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September 22, 2009

Making Windows 7 Location “Aware” with u-blox Products

Last week, embedded GPS chip maker u-blox announced support for Windows 7’s Sensor and Location Platform. Windows 7 has built in “location awareness” using the new Windows Sensor and Location Platform. PCs with u-blox’s AMY-5M chip or their PCI-5S/PCM-5S receiver cards with Windows 7 can now be “location-aware” with u-blox’s new Windows 7 driver available for download here.

There is a u-blox GPS chip inside the Microsoft GPS dongle that ships with Streets and Trips 2009. I went out and grabbed a copy for myself to try out making Windows 7 on my laptop location-aware.

Microsoft GPS Dongle

  Microsoft GPS Dongle plugged in to a Laptop

I plugged the dongle in, installed the u-blox Windows 7 driver, and the GPS dongle appeared as a sensor in Windows 7. I of course enabled the u-blox GPS sensor (or location sensor).

Location and Other Sensors Control Panel

Windows 7 utilizes location-awareness in several different ways for the user. The inbox weather gadget is one.


If a person has a location sensor enabled in Windows 7, the “Find location automatically” in the weather gadget settings can be checked. If checked, this will allow the weather gadget to utilize the Sensor and Location Platform to discover your location and display weather from your location. In my case, it accessed my location using the u-blox GPS sensor I have enabled. As you move locations with your laptop, the weather gadget will chain to your current location.

Weather Gadget Options

If you have Streets and Trips 2009 and the Microsoft GPS dongle that comes with it, use it to make Windows 7 “location-aware” with the weather gadget.

As more and more laptops PCs come with GPS in them, Windows 7 is designed to take advantage of location natively within the OS. This offers a great experience for people always on the move.

For more information on the Windows Sensor and Location Platform in Windows 7, click here. If you’re a developer, learn how to make your application “location-aware” with Windows 7 with these resources on the Windows Sensor and Location Platform here.

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