While I was sick, I used some of the time to learn to use the two GPS I had just bought.
The first one was a hand held GPS, primarily designed for hiking, but which can also be used for biking and other outdoor activities (moving color maps, with altimeter and electronic compass as a backup for GPS data).
The nice thing is that it also supports auto routing, provided you can buy the expensive maps, or get them somehow. It kind of bothered me to pay for those things again since I had already paid for a set for my car.
In the end, I was able to get some older maps to test the functionality, and see if I would really want it on a day to day basis with up to date maps. So far, it looks like even if it wouldn't be your best bet for a car GPS, compared to what's on the market, but it could act as one if you had nothing else (so it's kind of nice as a multi-purpose tool).
While it's nice on the road, or to mark a jump spot in the middle of a snowed in forest so that you can head back to it next time down, it's also nice to graph your course after the fact on a big map on your computer (or even import to Google Earth for some even nicer output)
The other is a Garmin Forerunner 301. It's basically a running/sports GPS with built in heart rate monitor. It's nice for a few reasons:
- you can graph whatever course you ran after the fact (nice when you're off track)
- no more do you need to ask "how far did I run/bike anyway"?
- what was my running pace over point X, and overall?
- how am I doing on this lap compared to last one?
- how are my running pace and heart rate affected by my running up or down this path (although GPS derived altitude can be off by 10-50 feet easily)
While it does look like an ugly wart, and its GPS reception isn't stellar, nor is its pairing with its heart rate monitor, it's still quite nice. I am however planning on getting the nicer forerunner 305 when it comes out
I however need to state that Mapsource and in general Garmin windows software is totally pathetic. If you do anything it doesn't like, it will crash and never restart until you remove all the software and all the maps, and reinstall them all, which could take about an hour.
Also, it will install some maps on disk, some it will refuse to do so and keep asking for the CD (you need to hack that, but if you mess up, you reinstall everything), and if it gets any read error, it removes the map tile from what's available forever, and there again you need to reinstall everything.
Way to go Garmin!
This gave me a good opportunity to setup vmware (making all that windows crap work under linux) and snapshots so that I can make copies of all of windows and garmin software while it works, and revert to a working snapshot when it blows up instead of reinstalling everything.
Anyway, when all this crap works, you get nice stuff like this graph from my running at the google 5K today, showing heart rate and speed over time
or this for kirkwood: