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Thread: Getting Started with GPS

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate grepzen's Avatar
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    Arrow Getting Started with GPS

    Here's your primer on GPS. The scope of this document is mostly limited to carputing but may apply in other applications as well.

    How Does GPS Work?
    Here are a few sites which have excelent write-ups on how GPS functions:
    http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gps.htm
    http://www.nasm.si.edu/exhibitions/gps/work.html
    http://www.pocketgps.co.uk/howgpsworks.php
    http://http://www.gpspassion.com/fr/...rentVersion=EN

    Reviews
    GlobalSat BR-355 :: highly rated w/ it's users.
    GlobalSat BT-338
    ...& more reviews at the various GPS sites.

    Some Terms you may see:
    Accuracy :: is largely dependent on signal and timing but w/in 1 to 3 meters is sufficent for auto-navigation

    Acquisition time :: aka Time To First Fix This is the time the receiver requires before outputing it's first fix/position. It is based on a few conditions of the dataset held with in the GPS Receiver. They are: Factory, Cold, Warm and Hot --see More Reading ~TTFF for full details/discussion.

    Antenna :: A physical device which picks up the GPS signals being broadcast by the GPS Satelites. (NOTE: in many instances, GPS Antenna and Receiver are located in the same physical unit so their names are often interchangeable)

    DeadReconing :: Dead Reckoning (DR) is the process of estimating your position by advancing a known position using course, speed, and time when loosing satellite signals (in cities, tunnels, etc.).

    GEOCACHE(ing) :: An activity something like a treasure hunt. But instead of clues leading to a location or object, GPS coordinates or clues to them are given. Often with trinkets to be found there. (read more: http://www.geocaching.com & http://www.navicache.com)

    GPS :: Global Positioning System (a man made constelation of satelites which broadcast an array of signals. Computations are performed on these signals to triangulate the exact location XYZ axis of the GPS Antenna.

    GPS Receiver :: GPS signal processing hardware. (NOTE: in many instances, GPS Antenna and Receiver are located in the same physical unit so their names are often interchangeable)

    GPS Software :: This software interfaces (usualy via drivers of some sort) to your GPS Receiver(/antenna) and plots your current location on the GPS Maps which are typicaly supplied with the GPS Software.

    GPS Unit :: combined GPS antenna and GPS signal processing hardware. (NOTE: in many instances, GPS Antenna and Receiver are located in the same physical unit so their names are often interchangeable)

    MAPS :: GPS software comes with data maps. These maps must be applicable to the area you're trying to navigate in or GPS will be mostly useless. Typical maps are: (NorthAmerica, UK, Austrailia, etc)

    NMEA :: (National Marine Electronics Association) designed for trasnmission speed of 48000bps, used to decribe the encoding method of GPS information as read by various GPS software. Many GPS applications will read GPS info from 'any' GPS antena/receiver as long as the out put of that unit is 'NMEA' compliant.

    Points of Interest :: database of various locations by type (parks, campting, business, fuel, etc)

    Re-Routing :: When navigating via GPS navigation software you may miss a turn. Re-Routing is a feature of (some) GPS Software applications that senses when you have missed a turn or gone off track. Re-Routing will then plot a new rout from your new current position an display any new routing commands to the driver.

    Route Calculation :: The ability to choose from different route methods (Shortest Time, Shortest Distance, Least Use of Freeways, Most use of Freeways, toll avoidance, etc)

    SiRF :: A new(er) chipset used in some GPS units which transmits data at current serial port speeds (115200bps). --See: Brief Introduction of SiRF and NMEA

    TTFF :: Time To First Fix (see acquisition time)

    Turn By Turn Directions :: Most GPS Navigation software can provide live turn by turn directions including pre-announcing upcoming directions. These announcements can take any of the following forms. Voice prompts spoken to the driver, Display changes indicating distance and direction/type of turn or simple text.

    Update Rate :: Typicaly once per second.

    WAAS :: Wide Area Agumentation System is a form of differential GPS (DGPS) giving enhanced position accuracy developed primarily for aeronautical navigation but usable by other users. The goal of WAAS is to obtain at least a 7-meter horizontal and vertical accuracy.

    More Terms from Bugbyte...here

    What Do I Need? --in order to get GPS navigation working..
    Make sure you have the following:
    GPS Antenna, GPS Receiver, GPS Software, GPS Maps
    Most GPS gizmos today combine the antenna and reiver
    Most GPS software comes with maps (just make sure your area is covered by the maps provided)
    Make sure the GPS Unit can connect to your computer (serial, USB, Bluetooth, etc) and that there are drivers (if required).


    Some Pitfalls to avoid:
    Buying wrong hardware for your computer :: Buying Serial GPS for a PocketPC that doesn't have a serial port
    Buying (aquiring) software that only works w/ a specific GPS Antenna/receiver set
    WindowTinting :: Some (metalic) window tinting may interfere with the GPS signal receiption. Plan your antenna placement carefuly to avoid this.


    Features to consider when buying GPS Navigation software:
    Maps :: Originaly, they come from one of two sources. This means that copilot, delorme, tomtom, etc do not make their maps. THEY DO control the level of detail interpreted by their maps, they DO control how the data is displayed. So, you may find some more to your liking than others.
    Display :: Most directly impacts the usability of your NavSystem. If the features and tags are clear and simple to read. If the directions are clear to see and hear (if voice enabled).
    Touch Screen Friendly :: Not all GPS Software was written with the TouchScreen user in mind. Take care to find one that suits your needs.
    Update Speed :: While driving it's generaly usefull to have your navigation system keep up with you. If your GPS software can't update at least once per second then you risk missing turns while your NavSystem is catching up.
    POIs :: Points Of Intrest help you find resturants, gas, banks/ATMs, etc.. a 'healthy' POI database can really brighten your NavSystem.


    Features to consider when buying GPS Hardware:
    USB/Bluetooth/Serial :: Most GPS devices connect to the computer via USB. (Some are Bluetooth, others are serial, CF, PCCard, etc) Make sure you get the one that suits you best.
    DeadReckoning :: Few of the GPS devices out now have this capabilit but if you're in an area that is prone to loss of GPS signal, this might be a critical option for you.
    Weatherproof :: Where you mount your GPS antenna will impact your need for a weatherproofed unit or not.

    Brief Introduction of SiRF and NMEA
    Connecting to the GPS Receiver is the first hurdle to overcome, but first a brief introduction. Firstly there are two GPS Standards, NMEA and SiRF. Although SiRF is the up and coming new boy on the block, NMEA is the acquired standard and one used by 95% of GPS applications. Why two standards ? NMEA is getting old, it was designed to talk at 4800 baud (4kbps). Modem speeds today are 56kbps so you can see NMEA is slow. SiRF has brought about that change by increasing speeds and utilising full serial speeds up to 115200kbps. The thing is although NMEA is slow, some GPS Receivers will work at higher than 4800, but this is what NMEA prefers. The amount of GPS data sent down the serial port is very small and can easily be transmitted in 4800 baud so although you could reach higher speeds, there isn't really any necessary to do so. SiRF uses higher speeds because it can transmit the data quickly and put the processor into a wait state which in theory means it utilises less power, newer SiRF chipsets like SiRF IIe also have low power consumption which help even further with sustaining power to the GPS Receiver.

    More Reading:
    http://www.gpspassion.com
    http://www.gpsinformation.org/dale/nmea.htm
    http://www.routeplanners.co.uk
    http://www.pocketgps.co.uk/ttffcomparisons.php :: TTFF

    Additional Content provided by NiN^_^NiN -- Thanks!
    •Micke

  2. #2
    FLAC NiN^_^NiN's Avatar
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    Great write up

    Here is another 1 that u might hav left out

    Tinting on the car windows will stop the GPs working cause of the metal in the tint so getting a lock wont happen or will be very hard.

    Also
    Route Calculation :: The ability to choose from different route methods (Shortest Time, Shortest Distance, Least Use of Freeways, Most use of Freeways, toll avoidance, etc)SIRF :: is a technology used in GPS receivers to enhance their performance and features.
    SiRF :: is a technology used in GPS receivers to enhance their performance and features.

    U have SiRF added to the end of Route Calculation

    Also add a space between each explination please makes it look less muddled
    CarPC Status:
    GPS: 99%
    Hardware: 99%
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    Case Install: 99.9%
    Dash Install: 100%
    Car Install: 72%

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate grepzen's Avatar
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    NiN^_^NiN, Thanks ! your input has been added.
    •Micke

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    Does the Garmin35PC come with both the receiver and the antenna? Just wanted to make sure.

    And where do you guys buy the Garmin OEM products? I've searched their sites and their dealer locators but there aren't any that sells the OEM stuff.

    Thanks

  5. #5
    MySQL Error jcdillin's Avatar
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    Hey you might want to add

    TTFF (Time To First Fix)

    There are 4 TTFF start types depending on the amount of Almanac and Ephemeris data that is present in the GPS Receiver and where it thinks it is and the satellites are which can help aid the GPS acquire a lock quicker. These are designated as Factory, Cold, Warm and Hot.



    and here is a link to a nice table comparing diffrent models

    http://www.pocketgps.co.uk/ttffcomparisons.php
    肚子笑痛了
    S60 Install

  6. #6
    Maximum Bitrate grepzen's Avatar
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    jcdillian,

    I'll fold it into acquisition time.
    & Thanks for the input.
    •Micke

  7. #7
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    Another good site on how GPS works and suggestions on which one to buy is:

    http://www.whatgps.net

    Cheers

    Mike

  8. #8
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    Holy ****. I don't know why it wasn't done in the first place....

    Thread moved to the FAQ Emporium where it belongs.
    Excellent writeup grepzen.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

  9. #9
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    can you go into a bit more detail about the differences between the USB/Bluetooth and the OEM units?

    I'm currently trying to research making the change to an OEM unit but I'm having a hard time finding the information I need to better understand what all is involved.

    Much thanks for the write up btw!
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  10. #10
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    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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