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GPSing with PDA?


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I have an Earthmater receiver and Street Atlas Deluxe software and it works great on my laptop in the car. I would like to replace the laptop with a PDA. Which one would you recommend and what connecting cables and software would I need. I forgot to mention that this will be used for traveling. Thanks for the help. icon_confused.gif

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I have a Handspring Visor with a Magellan Companion attached to it and I have enjoyed it a lot. I never owned a single purpose GPSr to compare with, but I like having the added computing ability of the PDA for notes, logging info, etc. And the features of the GPS software have not hindered my hunting yet. As we get in shape for more difficult hunts I will be curious to see how it performs. But a recent hunt showed my readings to be exact with the readings of the cache I was hunting.

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My Earthmate's primary function was with a laptoop in the car too. For Geocaching I use the earthmate with a Palm IIIc running Delorme's Solus 2.0 software (Topo 3.0 data).


The Earthmate-Palm cable came with the Earthmate & software as a package deal. I believe you can get the cable direct from Delorme, but it is expensive for what it is. May also be available from a third party manufacturer.


The set-up works well, but it is a bit cumbersome and I do worry about dropping the Palm. However, it is nice having the color topo map of where I am. Overkill for Geocaching, though.


The set-up became more practical when I figured out that I could put the earthmate on my shoulder (using a pouch/shoulder strap that came free with a disposable APS camera). Difficult to be inconspicuous like this, though :-)


By the way: Although I can theoretically use the calculator or carry cache descriptions etc. in the Palm it isn't very practical to exit from Solus to do so.


I am considering buying a basic Etrex for geocaching eventually. They are only $80 when on sale.


Although I like the funtionality of the set-up I'm using... I don't know that it is what I would *recommend* to someone. I chose this route because was planning on using the Earthmate with a laptop and the PDA as... well... as a PDA.

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Originally posted by sc:

By the way: Although I can theoretically use the calculator or carry cache descriptions etc. in the Palm it isn't very practical to exit from Solus to do so.


I had that problem too, though I use a different program for my GPS needs. I found a solution for both the calculator and memo pad that don't require me to exit the currently running application. If you use them, you will also need some sort of Desk Accessory launcher; I already had TealLaunch for other reasons, so that's what I use.



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Originally posted by Warm Fuzzies - Fuzzy:


I had that problem too, though I use a different program for my GPS needs...



Hmmm... I'd be interested in checking out alternatives to Solus. What is it?


Thanks for the link to the calculator/memopad. I'll check them out.

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It just occured to me that if you're using a DeLorme Earthmate GPS, chances are you don't have many choices beyond Solus. I don't think that particular GPS does NMEA-0183. In case I'm mistaken, though...


I've found that different programs are good for different things.

What's currently installed on my Palm are:

Magellan Nav Companion (came with my GPS Companion, but works with any GPS)

Magellan Map Companion (only works with GPS Companion)

GPSPilot Tracker (that's what's in the picture. The cache is Earthling Vector Mercury, GC4C19)

Cetus GPS

There's also GeoNiche, which you can find on Palmgear.com, but I haven't gotten an opportunity to try it yet. In addition to those GPS-specific programs, the "Geocaching" category on my Palm contains Planetarium because it can serve as a compass in a pinch and because it computes magnetic declination based on position.






[This message was edited by Warm Fuzzies - Fuzzy on May 22, 2002 at 02:47 PM.]

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I have the Handspring Visor with the Magellan GPS companion. I'm happy with mine so far. We were originally looking at something like the little yellow Etrex or the Magellan 315. Then we found the Magellan on sale for $80 with a $50 mail in rebate!!


If I didn't already have the Visor I'm not sure I'd choose this combo for geocaching. But as a second unit for the family the price was hard to beat. A stand alone gps is probally a better way to go. They are built for the outdoors and can take the abuse better.


If you are going to get a PDA anyway and can get the cables and such for the GPSr you have then I'd suggest making sure you get a PDA with alot of on board memory and color graphics. The grayscale graphics on my Visor can be hard to read depending on the conditions.


smile02.gif If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people??

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I have setup my Magellan 315 with my Jornada 540 and I don't use it for geocaching. The standalone GPS is less cumbersome and sturdier. I built the cable myself because GPS data cables are way overpriced.


The Color display of the Jornada is useless in the outdoors because it's unreadable. I've never used a Palmpilot or an equivalent, but the black and white display is probably easier to read.


I use my GPS/Jornada setup when travelling in the car with MS Pocket Streets. I have also tried it while hiking with a topographic map and Pocket Ozi Explorer. Nice to have to visualise where you are but the difficulty of reading the Jornada display limits its use.




To infinity... and Beyond

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The Palm IIIc color display display is not *great* outdoors, but it is usable. If money was no object I guess a nice color all-in-one unit would be nice... but the Earthmate/Palm IIIc/Solus/Topo 3 combination does give me topographical maps while I'm caching.

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I always carry my Compaq Aero with me. I've used a serial cable to interface it to my old Lowrance GlobalNav12. The combination was too cumbersome to be useful. The B&W display is great in the sun. Though I've dropped it, the worst that has happened (so far) is I've lost a stylus. I do have a waterproof case but never use it, just a padded case is enough.

What I do use it for is to keep a copy of every cache page that's in my Etrex Legend. Pocket PCs have Internet Explorer built in and I don't bother with the images, just the text. That way I never have to shuffle through papers and or print out the information. (Save them trees!)

The only problem is I have to remember to update the pages if the information changes. That's bitten me more than once. Right now, I have about 350 cache pages using up about half of a 32Mb Compactflash card.

I travel with a Casio EM-500 also but it's display is useless in bright sunlight. It's memory card has my talking books (Audible.com) to fill up the time between caches. icon_wink.gif


Super Cacher!

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Maybe for a walk in the park a palm like unit is ok. But in the woods I would only carry a regular GPSr. I have dropped my GPSr a couple of times and it’s banged against trees and rocks while I was climbing. I have been thinking about using a palm for storing web pages while I’m out. But it wouldn’t come out of my pack unless I knew I wasn’t going to trash it.



As always, the above statements are just MHO.


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Originally posted by blscearce:

This has been mentioned in other threads, so I assume that most people who care about it already know.



I have some http://www.pathetique.com/geocaching/ available that work pretty well with web-to-PDA converters like AvantGo, iSilo or Plucker. My web page has geographical ones that are open to anyone, and personalized ones for people who have found my http://www.pathetique.com/locate/blscearce-bugs.html .


these pages are great! I keep them loaded on my visor via avantgo.

but I have a problem now. I use to keep all the texas caches in there, but that has exceeded the page limit on avantgo. when I narrow it to say Tx-Dallas there are far too few. (lots area between major cities missing) could Texas be broken down (north/south or Traditional/virtual)so they all would fit again? and thanks for a good job on the pages.


how4.gif No matter where you go... There you are!

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Originally posted by DougsBrat:


I use to keep all the texas caches in there, but that has exceeded the page limit on avantgo. [...]could Texas be broken down (north/south or Traditional/virtual)so they all would fit again?


I certainly don't want to mess with Texas.


If you're exceeding the AvantGo page limit, then breaking the Texas index up (I believe I'm constitutionally permitted to break it into five pieces) won't help you get all of Texas -- you'll still have to pick the part you want, trying to get all the parts will cause you to exceed the limit again.


There are no page limits with Plucker or iSilo. And if you find one of my Travel Bugs, I can make a custom index for you.

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