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Gps With Mac's


pitchblende
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I'll try to answer as best I can. Mapsource will NOT work on a Mac unless you are using Virtual PC. With my Legend, and Map Source CD's, I can upload maps to the Legend on my eMac by using Virtual PC and a KeySpan Twin Serial Adapter.

 

As for the other CD's you mentioned, I believe that the National Geographic CD's are compatible with Macs, meaning you will not need Virtual PC.

 

Tom

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It's funny you asked this, as I had just finally gotten all my GPS stuff together for Mac and was about to come on here and write about it all. :lol: So here it is:

 

Actually physically connecting your GPS to your Mac

 

First of all, I should say all this takes place with a 12 inch, G4 iBook with an 800 Mhz processor, 256 MB RAM, and Panther 10.3.3. Thankfully, OS 9 did not have to come into play at ANY point.

 

I have a Garmin eTrex, the regular ol' yellow base model which ran about 100 bucks when I bought it a few years ago. My first task in marrying the iBook and eTrex was purchasing the proper cabling, and the cavemen from prehistory who make GPS data cables still work with 9-pin serial ports. That would be great if this was 1997, but nowadays most Macs are strictly USB and Firewire. So i needed 1) a GPS data cable that ran from the back of the eTrex to a female 9-pin serial connect and 2) an adapter to plug that 9-pin serial into a USB port.

 

Here's Exhibit A, the data cable:

 

epccable.jpg

 

I got it off eBay for $6.99 bucks (plus shipping), and apparently it's made by a company called Gilsson out of California. I got it from an eBay selling company called GPS Geek.

 

Exhibit B, the serial-to-USB adapter:

 

belkincrap.jpg

 

I also got this sucker off eBay from "the-la-guy", some dude who sells a lot of adapters and stuff. It was $9.99.

 

The Belkin adapter, model F5U109, is rated for Mac 0S 8.6 or 'higher', which turns out to be a lie! I sat down to plug all this stuff into my iBook, and realized that the Belkin adapter thing needs a driver, and that driver is not yet available for OS X, *except* for 10.1 and 10.2, and even those are in beta stages. If you want those, go to the Belkin beta software page, but be warned, they don't work for OS X 10.3, Panther, so I was out of luck. A quick Google search and I found a highly recommended serial-to-USB adapter for OS X, the Keyspan USA-19QW, which is available at Comp USA. I took a quick trip over there and picked it up for $39 bucks.

 

I plugged it all in, put the CD for the adapter in, installed the drivers, and I was good to go! The little green light on the adapter lit up and data was indeed being transferred.

 

Now that your Mac and GPS unit are talking, what software to use?

 

Some in-depth research showed that Route 66 was the only map software available for Mac OS X, and luckily, it also includes real-time GPS connectivity and tracking. So I picked that up from Comp USA (also $39, which is a bargain). Be warned it takes up about 2.5 GB of space on your computer, but that's because it's VERY, VERY comprehensive and excellent.

 

With Route 66's Route USA 2004, you can search for different 'locations', and then have it calculate and spell out the best route to get there. You can type in "Pizza Hut", "Holiday Inn", "3032 Main Street" followed by the city name and it'll show you a list of things that match that description. So basically it's a built-in yellow pages (it also tells you the phone number of the location).

 

So cool thing number one you can do is map a route between two points and it will tell you how to get there. And how long it will take. And how much money the gas will cost you (based on your inputs of your car's fuel efficiency and the price of gas).

 

I plugged in my GPS and hit the road. Route 66 uses NMEA data, so just make sure to go to your GPS's 'interface' options menu and select "NMEA Out". Instantly Route 66 centered on my location and as I drove off, showed my heading and everything. Here's a screenshot.

 

Of course if you have a route established, it will show your little icon moving along the route and by watching the screen you can see where it thinks you should turn and stuff. Very very nice software which crashes occasionally but I highly recommend. I mostly plan to do confluence hunting with this set up, not geocaching, so the only compaint I really have is that although you can set a 'push pin' to things like restaurants and stuff, you can't set one to a certain lat/long point unless you manually find it. But there is a little tool that you drag across the screen and it tells you the lat/long of whereever you have it hovering over, so that's good, but it's still not as good as just typing in the coords and being able to mark it that way.

 

Terrabrowser OS X is freeware from Chimoosoft which will download aerial maps from MSN's Terraserver and show your location on them in real-time when you're hooked up to a GPS (supposedly). I tried it out, and it downloads maps from Terraserver alright, but when I go to establish 'real-time tracking', it gives me the grey circle thingy forever and never does nothin'. And it looks like this. So. Other than to say it doesn't work for me, I can't really review it.

 

The same company also makes GPS Connect, which lets you send waypoints back and forth between your Mac and your GPS. It's pretty cool and works, but I don't have one of those fancy premium Geocaching.com accounts, so I can't test it out with a GPX file, and it doesn't accept .loc ones. So here's what the regular screen looks like and here's what the waypoint uploading/downloading screen looks like. It works well, although I don't have much practical use for it.

 

That's pretty much my review of what I've got so far, if anyone wants any Mac/GPS advice based on my experiences just drop me an instant message on AIM at Mattloaf1.

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It looks like VPC will handle Garmin's Mapsource program without a problem, unless you want to start using USB. Somebody correctly me if I am wrong here.

 

Last fall I borrowed a friend's emap and bought a USB data card programmer for it before I went to Europe. I was unable to get the programmer to work under VPC on OSX, however it worked fine under OS9. Recently I purchased a 60CS for myself and I have been completed unable to get it to work under either one.

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We use Macs at home, but I have PCs running Windows for desktop/laptops at work, so while it's a bit inconvenient I've just been using the work pc to connect to my Garmin 60c. For things like adding a few new waypoints (caches) here and there I just enter 'em by hand most of the time anyway.

 

I really wish Garmin would support the Mac community though. There's an online petition to that effect, although who knows if anything will come of it.

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MapSource runs just fine under VPC, but it's kind of a dog compared to how it runs under Windoze. I've used it for more than 2 years, and just recently got an XP box (so the boy can play Roller Coaster Tycoon. Hey, it was free...) So now I run MapSource over there and it's a much better experience. The USB connection is very fast compared to the serial port connection, so moving maps around is way, way faster. And waypoint transfers just fly.

 

That said, you can transfer waypoints back and forth with MacSimpleGPS. It does just waypoints, and it's reasonably quick. There are two flavors, one each for OS9 and OSX. You might hunt for that and see if that'll be of any help.

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I've got VirtualPC running on my Powerbook.

I've got my Legend connected to the USB port via an adapter.

I've got Streets and Trips loaded up in VPC.

Streets and Trips will only let you select COM1 or COM2 as ports to listen to for the GPS.

 

I can't seem to find an option anywhere that will have VPC try to convince Windows that the device plugged into the USB port should be mapped to COM1.

 

Can anyone give me a hand on what I need to set to get them talking?

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I've got VirtualPC running on my Powerbook.

I've got my Legend connected to the USB port via an adapter.

I've got Streets and Trips loaded up in VPC.

Streets and Trips will only let you select COM1 or COM2 as ports to listen to for the GPS.

 

I can't seem to find an option anywhere that will have VPC try to convince Windows that the device plugged into the USB port should be mapped to COM1.

 

Can anyone give me a hand on what I need to set to get them talking?

You need to to go to USB Settings in VPC & enable USB and then select the USB adapter. That will complete your setup...

 

"Bassmedic"

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sigh - no Mac for me - too many issues with Garmin. too bad.

 

someone else told me that, besides the Mac being more expensive, the software and accessories are more expensive too.

 

If I were starting over, and Mapsource ran under OSX, I would get a Mac in a minute.

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Alright, i'm a doof, Can some one break it down for me. If I have a Mac powerbook G4 running VPC and a garmin 60cs, will garmin Metroguide 5 with usb support work to my 60cs plugged in with usb? From what I understand from the sales people, VPC runs like windows xp on a MAC, so if Metroguide and Garmin run on xp, they'll run on my mac. Too simple?

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Alright, i'm a doof, Can some one break it down for me. If I have a Mac powerbook G4 running VPC and a garmin 60cs, will garmin Metroguide 5 with usb support work to my 60cs plugged in with usb?

USB only works in OS 9. For some reason, you won't be able to use OS X to connect via USB. Let's hope that's fixed in VPC 7.

Chris

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I've got VirtualPC running on my Powerbook.

I've got my Legend connected to the USB port via an adapter.

I've got Streets and Trips loaded up in VPC.

Streets and Trips will only let you select COM1 or COM2 as ports to listen to for the GPS.

 

I can't seem to find an option anywhere that will have VPC try to convince Windows that the device plugged into the USB port should be mapped to COM1.

 

Can anyone give me a hand on what I need to set to get them talking?

You need to to go to USB Settings in VPC & enable USB and then select the USB adapter. That will complete your setup...

 

"Bassmedic"

I guess installing the updated Keyspan drivers would help...

 

After doing that, I was able to select the Keyspan adapter from the COM2 menu in VPC and voila... Streets and Trips showed my position!

 

Next question... Has anyone gotten ExpertGPS to run in VPC? I get an error when it starts up and it never opens. It says it wrote the error to a log file, but I can't find the file anywhere. Anyone know where it is so I can figure out why it's crashing, or does anyone know why it won't run in the first place?

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-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

Hash: SHA1

 

I use exclusively Mac with my Meridian Plat. Yes, it is true that,

like with Garmin, the native GPS software (MapSend and the firmware

upload utilities in my case) will only run in a Windows environment,

which means VirtualPC. It runs fine for me under VirtualPC 5. No

reason to wait for 7.

 

However, I only have to run VPC when I am creating and uploading

maps, or updating the firmware. Neither of these happen very often,

since I have all maps covering my usual travel areas already in the

GPS on a 256 Megabyte SD card.

 

For day-to-day waypoint and route management, I use

MacGPS Pro, which I highly

recommend, It is OSX native, recently added support for Magellan (as

well as Garmin), and works great. The email support is also very

good. You can use it with a wide variety of free and purchased

digital maps, and essentually get all features except routing. Most

cool (for me) is the fact that it's Waypoint, track, and route file

formats are editable text files, which I have used to script a custom

GPX database solution using FileMaker Pro database and FMsync to

jFile on my Palm. But I digress.

 

I have also used and like

MagWayMan Magellan

Waypoint Manager, a Mac OS X native GPS software geared toward

geocaching.

 

I also really like Mac

SimpleGPS. It is essentially EasyGPS for Mac OSX, and works

well.

 

Finally, Unix tools such as GPSBabel (which is a very powerful GPS

format conversion tool) work under OSX, albet it command-line mode.

 

So, don't be afraid to go Mac. It can work with your GPS, and the

other advantages (My two OS X systems never crash, and I mean NEVER)

far outweigh the disadvantages, in my opinion.

 

John

Team Shredded Bark

 

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Finally, Unix tools such as GPSBabel (which is a very powerful GPS

format conversion tool) work under OSX, albet it command-line mode.

John

Team Shredded Bark

 

There is now a OSX gui wrapper for GPSBabel called MacGPSBabel. Available for download at the same location as GPSBabel.

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For day-to-day waypoint and route management, I use

MacGPS Pro, which I highly

recommend, It is OSX native, recently added support for Magellan (as

well as Garmin), and works great. The email support is also very

good. You can use it with a wide variety of free and purchased

digital maps, and essentually get all features except routing.

I've looked into MacGPS Pro in the past but not recently. Is it capable of uploading 3rd party maps to a GPS yet? I see that some people have discovered how to using a PC but haven't seen that for the Mac yet.

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Has anyone been able to get ExpertGPS running under VirtualPC? I've tried it under a Win2K installation and a WinXP installation and neither will work. XP just crashed. 2K gave an error message saying that an error log was going to be generated, but it never was.

 

Does anyone know of a workaround or is there something stopping it from working?

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Has anyone been able to get ExpertGPS running under VirtualPC? I've tried it under a Win2K installation and a WinXP installation and neither will work. XP just crashed. 2K gave an error message saying that an error log was going to be generated, but it never was.

 

Does anyone know of a workaround or is there something stopping it from working?

I'll let you know if I get it working. I'm waiting for my 60cs before I really try though.

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I'd suggest the mac platform for general goodness, and a PC lying around for GPS.

I do use Mac GPS Pro to do waypoints, but use the PC (free to me) for Mapsource. I used to work for a company that furnished a laptop, so that was a large bonus before getting the free PC.

Macintosh software isn't prices higher than it's PC counterpart, in my experience. I have mostly imaging software, though. I also search for shareware applications that handle my needs, instead of their commercial counterparts, and do everything but Mapsource on my mac, so it all works out :huh:

Tip: older PC's capable of running mapsource can be had for less than the cost of VPC and an OS, if you need one :D

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Has anyone been able to get ExpertGPS running under VirtualPC? I've tried it under a Win2K installation and a WinXP installation and neither will work. XP just crashed. 2K gave an error message saying that an error log was going to be generated, but it never was.

 

Does anyone know of a workaround or is there something stopping it from working?

I made the switch to a Mac about nine months ago. I have had the same trouble with Virtual PC and ExpertGPS. I have e-mailed the developer several times with this question and (insert politaclly correct pronoun for unknown sex here) never responds. This is frustrating...I have been using this program for several years.

 

Is there any equilalent on the mac?

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As a software guy, I'm not suprised you couldn't get help, but am a little suprised you didn't get any response from Topografix.

 

Virtual PC is an expensive product from a multi-bazillion dollar company that claims to make your mac look just like a PC. When it doesn't work like a PC, I think the place to start is with that multi-bazillion dollar company and not a small company like Topografix that surely can't afford to QA their product on Macs pretending to be PCs.

 

(And I've had experience back to the 80's with one OS pretending to be another and that's pretty consistently been my stance - I'm not singling out Macs or Topografix here.)

 

Describe what features of ExperGPS were most important to you and you're more likely to get pertinent recommendations of an "equivalent" for OSX.

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It's just odd that for as long as I've been using VirtualPC, I've never had a problem running any software under it. Obviously some programs run better than others depending on their system requirements, but I've never had an application that flat-out refused to run. I'm sure there's not a lot that Topografix can do about it, but it would be nice if they could suggest a way to capture some debug information for them in case it's an obvious fix that they could make.

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