Monday, March 27, 2006

GPS - It lives

In the ongoing quest to completely digitize my life, I've recently purchased a GPS solution. Mainly I want to bring back memories of when I worked with DFO, and combine my upcoming sea cruise with GPS... I wanna know where I am dammit!

Also, it's just kinda nifty. Geocaching seems like an interesting activity... and worst-come-worst, it will help me get places.

After much research (thanks Richard) I decided that I didn't care so much about the 20 channel 3-inch accuacy of these things. Anywhere within 30 feet is probably ok. Hence the purchase of a Pharos iGPS-360 unit (otherwise known as the one that comes with Microsoft Streets and Trips). Pictured above-left.

That way, you basically get some software for free, and a half decent GPS unit to boot. The only issue then is that I dont' really want to drag my laptop around with me. I want to use the thing with my bluetooth enabled PDA. Hence another purchase... this time the Pharos bluetooth adapter for the unit (GPS-BT).

The first problem... nothing works like in the manual... I set my PDA (Dell Axim 51) to detect the thing, found it, and setup the serial connection. Nothing. Oh well.

After about 1 hour of fiddling, I determined that I needed, much to my dismay, to connect an outgoing com port manually in the bluetooth settings. Then all is happy. It connects, Pocket Streets is happy, and my demo download of GPS Tuner (nifty geocaching software I'm told) works perfectly. Now if I'd only remembered to bring my PDA adapter home I could have charged it to a useful condition.

In any case, it works, and I was getting some fairly accurate results based on my quick calibration of some home prepared maps (thanks Google Earth), and a quick walk around the block.

All that's left to try is to ensure that my PDA adapter will charge the thing, and I'll have remote and island friendly GPSing during our upcoming cruise.

Of course, the neighbours all think I'm signaling my mother ship. The thing glows a nice radiant blue... shows up real nice in the back yard.

Nanoo nanoo. Posted by Picasa

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