I'm thinking of purchasing a gps unit to use with laptop. any suggestions on make and model would be very helpfull.ALSO CURIOUS IF GPS antena would work with different mapping programs or must use only with their own mapping softeware.
I have been using Delorme's Street Atlas USA Deluxe for several years now and love it. Their GPS unit (Earthmate) plugs into the serial port of your laptop (or PC for motorhome users) and takes four AAA batteries. With the GPS on, a cursor shows your current location within 5' or so. It will also talk to you telling you how far you are to your pre-determined exits, etc. based on your trip plan.
The software allows you to save routes, play "what if" scenarios changing speeds, routes,etc.
You can also use that GPS system to play geo caching (cacheing?), though I know very little about it. But apparently they have a website dedicated to this game. You use the GPS coordinates to locate a "cache" of something, and search for these things. I'll try and get some more info and post here shortly...
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Order shall return.
I found more info, I "cut-n-pasted" this from the Popup Times message board...
Are you guys familiar with a fairly new sport called 'Geocaching'?
It is a new form of a treasure hunt. There are hidden treasures placed around the world, and posted on the Geocaching web-site. You enter the given coordinates into your portable GPS unit, and search for the hidden cache. Most of the caches are hidden in parks and provide an provide an enjoyable hike and search through the woods to locate the cache. The basic idea is to take an item from the cache (usually hidden in an ammo box or tupperweare container) and replace it with something else for the next group to find. Most folks put little trinkets in for the kids to take with (army men, cards, beads, etc...)
Have also been using Delorme Earthmate for a few years. Very good program. Rasonbly priced, less than $100 with transmitter and software. Also, I use an inverter plugged to cigar lighter to provide 120 volt power to laptop and transmitter which eliminates battery usage on long trips.