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What gives GPS it's direction? The orientation of the GPS or the laptop?
Brian Conner
When the Microsoft GPS (USB) device is connected to my laptop in my stationary vehicle, and it shows that it's headed, say, North, what is giving it that direction? The orientation of the GPS or the laptop? Or what?

Or does it need movement before it really knows its direction?
tcassidy
The mapping program determines direction by comparing positional information provided by the GPS. That means the GPS must move between readings to allow the navigation software to determine direction of movement.

Terry
Brian Conner
Thank you, Terry.
tcassidy
I clarified my answer after you read it as it was not truly accurate.

Terry
Brian Conner
I just read the clarified answer, and that is what I thought you were saying with the shorter answer. So, it's cool. Thanks again.
nealrm
Just so you know - you need a min of 3 feet of movement before the direction is accurate. The unit may display direction before that but it would be an estimate at best.
Brian Conner
Good to know. I'll be taking a test trip this afternoon, but when I set it up yesterday while sitting in the driveway, I realized the direction was off.

I can safely conclude that it doesn't matter what direction in the vehicle the laptop/GPS is turned. I can sit it in the passenger seat and turn it toward me in the drivers seat and it will calculate the direction and orientation correctly once it's moving (more than 3 feet).

Cool.
Ken in Regina
That's right, Brian. The position of the GPS receiver is irrelevant as far as the indicated direction. The only thing that matters is that it needs a good view of the sky. You might not get great results if the receiver is plugged directly into the USB port with the laptop on the passenger seat.

...ken...
Brian Conner
I hadn't thought of that. The little 3ft USB extension cable that came in the S&T 2010 box doesn't plug in very securely to the GPS unit, so I decided to not use it. I'll have to think of an alternative. Thanks.
Marvin Hlavac
Brian, the extension will help in two ways: 1. It will move the USB GPS receiver away from the RF noise generated by the laptop computer, and 2. It will let you place the USB GPS receiver on the dashboard, or another location, where it will have a better view of the sky in more directions.
Brian Conner
OK, I'll start a search for a higher quality USB extension cable. Thanks.
Brian Conner
Ha, it turns our that I already have one. A few weeks ago, I was planning to extend a printer to my Airport Extreme Base Station, but I found another way to make the printer available to the computer that needs it. So, I didn't even open the package for this Vantec USB Active Repeater Cable.

I just now cut open the annoying (and potentially dangerous) packaging, and hooked it up with the GPS device on the end of it. It works great, and it's 5m long.

Thanks for all the help. This forum is the best. I've posted a couple of newbie-type threads here and have never detected even a whiff of any negative replies. Every single reply has been 100% supportive and helpful.

Thank you all.


Brian
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