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2a. Using a GPS that is not on the GPS Compatibility Chart or Listed within the application

Created: 12/11/2003
Modified: 08/03/2007


Electronics Hookup and Configuration


Even though a particular GPS unit is not available in the GPS Setup section of your Maptech navigation software, or it is not listed on its GPS compatibility chart, it may still work properly. This depends on the unit and your needs.

[NOTE] These instructions for connecting to a GPS are still bound by the functional limits of the particular Maptech software you are using. For example, if you are using the Chart Navigator Viewer program, which is intended for viewing charts and planning, not real-time position tracking, these steps will not allow you to bypass that limitation.

Use of a Similar GPS
First of all, if your Maptech program supports a similar GPS unit, chances are good that your GPS unit will work properly. The units that are officially supported (and listed in GPS Setup) have been selected by the GPS manufacturers as their choices for compatibility. In order to support a unit, we obtain equipment and information from the manufacturer for testing, and write a model-specific software driver. In short, we need their full cooperation.

Occasionally, a manufacturer may not provide us with a unit for testing. However, choosing a related unit (with a similar name) will often work properly. For example, if you have a Magellan 3000 GPS unit, the Magellan 4000 setting will work properly with your navigation software.

Unfortunately, there are some exceptions to this general rule. For example, the Trimble GeoExplorer II setting cannot be used with the Trimble Scoutmaster. (Owners of the Scoutmaster can still use Generic NMEA for live tracking, but not the transfer of stored coordinate data).

Using an Unsupported GPS for Transfer of Routes, Waypoints, etc.
The NMEA interface (described below and fully compatible with all Maptech navigation software products) enables real-time tracking, but it does not enable the transfer of stored coordinate data (waypoints, routes, and/or tracks) between a GPS and the Maptech software. This kind of data transfer requires a specific software driver, so until your GPS unit is supported through such a driver, you may not be able to perform waypoint/route/track transfers.

However, if your Maptech application currently supports other units made by your GPS manufacturer, it is possible that you might be able to interface it with using one of our existing drivers. Use the settings recommended by the GPS Setup Wizard, or experiment using the options available under the Setup GPS menu item. If you find that it works with one of the other supported unit's drivers, please let us know.

Using an Unsupported GPS for reporting a live position
If none of the supported units are similar to your GPS unit, you can still use your GPS for real-time tracking. This means that when you're connected to Maptech navigation software and your GPS is turned on, your position will be marked by an icon on the map image, and this icon will move across the map as you move across the corresponding terrain.

Your GPS unit may have an Interface setting called NMEA (or in some cases, called NMEA/NMEA). Interface options are often found in a GPS unit's Setup Menu (refer to your GPS manual for further information). Using this NMEA interface, you will be able to connect to your Maptech navigation software and perform real-time tracking. Primarily for use with a computer in a moving vessel/vehicle, real-time tracking marks your current location with a cursor on the map or chart, and this cursor moves across the chart as you move. If you like, you can choose to record your path of travel as a Track, where the Track line will be saved on the chart. (Please note: Tracks are not available in all Maptech navigation products.)

To connect your GPS unit to most Maptech software products for real-time tracking, choose Setup from the program's GPS menu, and in the Manufacturer box, select 'NMEA Generic.' (Alternatively, use the GPS Setup Wizard or other GPS detection methods to Find the GPS.)

Requesting a GPS to be added to the list of supported units:
We closely monitor all requests for GPS support, and all requests are added to our list. To request support for a particular GPS, please email us at