John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

GPS Stuff

Subject: GPS Stuff

It’s been a while since I wrote a review so I thought it was time … So I will do some miscellaneous ramblings on GPS stuff.

First up I was playing with the latest version of Google Maps for Microsoft Windows Mobile. Street View has not come to Canada yet. They have added something called Latitude. What this does (and it’s available on a number of different platforms) is locate you using either cell towers or a GPS. Then it shares this data (when you allow it to) with people you have allowed to know your current location. Interesting idea but for now unless they too are using latitude it’s useless. You can get directions to your friends. But as always still no turn by turn direction and no text to speech. The program does do a good job of searching near your location and allowing you to add those places you have found directly to your contacts. More and more Outlook is becoming the center of the PIM world. Compared to Windows Live I still prefer Live because it does do turn by turn directions and is quite a bit lighter. The user interface in Live is also more “standard” as Windows Mobile goes. So for now Live still wins my preference.

A while back I spoke about a bargain based Curtis GPS deviceGPD359 that was being given away (well almost) at Canadian Tire. With the help of a friend I have converted it to run iGo 8. No luck with TomTom. I have come to appreciate iGo and have also found ways to import in converted POIs or databases from TomTom and from Garmin so all in all iGo is working well for me. iGo 8 actually has Text to Speech (TTS) that announces not just the turn but the name of the street your turning on. Something TomTom still does not have except on their higher end units.

The Curtis device is working well also. GPS lock is extremely quick! The unit itself is a nice size and the window mount works well making it easy to take on and off to insure it’s out of sight. The unit has an SD slot and is compatible with SDHC meaning larger cards actually work! This has turned out to be money well spent. Turns out there are actually a couple of different models of the Curtis. One has little internal storage and uses and SD card and a later rev that eliminated the card (but kept the slot) and added internal storage. With some trimming of unnecessary countries I got iGo down under 2G! with the addition of some software such as Mio Pocket the device can be turned into a fully functional PDA for watching movies, listening to MP3s and the like. Battery life is not bad and it even has a standard 3.5mm head phone jack!

I got given a TomTom Version 3. I always like TomTom’s UI, routing, POIs and ease of importing external POIs. The newer version of the device has taken away the SD slot which sucks and has made the unit a GPS only with limited ability to crack for use as other things. As with the Curtis there is no ability to sync your Outlook contacts so this is a limitation of these devices. Shame, outlook is the center of my contact info …

A friend pointed out a new web site which is a great database of POIs you can grab for many different GPS devices. It actually has pretty good coverage for Canada!! You can download the POIs in many different forms!

I bought myself a new GPS for my bike, and I am awaiting it’s arrival. I’m quite excited about this unit. I bought a Garmin Edge 305 which includes a speed, cadence (pedal rotating speed) and heart rate monitor along with a GPS!

There is another product that has caught my attention. This unit, the Holux M2-41 is a data logger. About the size of a 35 mm roll of film and powered by a single AAA battery this device can capture a log of everywhere you have been! Very kewl.

I have been using a program called RunGPS on my phone for a little over a year now. Fabulous program. This runs on Windows mobile phones and connects to your GPS (built in or Bluetooth). Logs all your data and then uploads it over the cell network (or over your internet connection when you get home). This data is then overlayed on top of Google maps providing a detailed map and analysis of your exercise. Here is an example of what you get I like the program so much I actually paid for it. Can you imagine. Did you know you can pay for software? Who knew J

For the inquiring minds, here is a list of all the GPSs I’ve owned/played with! 7 and counting!


June 8, 2009 - Posted by | GPS Stuff

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