Some old USB GPS devices like the DeLorme LT-20 get installed by Windows as a generic USB HID input device.
From there Windows does nothing with the device. I used a free USB monitoring program, found the port the LT-20 was plugged into and... there it was, NMEA data being fired into the port in good old plain text. May be a bit of extra stuff added by DeLorme for their software but that would be easy to filter out/ignore.
Is there any GPS software that will run on 64 bit Windows that can just be set for which USB port to read *plain text* NMEA data directly from?
All it's doing is acting like a keyboard, but with the text not being 'routed' to anywhere. It's not going to NULL, it's just doing nothing because there's no software installed to do something with the data.
Must have been an interesting meeting at DeLorme when the software people came up with whatever reasons about why they should code a separate COM emulator program instead of simply giving their current GPS software the ability to do the simple task of directly reading the exact same data the emulator would pass through. The *emulator* would have to do exactly the same task *plus* the added complication of pretending to be a RS232C port.