GPS part 3

Last week I started discussing a £399 bundle deal which includes a Palm m130 PDA and a separate GPS module that plugs in to the back of the PDA to allow it to be able to act as a tracking device.Once installed this allows you to be able to tell exactly where you are at any given time and the directions that you would need to take to get to a specified destination.

So far we’ve looked at the PDA side of the deal and concluded it was more than satisfactory for the majority of users for those who need to arrange appointments, keep contact details, write simple documents, access the Internet via a mobile etc.This week I’m going to look specifically at the GPS tracking device that slots into the back of the PDA to enable it to accurately pinpoints its own position in the world.

You start by simply plugging the GPS kit into the back of the Palm organiser and then loading the software from the supplied CD via a laptop or personal computer based on the location you are currently or the location that you are thinking of going.This is made necessary, as obviously the Palm PDA can’t store details of every street in the country in its limited memory.You get two choices of software to install - SmartPath Trip and SmartPath City.SmartPath Trip is used to provide a lesser level of detail for if you want to plan a trip from city to city or from town to town as you can store the whole country in to its 8mg memory.SmartPath City includes a much greater detail so it is ideal for example if you are going away on holiday around Europe or the USA – Simply install the maps of the cities that you plan to visit before you depart then reference them as and when needed.

With any luck, using these two in conjunction should prevent any more pointless driving up and down varying Autobahns and Interstates looking for your hotel as the GPS system will tell you where you are, where you need to be and how to get there.

Also included within the kit is a car charger for the Palm (as the GPS system draws its power from the Palm PDA) and a dashboard mounting kit.Obviously it is not safe to drive and look at the screen simultaneously and so you should always stop the vehicle or get someone else to read off the directions if you are doing the driving.

Other notable features include positioning that updated on the map once a second using an array of 12 different satellites to gain an accuracy of within a distance of 6.8m, the fact it can automatically plan the quickest route and distance from Point A to Point B and the way you can zoom right in to street level to see the names of the streets in your vicinity.

To summarise, this sort of technology really interests me as I see it just a matter of time before this technology evolves, becomes more advanced and is able to become integrated in to our mobiles or another compact handheld device; just think of the amount of time, money and resources that would be saved if we never got lost and always knew the quickest route from one place to another at the touch of a button.

The Navman and Palm GPS bundle was loaned to me by the Carphone Warehouse in Torquay where you can currently buy pair at a cost £399.As always, all facts are considered correct at time of print but please check before purchase.


About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.