Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

Cheap bluetooth GPS

With Google apparently planning to add GPS support to the free version of Google Earth I thought it was about time I got myself a satnav receiver that I could use with the iBook (and possibly other machines if I ever get a pocketable PC I like). USB or Bluetooth seemed to be the way to go, preferably bluetooth to avoid dangling cables. Mostly they seemed to be quite expensive, but a couple of days ago I noticed someone on eBay UK selling them new for £15 and ordered one - it arrived today, and it seems to be pretty good.

The original vendor seems to have sold out, but there are a couple of others offering what seems to be the same kit, a mobile phone satnav package called "Activepilot" that includes the receiver. While the mobile aspect has no interest to me - my mobile has no bluetooth and I wouldn't want to pay to subscribe to the service anyway - the receiver was very easy to set up, and works well with a shareware / freeware package called GPS Connect 0.2 for Mac OS X I downloaded. Haven't yet looked at other software, but it's a good start.

The receiver itself is a gizmo about the length of a credit card and 2/3rds the width and maybe 1cm thick (can't find a ruler) and comes with a car charging cable leading to a standard mini USB plug (5v and charges off a camera cable on my PC without problems), a magnet you can use to stick it to a car etc., and instructions. It's nicely made, with indicators for charging, on/off and Bluetooth connection, finished in some sort of rubbery plastic which is hopefully reasonably rugged.

Anyway, if you want to add GPS to a laptop it may be worth a look.

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