How To Put GPS on PSP
By Fred Decker
The Sony PlayStation Portable, or PSP, combines a wealth of control options with a powerful processor and high-quality graphics. Aside from its primary purpose as a gaming system, the PSP is a versatile mobile platform for other uses such as GPS navigation. You can use the optional GPS accessory for conventional navigation, and many games utilize GPS to enhance the gaming experience.
The GPS Accessory
The optional GPS receiver is very compact, about the size of a large postage stamp and weighing approximately a half-ounce. It attaches to a small USB connector at the top of the PSP, with thumbscrews to connect it firmly in place. With the unit in place and its receiver panel pointed at the sky, the PSP will locate the GPS satellites and triangulate a position like any other GPS device. To take advantage of the GPS signal for gaming or navigation purposes, you'll need to load a game or navigation program into your PSP's drive.
A variety of games support GPS functionality, enriching and extending the gaming experience. For example, the Hot Shots Golf series doubles as a guide to real-life courses, using data from the GPS device to make recommendations about shot and club selection. In GPS-enabled multi-player games, players in the same geographic area can use a PSP app called NEAE in conjunction with their GPS accessory to cache gifts and supplies for each other in specific locations. Individual games can be designed to use the GPS in unique ways. For example, in Metal Gear Solid players in the same vicinity can recruit each other as allies.
With the GPS accessory installed, your PSP also becomes a standalone navigation device, similar to other handheld GPS units. To use the PSP for personal navigation, you'll need to purchase a navigation program such as MaPlus, Go!Explore or MapThis!. Insert the UMD for your software into the PSP's drive, and as it loads it will retrieve satellite data from your GSP accessory. The PSP will display maps and points of interest on its bright 5-inch screen, and will work in much the same way as any other handheld GPS. Features will vary between programs, as they do between commercial GPS units, so compare carefully before selecting one.
There is a thriving aftermarket in PSP accessories and modifications, and GPS navigation is no exception. There are generic third-party receivers available for the PSP, similar to Sony's own but lower in price. Not all programs work with all third-party receivers, so it's prudent to research the available options before making your purchase. Rather than purchasing the GPS accessory separately, dedicated gamers have the option of switching to the newer PSP Vita. The Vita includes an integrated GPS receiver, as well as an upgraded display, built-in Wi-Fi and 3G networking, and several other improvements over older models.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.