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Thread: Google Earth Plus + BU-353

  1. #1
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    Google Earth Plus + BU-353

    I've decided to give Google Earth Plus ($20 USD / year) a whirl on my Mac.

    I am using the BU-353 USB GPS unit (available from the mp3Car store), and it works fairly well.

    I thought I might share a few of my preliminary experiences, for those who may be interested. At the moment I haven't been able to test it in my car, due to the fact that I don't have mobile data. (I live in the UAE, while it is possible to get a USB 3.5g 'aircard', it is a bit more difficult process than the US, hopefully tomorrow I will finally have it sorted out).

    Here is what I've come across so far:

    -When I initially loaded, it zoomed to my current location, but didn't actually show any type of marker. After a few moments tinkering, I noticed that there was a time/date slider at the top of the screen. When I advanced it to present day (was set to July 1970), tada, "position" marker.

    -Because I am stationary and indoors, the GPS receiver doesn't have an adequate fix, resulting in jitters. Not a big deal, but Google Earth (hereafter referred to as GE) zooms in to such a detail level that I can't really make anything out. I can zoom out, but the next update zooms in again. I can't seem to figure out how to set a default zoom level.

    -GE has a 2000mb cache limitation, which I believe will probably be more than ample (especially once I have my mobile data card), but I can't seem to find a really easy way to "pre-cache". Best I can figure is to set a simple "here" and "there" waypoint, and do a tour from one to the next at each of the zoom levels.

    -At 800x600, the sidebar takes up *way* too much screen, so I will likely need to close it. However, the toolbar buttons are small enough (even at that res) that I believe I will have difficulty pushing them.

    -There doesn't seem to be a way to customize the toolbar to allow toggling on/off the track overlay. Probably a minor annoyance, but it would still be nice.

    - I have multiple USB-Serial devices connected, in fact three different (counting the GPS) that rely on the Prolific chipset. GE doesn't have a mechanism for "picking" which to use. Fortunately, it was able to poll the devices and choose the "correct" one.

    - While the only "movement" I've done is actually GPS jitter, the "automatically follow path" option doesn't seem to center on the current position, at least not reliably.

    Preliminary thoughts:

    After trying a few of the different Mac solutions (I refuse to go the Parallels/VMWare route), I think this is probably the best at the moment.

    I've seen users (in the past) complain about the update speed when driving, and this will be something I will be watching. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to test this "on the go" yet.

    The interface really isn't geared for this type of use, and it shows. While not a deal breaker given the price and alternatives, it would still be nice to have a little more "task-specific" UI.

    I will update this thread after I've had a chance for a thorough road test (perhaps to Oman? )

  2. #2
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    GPS2GEX will work for free, no need to pay for plus. It also can be set to auto zoom and tilt. Works very well.

    To use it, you must also install gpsdx, which allows your gps to be shared with other apps.

    Post # 7 shows how to use it.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  3. #3
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    Argh!

    Bugbyte, with all your encyclopedic knowledge...why do we still have that outdated sticky!?

    Had I known about this, I could have saved $20...thanks for the heads up!
    (and yes, forum search is your friend....fail)

  4. #4
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    Just to be clear:
    The sticky has all this information, I fail at reading.
    BugByte does have all the answers
    Search is still your friend.

  5. #5
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    I updated the sticky after I replied to your post to make sure it was clear how to do this. Before that, it was buried in a thread called 'alternate nav system' or something like that. So, thanks for bringing it up. Now it will be clearer for everyone else.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

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