CAR GIZMOS !
Delorme's Tripmate GPS Navigation System $149.00 !
The Digital Navigator!
Tripmate is a system that allows you to "track" yourself on a digital map as you drive! You see an arrow on the laptop screen move as you drive down the road! You'll never get lost again! Unlike some other dedicated car navigation systems that can cost thousands and only give you a handful of cities, this system gives you virtually every back ally and remote dirt road in the entire United States! and that's not all...(as the salesman would say) You can tap into the internet (via your ISP and modem) and download road construction, local events and even weather. It all appears on your map! You can download this information and update it as often as you want FREE! You can also "record" your trip, that is when you get home, you'll be able to "playback" exactly where you went in realtime or up to 50X speed.
This system is really amazing considering that it only costs $149 and that includes the GPS device! Of course you'll also need a laptop computer. We used a Compaq Pentium 133 Laptop (you can use a 386 laptop min.). The GPS device connects via a 9-pin cable. It uses 4 AA batteries but you can buy an adapter ($39) from DeLorme that will allow you to power the GPS from either the laptop or the cigarette lighter. The system worked very well in our Mustang GT. We tried to get lost and we could not!
It is recommended that you have another person hold the laptop or purchase an "in-car" laptop table to hold your laptop. We put a velcro strip on the Tripmate unit to keep it there in tight turns. If you drive normally, it sits just fine without velcro. Our Tripmate system makes our Mustang GT look like a "James Bond" car at the fast food drive through windows! Man, we got tons of "cool" and "wow, I've never seen that before" comments !
What is GPS ?
The US department of defense has launched 24 GPS satellites in space. Each satellite broadcasts a low-power radio wave that is received by this unit. When the GPS picks up a signal, it identifies the satellite and compares the signal time with it's own clock. The time difference represents the time it has taken for that radio wave to travel from the satellite to the sensor. When 3 satellites are detected by the GPS your location can be pinpointed. Information from a fourth satellite confirms your location (longitude, latitude and elevation).
This system can locate you down to "at least" 328 ft. It uses the SPS (standard positioning service) which is an intentionally degraded signal put out by the US Department of Defense satellites. Your accuracy will depend on your level of clearance with the Department of Defense. Most civilian GPS units are SPS units. Unless you are in the military, this is the best that you can get. Also, if the United states is at war, the the US DOD may jam the GPS system for civilian use. As a general rule, however, you can expect much greater accuracy with the Tripmate GPS.
Information Downloaded Via the Internet displayed right on the map!
Hey the pig festival is going on in Barstow on Jun.16, $5 to get in! OR In Boston they are having an arts festival, all types of events are shown on the map and exactly where they will be taking place! Just right click on an event marker and detailed information about the event is displayed! Right click on a road construction marker and detailed information is given about the construction like: "I15 west, left three lanes closed due to widening of the freeway, est. finished oct. 98. You can also get weather information. Little clouds or sun icons appear on the map, Likewise, when you right click on them you get weather info. You can toggle these displays on and off. You can download and update information via the internet whenever you want, it takes only seconds at 28.8!
There is so much more to this device, you can get live feedback of how many satellites the unit is tracking, which satellites it's using to track, if the unit can't get a clear view of several satellites it let's you know and still tracks you on the map but maybe without your elevation stats, etc.
Let's not forget that the DeLorme street atlas CD itself is a great piece of software allowing you to print maps, find streets by address, zip code, and a whole bunch more! The addition of this GPS device makes it a "total" solution to your car Navigation needs at a great price! (you'll need a laptop of course)
With a cheap laptop and Tripmate, it's possible to have a state-of-the-art car navigation system (that you can also play Monster Truck Madness with) and it will still cost less than many dedicated navigation systems that I've seen.
You can get Tripmate from Best Buy or any other large software store. For more info Visit DeLorme's Website.