You’ve got to love the wide open spaces of Australia’s Outback, with its blue skies reaching out to a red ochre earth on the far off horizon…
Photo: Baz – The Landy, Outback Australia…
Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Outback
Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Bush.
Photo: Janet-Planet, in the Australian Bush
Even with the advancement of GPS technology I still haven’t been able to give-up my paper maps and compass.
Mind you, “The Landy” our Toyota 79 Series Dual Cab is fitted with a VMS In-Dash GPS running Oziexplorer mapping software. Although, I find the VMS lacking in functionality as it only runs a “light” version of the full Oziexplorer program and the screen size challenges even those with 20/20 vision.
On an outback expedition to the Gibson and Little Sandy Deserts I was able to review a Panasonic Toughbook in action. A robust laptop, the Toughbook has its genesis in the US Military and could survive almost anything thrown at it, especially the bone-jarring corrugations found on many of our outback tracks.
Rest assured, this sort of toughness comes at a hefty price for a brand new unit, but on my return from the expedition I purchased a reconditioned unit from a Melbourne based dealer for a fraction of its new cost.
It can be turned into a “tablet” and I use it with a wireless keyboard and it has a solid-state hard-drive, which makes loading up extremely fast.
The challenge was where to locate the unit so it would be accessible to both driver and navigator in the front seat, but without comprising comfort and safety, especially if air-bags were activated.
I reviewed a variety of over-the-counter products, but concluded none were likely to survive the corrugations of our outback roads and a custom made mount was the only way to go.
I settled on working with the team at Industrial Evolution, a Sydney based company specialising in making computer mounts for police vehicles.
The owner, Brett Franzi, was pleased I made contact as he had not had access to the more recent batch of Toyota 76, 78, and 79 series vehicles and my request provided the opportunity for a design template to be made.
Why go with the in-dash mount?
It is centrally located and securely attached to the dashboard and whilst it does take up some real estate in the central dash location, the alternatives would have done so also.
Importantly, it meets ADR Standards and fitting is a straightforward process and is easily achieved by the most basic of handymen.
Mind you, the proof is always “in the pudding” and tests on all types of road surfaces covering in excess of 30,000 kilometres over the past couple of years has proven the Panasonic Toughbook, combined with the in-dash mount from Industrial Evolution, to be a great partnership…
A great solution that gets my vote, but hey, don’t leave home without a map and a basic compass – they have never been known to fail…!
The cost, well it will depend on what items you purchase, but don’t expect too much change out of $500.
Photos: Baz – The Landy