[clug] Looking to buy a GPS

Robert Thorsby robert at thorsby.com.au
Tue Aug 28 00:58:24 GMT 2007

On 2007.08.28 10:20 Hugh Fisher wrote:
> Sam Couter wrote:
>> I spent a fair bit of time looking and gave up. Nobody
>> supports Linux in any way. Some devices give NMEA
>> updates, but they all store maps in proprietary formats
>> and make it hard to save and load tracks and waypoints
>> and such.
>> Even if I did use Windows, I'd be stuck with the device 
>> manufacturer's arse-sucking software with no choice to
>> use superior software.
> So get off your bike :-) and start building your own,
> or pay someone to build it for you. If David Tulloh is
> correct, the chips are standard designs. Heck, CLUGers
> would most likely buy them, or chip in for a small
> production run.

I have used a Garmin marine unit (10.2 inch screen) in my Toyota Troopy 
for some years now -- mushroom receiver sits on top of the roof. The 
MapSource street map program, that covers the whole of Oz, was 
proprietary when I installed it but I am **fairly sure** that MapSource 
has been recently open sourced by the Garmin people (perhaps even 

The map background is awesome. I have only had two errors of mapping 
detail -- once near Green Cape in SE NSW I came to a fork in a Forestry 
Commission trail and the map showed only the main trail, the minor 
trail was missing -- the second time was in NW Tasmania where the 
logging trail I was on was shown nearly 100 metres to the East. I can 
live with those kinds of errors.

The format of the GPS signal is in the public domain; it is a simple 
sequence of digits with a starting chunk and an ending chunk (ie, can 
be parsed by every stream editor known to mankind, possibly even VB).

The problem with GPS in Oz is the availability of the maps themselves 
-- roll on the open street maps project!!

FWIW, my advice to potential purchasers is, first, prefer colour to B&W 
and, secondly, get the largest display practicable.

Robert Thorsby

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