Saturday, October 3, 2009

PDA, Mobile and PC GPS : GiSTEQ GPS USB Dongle

Purchased on June 20, received today. I got the black version of this item. Plugged in and installed the drivers that came on the included CD without any problems. I bought this item to use with Microsoft Streets & Trips 2009. S&T requires GPS receivers to operate on NMEA 2.0 standard and at 4800 baud rate. The 4800 baud rate is a must if you are going to use this with S&T. That's where my problems started.

Although this item is NMEA 2.0 compliant, the default baud rate was set to 38400. S&T 2009 kept saying that either the data being sent/received by GPS receiver was not NMEA 2.0 compatible or the baud rate was incorrect. After a lot of browsing through different GPS forums did not help, I visited the GiSTEQ website. To my surprise, the Forums on the GiSTEQ website have no discussion area for the GPS USB dongle - even though there are (at the time of this review) discussion areas for other GiSTEQ products.

Marine GPS Units and Chartplotters : Garmin GPSMap 76 Handheld GPS

Before my GPS purchase, I considered a number of Magellan units in addition to some in the Garmin E Trex series. I finally decided on the Garmin Map76.

In addition to being relatively easy to use, I preferred the slightly larger screen of the Map76 over the other units. Since I was purchasing the unit to use while sea kayaking, I found the screen on the Map76 was much easier to read in the sunlight than the smaller screens on the E-Trex models. In addition, you can upload map data into this unit. (Although the unit includes a basemap, Garmin also manufactures a number of optional mapping products which cover roads, waterways and topographical features in more detail). For kayaking, I use the optional BlueCharts which is essentially like having Nautical maps at your fingertips. (These are sold by regions and tend to be a bit expensive however).

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