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Configuring a Receiver


Microsoft MapPoint should work with any GPS receiver that supports the NMEA 0183 v2.0 interface. Technically this interface relies on a serial (RS-232) “COM Port” connection. Few devices have such connections these days, so you will need to install a driver from your receiver vendor. This driver will make your USB GPS receiver appear on Windows a COM Port as an NMEA 0183 capable device.

After installing the driver and connecting the receiver, make sure your receiver is set to 4800bps, 8 data bits, no parity, no handshake, and 1 stop bit. Most of these settings will be automatic and are required by the standard. However some receivers let you vary some of these parameters (especially the bit rate), so be sure that they are set to their standard default settings. Your receiver driver should also automatically allocate a COM port for the device. Make a note of what this is. It must be less than 250, and Microsoft recommend a port less than 20. However I have never seen a port above 20, so such high port numbers are probably a rare occurrence.

Setting MapPoint to see your GPS Receiver

After installing a receiver and plugging it in, you need to configure MapPoint to see it. This is a lot easier in MapPoint 2010 (and later) than in earlier versions. Display the GPS Receiver Settings dialog box. This can be started by selecting Configure GPS receiver… on the GPS sub-menu of the Tools menu. Alternatively, display the GPS Pane and press the Configure GPS… button.

Here is the GPS Receiver Settings dialog box:

The GPS Receiver Settings dialog box in Microsoft MapPoint

The GPS Receiver Settings dialog box

Press the Scan button to tell MapPoint to search the available COM ports for GPS receivers. Here, it has found two COM ports and COM5 has the GPS device. Select the GPS device and press OK.

The Troubleshoot button will take you into the Microsoft documentation and help, and should assist you in finding any problems with your receiver configuration.

Device Recommendations

A popular GPS receiver for MapPoint and Streets&Trips, is the GlobalSat BU-353 USB GPS Receiver. A BU-353 was used to create these pages, and I have found it works particularly well in areas of poor reception (even within some buildings). It also claims to be waterproof.

Both MapPoint and Streets&Trips are available in retail packages bundled with GPS receivers. Microsoft has changed the bundled receiver, but generally speaking, any of these receivers will work with MapPoint.

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