GPS Software for PC - Lakes & Rivers
Hello All,

I recently started using my laptop for GPS navigation. I initially bought the laptop for GPS navigation on my boat. I boat mainly the Arkansas river and the inland lakes of Arkansas. My problem is that I am having a hard time finding Laptop GPS software for Inland Rivers and Lakes for the US. Can someone offer any advice on what and where I should be looking? Thanks in advance.
Ken in Regina
Sounds like you need one of Garmin's water products. There are at least three products half way down this list you can look at for Inland Lakes. Hope that helps.

Marvin Hlavac
In addition to Garmin maps, check also what Fugawi has to offer:
Hi Ken,

I recently purchased the Garmin Inland Lakes mapsource on DVD for the laptop. I have installed the product and all is fine. My issues come when I hook up the GPS receiver to the laptop. I can not get it to run real time. In order for me to see the tracks I have to keep clicking on "send to map" in order for the map / tracks to update. At first I thought I have purchased the wrong software, but know I am thinking it may be my hand held Garmin Etrek that is not capable of sending date to the map real time / streaming. Does this make sense? I guess what I really need to know is : Is Garmin Inland Lakes capable of running real time if I have the correct GPS receiver. I did try to get it to work with my LT-40 receiver from Earthmate... This did not work at all.
Ken in Regina
The Mapsource software that installs with the maps is not navigation software. It is only for viewing and some other specific non-navigational functions like route planning, saving waypoints and tracks, and similar things. It is also used to compile and transfer maps to Garmin handheld devices which are capable of having maps loaded on them.

I assume you mean the Garmin Etrex is the handheld that you have? If so, it does not allow you to load maps to it. In that sense, it is not a personal navigation device. It is the equivalent of a really smart compass. And you are right that it does not have the ability to send the GPS data to the laptop.

In your case you have a couple of options. The first is to get a Garmin handheld personal navigation that is capable of having Garmin maps loaded to it. That way you can load the Inland Lakes maps onto it and use it for navigation. Examples would be one of the GPSMAP series or one of the Colorado series.

If you want to use your laptop for navigation you would need to add navigation software and a GPS receiver that can connect to the laptop, either via USB or Bluetooth. To use your Garmin Inland Lakes maps you would need Garmin software and a GPS receiver. The software is called "nroute" and can be downloaded from Garmin's website for free.

nroute will use any Garmin maps that you have loaded and unlocked in Mapsource. It looks almost exactly like Mapsource but with all the standard features of a personal navigation device added.

You can buy Garmin's 10x or 20x GPS receiver to connect with your laptop to use it for realtime navigation. Either one will work directly with nroute.

Or you can use a generic GPS receiver but you will need an additional piece of software called Franson's GPSGate (shareware) to get a non-Garmin receiver to work with nroute. I'm using the receiver that came with Microsoft Streets&Trips 2008 and it works fine with nroute through GPSGate.

Now that I have you thoroughly confused... ... Let me know if I can confuse you some more.


Many thanks for your time and your knowledge... This makes perfect sense.. I was thinking I had made some major goof ball mistakes... I will chalk this up to a learning experience... I currently am running Earthmate Delorme Street Atlas that came bundled with an LT-40 GPS receiver.. It works perfect.. No issues at all. Looking back, I wish so bad I would have joined Laptop GPS World prior to making my Garmin Inland Lakes purchase... I will go ahead and download nroute to use with my Garmin Lakes mapsource. Aslo, can you tell me if I need to purchase a garmin 10x or 20x receiver or will my Delorme LT-40 receiver work as well....?

Best Regards and a million thanks... You are awesome...!


p.s. Thanks for your reply as well Marvin....

The LT-40 would not be able to work directly with nRoute as it puts out standard NMEA data. The easy solution is a software program Ken listed, GPS Gate.

The advantage of using that software is it not only puts out a signal nRoute likes, but also NMEA on a different COM port. This would allow you to run nRoute and your Street Atlas at the same time. It will detect your LT-40 and let you know which COM port to set nRoute to (usually COM 1).

Hi Terry,

Thanks for the info. Does this mean I can download a free version (with out the 14 day trial)....? I visited the web site, I do not see a non 14 day trial offer that is free. If I can get a free version of nroute, would I not be doing better.? Please advise,


You can get a free version of nRoute but it will not work with your LT-40.

What GPS Gate does is convert the GPS data from your LT-40 to a version nRoute can understand. Unfortunately, it costs money.

If you buy a Garmin 20x, it will not work with your Delorme product and it costs more than GPS Gate.

You could buy a Garmin GPS 10x if you have Bluetooth and it would work with both Delorme and nRoute, but only one at a time. Also it costs even more and you need Bluetooth.

Therefore, as you already have a great GPS (LT-40) and the maps you want to use (with nRoute), your best bargain is GPS Gate.

Download nRoute and the free trial of GPS Gate and see if it does what you want.


I now have nRoute installed and it is up and running. I have downloaded a free trial version of GPSGate and it is up and running. I am able to load map data into nRoute and all is good. Here is my problem : When I hook my LT-40 GPS to the laptop via the USB port, nRoute attempts to connect to GPS. The message that appears at the top of the map while running nRoute is "attempting connection to GPS". It never gets any farther than this. It never makes the full connection and it never gets to the point where it is actually receiving a signal / data from the GPS.

Now, when I take my Garmin eTrek GPS (cheap standard eTrek), and hook it up via the USB port, nRoute make a full connection and the GPS sends a full signal / data to nRoute.. It also shows navigation in real time mode.. As I drive down the road, the vessel moves and leaves tracks. Seems like it works just fine with the eTrek GPS.

I would rather use the LT-40 with Enroute. I am not sure if I have the GPSGate software configured properly. I will list my specifics below. Any advice or recommendations frm anybody would be greatly appreciated.

Compaq C700 dual core 1.73 ghz, 2 gigs of ram
Running Windows VISTA service pak 1
DeLorme LT-40 GPS receiver
GpsGate v2.6.0.325
nRoute version 2.7.6

When GPSGate is up and running, here are the stats from settings :

The color of the icon is GREEN : Runnig OK! : GPS data with valid position.

Input tab : GPS Simulator (temp3.gpssim)

Output tab : block data boxes are NOT checked.
Active Output : gpsgate - running ok, Com3 - runnig ok, (these are the only 2 listed in the active output box)
Advanced tab : Instance = default with active box checked, no other boxes are checked.

Thanks to all.....

Best Regards,

You don't want GPS Gate to have a simulated input. Did you try running the Setup Wizard to let it find your LT-40. Then it will list which output is Garmin (usually Com 1). If you have your LT-40 in a location that sees satellites, the GPS Gate symbol will turn green.

You can then start nRoute, click 'Utilities' and 'Select GPS'. Click on the Serial Port button and put the COM port that GPS Gate lists as Garmin in the drop down list. Click OK and nRoute should start tracking the satellites your LT-40 is receiving.

My Output tab in GPS Gate lists:
GPSGate Direct
Virtual COM1 / Garmin Emulator (Generic Device)
Virtual COM2
Virtual COM3



10-4. Let me take my laptop outside and see if I can get it to get a signal. Will report back.

Ken in Regina
Thanks for the update, dp. It's good to know that the Etrex does output the Garmin protocol and nroute sees it and is happy to use it. At least that gives you the option of using nroute and your Mapsource maps for totally free if you choose to go that route.

It's always nice to have options, especially the free kind.

Terry gave you good instructions on getting the LT-40 working through GPSGate. If you have any more problems just holler and someone will give you a boost.

Well, I took the laptop outside (wide open shot to the sky) and tried many times to have the setup wizard find the LT-40. It can not find it at all. The color of the GPSgate icon never left RED. I am not sure what to do.

I rebooted the laptop and the LT-40 flashes the green light on and off.

The LT-40 does work with DeLorme Street Atlas, or at least it did 2 or 3 days ago.

Sounds like a USB driver issue. Can someone more familiar with the Delorme product assist here?

Terry About