Windows Mobile GPS or External GPS Settings

30 May 2008

The Microsoft GPS Manager ("GPS" or "External GPS" Settings) utility maintains a GPS signal on a virtual COM port ("GPS program port"). This allows multiple software applications to access the GPS data simultaneously at whatever baud rate each app needs, as well as keeps GPS data active even when hardware drivers (such as a virtual "GPS hardware port" assigned to a Bluetooth or CF GPS receiver) reload, preventing issues such as in ESRI ArcPad.

To setup a GPS software application to use the Microsoft GPS Manager on the Field PC, follow the steps below.

  1. Make sure the GPS receiver is set to output and GPS software is set to input NMEA protocol GPS data (though other protocols such as SiRF can still be output through the virtual "Program" port number).
  2. Tap on Start > Settings > System tab > GPS or External GPS icon.
  3. In the first Programs tab, set the "GPS program port" to an unused COM port number that is accessible to the GPS software (usually COM3 or COM4 on Archer).
  4. In the second Hardware tab, set the "GPS hardware port" and "Baud rate" to the port and baud rate used by the GPS receiver. GPS CF cards are usually on COM2 using 4800 baud. The Hemisphere GPS XF101 is usually on COM2 using 57600 baud.
  5. In the Access tab, check the "Manage GPS automatically (recommended)" checkbox, and then tap OK.
  6. Set the GPS software to use the "GPS program port" number set in step 3 above.

Writing GPS Software

Once the Microsoft GPS Manager has been setup with the correct Hardware settings and enabled to "Manage GPS automatically", software can be written to access the virtual "GPD" port numbers, "wedge" GPS data into software, and other features provided through the Microsoft GPS Intermediate Driver, as explained on MSDN at: