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I have tablet - Dell latitude 10, running Windows 8, with integrated Broadcom GNSS Receiver BCM47511 (GPS,Glonass...). Because it is integrated GPS and Windows 8, there is the "new" way of providing GPS data called Windows Location Provider. This "new" way means it doesn't work properly or at all in almost any navigation/localisation software at this moment - because this software expect GPS data coming from COM port. Including QGIS - at this moment it is on the road map - http://hub.qgis.org/issues/7878

Anyway after extensive search I found software which can bypass MS localisation platform. It is called Centrafuse Localizer. This software can simulate COM port and send through it GPS data so some software is able to read it.

Unfortunately not QGIS. QGIS can see the port (just to test it I changed COM 1 to 5 and 7) and it changes Serial device list in QGIS but after hitting Connect it always fails.

If you are thinking about tablet with integrated GPS think twice! From my point of view it is just too early - probably also no proper drivers yet as what I have read from Broadcom Readme file. Even when GPS "works" the refresh rate and precision is terrible comparing to my phone. And all software must be changed to work with this new interface...

Is there other way I could try to make work tablet integrated GNSS (GPS) on Windows 8 with QGIS?

  • 2
    Can you connect to the port using something like Hyper Terminal or Putty and see if it's dumping valid NMEA. – Nathan W Nov 28 '13 at 10:08
  • Nathan W thank you, I will give it a try. Though that is probably too advanced to me. I used Putty only few times in my life and have no idea how valid NMEA should look like. – Miro Nov 28 '13 at 23:00
  • Mapperz - Thank you, I have made sure before I posted this I have the latest driver from Dell. I also have read the second article from 2009 for Windows XP talking about different GPS card which was working through com port. But it is not really connected to this issue. – Miro Nov 28 '13 at 23:06
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At the end I decided to try newer driver from other company.

Broadcom GNSS Geolocation Driver for Windows 8.1 (32-bit), 8 (32-bit) - ThinkPad Tablet 2 19.14.8401.4 24 Nov 2012

With this driver and Centrafuse Localizer the GPS finally works in QGIS (and also in some way in Google Earth). Hooray!

You need at this moment these things:

  1. Centrafuse Localizer (which is unfortunately not freeware) to bypass Windows Location Provider which is useless
  2. Install driver from Lenovo (which makes Broadcom GNSS work properly)
  3. QGIS (tested with version 2.0.1) - GPS is under View / Panels / GPS information
    • I decided to set connection to Serial device to see if COM port is available

Shame on you Microsoft to totally cut out backward compatibility!

Shame on you DELL to not provide proper functional driver!

Make sure you see sensor working in the localizer:

Centrafuse Localizer

My saved test track in QGIS:

Saved track in Qgis

Good Luck!

  • We have played with Localizer on Acer Tablets, however my users tell me that when they are trying to figure out higher precision questions like "What side of the land parcel border is that tree sitting on", the users are happier with the accuracy of an external GPS stick. The ergonomic Problems posed by a stick poking out of your tablet can be solved easily by a short mini-usb cable and some duct tape. Also, Localizer 4 has some stability problems. I actually managed to make a BSOD Loop with a vanilla Win 8.1 tablet yesterday just by installing the trial download. I had to reset the machine. – MonsterMushroom Feb 19 '14 at 16:03
  • Interesting, thank you for sharing. While ago we decided to buy external GPS too (highspeed bleutooth GPS). After few starting tests there was no big difference. But it was definitely more convenient to just pair it and use it with qgis straight out of the box. – Miro Feb 20 '14 at 19:22
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I had to solve this issue for a client running QGIS on Windows tablets 8-10.

The best solution I found so far is GpsGate Splitter Express. If you install it with the plugin, it makes it possible to read the GPS data from the location provider and send it to a virtual COM port. The program runs at startup, so UEFI secure boot has to be disabled for this to work.

And the best part: GpsGate Splitter Express is free for both private and commercial use, as they state on their website.

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after a lot of investigation, I've found a solution for this problem using only free tools.

  • GNSSDataInterface: a great tool that read from windows location API and send data to a COM port. You can configure wich port and if you want to start all autmatically.
  • Com0com: creates virtual ports and pair them. So you can transfer data form one port to another. in my case (COM4 <-> COM5)

So with GNSSDataInterface you can send data to COM4 and thanks to com0com pair with COM5. QGIS will must use COM5 (free port) to get data.

Another interesting tool are SensorDisgnosticTool (for checking if you GPS is adquiring data through sensor) and GPSView, for check the data from a COM port.

Regards.

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There's also GPSReverse: https://www.gpssensordrivers.com/ It's free for evaluation purposes... but never seems to expire.

Download GPSComplete evaluation (it comes with everything) with the correct bitness. Open the tool. Install the com port driver, select iLocation as the sensor, leave the rest as default. Then install the transfer tool service, set ILocation query as source and COM port driver as the destination. The UI can be closed after that, everything works as a background service.

Sometimes it's possible to enable COM ports on the device directly with some settings or a different driver but it varies a lot between manufacturers / models and it's often not documented. Here's a tutorial for EM7455: https://zukota.com/sierra-wireless-em7455-how-to-enable-com-ports/

  • Could you expand on this a little? – Kingfisher Feb 14 at 13:50
  • @Kingfisher added some details, results vary by tablet tho. On some it's very slow to start up and the location data is laggy. Not sure why. – toster-cx Feb 14 at 14:24

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