Portable Navigation Systems

Is anybody using a portable navigation system in their chase vehicles? I've been looking into a windshield mounted version. I know a lot of you use the laptop/gps combo, but I don't think I am interested in that.

If anybody has had success or failure with these devices please let me know. I'd also be interested in seeing some online reviews. I've been looking at some of the Garmin StreetPilot and the Tomtom 300.

Also, besides chasing are you finding it useful for everyday driving? Does it get used often or is it gathering dust? Or is it really just useful if you drive for a living?
Garmin StreetPilot 2610 is AWESOME. It works wonderfully here in New York and worked perfectly while chasing last Spring. Even the dirt roads. I highly reccommend Garmin. Definitely the best.

PS: Not knowing I need to board a Ferry to cross Lake Champlain, it even told me to proceed 3 miles, then turn right and board ferry. That caught me by surprise but it was 100% accurate.

Soon they will ask you for your Burger King order if you program it. :)
I have Microsoft’s GPS receiver and Streets Pro 2005 on my laptop as well as Swift WX. Streets does the same thing as the other systems, except it is on a laptop so it is not quite as mountable and it’s larger. But if you already have a laptop, and you use it while chasing, the GPS system by Microsoft is only $99.99.
I use the Earthmate blue logger (bluetooth)along with street atlas on an Ipaq 3115. Works good and you have multiple uses for the ipaq when not use as your gps, wifi is one ...
Holux 231 has been my navigation companion. Broadcasts a bluetooth signal that my laptop picks up. I then use that for streets & trips and also the GPS integration with Swift WX. Very useful setup for the not so deep pocket. Combine that with my bluetooth DUN on my Treo 650 and I can have internet on the road. It brings a smile to my face. :)
I really have my eyes set on a stand alone system. Either Garmin, Tomtom, or Magellan. The problem is that there are very few objective reviews on the internet for their latest products. It looks like Consumer Reports hasn't done a test on these devices for several years. If you read customer reviews on Amazon or Circuit City.com it ranges from 10 to 1 for every item. It just depends on whether or not the user had a good experience. Hard to get the real picture.

I'm consistently reading that the Tomtom's have a horrible map database. Over 4 years old on the latest versions. Another big problem is the screen is not very bright. They seem to be very popular in Europe and are just entering the states. It looks like a great product, but I fear it has too many bugs still.
I have a Magellan Meridian Gold. Its pretty good if you are on a budget. I paid about $200 for it although I had to pay about $140 for the MapSend
Direct Route software. It seems to have all the back roads with it and thats important to me as I spend alot of time chasing on them, sometimes I need
4wd to navigate on them. The display is not color though but thats not an issue with me.

Good Luck

I'm using Earthmate LT-20 with DeLorme Street Atlas 2006 on a Toshiba Laptop, works great! Found mine for $99.99 at CompUSA (GPS receiver and software).
I love my Street Atlas. It's hard to even remember the days of maps. If you chase solo, it is even more valuable, as it allows you to navigate on the fly.
Originally posted by Chris Sokol
I love my Street Atlas. It's hard to even remember the days of maps. If you chase solo, it is even more valuable, as it allows you to navigate on the fly.

Oh don't get me wrong, I carry my DeLorme paper maps as well. I've seen laptops die during a chase. Gotta know what roads go where.
You may want to look at the new Garmin line of Streetpilot Products, the i2, the i3, and the i5.

All are small, about the size of a baseball, but they mount on the windshield, the i2 and i3 come with a 128mb memory card, and the i5 is preloaded with all maps (I believe). The i2 can be bought at walmart.com for I believe under $200, the i3 for $320, walmart.com is the cheapest place i could find, almost or at least $100 off of the MSRP of the units.
Bill, like you, I'm not one that likes dealing with a lot of bulky items such as a laptop so I bought a DELL AXIM from an individual on this board and I love it. Combined with Delorme Street Altas 2005 Handheld, it does everything that I need it to do. The small screen is no hindrance at all. I just wished the software would show all paved roads without having to zoom in really far. When I'm chasing, I just lay the Pocket PC in my lap and look at it when I need to.




Probably my biggest complaint is the actual software and not the Pocket PC and GPS itself. My complaint is that at certain zoom levels it shows paved roads in some areas but not in others. For instance, the photo under this text shows the road network near White Deer, TX at a zoom level of 9. The road south of White Deer is Ranch 294. Ranch 294 also goes north of White Deer to Skellytown. The software does not show the road until I zoom in to level 11. I would just be happy if ALL paved roads were visible on zoom level 9.