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GPS Windows CE Help

MNWitten 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
I'm looking for a GPS device for my work. It will be used for simple, typical GPS work but I would also like to use Windows CE/Mobile for small application development. dash mountable, portable device, running CE/Mobile, that allows the use of CE/Mobile for running applications. I am having lots of trouble getting enough details about the GPS devices online to figure out if I can write and install a CE/Mobile app that will work on the GPS device.

In general, what I envision is this: A driver can use the GPS software as they normally would, but could then "switch" to CE (or an app I install) to look up information from a database for a given address. I can handle the programming and database stuff...but need some guidance related to such a device...if it exists. Obviously, cost is a factor (can't do a UMPC).

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.


  • Boyd 2045 Points
    I have several Win CE based GPS'es. My only real interest in them is running OziExplorer CE, which I use with maps that I make myself. As you probably already know, Win CE is a completely stripped down OS which is tailored specifically to each device and usually only contains the bare minimum of resources needed to run the embedded navigation software. Don't confuse Win CE with Windows Mobile, it does not have nearly as much "under the hood".

    Of the devices I own, the HP iPAQ 310 has the most complete version of CE installed. You can actually exit an application to a desktop which gives you access to a control panel and Windows Explorer. But that's about it, you would have to add everything else you need. If you copy a valid Win CE program to the root directory of an SD memory card and name it CELauncher.exe, the iPAQ will run this program when the unit boots.

    I also have a Magellan Maestro 5310 and Roadmate 1700. These are bare-bones implementations of Win CE which don't even have a desktop. On the 5310, a file in the root directory of an SD card which is named ToCopy.exe will be executed immediately after restarting the unit. To accomplish the same thing on the Roadmate 1700, name the file iBoot.exe.

    I also have a Magellan Triton 1500. A file named ToCopy.exe with be executed on restart if it is located in the root directory of the SD card.

    For awhile I had a Mio c520 and also played with it. Can't recall the "secret sauce" needed to run your own program on this anymore.

    So this is how you can run alternative software on the units which I have. One way to get started with these is to put a file manager on the SD card and name it as described above. This will let you explore the contents of the unit. Here's one possibility:

    Of all the devices mentioned above, only the iPAQ contains a software input panel (SIP) for entering text. This can be a big problem, unless your application contains its own (as OziExplorer does). has a couple forums dedicated to "unlocking" Win CE devices. See their "AIO", Mio and Magellan forums for lots of discussion. has discussion of unlocking the Triton series.

    A good starting point for you might be the "MioPocket" package. This has been ported to many Win CE devices and is well documented. You will find it in the Mio forum at GPSPassion.

    Of all the units I've mentioned, the Roadmate 1700 is my favorite due to the spectacular 7" 800 x 480 screen. I am using it to run Ozi CE in the car every day. You can probably find one for under $300 if you shop around. Otherwise, if money is tight, there are many, many inexpensive Win CE devices out there marketed under different names.

    Maybe this will point you in the right direction? We don't usually send people to other sites, but I think you will find much more help with this in the GPSPassion forums mentioned above, since this site is more consumer-oriented. But let me know if you have any specific questions. I really don't know anything about writing Win CE software though! :?
  • Boyd,

    Thanks for all the info. I have a much better idea of what will be involved now. I have developed for Palm, CE, PocketPC and Mobile so that part isn't a problem. The idea of booting directly to a CE app is likely what I'm looking for. I will have to find some way to switch between that and the GPS software but I guess that is where I'll have to get into the hacking side...and, as you mentioned...the input capability will be needed.

    I guess the answer I was hoping for was XXX brand and YYY model allow you to run CE (desktop and all) and the GPS software, then switch between the two and run any other CE program. Obviously it isn't that simple, and the manufacturers don't provide that much information and the sales reps have no clue.

    Thank you very much for the input, direction and all. It should save me quite a few days :)

  • Boyd 2045 Points
    I think the MioPocket package will be a good start because it lets you run more than one program at a time. It's a very impressive effort that includes everything but the kitchen sink, but is a little too much for my own needs.

    But it could serve as the core of your package with modification because it has the desktop, icons, utilities and several nice keyboards. It can be an issue running two programs which compete for data from the GPS chip however.

    Good luck with the project!
  • You might want to take a look through some of the posts here.........
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