MAC Computers
Suggested Software & Hardware
for GIS & GPS

This section was added to help those people who asked about using GIS and GPS with MACs. After this question surfaced at some of our presentations and conferences, we decided to try find the solution to their questions. After surveying everything out there, we found a possible solution to accomplish the same steps as with a PC.

Major Change!!! - GPS Units & Cable

Over the years, we have been using Magellan units in our classes as well as suggesting them to schools. The last series we worked with was called the Meridain Gold - a real workhorse. However the company has stopped the production of them. They switched to a new series that will not work with our program for a couple of reason. One major issue is that it will not work with the software that we use to download the GPS data. As teachers we see technology changes, some good, some bad. In looking for a replacement unit we discovered Garmin has developed a new series that fits right into our program. The Garmin unit we are suggesting is great for fieldwork, scavenger hunts, geocaching and all round activities. the GPS 60 is your trusted guide to the great outdoors. The GPS 60 along with the GPSMAP 60 are packed with several of the features found in the 60 series color units, but sport an affordable, high-resolution, monochrome display for outdoor enthusiasts on a budget.

The regular cost for the GPS 60 is $192.84 and the regular cost of the GPSMAP 60 is $249.99.
A Garmin dealer has worked a real good deal on this unit which we can pass along to schools.
Please contact us for more information about the discounted prices.

One additional cable adapter is needed to connect the GPS unit to a Mac. If you have an Apple, you will need to buy or build an interface cable, or just bridge the gap between the PC connector and a non-PC computer. The second choice can be easier, since GPS units may have unusual connection ports. An adapter for the Macintosh is sold online at the GPSy (TM) web site. They also have references for making your own cables, and a complete software package for the Mac. In any case, be careful! Whether you buy or build, connecting cables is risky. Problems can arise from voltage differences or pin-assignments. You could end up with no communication, or worse - a damaged computer or GPS receiver! Always connect cables with both units off.

Suggested Software

From ESRI you can use either of the following. ArcExplorer Java Edition for Education (AEJEE) - free to schools. The other product is ArcGIS Software for Schools from ESRI - version 9.x - Cost is approximately $595 for a school license or you can earn it free. To find out more please contact the team directly.

GPS Software

The last item you will need is one piece of software that will do the work of uploading and downloading data to and from the GPS unit. We have designed our program with this software since it is easy to use. It is called GPS USA - a product of National Geographic. We have been using it with much success as well. We suggest buying one for each cable you buy since it is required to set up a station. The suggested cost for this software is $24.95. Now National Geographic has made the software we have been using work with Macs. It will work with Mac OS 9.0 and above as well as OS10 and above. National Geographic has also worked a deal on this software which we can pass along to schools as well. Please contact us for more information.

Old Suggested Software!

Additional software is needed to connect the GPS unit to a Mac as well. GPSy (TM) web site has the software to connect a GPS unit to a Mac. We haven't had the opportunity to try it, but after reading the features etc, it seems to to what is needed to use in ArcVoyager or ArcView. The Solutions Pages, states; "GPSy can currently log real-time GPS data as well as GPS data transfers in a tab-delimited format acceptable for input into ArcView from ESRI, a high-end GIS mapping software package for the Macintosh."

Other information as related to Macs can be found at Wild Rose gpsMaps.

Hope this helps!!
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