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running GPS with laptop

Started by heyyou325, March 25, 2010, 06:57:09 PM

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The Nuvi 5000 was discontinued by Garmin within the past month. You might find some deals if anybody still has them in stock. I've had one for over 2 years and as a mapmaker, I especially appreciate it. The 800x480 resolution was way higher than any other Garmin consumer unit. This will not make much difference when using Garmin's maps or even most of the maps on this site. Everything is just drawn 'bigger' on the screen while still showing the same area of the map that a lower resolution unit shows.

However, if you use bitmapped custom types for lines, it can make a huge difference. A one-pixel wide line on an 800x480 screen is a very different from a 1 pixel wide line on a 480x272 screen. This gives you a bigger palette of line weights to work with. And for bitmapped polygon fills, it produces finer textures.

However, the Nuvi 5000 is a bit quirky. It is one of two Garmin lines that run on Linux, and it takes seemingly forever to boot. It also doesn't have a battery. So everytime you turn the car off and on (like at the gas station), it has to go through the whole startup routine. It's also no speed demon when it comes to rendering the map on the screen and it's missing some of the nice tweaks that the newer units have, like lane guidance (which shows a map of the upcoming intersection with an indication of which lane you should use). It also doesn't show your current speed while navigating a route.

Garmin recently introduced the 14x0 series and they also have 5" screens but the resolution is the same as the 4" screen models (480x272). These are also a mixed bag with their own quirks.


Sorry I haven't been able to respond recently, but I think I will try the Adobe plug in and USGS maps.  2 friends at work have Garmin Rhinos that when the hook up to their computer with a USB cord, it automatically comes on the computer screen.  My boss has a Magellon and he has to click on one thing and it comes up on his laptop screen.  He says Delorme does the same thing.  I know the program is out there.  Thanks for all the help.


Just posted on the groundspeak forums about the upgrade to BaseCamp

' Added the ability to use BaseCamp with the pre-installed maps on a connected device or pre-programmed SD card.' 

This might be placing the data/image on the GPSr on the computer screen - maybe not.  Depends on what Garmin means by 'ability to use'


Garmin just got back to me on my 3rd contact attempt.  They advised me to either purchase MobilePC or use nroute and they sent me a link for it.  Boyd gave me a link to it earlier with a bunch of other stuff on.  Haven't had time to locate it yet.  My wife says she will download it for us tomorrow.  Hope it works.  Might download basecamp too, I've been thinking about that.  Thanks again for all the help.


Hello -

This may seem like an academic answer, but could you simply use the real time GPS tracking option on google earth?  Seems like that would work, maybe have to refresh it by going on line periodically since your trip is so far, but maybe that'll work.


has anyone tried the google earth real time tracking with a garmin?


Have a look over at, there is a long thread about using Google Earth with a GPS over there. I have not tried it myself, and frankly am not all that much of a Google Earth fan since I can get better imagery for my own area elsewhere.


Would I need to use GlobalMapper to put the imagery into WMS format in order to do that? Maybe I need to learn more about Google Earth, but I already feel like I have too many programs that do the same kind of thing. I use OziExplorer on a netbook (and OziExplorerCE on a Magellan Roadmate 1700, which has a nice 7" screen). It works well and their .ozfx3 file is very efficient in terms of rendering and storage space.

For me, the real problem with all the laptop/netbook solutions is the awkwardness (and outright danger) of fiddling with a computer while trying to drive.


Haha  ;D  I used to have a 1m HughesNet dish on the roof... of my house, until I was able to get DSL here.

Yeah, that would be a lot of work to make .kmz's of a manageable size for a large area. I did make my own custom netbook mount for my car, just for fun, to use while driving around the little sand roads in the Pine Barrens here. I haven't installed GlobalMapper on the netbook though. I have it maxxed out with RAM 2 GB), but I don't think the little Atom CPU is really up to opening big image files and tracking me in realtime.  :)


Since this post is back up near the top, I'll add this here.  After installing the new mapsource about 3 weeks ago, N-route wouldn't open.  My wife reinstalled it, and still nothin.  So she redownloaded it and we tried using it on a fishing trip to NW Montana last week end.  We've come to believe the new mapsource won't accept it.  Has anybody else experienced this? Everything else works ok tho.  Since I learned about n-route in this thread, I thought might be appropriate to ask this here.  Oh, the wife and I came back with 127 Kokanee Salmon and 1  14 inch Rainbow trout.  Wasn't too bad of a day and a half of fishing.


My system is Win7-64bit, Apps that are working now:

N-route 2.7.6 (my CNNANT 2009 shows up in it and all my homemade maps, but CNNANT 2010 doesn't)
MapSource 6.13.7 (it's back, didn't work for a while,don't know why it left or came back, same maps as N-route)
MapSource 6.16.1 (all maps show)
BaseCamp 3.0.4   (all maps show)


OK, thanks Seldom-sn I guess we'll try re downloading and installing mapsource 6.16.1.  Or after rereading your post maybe we need an older n-route.  I'm not sure what the CNNANT means, but we have n-route 2.7.6 . 


City Navigator North America NT.  The latest version doesn't work for me, the older one does.


Just became a FIRST  TIME EVER  GPS ( Garmin Nuvi-3750 ) user : saw this POST , and decided to make a comment : Please bear with a MEGA-NUBI !  When I registered my new (first-time) unit, I was VERY nervious about making ANY type of screw-up ; SO.... , when the process began , Garmin asked about where to download my MAP setup : 1) PC only; 2) Garmin only ; 3) PC & Garmin .  I decided to do the DUAL download, just in case !  BEST  DECISION  I EVER MADE !  That step put not only the MAP on my PC , it also loaded MAPSOURCE , MAPINSTALL , and a few others ; as a part of the GARMIN Folder/Program.  Now , I can see ALL the Maps on my PC for review , planning , etc. And , the screen puts a LOT more info to ( my 66-year-old) eyeballs than the much smaller GPS Screen ; I'm thinking that this is what is being looked for above in the LAPTOP REQUEST.  If not , sorry !  My NEXT  move will be to transition this entire PC GARMIN FOLDER set-up to my wife's NETBOOK ( Half-Pint LapTop ! ) and use it while traveling for route planning , etc : kinda like what was also described above . ALSO ; do not (yet) know why, but the Computer-based North America Garmin MAP shows TONS of POI's ( ?-waypoints ) than are EVER visible on the Garmin ; those ARE valuable when traveling - so the NetBook ( ASUS 700) will be MORE than a back-up to the Nuvi , it will be a great info source for stops , recreation, sleep-overs, etc.   ENJOY !


I'm afraid that's a little different than using a GPS with a computer. Mapsource is great for looking at the maps and planning, but you cannot connect a GPS to it an track your position. Garmin used to make a program called "nRoute" for that, and you can still download it. But it does not work with the new maps that you downloaded (it isn't compatible with NT version maps).