Lost? Palmtop Software’s GPS satellite navigation system works out where you are to within 100 m and displays it on a map on the screen of your palmtop computer.
The unit sits on the car dashboard, powered from the cigarette lighter socket, and plugs into the palmtop on the passenger seat. Set-up is easy, and the price is a reasonable £169. www.palmtopsoftware.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictures in an instant
A digital camera can be a godsend for surveys or inspections. The lie of the land, damage to buildings or plant and 100 other things can be recorded instantly for downloading to a computer. Most cameras are rather pricey, but Creative’s Webcam Go! is a mere £85, and also acts as a video camera when perched on top of your monitor and connected to the computer by a USB cable that transmits the data in super-quick time. Picture quality is low, but good enough to display on screen and compact enough to be e-mailed to colleagues. www.creative.com
The indestructible PC
However tough the conditions on site, the Q-PC in-car computer will survive. After all, it was designed for use in the Hummer, the American military vehicle that is reputed to be able to climb walls. A basic design requirement was that it could withstand being dropped 1500 ft into a war zone. The Q-PC has a large liquid crystal display screen that goes where the vehicle radio usually is, and a keyboard that can be used either by the passenger or the driver (hint: typing e-mails while driving may affect your insurance cover). Satellite navigation is an obvious application, but the PC could also be used for editing and e-mailing digital photos on the spot, or accessing maintenance data at remote installations.
The Q-PC costs $4500 (about £2700) and needs to be installed by Q-PC in Huntsville, Alabama. www.Q-PC.com or call 001-800-233-0839
E-mail in your car
Spend most of your time at the wheel? You could be listening to your e-mails while you drive thanks to e.Go, a gizmo that downloads unread messages from your PC and speaks them through your car stereo. It can also read out all that training material you never get time to wade through in the office. But what makes e.Go really cool is that it will also play MP3 music downloaded from the web, so you can hear it in the full majesty of the car stereo, instead of through the tinny earpieces of standard MP3 players. Just don’t tell the boss.
E.Go is only available to buy on-line, so the strong pound makes the $190 price (about £115) seem good value.