How to Use GPS on Your Laptop

by Timothy Sexton

Combining the technologies of global positioning satellite, or GPS, systems and laptop computers can be done in several ways. The benefit of using your laptop is that you can take it anywhere you can take a laptop and the computer screen is larger and easier to see than the small screens of those GPS systems seen attached to car windows on the road.

Ways to Use GPS on a Laptop Computer

Attach a laptop GPS receiver to your computer using either USB or serial cable connection. These receivers often come as part of a software bundle but can also be purchased separately. The receiver can then be placed in a position to allow for the clearest transmission of signals when displayed on the computer screen. The biggest advantage of using one of these receivers is the potential for interfacing the more expansive mapping capabilities afforded by the computer and Internet.

Attach a Bluetooth unit to take advantage of the wireless connection to allow a bit more flexibility for handling, such as passing the laptop to the back seat. The disadvantage to using Bluetooth over a GPS receiver is the expense, but it can be mounted nearly anywhere inside your vehicle and send data directly to the computer. Of course, you will be required to place an antenna on the dashboard or outside the car.

Attach a GPS receiver directly to the laptop using either a PCMCIA or compact flash, or CF, card. The more sophisticated of these cards also allow the addition of an external antenna for better reception. The use of one of the cards to connect the GPS system to the laptop is ideal for boats as well as cars.

Connect a microphone to the laptop or use the built-in microphone to make navigation even easier. Some GPS software will allow you to actually use voice commands such as asking how much farther to the next turn or whether you need to take a left or right. This provides added safety because you can keep your hands on the steering wheel.


  • close Place the laptop on the dashboard whenever possible to avoid looking away from the road. Even better, only use the GPS on a laptop when you have a co-pilot to navigate for you.

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About the Author

Timothy Sexton's more than 10,000 articles have been published on sites ranging from USA Today to CareerAddict, from PopEater to His writing has been referenced in books ranging from "The Reckless Life...of Marlon Brando" to "Brand New China: Advertising, Media and Commercial and from Scarface Nation to Incentive!"