Connecting a GPS receiver to a laptop and creating a GPS tracker

Many travel lovers have long begun to use GPS devices when spending their leisure time.
Someone uses navigators to move from one settlement to another along the nearest highway / road, using, as a rule, navigation programs with vector maps. And someone prefers a more extreme pastime, getting from point A to point B along the nearest route on off-road vehicles. For the latter, vector maps are not so important, the main thing here is to know the terrain features of the nearest area, and navigation programs with raster maps that are tied to coordinates are used.
I set a goal to connect an external GPS-receiver to a laptop, on which you can install various programs for working with vector and raster maps, to get a convenient tool for planning a route and viewing the current location. At the same time, I wanted to transmit GPS data to the server so that my location could be tracked remotely (impromptu GPS tracker).
So, if you are interested in this topic, welcome to the topic.

What do we have :
  • GPS communicator
  • A laptop
  • 3G modem (can be excluded)

A certain software must be installed on the laptop:
  1. To synchronize a PDA with a PC (in my case, “ActiveSync” - for Windows XP, or “Windows Mobile Device Center” - for Windows 7, Vista) ;
  2. Navigation programs. For example, OziExplorer (for raster maps) , SASPlanet;
  3. Program for processing GPS-signal from the receiver.

Additional applications should also be installed on the PDA:
1) GPSGate.

First, we’ll get the GPS signal from the external device to the laptop.
Here the circuit will be simple:
  1. GPS signal is transmitted to the PDA through the COM2 hardware port (in my case) ;
  2. PDA is synchronized with a laptop using ActiveSync;
  3. Using the GPSGate application installed on the PDA, the GPS signal is redirected from COM2 to the ActiveSync port;
  4. The GPSGate program installed on the laptop receives a signal from the ActiveSync port and redirects it to a virtual COM port (in my case, COM6);
  5. In the navigation program installed on the laptop, we indicate our virtual port created in GPSGate as the source of the GPS signal.


Now let's move from theory to practice.

Setting up the GSP-receiver

We assume that the GPSGate program is already installed on our PDA.

We configure the program :

  1. The " Input " tab indicates the hardware port of your GPS receiver. On a PDA, this is usually the COM2 port. You can clarify by going to the Control panel - External GPS - Equipment .
  2. Recipients of the GPS signal are indicated on the " Output " tab .
    Here, select " ActiveSync " from the drop-down list so that the received GPS signal is redirected to the connection port of the PDA and laptop.
  3. Now you can select the " Online " menu . The icons should light green (on) , which means that the satellite is currently connected.

If the procedures for receiving and transmitting coordinates are successful, then the icon on the panel lights up in green. If the device is ready, but the coordinates have not yet been received (satellites have not been caught) - the program icon lights up in yellow.

Now we have achieved the transfer of GPS-signal from the PDA to the laptop.

Here you can duplicate the transmission of GPS-signal to the GPSGate server to monitor your position (prior registration on the site is needed) .
To do this, add the item " (Send) " on the " Output " tab and specify your login / password on the website in the settings for connecting to the server. Data transfer from the PDA to the server will be carried out by means of cellular communication. If you have a 3G modem, you can make similar settings in the
GPSGate program installed on the laptop.

We proceed to configure the laptop.

It is assumed that there are already installed: ActiveSync, GPSGate and SASPlanet (or Google Earth).

  1. In the GPSGate settings, select " Input " - ActiveSync (since the source of the GPS signal will be ActiveSync) ;
  2. In " Output " select Virtual COM-Port (the receiver of the GPS signal will be a virtual port, for example, COM-6 );
  3. In the SASPlanet program settings : Parameters - Program settings - GPS
    In the COM port, specify our Virtual COM-Port COM-6 .


This is where the main program settings are over.

SASPlanet has a large number of maps (Yandex, Navitel, Google, etc.).
In the settings in the Source it is better to indicate “ Internet + Cache ”, then already viewed maps will be downloaded from the cache (from the laptop’s memory), and new ones from the Internet.
Therefore, it will be more logical, in order to save traffic, to pre-view the largest possible section that you plan to visit on your trip.

What is the result?
We receive a GPS signal to an external device and transfer it to a laptop, where the GPS data is processed and we get our current location tied to a raster or vector map in the SASPlanet program (any other similar one).
In parallel with this, data about our movement and current location are sent to the server. T.O. You can remotely view our location and route for a specified period of time.

For what?
I use this during team active city games:
1) The headquarters remotely controls and coordinates the movement of all crews at the same time.
2) Navigation programs on a laptop have more functionality and visibility than in portable GPS devices. You can quickly plan and coordinate your route, choose from the many maps the most suitable.

Many off-road travelers associate their GPS devices with more compact netbooks and use the OziExplorer program with raster topographic maps, which usually have more information about the terrain.

Fans of classical tourism will also be more interested in observing their movement on a large interactive map, on which you can see nearby attractions displayed on a Google map.

During the trip, you can share your location with relatives and friends who can track your route.

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