GPS everywhere and in everything

My computer has a GPS in it using the same SIRFstar III chipset as my hiking handheld, which also doubles as my cycling GPS.

On the Mac, it appears as a “USB-serial” device whose driver is made by Prolific Technology which, coincidentally, makes the driver for my camera GPS receiver. Like all SIRFstar III GPSs, getting the acquisition took only a second, but a fix took a minute.

Great! Now what to do?

GPS + Google Earth = fun

[gps madness after the jump]

Google ownz you

Being too lazy to purchase Google Earth Plus, I instead went the mile and downloaded gpsdX and gps2geX.

A minute later, I had acquisition and I was plotting myself.

The only problem was, I needed the WiFi so I couldn’t walk anywhere with it. So all I can do is show you roughly where I took this shot.

The usefulness of the GPS in my Mac leaves a little to be desired.

Other GPS software

Not sure what the purpose is of the GPS, I guess I should spring for RouteBuddy and a mount for my car, but the concept of buying yet another set of maps… *shrug*

Speaking of purchasing a proprietary map set, I noticed that Garmin finally has some Mac software out for my 60CSx. Hmm, only two years late and still not fully functional. Maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and make another VMWare image for some windows GPS software?

Remembering my first GPS

It was a Delorme Earthmate GPS which I connected by null modem to my Palm V. I hacked a handlebar mount for the pair and I could see where I was cycling in real time. It really didn’t serve a purpose since this was Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, I had a map, and the corn fields were exactly a mile apart, but the novelty was fun.

The only problem was chipsets were so crappy back then it took about 20 minutes to get a fix and not all that accurate. By that time, you had already gotten to where you were going…or you pretty much had an idea how to get there. I mean even the guys on Home Improvement would stop and ask for directions if they had no clue where they were after twenty minutes.

Walking and chewing gum

So around campus, I’d flip my Palm pilot to the chess playing program and play a game while cycling.

I know what you’re thinking…

But no, I managed to do fine for about a month. Then one day as I was looking over a tactical shot, I glanced up and saw this pretty co-ed walking the other way. That’s when my tire drifted off the sidewalk and I flipped over on my bike—like you see in the movies.

Only it hurt.

After that I realized one probably shouldn’t cycle and play chess at the same time.

It is really a wonder I bothered to bicycle in graduate school.

Chess and Beer

Speaking of chess, this Monday some friends and colleagues are sponsoring the Cerveza and Chess Tournament in Mountain View. Blitz means five minutes a side and there are two levels: Bobby-Fischer-is-my-BFF and chess-causes-me-to-crash-my-bike.

You should go. I promise, if you look up from your chess board and see a pretty girl, you won’t embarrass yourself as much as I did.

One thought on “GPS everywhere and in everything

  1. That’s amazing. Everything has gps these days. I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard of gps shoes. The reason is that gps technology has evolved a lot. Not only that but gps systems can now be found at really low prices.

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