palm pilots and gps fun (4.50 / 2) (#20)
by dougb on Tue Apr 25, 2000 at 10:29:39 PM EST
I went to Amsterdam last summer and took my Garmin 12XL with me, along with my
I bought the 12XL because it was cheap ($150) and it could store a lot of
waypoints (or at least enough for my purposes). I had never been to Amsterdam
before, I was so happy to have the gps with me because I tend to walk around
new cities until I get lost and hungry and want to get back to my hotel room.
It was easy with my gps, I just took a reading of my hotel and made it a
waypoint, when I got tired I just took a reading of my current location and
walked towards the hotel. It worked pretty well, although if you keep it on
all the time, the batteries will only last you for 24 hours. (4 AA, I think.)
I was going to take some of the cool apps from gpspilot.com with me, but I
didn't have a Windows machine at the time and the tool they use to download
maps to your palm runs on Windows only. It's kinda cool, you can use any map
or picture you want, you just have to tell the palm the lat/long of the upper
left/lower right corners of the map (or something like that) and then it will
synchronize your movements with the map.
Instead, I kept a log on my palm pilot of my favorite restaurants and their
lat/long coordinates so that the next time I go to Amsterdam, I'll have a lot
easier time finding them. Some of the places I found after 3-4 hours of
wandering around the city, so it would be really hard to retrace my footsteps a
year later. ;-)
Garmin sells gps->PC serial cables, and this page from gpspilot.com tells
you how to build your own cable and what baud/parity settings you need to set
on your serial port:
This site is the GPS Resource Library, highly recommended:
ISTR having code somewhere that decoded the strings that come from the GPS, it
was a simple matter of parsing them and figuring out how many satellites you
had a fix on, what your altitude was, current speed, direction, stuff like
that. I wish I still had the code around.
I'll bet that freshmeat has some gps code, I think I'm going to go check it out
now and see if I can find anything interesting to play with...