View Full Version : GPS with Mac?

Kathy A.
12 March 2005, 06:57 PM
We're looking into getting a GPS unit, and naturally aren't finding a lot of Mac support from the bigger makers. I'd like to interface with the Mac version of the National Geographic TOPO maps (which claims to be compatible with a large number of units from the big guys). Anyone currently doing this? Any problems?

Rod Whitten
13 March 2005, 03:50 PM
My first recommendation is to visit http://www.macgpspro.com/html/newhtml/menu/macgpspro.html and browse their website.

GPS on the Mac is a bit challenging in this Windoze dominated market. I ended up buying a bottom of the line Dell portable mainly to use with my iQue 3600 (a Palm based PDA with an excellent GPS by Garmin) as I got tired of fussing with the GPS upgrades and map reinstall on a Macintosh. I travel frequently to different areas of the country and end up reinstalling the maps to match my current destination, so the Dell was much easier.

Kathy A.
13 March 2005, 06:55 PM
Thanks, I had already seen their site. I was hoping someone had experience usin g the National Geographic software, which I already own. :)

16 March 2005, 01:10 AM
I recently received a GPS for a present and use the National Geographic software. The BIG issue is not the NG software, it is the requirement to buy a serial-to-USB adapter because my G4 does not have a serial port. I use a Keyspan Serial Adapter. Once I set up the port, I did not have any problems.
I use the Backroads Explorer version with charts down to 1:100,000 scale and a Garmin Etrex Vista GPS. I can download and upload waypoints, tracks, and routes. I use the GPS for geocaching. A less expensive option is a package of three programs from HikeTech (http://www.hiketech.com). Link2GPS enables communication between my Mac and the GPS (through the adapter). GPSWrite and TopoDraw add additional functionality.
I, personally, love topo charts which is why I use the Nat'l Geographic software more. But Link2GPS works very well for uploading/downloading data.

Randy Rathbun
16 March 2005, 02:39 PM
Be careful if you are looking at the new Garmin units. For some reason Garmin has decided to get rid of NEMA codes. This apparently is on their newer USB models. NEMA is used by everyone so mapping software can talk to the GPS. Garmin is apparently charging lots of money just to see what their "new improved" codes are doing.

So, if you are not sure about what a Garmin unit does, look at something else, like a Magellan or Lowrance.

The Keyspan adapters work great! They will even work with Virtual PC so you can update the firmware if you need to.

And speaking of firmware, this is another thing you need to watch for. Magellan lets you download the firmware file, drop it to the SD card, and upgrade your GPS unit that way. Lowrance requires that you have a Windows PC just to download the firmware installer program, as well as upgrade the GPS unit. Keep this in mind when you are shopping about.