GPS navigation for your notebook

I get lost now and then. It's not that I have a "bad sense of direction" (whatever that really means): I usually have a pretty good idea of where I am and what compass direction I need to go to get to where I want to be. If I've been in the area before, I usually have excellent recall of at least visual landmarks and often even street names. But sometimes that isn't enough, so I have been casually looking at car GPS systems for a few years now.

Looking. No intent to buy. Too damn expensive, at least for the features I'd want.

If I got lost more often, this would be a simple decision: I would have bought already, regardless of the cost. Being lost costs money too.. But because driving in ever widening circles is not my usual habit, I've found it hard to justify the expense.

I also don't want "built-in" GPS because that's annoying when you get a new car. The portable and hand held units usually have very small screens though, or lack other features. I am somewhat tempted by the TomTom GO 700, but again it's just too much money for the limited usage I'd give it. So what about something that talks to your notebook computer and uses its screen, keyboard and speaker? Great idea, and there's actually quite a few out there. Prices have come down: I was suprised to find this Garmin GPS 18 (link dead, sorry) unit at just over $100.00. That's wired, though, so their more expensive BlueTooth unit would probably be more convenient. Unfortunately, the specs say Windows only, but I did find this press release from Garmin:

By the end of 2006, Garmin intends to have made all its popular
hardware and software applications Mac OS X compatible. This includes
the ability to load MapSource map data to Garmin units via a Mac,
as well as waypoint and trip planning applications. Additionally,
the Garmin nRoute application will allow Powerbook and iBook users
to turn their laptop into a powerful street navigation tool with
Garmin's GPS 10 or GPS 18 sensors.

There is software for general GPS interfacing: and, but it's nice to see Garmin taking notice of the Mac.

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© Anthony Lawrence

Thu Dec 13 20:10:19 2007: 3330   TonyLawrence

Well, it's pretty close to the end of 2007 and Garmin is still "Windows only"

Mon Dec 17 15:25:13 2007: 3335   BigDumbDinosaur

If all else fails there are always road maps. They work even when the battery is dead. <Grin>

Mon Dec 17 15:38:18 2007: 3336   TonyLawrence

True, but I keep losing them.. :-)

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