iGolf To Make GPS SD Receiver Available

iGolf Technologies has announced the addition of a SD GPS receiver to its line of GPS products. This new SD GPS receiver is the only GPS receiver available which is compatible with all Palm OS with a SDIO expansion slot. The SD GPS receiver will be packaged and sold with two GPS software applications, iGolfgps and Mapopolis.

The SD GPS receiver is a revolution in GPS technology. It is small, accurate and compatible with any PDA with a standard SDIO slot. It will be powered by the handheld battery. It's dimensions are 1mmL x 30mm W x 13.7mm. It uses a SiRF star IIeLP GPS chipset for accuracy of 1-3 yards.

iGolf SD GPS ReceiverWhen purchasing the SD GPS package, consumers will receive two software applications. iGolfgps provides golfers with distance measurements to the front, center and back of the green. This software allows the user to select four customizable locations, measure drive distance from the tee and includes an optional scorecard for up to four players.

Mapopolis provides navigation and driving directions for a specific region. Palm OS and Pocket PC users will enjoy a detailed map of their selected region, maps of the national highways, door-to-door driving directions, streets with addresses, cities, water features, landmarks and GPS support.

"Our GPS package is a tremendous value to our consumer. We have integrated three desirable products into one incredible, affordable package," said Dan Galatro, Vice President of Operations for iGolf Technologies.

The SD GPS package is currently available for pre-order for $299 USD; however, actual shipment is not expected until October 27, 2003. "We are encouraging all consumers to act quickly," stated Galatro. "We have a limited supply on hand to fulfill the first wave of orders."

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No external antenna - no use..

mbuhboot @ 9/3/2003 2:53:03 PM #

I have being playing around with GPS receivers for a while now on an old iPAQ a good friend gave me (honestly - only on the pocket PC you can get decent navigation solutions) and what I can say is that for such a GPS to be really accurate and useful - it should have a plug to hook an external antenna - reasoning is very simple: The main use for a GPS receiver is while driving and in a car environment you have to have an antenna placed either close to the far end of the front window (where you will not place your precious PDA) or on the roof if you have a window that contain metal. Some manufactures this day use small invisible piece of metals in the windshield glass compound to reduce sun rediation - this also blocks GPS/mobile reception :-(.

Believe me - I have tried both CF card and mouse type GPS receivers - mouse type are much more useful.


RE: No external antenna - no use..
bcombee @ 9/3/2003 3:00:33 PM #
True, but if you look at the company, iGolf, this makes perfect sense as a golf-specific device, where a separate antenna isn't a issue since you're already outside and in a fairly clear area.

Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com
RE: No external antenna - no use..
mikemusick @ 9/3/2003 4:19:28 PM #
> golf-specific device

They're not quite selling it that way, Ben. Mapopolis is bundled with it, which presses the point that they're trying to add general market appeal or at least give it function off of the golf course.

RE: No external antenna - no use..
cbowers @ 9/3/2003 5:18:30 PM #
It's also possible however to use an active antenna with an overlay over the patch antenna on the SD card instead of making use of an external jack. Trimble relied on that for a long time with their yoke mounted models in aircraft.

Either way, you'll have to quite careful not to yank the SD card out with anything tethered to it. It's a nice option, but SD is still no CF replacement.

RE: No external antenna - no use..
Sho-Bud @ 9/4/2003 1:05:08 AM #
Digimap is excellent navigation software for the Palm (at this moment only for Europe).
However, with this solution you loose an SD-card to store maps. They should make a version with built in memory for it to be more usefull.

Random Thoughts...

mikemusick @ 9/3/2003 3:46:41 PM #
1) $299 is the "introductory" pre-order price, with a $150 deposit on placing the order. MSRP is $349.

2) There is nothing yet to indicate that the hardware is going to be available separately. With the bundle forced on you, the price is a non-starter for anybody with other applications for the GPS. $150 would be ideal, but $200 would be palatable for the GPS as a separate item.

3) The bundle places it too close to the street price of the Garmin iQue (upper $400's). Anybody thinking of using the iGolf SD GPS with an m500-series Palm will be time and money ahead by buying the Garmin. The only time I've seen any iGolf product discounted is when they've discontinued a bundle (such as the Handspring version).

4) The lack of external antenna is a definite liability.

5) Power consumption will be vexing. The SiRFStarIIe/LP is pretty stingy as GPS's go (60mA when active), but in Palm terms that's a pretty hefty load.

6) The link to iGolf's site in the article is bad. Try: http://www.igolftech.com/sdgps.php

7) The Palm Infocenter site went down while I was posting this, and it's not the first time this has happened... and it's very annoying, Ryan. Pardon if some of this looks like a duplicate post.

RE: Random Thoughts...
cbowers @ 9/3/2003 5:23:31 PM #
"5) Power consumption will be vexing. The SiRFStarIIe/LP is pretty stingy as GPS's go (60mA when active), but in Palm terms that's a pretty hefty load."

Bah, (much) less than any of Bluetooth, WiFi, the screen backlight...

My T-C battery drops like a rock with just a modem connection, nevermind WiFi, GPS would be peanuts. Regardless, my tethered Garmin II+ will continue to serve just fine until the price on such cards comes down...

RE: Random Thoughts...
mikemusick @ 9/3/2003 7:01:29 PM #
Good point. There's an advantage over an external GPS because you don't have to power-up the serial port hardware, which also is a surprising power sink.

RE: Random Thoughts...
Fernando @ 9/3/2003 8:32:16 PM #
Serial port hardware takes power??? i thuoght it was always powered up....
RE: Random Thoughts...
useybird @ 9/3/2003 9:13:12 PM #
the antenna is as external as they get. That whole white top part is the antenna.

Microsoft is the root of all evil.
Right, Bill?
RE: Random Thoughts...
useybird @ 9/3/2003 9:14:10 PM #
I'm sorry about that last comment, i thought there was a picture there but no. A picture is available on pdafrance.com

Microsoft is the root of all evil.
Right, Bill?
RE: Random Thoughts...
mikemusick @ 9/3/2003 9:39:04 PM #
>Serial port hardware takes power??? i thought it was always powered up...

Nope. Serial ports talk at voltages that aren't "native" in the Palm, so they need boosters (known as "charge pumps"). These consume a lot of power, so since the very beginning the Palm doesn't turn on this hardware unless told to by a program ready to use it.

One very early Palms (up to the III series), merely turning on the serial port would cut battery life in half!

RE: Random Thoughts...
Altema @ 9/4/2003 12:02:21 PM #
Yep, the serial port does a fine job of getting your attention via the battery meter. It was so on my IIIe and is still an issue on my current T|T. Not a major issue because the only application I use the serial for is connecting to switches and routers, and using a GPS sled. The GPS has it's own power.

Maps from the Mapopolus site

dkmoody @ 9/3/2003 4:28:35 PM #
Did any one go look at this site? Has anyone worked with their content?

I certainly concur with some concerns above about using in a car and whether you would purchase this to go with a m5xx or below or just buy the Garmin.

I think I would consider the Garmin more of a plus plus if maps were readily available. I'm left wondering that Mapopolus is going to be excited to sell maps even though the app is bundled.

$349... That's an expensive GPS to sit on a decent powered PDA. If it were under $200 I would be willing to give it a go but $350? Not likely.

The Garmin has been seen online for as low as $425...


RE: Maps from the Mapopolus site
dschuetz @ 9/4/2003 10:53:04 AM #
I've been using Mapopolis off and on for a couple years now, and it's pretty good. I recently bought a GPS receiver (Garmin eTrex, about the size of a small cell phone) and bought the all-US CD-ROM from Mapopolis. I fashioned an ugly cable (using two gender-benders and a nullmodem, plus a pair of power plugs - someday I'll hardwire a cleaner cable) to connect the Garmin to my Handera and power the whole assembly from the car.

We did this on a long trip to New England in May, and it worked fantastically. I velcroed the Garmin and HE to the dash (on either side of the radio), and while the display wasn't super bright, especially in sunlight, it was good enough that I could glance at it from time to time. I generaly relied on my wife (or, she on me, if she was driving) to navigate.

The Mapopolis data and program worked great. We're in a new community (the road is less than 18 months old), and our house was easily located exactly on the map. The zoom in/out was pretty servicable, and usually fast enough, and the overall readability of the maps was pretty good, even for a grayscale device. I can't wait to see how this runs on a Tungsten (speaking of which, do those have serial ports?) Accuracy was great, too -- almost never saw the pointer off-road, except when zoomed in to the maximum, and then you're dealing with GPS uncertainties, anyway...

Things I wish were different (and haven't gotten around to communicating to Mapopolis yet): Automatic map loading from Card to RAM (as you move around from map to map) (or, better yet, ability to use maps directly from the card), a desktop program to select the maps you'll need after providing a basic trip itenerary (so you don't need to search for the map files by county) (or, better, if it can auto-load as necessary, put the whole CD on a half-gig SD card!), better address searching (probably limited by display size) and faster route generation (limited by processor speed).

Bottom line: I'd definitely recommend it.

I'd also like to second the opinion that this is exactly why all Palms should have two slots -- one for communications (WiFi, BT, GPS) and another for the memory you'll undoubtedly need more of once you start using the other slot. :)

RE: Maps from the Mapopolus site
Altema @ 9/4/2003 11:38:50 AM #
I'd recommend it as well. I used it on everything from the IIIc to the T|T with good results. Just make sure you have enough RAM, and the correct version. The version for OS4 and below does not support spoken commands or auto-reroute.

The Tungsten does have a serial connection in addition to USB, power, and other connections in the universal connector. I used the same data cable for the T|T as I did for the M505 and M515. The Magellan GPS sled for the M500 series also works great with the T|T and you can get it for less than $200, but the StreetFinder software is useless for OS5 devices. It appears that they still cannot figure out how to get GPS working on any new devices, unlike Mapopolis who did it with ease. I bought the Magellan and use Mapopolis. The TT fits this GPS well, as it is smaller than the M515 when closed. However, the T|T cannot fully extend while clipped, but it opens far enough to write an address. In other situations, the T|T can stay closed because of the Mapopolis menu bar at the bottom of the screen. Matter of fact, you can keep it closed ALL the time with Graffiti Anywhere.

Memory is an issue if you go with the SD GPS, as your maps will need to be in RAM. If you live in a large city, you may find yourself swapping maps in and out of memory unless you have extra RAM like in the T|C or T|T2. For an OS4 device, the M515 worked very well for me because it actually had more available RAM than my current T|T.

RE: Maps from the Mapopolus site
JohnKes @ 9/4/2003 1:47:58 PM #
If you are running OS3.5 thru 4.1, you can use Mapopolis with PiDirectII. This will allow you to use maps from the card without loading into RAM.

Mapopolis for driving
orb2069 @ 9/4/2003 2:55:42 PM #
I used Mapopolis, a 330 and a Rand McNally GPS for round tripping Chicago <-> NY a while back. Having all the road data is GREAT, particularly if you're prone to side trips or a fan of http://roadsideamerica.com

With the caveats that dschuetz mentioned above, I'd definately reccomend it as well, with one extra... Mapopolis' load-from-card function isen't compatable with the 4.x series of ROMS for the 330.


Stefanos @ 9/3/2003 5:38:17 PM #
No one mentioned the most obvious limitation: Where do you put your maps? In the PDA's RAM?

I prefer GPS solutions that let you use your SD card to store as many maps as you like - e.g. GPS companion that uses the universal connector. Of course, you also need mapping software that can read maps of the SD card.

RE: Memory?
G M Fude @ 9/4/2003 7:38:08 AM #
Absolutely right, stefanos. Maps I've scanned are usually JPEGs -- not small ones, either -- and I've found a reasonable selection of maps to be real memory hogs (I have an Emtac GPS). I couldn't use the GPS without a 256 MB SD card. Can't do that if the SDIO port has a GPS in it....

- Steve Smith
A physicist is the atoms' way of thinking about atoms.

Garmin iQue 3600 vs. overpriced SDIO vaporware

The Ugly Truth @ 9/4/2003 3:00:10 AM #
RE: Garmin iQue 3600 vs. overpriced SDIO vaporware
iain.collins @ 9/4/2003 6:41:49 AM #
It's really easy decision for me too.

The lack of Bluetooth on the Garmin makes it worthless to me. I'd much rather have a T3 style device, or even a or T2 with built in Bluetooth and a GPRS SDIO card and have a Garmin (which is very large) and have a big flimsy Bluetooth SD card.

I don't always need GPRS functionality, I do want to always have Bluetooth functionality with me. A T2 style design with a SDIO GPS card is much less bulky.

I carry a BT MS card in my Clie but I would never carry another BT SD card around for Palm. They are nasty flimsy things that jab you though your pocket and I've gone though two of them.

I've had a Jornada 420 WinCE device, and I'd never by PocketPC because of that experience, the screen wasn't that bright, but the hardware was fine and very compact and it was otherwise very advanced, but the OS was just dire). But if you want a good GPS PDA solution the PocketPC platform is the best option by far just now, as another poster has said.

RE: Garmin iQue 3600 vs. overpriced SDIO vaporware
Strider_mt2k @ 9/4/2003 6:43:30 AM #
That's a nice machine.



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