Advanced Digital Mapping Trax

Digital navigation systemOne of the greatest boons the digital age has brought to travellers is the Global Positioning System (GPS). Originally developed for the US military, this worldwide navigation system has been released for civilian use, allowing anyone with the proper equipment to determine their current location within a few metres. Combined with a digital map, a GPS system is capable of continuously showing you where you are in relation to where you're going, making it very difficult to get lost.

Handheld GPS systems start at about $400, but the locally made Trax system can provide you with this capability for a bit less. For $259, you can buy a mouse-like GPS receiver unit made in New Zealand, designed to sit on a car's dashboard. This feeds standard NMEA 0183 compatible signals to a computer, where they can be interpreted by a variety of software (not supplied). A more expensive version includes the GPS and the software required to interpret its signals, as well as one of a selection of detailed Australian maps.

The mouse GPS unit connects to a COM port for data and a P/S 2 port for power - this is fine for older notebooks and some current models, but many newer legacy-free notebooks have dropped these older technologies in favour of USB. If you're going to buy this product, make sure your mobile computer has the appropriate ports. An optional cigarette lighter power supply cable is available, which can alleviate this problem, and a USB version of the mouse GPS unit will be coming out in the near future.

Installing the Australian navigation software was quick, and its use proved easy enough. The program has a voice feature that explains what each item is when you use it - this can get irritating, so it's good that it can be turned off in the program options dialogue.

In use, the GPS receiver may take several minutes to get an initial location, but from then it updates every second. Its accuracy is dependent on the amount of sky visible without obstructions, and the target that designates your location may shift over a few metres while readings are obtained. Nevertheless, once a signal is acquired, the error in finding a location on a Sydney street map is 20m, or less, depending on the number of satellites within range. This is easily good enough for navigation.

The mapping software includes the ability to set alarms for steep descents, weight limits, traffic lights and other road hazards. Map packs are available for different parts of Australia, at prices ranging from $45 to $400.

The combined Trax GPS and map system is great for vehicles, but not suitable for bushwalkers since it is not weatherproof and requires a heavy laptop. If you're navigating through the outback in a four-wheel drive, though, or making deliveries in a van, Trax could be just the ticket.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Aldis Ozols

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?