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Old 15-11-2010, 15:34   #1
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Car GPS as Chartplotter

Has anyone converted a car GPS to chartplotter?

TomTom, for example uses linux arm OS, and it appears that many have reprogrammed it for other applications based on extensive web info, so opencpn should be a candidate also.

Seems a good low cost possibility, given that commercial ones are so overpriced. Or am I behind the times and yachties will just use their phone/ ipods? Perhaps I'll know if tomtom bids now go up on ebay

PS This is my first thread starter -hopefully it will be seen as useful.
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Old 15-11-2010, 16:04   #2
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Interesting idea.. a quick google on tomtom mods does bring up lots of info. Does opencpn compile on ARM?
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Old 15-11-2010, 16:16   #3
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While I understand the logic of your idea, FORGET IT! While a decent marine chartplotter may seem like a 'jumped up TomTom', you're forgetting all the extra info that is included.

Sure, for coastal cruising, your car/phone GPS will give you a decent idea of your position in relation to the coast and certainly will give you an acurate Lat/Long fix, however, it WON'T give you any idea of your imediate surroundings. ie, small rocks, even proper islands (just no need to show them on a land based GPS), depth, sunken wreaks, marker bouys, even marinas, etc, etc, the list goes on. Theres also all the extra stuff than can be interfaced with a decent setup, radar display, AIS, depth sounder, etc.

The only reason to use one on a boat would be to backup the existing marine chartplotter to give you a Lat/Long fix in conjunction with proper paper charts.

Now, if you mean using it in conjunction with some sort of software upgrade that would give you acurate marine charts on the original unit, then they may be something in it. However, this is one item that i'd much rather spend the money on to get it working PROPERLY in the first place. Saving even a couple of thousand, only to run aground or hit a rock at night seems like a false ecconomy to me.
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Old 15-11-2010, 16:34   #4
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If it is do-able, it could be handy for land based newbies to openCPN trying to get familiar with it.
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Old 15-11-2010, 16:36   #5
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hahaha... I got a Garmin iQue3600 PDA.... remember those things... PDA? It has a WAAS GPS and you can load Streets for automobile navigation with voice directions and so forth.

You can also load Blue Charts and use it at sea! It good at both and at the used price even better... but the battery sucks so you need it tethered to 12v.

Viewing in sunlight is super, but it doesn't do routes and so forth.

Best few hundred bucks in electronics I spent.
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Old 15-11-2010, 22:02   #6
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Originally Posted by idpnd View Post
Does opencpn compile on ARM?
I'm sure if linux is already installed as an OS then opencpn could be compiled and made to run . Difficulty might be programatically scaling the screen size down so its still useable without too much scrolling. On the other hand if the code is sufficiently modular it might just mean just a tweak or two. I'm not familiar enough with it to know.

Having said that ocpn already runs on netbooks such as my eeepc with its limited screen size so its still a possibility.

Re defjef's PDA: Pity most of these devices are no longer sold and have been cloned into mobile phones. A while back I bought a couple of low end 2ndhand palm(pun not intended) PDAs to play with but they are now collecting dust -netbooks being so cheap.

Still it would be nice to have a ocpn tomtom as a backup. Not wanting to impose on the ocpn developers -who are doinga great job - but any programers out there?
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Old 16-11-2010, 16:58   #7
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YES it works

Hello to all,
I got a ViaMichelin X980T for which it was not possible to buy new maps for car travelling. Looking around, I found it was popular to unlock the dedicated nav software and to access to the Windows CE system.
Then you can have on it an other soft for your car and an other one for your boat. Not many softs run on Windows CE, OZI.. does.
In practice if you have a nice screen like the X980T, you can install it in your (small) boat as I do (20 ft), it is really possible to navigate close to the shore with it, résolution is enough for it. The problem will be the size of the maps on the 2Gig SD card, except if you can have a soft like OpenCPN running on it with vector charts.
At least it could be a backup solution (or a green solution) when power is lacking for the nice bi-processors PC.

Sorry for my english.

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Old 17-11-2010, 05:48   #8
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Not a chartplotter that is really useful but you can load garmin blue charts on any garmin nuvi car gps unit. Instructions are available on line. I got mine to work but its more for fun then useful as depth data is not rendered.
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Old 27-11-2010, 16:19   #9
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Not a chartplotter that is really useful but you can load garmin blue charts on any garmin nuvi car gps unit. Instructions are available on line. I got mine to work but its more for fun then useful as depth data is not rendered.
Do you know if a Nuvi can be made to pass gps data to a laptop via the data cable?
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Old 27-11-2010, 19:37   #10
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Theoretically it should be possible I have just not found a way to do it. If I could I would use is all the time for overland travel as the 260 I have sucks for long distance driving as there is no option to set to keep you on main highways. So for example a run from Toronto Canada to RocK Hall MD takes you down mostly secondary highways and backroads rather then via the NYS Thruway to Binghamton, etc etc. Google maps is far better at this so my intend was to plot routes on google maps, export to gpx and upload to Garmin Nuvi....just cant seem to find a way to do it.

If you find a way would love to hear about it. As it would save me hours.

/ch
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Old 27-11-2010, 20:39   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailias View Post
Theoretically it should be possible I have just not found a way to do it. If I could I would use is all the time for overland travel as the 260 I have sucks for long distance driving as there is no option to set to keep you on main highways. So for example a run from Toronto Canada to RocK Hall MD takes you down mostly secondary highways and backroads rather then via the NYS Thruway to Binghamton, etc etc. Google maps is far better at this so my intend was to plot routes on google maps, export to gpx and upload to Garmin Nuvi....just cant seem to find a way to do it.

If you find a way would love to hear about it. As it would save me hours.

/ch
You might be able to get your Nuvi to route you better by changing some sections.

There are two settings to check.
  • Shortest Distance vs Shortest Time. --> Set for Shortest Time to keep to highways.
  • Avoid Toll Roads, Avoid Highways. --> Turn both of these off.

As to loading your own routes, I can't help you there.

-dan
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Old 28-11-2010, 00:41   #12
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Google maps is far better at this so my intend was to plot routes on google maps, export to gpx and upload to Garmin Nuvi....just cant seem to find a way to do it.

If you find a way would love to hear about it. As it would save me hours. /ch
If I understand you correctly that's exactly what I do with a minor difference. I use MS Streets & Trips to plan my long distance route. I then export the route as a gpx file. I use a Garmin program called POILoader (Garmin: POI Loader) to import the gpx file. It comes into 'Extras' as Custom POIs. The weakness on my 265T is that they come in as individual waypoints (vias) not as a route. That's simple to fix as you just do 'Go To' on each waypoint one by one. It's best if you name the waypoints something meaningful. For example, if I'm going from point A to B, I'll call the waypoints AB1, AB2, AB3... Hope that helps.
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Old 28-11-2010, 02:32   #13
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Do you know if a Nuvi can be made to pass gps data to a laptop via the data cable?
Pete
Hello.

If you mean sending via USB the real-time GPS position, there is a trick. This works on my nuvi 255. Maybe similar but not identical method work for other nuvi.

I assume no responsibility for using this method. It just works for me. Since it is a Garmin Nuvi hack (undocumented garmin feature), it may even destroy your nuvi . Do it at your own risk .

1) Switch on you nuvi. Then enter the diagnostic screen. For nuvi 255 you have to press the battery level icon for 8 seconds. Maybe is the same for your nuvi, otherwise try to Google for entering diagnostic screen for your model.

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2) Only at this point connect the nuvi to the PC. The nuvi will not enter in the mass storage mode.

3) Now on the nuvi diagnostic screen, press EXIT. This will reboot the nuvi to the normal operation but after this reboot the nuvi will not enter the mass storage mode . Nuvi is now connected to the PC, working normally and sending the GPS position data out from the USB .

Of course Windows must have already installed the USB Garmin Driver to use the GPS USB data.

Ciao, Marco.
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Old 28-11-2010, 03:16   #14
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Hello.
If you mean sending via USB the real-time GPS position, there is a trick. This works on my nuvi 255. Maybe similar but not identical method work for other nuvi.
Ciao, Marco.
Thanks Marco. That works as you described on my Nuvi 265T although it seemed to take a bit longer than the 8 seconds; perhaps I was impatient! I tested it with OpenCPN; no problem, just selected 'GARMIN' on the gps configuration window. I also found that I can simultaneously enter a route and navigate on Nuvi while OpenCPN continues to acquire data. Of course, that wouldn't mean much at sea unless I had nautical charts. Pretty neat!

As an aside I also have a USB hockey puck gps (Pharos gps-500 SIRF-III that came with MS Streets&Trips). The hockey puck easily acquires signals inside my condo whereas the Nuvi has lots of trouble. Do you have problems using Nuvi below deck?
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Old 22-04-2011, 01:14   #15
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Re: Car GPS as Chartplotter

To use a TomTom as a chartplotter, see: TomTom
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