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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2005 8:58 pm 
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What did you pay for the gps if you dont mind me asking? You can pm me if you wish. Thanks for the review.

bwana

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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2005 10:02 pm 
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I received my copy of this software last week and, while it looks excellent and is certainly easy to use, I have come across a couple of niggly little problems which I have had to email for tech support.

What I particularly like about this package is the points of interest feature (POI) and all the aerial photographs of locations within the park. I was going to purchase a copy of "Find-it" by Jacana to find out what all those little flags on my KNP map represented, but as Dinkybird says, those are all listed on the map, therefore doing away with the need to carry various books. I probably will still take my trusty paper KNP map with me, because it is easier to plan your route for the next day when you can spread it out on the table and look at it together. However, in the car, I think the application will come into it's own.

In order to use the map facility fully, it is necessary to link to a GPS receiver. We already have a Garmin Streetpilot 2610 but as this is a mapping application in its own right, it is not compatible, so we have had to purchase a stand-alone unit. We got the Navman 4410 bluetooth receiver which does the job spot on. It is not essential to have a gps receiver - the software can be used manually - but then you won't get alerts when you are approaching a POI and will not know exactly where you are at any given time.

The problem I have had is that when I loaded the software from the CD, I had an error message saying that a .cab file had not been loaded. I have received the same message on a couple of attempts so think it best if the experts sort it out for me now! The one problem I have noticed, which I suspect stems from the missing file, is that the POI feature on the map does not work (tapping on the red dot on the map brings up a message "No Point of Interest found" - bit of a pain since that is the feature I find most attractive about the software!).

I didn't think that the reference section was very complete - lots of trees missing, for example - but the company do state that this is not the point of the software. I have other software which can do this anyway, so I'm not bothered.

Other nice features are the gate times, lists of picnic sites with facilities (nice to know that there are no loos at the Albasini Ruins, for example :wink: ) and distance/driving time calculators.

All in all it's an impressive package which I would recommend to anyone planning on visiting the park more than once (only because of the price, which, unless you like spending money for the sake of it, works out quite a bit more than a map and a basic book on wildlife). The company selling it are also incredibly helpful and pleasant to deal with. That's always a bonus! :lol:


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:41 am 
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Krok - with regard to the tapping on the red dot for the POI - it does work on my version but is very sensitive. I get a lot of "No Point of Interest near here" but after a careful tap I do get the info.

I waited a few days for my software as they had just done an update - so I really hope that you get yours to work. As far as I can see it is the best software around on the Kruger to use on a PDA.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:54 am 
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Thank you DB and Krok for reports.
It does seem very powerfull and e-birds/Roberts are on my shopping list, but one question.
Do the maps have the ecozone shading as we have become used to on the Jacana maps.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 11:09 am 
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mikev wrote:
Do the maps have the ecozone shading as we have become used to on the Jacana maps.

The map on the Guide to KNP has two shades on it only, brown and green, so it does not have the ecozone shading you mentioned. I would say that one still needs to take your trusty KNP map with if you use this software. Just remember the you can only see smaller sections of the map at one time on a PDA. The map on the Getaway/Nigel Dennis software is slightly clearer and better marked but no ecozones either.

I understand that the DPS software for the KNP is a work in progress, hopefully they are open to suggestions!

I am waiting for my eBrids software too, so my box of ref books won't be coming with to KNP next month!

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:16 pm 
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Thanks DB
Nice to have the comfort before I buy the Pda system myself.
Going to KNP 26th April probably armed with a PDA, all excited now.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:28 pm 
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mikev wrote:
Thanks DB
Nice to have the comfort before I buy the Pda system myself.
Going to KNP 26th April probably armed with a PDA, all excited now.

It is the way to go as far as I am concerned! I am sure I will refer to the Pda far more than I have the books because it is always such a schlep to get them out of the 'box' they travel in. I am also going to log sightings on the Pda using excel in the meantime - something I have not done too well before!

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:01 pm 
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Noble idea too.
I have taken along a small dictaphone tape before but it was an inconsistent system and time consuming to transcribe. Well actualy it just interferes with sundowners and braai fire lighting and taking that last stroll for all the evening sights and sounds.
If the PDA instills discipline while having fun too then it will be a real winner.
P.S. Do you think it will be sacreligous to sell my collection of reference books ? I do love them all but in practice only a few are in constant use and that will become worse now. And apart from a few classics they do become outdated.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:55 pm 
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mikev wrote:
P.S. Do you think it will be sacreligous to sell my collection of reference books ? I do love them all but in practice only a few are in constant use and that will become worse now. And apart from a few classics they do become outdated.

Yes to first question :)
And you are right, they do become outdated. There have been a lot of changes to the Park especially over the last few years and I hardly refer to some of mine any more. But, what if...just one day...so I continue to hoard mine!

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 Post subject: Re: Roberts Multimedia on Pda
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 5:45 pm 
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craigsa wrote:
Hi everyone

I bought myself a present this week as in the Roberts birds on a pda..

I must say i am very impressed with it..
It has drawn pics of the bird and then also included is photos of them in the wild. Every different sound of a specific bird is availiable.. All in all..
Quality of pics, sounds and the ease to go through the menus is very good..

I feel it will help much better when identifying birds..


That sounds so cool- I love the idea of being able to hear the sounds while looking the birds up!! 8)

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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 4:18 pm 
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Update: I posted off my sd card to PDA Solutions and 10 days later received the software. Very easy to install and was up and going within a few minutes. I am really happy with it. Krokodile gave a very fair review.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 12:02 pm 
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I've just realised that I didn't post an update about this excellent product after my trip in May.

It's difficult to rate a mapping product when you're on the other side of the world to the mapped location and I will admit to being terrified that it would not work when I actually got out there. I should not have worried. Not only did the software work perfectly, the back-up from Dynamic Pocket Solutions is outstanding. More about that later.....

I switched on the GPS and linked up the PDA whilst hubby was checking us in at Pafuri Gate and we were off! A red line on the map screen shows your route through the park and you can choose to be alerted with an audible sound when you get within 500m of a point of interest. To me, this was almost the best thing about the software - no more wondering exactly where is that darned Portuguese Cross just outside Letaba or which tree a certain group outspanned under! You also get notification of things you will not be able to see from the road but which are of historical/cultural or environmental interest. AND you can add your own points of interest. Want to log the location you saw a kill? No problem! On your next trip, a bleep from the PDA will tell you that's what you saw. If you don't want this, you can export your POI's to a computer and start again/delete the ones you don't want notification of etc.
The route you take can also be exported as a series of waypoints. I can't remember off the to of my head how often a waypoint is logged by the software, but it is more than once a minute and shows your speed, time and location. Theoretically, then, it is possible to go back and map photo's against exact locations for reference.

I should mention at this point that the map is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the software at the moment - it's quite small and difficult to read. Without the red line, it would not be practically usable. HOWEVER. I have just received an email from Dynamic Pocket Solutions (that's what reminded me to update my post today :redface: ) telling me that they are working on a zoom facility for the map. It's not ready yet, but when it is a FREE upgrade will be sent to all users. Any future updates to the software are free, which means that should SANParks open a new gate or change facilities in a picnic spot, then the software should be updated to show this.

I have to say that the reference section in the software was far better than I first thought. It isn't comprehensive, but it's a lot better than some other specific flora and fauna software I received in error from another company (who I would definitely not recommend - pm me if you want more details!). It's also not the primary purpose of the software, just a very useful addition to an already excellent piece of software.

I said I was going to say a bit more about the customer service offered by Dynamic Pocket Solutions, which I cannot praise highly enough. We had difficulty purchasing the software from overseas, due to their not taking credit card payments at the time. They went out of their way to enable us to obtain the software and made arrangements for payment which did not involve us incurring bank charges for transferring money overseas etc. After spending a night at Mopani camp, we visited them in their offices in Phalaborwa. Douw (Swanepoel - The Crocodile Man) was, unfortunately, not there that day but we were very graciously accommodated by Wynand Nel, the company's Field Co-ordinator, who told us about all the plans they have for future software and showed us some of the software they have in test at the moment. Incredible! I just can't wait to get my hands on some of these programs - particularly the tree identification application which is nearly ready for release!!

Wynand was also able to demonstrate to us PDA newbies how to export the files of data we had accumulated so far during our trip and how to manage it for future trips. He also encouraged us to feed back any problems we had experienced with the software (very little!), explained why these problems occured and what the plans were to rectify them. It was great to meet someone so passionate about their work, and so committed to improving their software to meet their customers needs.

We asked where the software was being sold and (I really can't believe this!) were told that the KNP shops will not sell it. As you probably all know, the shops in the KNP are outsourced and the buyer of the company which runs them has, apparently, decided that this software would not be of interest to KNP visitors!! Incredible. Especially as SANParks have had considerable input into this project and it is approved by them. Therefore, and I may be wrong here, I believe that the software is only available direct from DPS. The software costs R400 and is supplied on a CD. Screenshots and full feature information are availablehere Plans are also afoot to map other SANParks.


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 Post subject: PDA Software
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 12:56 pm 
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No I don't have a PDA or these but I've seen them around so check them out.

1. Vincent Carruthers' Fieldguide to Southern African Plants, animals etc, which I've using the printed version of, is now available on PDA.

2. Another one I'd love to have is Pocket Stars - Astronomical Guide, also now on PDA.

3. eTRAX GPS Data collection tool to assist in tracking and scientific research.

If not allowed, will one of the others just remove this link?

www.pdasolutions.co.za


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:07 pm 
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My opinion:

I do have a pda and took it for the first time with me to KNP in May and then to Mountain Zebra last month. I use Sasol's eBirds software and the KNP software with GPS Krokodile mentioned . I really think that this is the way to go and that these will become more and more popular. Logging bird sightings is a piece of cake. One can access internet with a bluetooth cell link too. There are reviews of various software available for pda under the Recommeded Reading topics. The software I purchased from the link GP gave is really good.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 12:03 am 
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Thanks GP - hadn't heard of the Carruthers field guide or the Pocket Stars software. They're not from PDA solutions, are they? I had a very bad experience from this company and, unless you can call them direct from SA, would not recommend them at all! Etrax did not work, and I corresponded extensively with them from the UK trying to sort the problem out. After sending me a replacement file, which also did not work, they admitted defeat and suggested I visit them when I got to SA. I arranged a date and time and wasted a day of my holiday waiting at their offices for someone to arrive and sort the problem out. Nobody turned up and nobody has contacted me since, so I can only assume that they are not bothered with sorting their customers problems out. I will not buy anything from them again, despite eBirds being a very good piece of software. They also sent me the wrong piece of software so I have paid for something I did not want, and something which does not work (oh, and eBirds, which is excellent but does cost R900!).


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