Best USB GPS reciever for the Surface Pro

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro' started by Intangir, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. Intangir
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    Intangir New Member

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    As of right now I am using my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 for offline GPS, but I would like to be able to use my Pro instead. I have an old Sprint USB 3g/gps dongle, but I would like to see what else is available, and which works best for the Pro. It would also be nice if it was free of any monthly charges. I would use the Sprint dongle, but I don't really need 3g or a monthly overpriced data plan. Any suggestions?
  2. Wayne Orwig
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    Wayne Orwig Active Member

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    I just bought Microsoft Streets and Trips 2013 on Amazon for $40. It includes a Microsoft GPS dongle.
    It works. I can't say it is better or worse than anything else. But for $40 I got the dongle and software with all of the offline maps on the Surface Pro now.
  3. Russ
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    Russ Active Member

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    Intangir --

    I don't know what is "best," but Wayne's suggestion of the MS Streets bundle sounds good. I have not used it before, so can't add anything there. I have been a long time user of Delorme's Street Atlas series and like it a lot -- familiarity helps. I already had the GPS unit, so just added the software to my Pro and it works fine. Delorme currently has a device/software bundle for $49.95, or software only for $39.95.

    DeLorme Street Atlas

    You can probably find a feature comparison between the two. I, too, like having the offline maps on my Pro. Sometimes I just like to browse the territory.

    I have been happy with this product for a long time, and will be happy to answer any specific questions if I can.

    Regards,
    Russ
  4. swanlee
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    swanlee New Member

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    Doesn't the surface already have built in GPS?
  5. Wayne Orwig
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    Wayne Orwig Active Member

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    Surface Pro does NOT have a GPS.
    Not sure I cared, but for years I've used older versions Microsoft Streets & Trips for planning trips anyway, so figured the $40 for the upgrade and the hardware was a non-issue. I'll likely only ever use the GPS for the geek factor a couple of times.
    I haven't used the Delorme maps recently. I truly suspect it would come out on top in a good comparison. But since I already have a number of years of trips routed on MS S&T, and it was $10 less, I stuck with it.
  6. souldier
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    souldier New Member

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    If you use a USB GPS dongle, will it work for apps such as Maps or are there any navigation apps?
  7. Russ
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    Russ Active Member

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    Wayne --

    Same here with Street Atlas. I started using it back under Windows 3.1. MS Streets had not come out yet. I have just stayed with it, rather than re-create a lot of trips with something new. I actually tried MS Streets when it first came out, but it was in its infancy then, so I stayed with Street Atlas. I honestly have no clue which is "best" or even "better" now -- just stayed with what I already knew rather than start high on the learning curve.

    Regards,
    Russ
  8. Russ
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    Russ Active Member

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    Souldier --

    I am not aware of any navigation apps that would use a GPS, but that's only because I haven't looked. I already had the Street Atlas software and the GPS, so I just installed it and never looked back.

    I don't think the Maps app recognizes a GPS, but there is probably something in the Store that will. As I say, I just never looked.

    Regards,
    Russ
  9. Wayne Orwig
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    Wayne Orwig Active Member

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    The USB opens up a COM port. So any software that looks for a NMEA type GPS on a com port should work. I suspect that Delorme and MS Streets and Trips just about cover all of them.
  10. Wayne Orwig
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    Wayne Orwig Active Member

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    Actually, many moons ago, I started with Delorme Street Atlas too. I had an old Compaq laptop. I put it in the side bag on my motorcycle along with a serial GPS. Likely Win 3.1 or 98. I ran DC power into the bag, to an AC converter, to the laptop power supply. I ran audio out to an earplug under my helmet. I made a foam frame to support it, and had 2 12 volt cooling fans in there. What a geek contraption. It did work.
    But at some point I picked up a newer free copy of MS Streets & Trips and started using it for planning routes and a waterproof Garmin for actual navigation. I gave the contraption to my brother to use in his tow truck.
  11. Russ
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    Russ Active Member

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    Wayne --

    Yeah, well, we all did a lot of those. The only differences now are that we're older and the contraptions are more complicated.

    Take care,
    Russ
  12. marcux
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    marcux Member

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    I have a jailbroken Iphone, and use "TryGpsOut" on cydia, you can use your iphones built in GPS and forward it by bluetooth to your surface pro, tested and working. you can also use the built in tethering on the iphone while your run "TryGpsOut" . Tested with google earth and a few other gps programs, It creates a virtual com port use 4800 bps. Not sure if there is a program on andriod that does the same thing.

    EDIT: I'm told that these work on android.

    ShareGPS
    Bluetooth GPS Output
    Bluetooth GPS
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  13. MMU
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    MMU Member

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    It appears to me that any GPS/Mapping application used on the Surface Pro would be greatly handicapped if it were not touch enabled (especially for zoom and scroll). Otherwise I would want the keyboard attached or a mouse or stylus. Then I would need the SP mounted.

    I imagine if the scroll and zoom sliders were user configurable in terms of size and location then such an app could be usable in pure tablet/touchscreen mode. I would also want the top menus to be user configurable in terms of size and location.

    Can anyone confirm whether the Delorme and/or MS mapping software is configurable in this way? I've already used the "Chat with a Rep" feature of the MS store but the result was less than definitive and totally unsatisfactory. The rep answered "Absolutely, the software is configurable for size and location" without clarifying whether the menus and zoom/scroll sliders could be configured in this way (which is what my original question was).

    I wonder how long it will be before fully touch enabled mapping software is available. That would be a killer app, particularly if it worked with a Bluetooth GPS with internal rechargeable battery to eliminate USB cord clutter in the field. The biggest issue with current handheld GPS mapping hardware is low screen resolution (or very high cost).

    Thanks!
  14. marcux
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    marcux Member

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    I use this on my surface pro with my iphone built in gps as the bluetooth gps reciever

    Navigator Free | mapFactor, s.r.o.

    I just click on the program on the iphone, and then run pc navigator, it's also touch enabled.
  15. Russ
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    Russ Active Member

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    MMU --

    Partly "Yes," and partly "No."

    The Delorme Street Atlas 2013 is touch enabled, and responds to the "two finger resizing" method within the map, itself. However, I am not able to resize the menu items by touch.

    Another annoyance is that I have a Bluetooth GPS unit from Delorme (with internal rechargeable battery), but cannot pair it with my Pro. There is an enabling driver from Delorme, but it will not install under Win8 64-bit. (It does work on my Win7 Pro 64-bit laptop.) I really don't think Delorme will work on this issue, as smartphones and web apps have sufficiently encroached on their basic business that they are putting their resources elsewhere. I do have a USB GPS and it works just fine, but Bluetooth would be so much better.

    EDIT: Problem Solved. RTFM (or, in this case, substitute "Online Support" for "M").

    Regards,
    Russ
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013

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