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edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
I own an older Garmin Etrex Vista, it's great! Now I want to use my laptop (pc running Vista) to do all the same things that my Etrex does, ie. streets, topo, waterways etc.. I have Garmin's Mapsource topo's on CD that I would like to use, but if there is something better I will buy it. I have talked to Garmin and they don't get what I'm asking for. I looked at the Garmin Mobile PC GPS 10 X and 20 X. Garmin, did mention Nroute might do what I'm asking for,,but that they do not support it any longer. I don't think I'm asking for the imposible, I want to have a map in front of me when I'm on the highway, or when I'm offroad in my 4x4, or if I want to go out on the boat, I can see where I'm going... CAN SOME ONE PLEASE ADVICE ME?


  • patruns 10 Points
    Did you try Googling "GPS for laptop"? I get 33 million hits. 1st one is :
  • Boyd 1853 Points
    I think MobilePC will do pretty much what you want, sounds like Garmin's recommendation is on target to me. See this thread, hopefully the links still work:

    Download the trial and play around with it. If you don't have a GPS receiver you will be limited in what you can do, but you can browse your existing maps and see if you like the interface. If you already have maps in mapsource, just start up MobilePC, then mapsource. Now you can choose MobilePC as a destination in the Mapsource transfer dropdown and send it any maps you have - it's pretty clever actually.

    There's lots of other software to display your position on a map on your laptop, but not anything really designed to work with *Garmin* maps. OziExplorer is a very cool program, but you will have to make your own maps, so that gets somewhat complicated and time consuming.
  • Boyd 1853 Points
    That's one of many other options, and probably a good one. I was trying to respond more specifically to:
    I have Garmin's Mapsource topo's on CD that I would like to use
  • Boyd 1853 Points
    Continuing the discussion from your other thread...
    I'm sorry for not following up on the previous responses to my post. Let me tell you what I did find out from Garmin. They DO NOT have a trial version for mobile pc, actually Garmin has been very polite and LESS than helpful both on the phone and by Email, their basic response has been "Nope we don't have anything at this time" and "we don't know of anything", also they tell me that Mobile PC will not handle Topo maps.
    I just don't get it, I'm almost sure that ALL gps units run on software and a gps receiver, and like with my Etrex, if I want to go out on the boat I just load the right maps/charts and go, when I get back and I want to go 4 wheeling or hiking I just load my topo maps, so why can't I do that with a real computer and a gps receiver? I also found out that there is no way to display my Etrex's info "live" on my computer, lord all I want is a gps with a huge screen! Boyd, thank you, I'm looking into OziExplorer, I don't seem to understand the concept of "Making my own maps" I thought I could just go out and buy quality maps somewhere and load them up? Boy, I think this wish of mine to have a big gps is going to give me brain damage...
    Regarding Mobile PC, I guess you did not read the other thread I linked to. Since I'm using a new PC now, I decided to download the free trial again just to make sure things are what I expected. The person at Garmin was ill-informed, although admittedly the free trial version is not something they have publicized. Download it here:

    DO NOT run the installer, instead you must open up the archive. I used WinRAR to do this, but other programs like WinZip can probably do the same thing. Extract all the files to a folder, then run the MAIN.msi program. A screen comes up asking if you purchased the program with or without a GPS receiver. In the lower right corner you will see a button to begin a free trial of the program. Just click that and the software will register your free trial with Garmin's servers. You will then be up and running for a period of two weeks.

    The program is integrated with Mapsource nicely. If you have maps in Mapsource on the same computer, start that up also. Select some maps with the selection tool in Mapsource, then Transfer > Send to Device. If MobilePC is running, it will show up as a device. Send the maps to it - should be very fast. You will notice that the MobilePC program says it is reading the data. With topo maps, you will get a message which says they don't support routing - just click OK.

    It works fine with topo maps. Garmin doesn't really market it that way, so I guess the support person didn't know. Here are a couple screenshots from just now using US Topo 2008. Note how it even supports shaded terrain.



    It recognizes my 60csx over USB, but complains about it. If you want to use this software it probably makes the most sense to buy the full package with the little USB receiver, it's pretty cheap. Whether it meets your needs.... no idea. But it behaves pretty much like a Nuvi with a big screen on your laptop.

    Regarding OziExplorer... that is much more powerful and cool. But it is based on raster imagery (pictures, basically) and the maps are very large. There may be companies which sell them, I've never looked. They would be a big download certainly. Heh, if you want I will be glad to make whatever maps you need... for a slight fee of course! :wink:

    Here are a couple shots of Ozi with a USGS 24k topo and an aerial image which I've overlaid roads on.


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