Jump to content

 
Photo

Do you work solely off a laptop?

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1
David Medeiros

David Medeiros

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,088 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Redwood City CA
  • Interests:Cartography, wood working, wooden boats, fishing, camping, overland travel, exploring.
  • United States

I need to upgrade my hardwarwe at home. I've been using an iMac with 22"(?) screen running CS4, MAPublisher and Natural Scene Designer mostly. Some use of Arc on Win 7 under Parallels. iMac is 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo with 4GB SDRAM. It's about 5 years old and starting shows its age.

I just started a new job where having a laptop might really come in handy so I'm considering switching from a desktop as my cartographic design paltform to a Mac Book Pro.

I'm wodnering how many other cartographers here work solely off a laptop (especially a newer Mac laptop) and how that works out for you? I'm mostly concerned about screen size and resolution I guess. I use two monitors at home, one to hold my palletes, the other for the workspace. Working off the laptop means much smaller screen. A retina display Mac Book might help that but not sure (I won't be buying until after the next release of Mac Books this June).

Anyway, just looking for opinions or anecdotes about using laptops for design work.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#2
spg

spg

    Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPip
  • 17 posts
  • New Zealand

You can have the best of both worlds, connect your laptop to a keyboard and twin screens at home to get the screen real estate there and then disconnect and take just the laptop with you to show clients. But if you will be mainly working just on the laptop the small screen will definitely get annoying after a while. One word of advice, match the resolution of your laptop and the external screens.

#3
tonyw

tonyw

    Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPip
  • 33 posts
  • Canada

I'm wodnering how many other cartographers here work solely off a laptop (especially a newer Mac laptop) and how that works out for you? I'm mostly concerned about screen size and resolution I guess.


I'm not sure I'm a cartographer as such, but I switched to solely using a laptop about 8 years ago and moved away from a desktop as the main office computer. It was too much of a pain to make sure I transferred files to my laptop from my desktop before heading out to a meeting. In the office my laptop (PC) drops into a docking bay to which are attached 3 monitors. So resolution and screen real estate aren't an issue. Plus full size keyboard and 3 pointing devices including a pen and tablet makes it feel I'm working from a desktop. With a Mac, I"m sure you can have an external monitor.

The trade-off is the laptop is slower than a fully equipped desktop is outweighed by the portability and the fact that you have all your files on the laptop so you can just pack up and go.

#4
Jacques Gélinas

Jacques Gélinas

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 105 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Gatineau (Québec)
  • Canada

Hi David,

I presently worked entirely off a modest laptop (15.4" screen Dell Vostro 1520 with 8GIG ram). I have no secondary display and no other computers. I have 4 external drives with data-backups etc...and a adapter to run old software that work off parallel keys (e.g. PCI Orthoengine). Previously I had a Dell Inspriron. So, since 2005 I have been on a laptop.
There are obviously disadvantages with regards to map production.
But I'll point out my reasoning behind my choice.
- My office on one mobile computer.
- External backups and data on easy to bring along drives.
- Power shortage = no need for a big battery backup protection system.
- I get 5 hours autonomy off my 9 cell battery.
- I can go and work at the public library when I like (no air condition at home).
- I can bring it for meetings for presentations etc... and never forget to install something on it, because everything I need is already on it.
- We have a small home so, I like simple setups that take little space.
- I assume a laptop is more energy efficient.
- If needed it can be used with a GPS for field work.
- I can bring my laptop in the living room plug in my headset and watch a hockey game while my girls watch Desperate House Wives :)

I doubt that I will ever work off a desktop again.
That is all I can think of for now.
Hope this helps a bit.

Regards,

Jacques Gélinas
cartographer
www.cartesgeo.ca


#5
David Medeiros

David Medeiros

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,088 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Redwood City CA
  • Interests:Cartography, wood working, wooden boats, fishing, camping, overland travel, exploring.
  • United States

You can have the best of both worlds, connect your laptop to a keyboard and twin screens at home to get the screen real estate there and then disconnect and take just the laptop with you to show clients. But if you will be mainly working just on the laptop the small screen will definitely get annoying after a while. One word of advice, match the resolution of your laptop and the external screens.


I planned on using an external keyboard and 2nd monitor at home, but hadn't thought about matching resolution, thanks.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#6
Dennis McClendon

Dennis McClendon

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,083 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago
  • Interests:map design, large-scale maps of cities
  • United States

The only real concern I would have is driving the second monitor. But you apparently can now do that via USB with this adapter.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#7
David Medeiros

David Medeiros

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,088 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Redwood City CA
  • Interests:Cartography, wood working, wooden boats, fishing, camping, overland travel, exploring.
  • United States

The only real concern I would have is driving the second monitor. But you apparently can now do that via USB with this adapter.


Mac has mini-display to DVI or VGA adapters (I think I even have one at home) to run 2nd monitors off their laptops. "Plug and play" as they say!

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#8
Dennis McClendon

Dennis McClendon

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,083 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago
  • Interests:map design, large-scale maps of cities
  • United States

Sorry, I was thinking of using the laptop, closed, solely as a CPU. That's what I do at home. My MacBook Air sits hidden behind my big monitor and full-size keyboard until I need to grab it and go somewhere. But I have the benefit of good ergonomics by having my monitor and keyboard at good desk positions, rather than leaning over to see the laptop screen. To run two monitors besides the laptop's own screen, you need a creative solution and I was told about the USB adapter.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#9
Lui

Lui

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 154 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ljubljana
  • Interests:Natural looking maps, hillshading, mountain cartography, LIDAR, TLS, data fusion, photogrammetry, singing, poetry, cycling
  • Slovenia

I'm working with 3×24" monitors so no laptop here. Maybe I would consider a laptop (Tablet PC) for work in the field but they are almost non-existed, expensive and slow.

#10
tonyw

tonyw

    Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPip
  • 33 posts
  • Canada

I planned on using an external keyboard and 2nd monitor at home, but hadn't thought about matching resolution, thanks.


Hi David,
No need to worry about matching the resolution on an external monitor to your laptop monitor. Here is another alternative to external monitors http://www.evga.com/uvplus/ I have 3 monitors, two older 4X3 format monitors at one resolution and one newer monitor at 16x9 widescreen format (personally I don't like widescreen for work but you can't buy 4x3 format monitors anymore).

My laptop is off to the side, with the lid mostly closed, but open enough to prevent heat buildup if closed entirely. The laptop monitor is off. I don't touch the laptop at all, the power switch is on the docking bay, to shut down I click Windows > Shutdown.

So don't worry about matching resolution. If you get one of the USB graphics adapters, the driver allows you to use very high resolution monitors than your laptop alone would drive.

All the other benefits Jacques described for working off a laptop I support.

-Tony

#11
tom harrison

tom harrison

    Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • Location:San Rafael CA
  • United States

I switched solely to a 17" MacBook Pro about two years ago and I love it. No external monitors, just the MacBook. The small screen size if fine with me because I only work on one small section of a map at a time.

#12
David Medeiros

David Medeiros

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,088 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Redwood City CA
  • Interests:Cartography, wood working, wooden boats, fishing, camping, overland travel, exploring.
  • United States

I switched solely to a 17" MacBook Pro about two years ago and I love it. No external monitors, just the MacBook. The small screen size if fine with me because I only work on one small section of a map at a time.


Thanks Tom. I'm hoping the new retina displays will offset the smaller screen size somewhat for me. I know I'll get used to it but going from two large monitors to one smaller one may be a challenge.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

-->