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StarNet GPS SDIO Module
by Paul Carson, Staff Writer - 6/16/2005 8:42pm EST

Page 2 - Hardware & Software

[Image] Hardware
According to the Stellus Systems web site, StarNet features 12-channel (simultaneous) tracking, 1Hz update rate, -150dBm receiver sensitivity on using a NMEA-0183 compliant protocol.  It supports position accuracy of 3m (CEP) / 6m (2DRMS), velocity of 0.2m/s (50%), and time of 20ns RMS (static mode). So what, you ask? It means that they are claiming pretty good accuracy with very little lag. I will put this to the test later on! They are also indicating a rapid TTFF (Time to First Fix) numbers - 8 seconds for a hot start, 28 seconds for a warm start, and 45 seconds for a cold start.

According to the user manual the module survived a three (3) story drop (Editor's note: Don't try this at home with the module installed in your Zodiac) and having the SD connector bent to a 45 degree angle. The power requirements for the module are search or acquisition mode: 225 mW, continuous run or tracking mode: 195 mW, sleep mode (clock enabled): less than 18 mW.  But whether or not the StarNet lived up to those specs remained to be seen.

The software package is pretty straight forward installing two files to your Zodiac that allow for mapping software packages to interface with the StarNet GPS.  Currently the only Palm mapping solution recommended by Stellus Systems is Mapopolis. I spoke with a representative from Stellus Systems and they are working on compatibility with the new version of Tom Tom Navigator, though they couldn't say when this might occur.  A bump in the road occured when trying to install the software from the enclosed CD; the installation program was corrupt on the disk.  I contacted the company and they quickly added a link to their site for me to download the required software.

Using the StarNet GPS with Mapopolis was easy and intuitive after selecting "Special connection" in the GPS setup menu of Mapopolis. For purposes of this review I won't be delving deeply into Mapopolis.  

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