Using Your Laptop As a GPS Unit
If you don’t want to invest in a hand-held or vehicle-mounted GPS unit, you do have the much less expensive option of converting your laptop into a GPS unit with special software.
If your laptop has a good battery and an embedded wi-fi program, you may prefer investing the money into this software, which is very easy to use. With this software you can locate POIs (points or place of interest), or upload new ones for future reference. You can upload maps for regions where you will be traveling.
Of course, not everybody relishes the idea of having to keep a laptop computer up on the dashboard of their car like some police officer. They might instead use the option of finding and then printing out maps or POI, options which this ubiquitous GPS software comes with. On the other hand, for those who need to do a lot of driving in unfamiliar areas such as those who are salesmen, having the laptop GPS software might be even better than a dash-mounted unit; for the screen is much larger and it might be easier to glance over at it than to try constantly glancing down at a small-screen unit even if that unit is in front of them.
In either case, there may be times when it’s necessary to pull over for a moment to read the screen. Nevertheless, it’s still more convenient than carrying around a glovebox full of maps that aren’t pinpointed as accurately as one of the printed out GPS maps.
Laptop-ready GPS software can be found in most major electronics and computer software stores. You can also easily find this software on the Internet. One of the top GPS software programs is that made by DeLorme in its new Earthmate GPS LT-40, which plugs into laptop via USB cable.
The leading features of this GPS software includes a high-sensitivity WAAS-enabled GPS receiver as well as the new Street Atlas USA 2009 software. DeLorme with this also provide a new, advanced interface, the features of which include a “cockpit view” of airplane-inspired navigation cues as well as a wide 3D perspective of the roads you are travelling.
Garmin, a leader in GPS technology, also makes superior laptop GPS software. With its Mobile 10 software, you don’t need the USB cable; this is a high-sensitivity GPS receiver which connects to your laptop via wireless Bluetooth technology. This also comes with Garmin’s Mobile XT, nRoute navigation software, and detailed City Navigator street maps.
Microsoft also makes excellent GPS software called Streets & Trips 2008, which comes with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver which plugs directly into your laptop’s USB port without the need for any cable.
This software also comes with automatic re-routing, a perspective map that simulates what you see ahead of you on the road, day-night backlight modes, voice prompted directions, auto-zoom to that provides a more accurate view of your next turn, and a large database of POI.
So for those who are already enamored of their laptops and who don’t want to lay out the cash for a GPS unit, the laptop software is the way to go.