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Vormulac

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Hi folks,

I've been contemplating the purchase of a GPS navigation system. I've heard of TomTom software, but have no idea if just because I've heard of it whether it's the best or not, I assume there are many alternatives.

Does anyone use GPS in the car? I would be using it with an ipaq 4700, so I guess I'd be looking for Bluetooth enabled hardware.

Any experiences welcome!

V.
 

Shady

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Hi mate - I'm not convinced by the add-on/interface ones that link to palm top/lap tops... Specifically, because it's all a bit of a faff: you end up driving into a wall whilst fiddling with Ipaq keys and/or thumping the interface.. The 'TomTom' has one of the stupidest names, but is a 'proper' in car system...

Ideally, you need one that uses DVD's as the source: I trialled one the other week, and was mightily impressed: it gives voice cues, can navigate to an entered post code, and splits the screen as you approach, say, a roundabout, and tells you (graphically) which way round to go and which exit to take!!

I've used them from military systems back in gulf war one to this thing last week, and for 'normal' in car use, have concluded that you need to pay the extra for a good system: safety and utility are compromised in the less dedicated sets, which are technologically clever, but not suited to the purpose... What you want is something that simply provides clear audio/graphic cues for minimum effort (eg a street name or postcode followed by a button saying 'get me there'). The best 'factory fitted' units include inertial gyros, and mix input from the GPS and the gyros to further improve performance.. Sorry, bit rambling, but what I'm trying to say is that I'd not mess about with linking a GPS engine to a handheld via some more or less competent software, but would bite the bullet if I actually wanted a useful and safe system..

Incidentally, just for fun:

The signal strength at the receiver is less than the energy generated by stroking a cat's fur

Think of the computations required to fix your position in 3d on a spinning ball (that is not a perfect sphere) by measuring the time delay and doppler shift in a signal triangulated from at least 3 satellites following their own independent orbits...

The Americans gave up on the military/civil accuracy differences when a British surveyor realised that you could 'edit them out' with a stationary gps connected to a computer on an ordnance survey trig point...
 

DaveL

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I have an oldish copilot system that is a jacket with GPS rx in that an Ipac fits into, bought it second hand last year.
I would not be without it. I can give it an address and it will get me there. It displays a map which you don't need to look at while you are moving as it gives voice prompts as well.

The thing I find very useful is the alternate route finder, get into slow traffic or see a jam ahead, press a button and it will divert off the route it had planned. In fact if you just drive off it will start by by saying 'turn around' when you don't it will find a route if possible for the direction you have decided to go in.

I have a couple of friends who have bought the tom tom system on a new pocket pc. Cost about £320, use it in the car, on a bike or even walking in a big city. Better map than mine and updatable on line.
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi all

If anybody is thinking of changing their car, you should be aware that the Toyota Avensis has sat nav as standard. I believe that a number of other manufacturers now also include this as standard.

The Toyota system is programmed by Town, road and house number. It works graphically so you see roundabouts and it also tells you which exit to take.

All in all, a real advantage.

Cheers
Neil
 
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Anonymous

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For anyone that might be considering a GPS system I recommend the following web site where a lot of advice is available via the forums:

http://pocketgpsworld.com/modules.php?name=Forums

I had a PDA which I wasn't using for anything (too fiddly using that dinky scraper on the screen with my illegible handwriting). A few months ago I bought TomTom v3 on ebay.

I agree that it can be a bit frustrating when you are driving along and the screen goes into powersave mode. Invariably I point a grubby finger at it, miss the little on-screen button that switches it out of sleep mode and instead get a window full of icons. But aside from that.

TomTom is a little beauty as far as I am concerned, and I praise it. The user interface hasn't been written to usual Windows standards in so far that it fails the "how do I do what I want to do?" test. But that's a matter of familiarity which is soon overcome.

It takes me to within 50 yards of my destination every time. Which was a bit frustrating last month because I wanted to get to the B&Q store in Farnborough. It got me there no problem at all - but I was facing the back wall of their warehouse with no obvious means of getting round the front. But that wasn't TomTom's fault, it did as I wanted. Might be a bit more of an issue if the postcode (that's a separate free utility by the way) puts you on the wrong side of a river..... :)

If I had money to burn I would most likely buy a self-contained unit. I also understand that a bluetooth receiver is a mighty good idea - there are so many wires hanging out of the cigarette lighter socket that it is unbelievable so anything which cuts down on wiring has to be a good idea.

Andrew
 

Vormulac

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Thanks guys, this is all useful stuff.

Shady, I was working for Visteon (back when it was still part of Ford) and worked on the first telematics prototype installation to see if sat nav was going to be viable for privately owned vehicles, that was a monster of a unit, bigger than a hi-fi separate and needed practically an entire auxiliary wiring loom installed through the test vehicle to get it working. It sort of worked, but the only map CD we had was of Germany, so testing it on the roads around Essex was a mixed bag really!

DaveL, is the copilot system of which you speak the software as well as the hardware?

Andrew, it's worth knowing that you consistantly get good results with it. I've been doing some surfing on the subject and found various 'quirks' that people have experienced; from directing someone off the motorway straight over the junction and back down the other side continuing in the same direction, to actually directing someone to an end point 40 miles from where they wanted to be! On the whole, people seem to like TomTom (despite the stupid name) but there seems to be issues with it refusing to acknowledge certain place names, insisting instead on using its own names for areas (not a serious issue, but a pain if you want it to work with your built-in Contacts list as it is supposed to).

I can't really justify getting a dedicated on-board system for the car although I do agree with Shady that that would be the ideal solution. It seems that the comments tend to be positive though. Think I'll do a little more research and have a look at what prices I can find.

Thank you chaps!

Vormulac.
 

ike

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I like Tom Tom and I might spend the extra for one ofthese. Very tidy and only one wire to the cigarette lighter.

Ike
 

Vormulac

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Oooooh Shiny!

Also rather pricey! I think I'll probably go for something along the lines of the Fortuna Clip-On Bluetooth unit and whatever software comes out as the most reliable - should bring it in more around £180 than £600! :)

V.
 

ike

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£600!

They're £429 (at least in Comet)
 

Shady

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Glad it all helped, but let's be honest - there's just one problem: could you, in all seriousness, look another guy in the eyes over a drink and say:

"Yes, my TomTom is brilliant.." :lol: :lol: :lol:

If you can, you're obviously very confident in your sexuality, and I'm most impressed. :wink:
 

Vormulac

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ROTFLMAO!! :lol: :lol:

I think one would have to adopt as manly a voice as possible (not difficult for me, obviously) and talk about 'SatNav', 'GPS' and 'Coordinates', possibly attempting to infer some top secret military past into the bargain.

Or I might just stay at home and play with the bubblewrap...

:wink:
 
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Anonymous

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I have had the Navman Bluetooth GPS receiver for my PDA for a couple of years now and it has been excellent. The display is very clear, if needed, but I have never needed to look at it because the voice directions are very clear.

Howard
 

Vormulac

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Thanks Howard,

Is that a self contained unit or does it operate via a PDA? If so, is Navman the software or just the hardware?

Cheers,

V.
 

Taffy Turner

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On a related topic, I have been toying with getting a sat nav system for a while now. I also fancy one of those "Road Angel" camera detection systems. (Because I would like to know about accident blackspots in advance, not because I am a speed freak - honest!)

Does anyone know of a system that combines both functions? It seems a fairly obvious thing to do :idea: , but so far I haven't been able to find a unit that does both. :?

Cheers.

Gary
 

Vormulac

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I know there are add-ons for GPS navigation software that have the positions of all the speed cameras in order to give warnings, but not sure about a system that actually detects them in use.

V.
 

Taffy Turner

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V.

It was the warning type that I was after as these are legal, whereas detectors are not.

The Road Angel uses GPS data to tell you when you are approaching a speed camera - hence the synergy of combing it with a sat nav system.

Do you know which systems have this upgrade?

Gary
 

Vormulac

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Gary,

I don't know of any specific GPS systems that have speed camera locations marked by default, but a friend of mine has a Dell PDA and GPS pack running one of the TomTom Navigator programs (version 3 I think) and he downloaded an add-on for the TomTom software that put all the camera locations on his maps. I would assume from that that any system running TomTom could be updated in that way, but that's not something I could swear to.

Incidentally, apparently detectors are legal to possess, just not to use for purposes of bypassing the laws of the land.

V.
 

ike

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Incidentally, apparently detectors are legal to possess,
Not for much longer though as new leglislation in 2006 will outlaw them.
 

Vormulac

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Bloody typical. :evil:
Not going to turn this into a rant, I'll just sulk quietly and add some fuel to the already boiling, seething ball of hatred for all politicians that I hold at the very core of my being.
 
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Anonymous

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Well if you want to be aware of how to fight back against speed cameras the following forums do the business:

http://pepipoo.com/NewForums2

I know there's a copper who posts regularly on there, he seems like a nice chap (I don't remember his name though).

Some of the divots who post there are complete pratts in my opinion. They post messages like "I got stopped for doing 126mph on the M4. What are my chances of getting off?".

To which my reply would be to double the penalty for being so stupid to seek a way out of a definite OTT speeding offence.

The issue I have about speeding cameras is that they target every individual. With modern technology they could easily provide a safety arrangement which doesn't unnecessarily penalise people. For example, you are allowed 1 offence per month which is less than 25% over the limit, that sort of thing. But get 2 offences in a month and you go to jail.

I know I've been in a speed trap area tootling along minding my own business - not really speeding gratuitously, but over the limit. It sickens me that you can get an instant 3 points on your license for not intentionally being over the limit and thinking of other things.

I know you are supposed to have your mind on the road 100% of the time, but no-one drives like that. You can drive safely without being a danger to other users and be thinking of other things.

Andrew
 
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