I have a USB-based GPS receiver plugged into a Windows 8 Pro machine. It appears in the Device Manager as a COM port. The GPS receiver came with a demo program (GPSInfo) lets me choose the COM port, and displays all GPS info like Lat/Long, number of satellites, etc.

But this info doesn't appear to become available to Windows 8 apps like Maps. Maps is able to place me in the correct city, but many city blocks away from my exact location.

My research found this Q&A, which suggests that there needs to be a special driver to allow Windows 8 apps to see the GPS. This makes sense to me since apps shouldn't have to parse NMEA themselves. I would expect Windows to do this on their behalf. I thought that's what Windows Location Provider is, which is listed in the Sensors category of Device Manager.

So, do you know of a driver that'll adapt a COM port that provides NMEA into whatever interface Windows apps expect for exact location?

  • Why don't you just buy a normal GPS unit? You can test this currently on any Windows 8 installation if you want currently. There will be nothing special about the limitations of the Surface Pro since it will be a full Windows 8 Professional device with no hardware limitations ( perhaps except storage ). The other half of this question is not on topic for stack exchange websites. Besides the Verizon LTE device likely would used the GPS before an actual GPS device ( if it were connected ). – Ramhound Nov 28 '12 at 20:49
  • @Ramhound, thanks for the reply. I know I can test this on any Windows 8 installation, but I don't want to spend money on a GPS receiver without knowing that it'll work. – Philip Nov 28 '12 at 21:17

This software looks like it would do the trick:


Alternatively, check with your GPS manufacturer to see if they have drivers that are Windows Location API aware.


Bluetooth GPS works in Windows RT out of the box, so it should have no issues with Pro which should be more compatible. I used Bluetooth GPS with the built-in maps application with no problem.

  • Lauren, which Bluetooth GPS model are you using? I haven't found one that works as a Windows Location device yet. – user200309 Feb 18 '13 at 20:59
  • The one I had was a generic BT device that I got from Amazon. The name escapes me but the reviews were fairly good. This is one of those pieces of Windows 8 that should work much better than it does and I don't think I've had any device work as a Windows Location device (and that includes the one that came with Streets And Trips which is a Microsoft product. That doesn't mean that the devices' emulation of the COM port isn't readable by applications in the OS though. You may be able to get around this by using a Wifi Hotspot which can pass the GPS coordinates back to the computer. – Lauren Glenn Mar 23 '15 at 14:16

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