GlobalSat BU-353W10 USB GNSS Sensor
Ken in Regina
GlobalSat now makes an external location sensor, eg. a USB GPS receiver that works as a sensor rather than as a standard USB device like most external GPS receivers do.


You connect it to a USB port, as you would with any USB receiver. Then you download and install a driver to enable it. At that point it becomes a Windows 10 Location Sensor. Any modern Windows app that uses the location sensor to get your location from will now work with it.

Before they will, however, for this to work you need to go into Windows' Privacy settings and allow it to use your location before any navigation apps will be able to see and use the location sensor.

For confirmation that the location sensor was being seen and being used correctly I did a quick test with Windows Maps. It's installed as a standard part of any Windows 10 installation so it's right there with no special effort to find and install something.

After connecting the BU-353W10 but before installing the driver, I went to my privacy settings and enabled the use of the location sensor. Then I launched Windows Maps. In Windows Maps there is an icon on the right side that when clicked will show your location on the map. I clicked the location icon and it did show my location. However, when I hovered over the location indicator on the map it showed that my location accuracy was 67 meters.

That immediately told me that Maps was not seeing the BU-353W10.

So I read the instructions...

It said to download and install the necessary drivers before connecting the BU-353W10. So I did.

Finding the drivers was a major pain. There was no URL in the instructions so I did a search. My first searches only got me to a PDF containing a product description. The internals of the receiver are manufactured by u-Blox so I went straight to their site where it still took me three searches on the site to find the driver download location.

Here's the link I finally found. As I write this the latest driver version is v2.40.


It works.

After installing it and plugging the BU-353W10 in I fired up Maps again and clicked the icon for my current location. This time when I hovered over the location indicator it said the location accuracy was 3 meters. Much better!!

In summary, the GlobalSat BU-353W10 is an excellent product. It does exactly what you need in order to run Windows apps that use the location sensor. It makes it literally plug and play to download an app, launch it, and it immediately will see your location.

Aside from not being helpful about where to find the location sensor driver download, even the instructions are clear and easy to follow, with good screenshots with descriptions of each step. Fortunately, once the drivers are installed, you never have to go through that again.

My previous experience with GlobalSat's BU-353-S4 shows that it's excellent quality and the BU-353W10 looks like it is the same high quality. For convenience it will attach to a metal surface, like the exterior of a vehicle, with a good strong magnetic base. It has a 5 foot cord on it. The package also includes a suction cup for attaching to a smooth surface, like the inside of a vehicle windshield.

UPDATE March 31, 2020: I pulled the BU353W10 out today and tried it again. The driver mentioned above doesn't appear to work as described any longer. I'm using Windows 10 version 2004 on a Microsoft Surface Pro 4. If you're interested in how I got it working again, scroll farther down in this thread to this post.

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Ken - Thanks for buying one of these & taking the time to test it.

Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
...Finding the drivers was a major pain. There was no URL in the instructions so I did a search. My first searches only got me to a PDF containing a product description. The internals of the receiver are manufactured by u-Blox so I went straight to their site where it still took me three searches on the site to find the driver download location.
That is nuts that they make you do that.
They don't even have the W10 listed on their website.

Their ebay listing just says:
How to use
1.) Install the driver
(contact us for driver or download "u-blox GNSS Sensor Device Driver for Windows, v2.33"
from u-blox website)
2.) Plug in BU-353W10
3.) Open your preferred Windows 10 GPS App

They sure don't make it easy.


Do you have any idea what the refresh rate is?

GlobalSat made a 5Hz version of the S-IV receiver (I have that one in bulkhead mount form).
In a previous post, I cited an Amazon Q&A that mentioned this:
"The BU353-S4 uses a SiRF Star IV GPS chip with a Prolific serial-to-USB convertor that runs at 4800 BPS. The BU353-W10 uses a Ublox M8030 GPS chip that runs at 9600 BPS."

I assume the 4800 bps equates to 1Hz but IDK if just because the W10 runs at 9600, that means it's 2Hz. Maybe 9600 just means that each of the two receivers (GPS & Glonass) in the W10 have 4800 bps allocated?

In any case, using more satellites for a fix has to improve accuracy.
Ken in Regina
I'll have to do some more technical testing if I can find a sensor based test app(s). I have no idea of any of the tech specs other than those listed in the one link in my first post.

I am totally confused. I could have sworn the uBlox (or at least the 7) had drivers on the Microsoft site. You couldn't use the uBlox7 as a COM device unless you downloaded separate drivers.

Now the reverse is true for both the uBlox7

And the BU353W10

Windows dropped GNSS support or my mind is failing.

I checked The original post from late 2017 where Andrew discussed the U-blox7 and it did used to automatically download the senor driver from Windows.

So something must have changed. Probably why a driver is now needed to make the Bu353W10 appear as a sensor.

I did try it with my HP x360 which all ready ha the uBlox sensor driver from before and it worked fine. Different one from what is now available but I can't determine the year as updating the computer to 1903 changed all the dates in add/remove.

^ Maybe it's because this GPS receiver has a newer Ublox M8M chipset?

That would be consistent with how Windows works with most other device drivers - Windows has built-in support for older hardware that was commonplace when Windows was released, but for newer hardware, a device driver is required, and usually available from the hardware manufacturer. In this case, GlobalSat just didn't bother with that.
Except as I pointed out, the U-blox7 does the same thing!

Ken in Regina
I'm glad I posted this. I stumbled across the W10 a few minutes ago and couldn't recall how to get the darn thing going. This is a new computer I built at Xmas and I've long since lost the documentation for the W10. Of course it's dead simple once you know what to do.

I still haven't found a gps test program or app that will show me what satellites are in sight and the signal strengths. There are lots for COM ports but I can't find any that will use the Windows location sensor directly.

Oh yeah, the above link to the driver still works.

If you connect it to a Win 10 computer without the download, it will be discovered as a standard GPS device and associated with a COM port by Windows automatic update. Using the driver listed above is what changes it to location sensor operation as you no doubt found out.

Ken in Regina
I'm not exactly sure what that driver does now. I installed it and still can't get Windows Maps to see it. It adds COM3: at the usual BU353 default of 4800bps, just like the standard BU353S4 so conventional programs that look for the GPS on a COM port can be pointed there and they'll work.

The only way I can get Windows Maps to work with it through the location sensor is with GPSDirect as per this post I also did a few years ago.

Specifically, don't bother with the driver in my first post in this thread.

1. Plug in the BU353W10,
2. Let Windows install the generic driver,
3. Run GPSDirect,
4. On the Drivers tab install the GPSDirect driver.

Maps works perfectly and the GPSdirect driver shows up in Device Manager under Sensors.

Here's a link to GPSDirect as of March 31, 2020.

It's interesting to note that if you install the u-blox driver listed in my first post in this thread it shows up in Device Manager's Sensor list but Maps still doesn't find it.

It has been a while but I think you have to remove the Win 10 COM driver to allow the other one to work. I could be remembering wrong though.

Ken in Regina
You may be right. But the simpler approach seems to be to not bother to install the u-blox driver for the W10 and use GPSDirect instead. Of course this approach makes bothering to buy the W10 version a waste of time and money if you've already got a standard BU353S4, or an M7 or the Garmin Bluetooth dongle. They all work just fine through the location sensor with GPSDirect.

GPSDirect will also let you use your phone's GPS and phone GPS sensors are getting to be pretty much as good as the standalone dongles.

Especially since they improved GPS Direct so it isn't so hard to set up.

Ken in Regina
I mentioned a couple posts back that this is on Windows 10 version 2004. I forgot to mention that's a beta version. The Surface Pro 4 is on the Insider Program, Fast Ring, so it gets the less well tested releases. I don't know if that has anything to do with it. Perhaps I'll dig out the Dell laptop and see how it handles it. Tomorrow...

I can save you some trouble with that. I downloaded and installed the uBlox 2.40 driver to my Book 2 and then connected the 353W10. Checking in Device Manager shows no COM ports and a uBlox GNSS Location sensor. I disabled wifi and Maps comes up with a location indicating within 18m. I will assume this is the GPS.

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