If you want to make your laptop PC more useful, the Garmin GPS 18 will turn it into
your personal navigator. It's a GPS receiver that connects to the laptop's USB
or serial port. And with map software loaded in the PC, you're ready to go any place
There are two versions of the Garmin GPS 18, one for serial port connection
and the other for USB ports. The only difference is how they're powered. The USB
version gets its power from the computer through the port connection. The serial version
is powered using a 12 volt adapter that plugs in a vehicle's cigarette lighter. The receiver
is the size of a fat cookie at 2.4" in diameter and 0.8" thick. And at 3.5 ounces,
it's not going to weigh you down.
Despite its small size, the GPS 18 is a highly accurate 12-channel GPS receiver.
It uses Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) signals to produce location readings
accurate to within three meters. It has a magnetic base built in and comes with a
windshield mount for optimum GPS satellite signal reception.
The software you get with the Garmin GPS 18 depends on where you live.
The North American version is sold in the Americas, and the European maps are for Europe.
The Americas' version is Garmin's City Select for North America on a CD. The
data on the CD provides coverage of the entire United States, Canada, and Puerto
Rico. Map details include major and minor roads and over five million points of
interest. And with a laptop's larger screen, compared to a handheld GPS receiver,
you'll be able to see a much more map area with greater detail. You can also use
other types of maps such as topographic or world.
With the software loaded in your PC, you can begin navigating. Creating
a route is as simple as entering an address. With the GPS 18 identifying your
present location the software will calculate the route. If you need the address
for a public place, you can find it in the points of interest database. The
database has everything from ATMs to Zoos and can be searched by name or category.
It's particularly helpful for seeing what's in your vicinity. For instance,
if you had a medical emergency it can direct you to the nearest hospital. Or if
you're low on gas, you can find the closest service station.
However you choose your destination, your route is automatically calculated
turn by turn. The Garmin GPS 18 monitors your movement and constantly updates the
map you're following to reflect your current position. And as you're following
the route, you're given instructions for each upcoming turn, with the direction
and street name. Since the software is aware of turn and direction restrictions,
you won't find yourself headed down a one-way street. An additional safety
feature is the driving instructions can be given by voice prompts. This lets you keep
your eyes on the road instead of the map.