external D-size batteries!


 

If someone is willing to carry a set of D-size batteries, in a belt clip, or in the pocket, with a cable running from these batteries to the GPS, hasn't the GPS manufacturers already found a better solution today? With my eTrex Vista, which doesn't have too long battery life, I simply carry one or two sets of AA size batteries in my pocket, and replace the batteries in the unit when needed. No battery holder necessary, no wire required. An extra set of AA batteries can even be carried when wearing a geo-suit! icon_biggrin.gif

 

I do use the external power cable when using the Vista in the car, but then I don't need to carry a big battery pack. I just use the cigarette lighter socket.

 

Anders

Link to post

I like the many ideas that have been suggested, but there are 2 things that I would like to see, both are software related.

 

1. Rubber band screen like the Garmin GPS V. I own a Sportrak and do not understand the thinking. Why would you want a rubberbanding screen that does not adjust to your present location.

 

2. A way to add new coordinates directly without first having to open existing coordinates and modify them.

Link to post

I simply carry one or two sets of AA size batteries in my pocket, and replace the batteries in the unit when needed. No battery holder necessary, no wire required. An extra set of AA batteries can even be carried when wearing a geo-suit! icon_biggrin.gif

 

What you say is true but doesn't quite work for me 'cos I am not constantly looking at the screen and for the Etrex when you are looking at the tracks, you don't see the battery power left unless you constantly change screens to check. The unit may show a warning message but then again, unless you are looking.

 

Its happened to me a few times where I leave the GPS on expecting it to keep track only to find that when I need it and look at it that the batteries died sometime ago, asp. when configured to do constant NMEA output.

 

cheers!

Link to post

quote:
Originally posted by CountryLover:

Its happened to me a few times where I leave the GPS on expecting it to keep track only to find that when I need it and look at it that the batteries died sometime ago, asp. when configured to do constant NMEA output.

cheers!


 

Where does this NMEA output go, in that case? Nothing which can power your Vista externally? Seems to be the best solution, if you use it as a sensor only.

 

Anders

Link to post

quote:
Originally posted by Anders:

quote:
Originally posted by CountryLover:

Its happened to me a few times where I leave the GPS on expecting it to keep track only to find that when I need it and look at it that the batteries died sometime ago, asp. when configured to do constant NMEA output.

cheers!


 

Where does this NMEA output go, in that case? Nothing which can power your Vista externally? Seems to be the best solution, if you use it as a sensor only.

 

Anders


 

I've got a Summit and the output is connected either to my laptop or Palm m505.

 

I'm trying do do some basic mapping for my area 'cos there's no maps for Singapore. Right now I'm considering the Magellen GPS Companion.

Link to post

Should be more accurate in my statement . .

 

Electronic Maps of Singapore is available, but non in the format usable by the various GPS software with reasonable accuracy.

 

Garmin doesn't provide any with their map source and most others are only Europe and US.

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...
×
×
  • Create New...