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Tracking Train Progress


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#1 XNWA

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:57 PM

I have read many posts of members using their laptop computers to track the train speed and location. I would love to be able to do that on our Zephyr trip in Feb. I have a laptop I bought this spring, what do I need to do to be able to do this?

Your help would be most appreciated.

Thanks.

#2 Trogdor

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 07:23 PM

You would need a portable GPS device capable of hooking up to your computer. I have one from a company called Magellan, though there are other companies out there, such as Garmin. There are other brands out there as well, but I'm not too familiar with them.
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#3 XNWA

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 07:37 PM

You would need a portable GPS device capable of hooking up to your computer. I have one from a company called Magellan, though there are other companies out there, such as Garmin. There are other brands out there as well, but I'm not too familiar with them.

I do have a Garmin hand held GPS. Where I do I Go from here?

#4 AmtrakWPK

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 09:11 PM

Well, without using a laptop, just use the gps and a map with lat/lon coordinates for location. The gps will tell you location and speed. you will need to keep it right at a window, though, as otherwise it won't get enough signal to keep tracking, and even so it will occasionally probably lose tracking for a few minutes depending on terrain and vegetation along the route.. You could use it with a laptop if you have a gps with data connection, and then get the necessary software and cable for the laptop, but that seems like an awful lot of hassle when the gps will do ok with location and speed all by itself. And if you have one with a map display and database built in to start with, you're all set. Mine doesn't have the map (it cost less than $100, it's very small, and works just fine )- I have stored landmarks in it from trips to the Yucatan and to Brazil and quite a few States in the U.S., and LOTS of Amtrak station locations :lol: .

#5 GG-1

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 09:26 PM

I have read many posts of members using their laptop computers to track the train speed and location. I would love to be able to do that on our Zephyr trip in Feb. I have a laptop I bought this spring, what do I need to do to be able to do this?

Your help would be most appreciated.

Thanks.

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#6 Trogdor

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 12:02 AM

You will need a cable to connect your GPS to your laptop, as well as mapping software installed on your laptop. Check with Garmin for both of these, if you do not have them already. If the mapping software seems a bit expensive (sometimes the GPS map software can be a bit pricey), then Microsoft Streets & Trips or something similar will often do just as well. I sometimes use MS&T with my Magellan to track progress when I travel by train. I've got the entire track for several long-distance trips saved on my computer.
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#7 XNWA

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 03:16 AM

You will need a cable to connect your GPS to your laptop, as well as mapping software installed on your laptop. Check with Garmin for both of these, if you do not have them already. If the mapping software seems a bit expensive (sometimes the GPS map software can be a bit pricey), then Microsoft Streets & Trips or something similar will often do just as well. I sometimes use MS&T with my Magellan to track progress when I travel by train. I've got the entire track for several long-distance trips saved on my computer.

Hey! Thanks for all the help.

#8 XNWA

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 03:43 AM


You will need a cable to connect your GPS to your laptop, as well as mapping software installed on your laptop. Check with Garmin for both of these, if you do not have them already. If the mapping software seems a bit expensive (sometimes the GPS map software can be a bit pricey), then Microsoft Streets & Trips or something similar will often do just as well. I sometimes use MS&T with my Magellan to track progress when I travel by train. I've got the entire track for several long-distance trips saved on my computer.

Hey! Thanks for all the help.

I also have a Garmin StreetPilot c340, that attaches to a windshield. It runs on 12 vdc, I would have to get a converter, but I was thinking about taking that on the trip. :D

Edited by XNWA, 24 September 2006 - 03:45 AM.


#9 Bigval109

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 07:53 AM

I have a garmin 3200 gps. I works really well especially when you want to know how fast you are going. Sometimes the train seems to be moving slowly. I have found that if you bend the antena down one click it picks up better through the window. It worked most of the time on the CZ this spring when I went to Colorado. It also give you the altitude. I went to the top of Pikes Peak.
When in doubt take the train.

#10 deimos

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 12:09 AM

XNWA

I'm not familiar with the Garmin 3200, but if its anything like the Garmin e-Trex you should not need a computer for tracking the train progress in real time. I have had pretty good results with the e-trex Vista, but I have experienced signal loss in some areas. I transfer track log data to my PC using the DeLorme Street Atlas application and the serial interface cable for the e-trex afterwards. Of course you need to keep in mind how much track memory your receiver has. However, Street Atlas will also track in real time.

Though I do not have any personal experience DeLorme's Earthmate GPS receiver, I have heard many great reviews of its performance. I think the Earthmate has an active antenna - which will help pull in GPS signals on the train.

Hope this helps

Deimos



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