GPS Software – While we have all heard about it, not many of us know that it falls under two different categories – one, navigation with route calculation and directions to the user by the software. This is basically based on a vector map and is mostly for motorized vehicles. And two, navigation tracking with a map. This allows routes to be preprogrammed, shows where you have been, and also makes way for geocaching. This type of software can be used on a desktop or a laptop that has an attached GPS receiver and also on mobile phone operating systems. There are many GPS software available in the market today and while some can be used for all purposes, there are some specifically designed for land and water. In this article, we have distinguished the GPS software based on the operating systems they work best.
Windows Desktop and Notebook Operating Systems
With the tagline “Online maps at a click,” CacheMaps retrieves a variety of maps for your caches directly from the huge internet world. It uses the Geocaching loc- or gpx-files as input. It sources directly from the Geocaching site or as exported from GSAK. CacheMaps has been designed to be used next to GSAK, however, it can also be used without it. The new version has a wide range of online maps that can be retrieved and more area maps. It also shows online and offline cache descriptions. If you are logged in, you can view the maps of other users and create and update your own maps.
2. Easy GPS
If you are looking for a fast and easy way to upload and download routes, tracks, and waypoints, between your Windows computer and your Garmin, Lowrance GPS, or Magellan, this is the one you should install. EasyGPS can be used to back up and organize your GPS data, load new waypoints onto your GPS for the upcoming hike or geocaching adventure, and even print maps. It is compatible with almost all GPS receivers and helps you do your job seamlessly.
3. Garmap Win
This one is a free GPS software that runs on Windows 95/98 or Windows NT 4.0. Garmap Win communicates with Garmin GPS receivers to deal with routes, track logs, and waypoints. With Garmap Win, you can create and upload routes and waypoints to a Garmin GPS receiver, download routes, track logs, and waypoints from a Garmin GPS receiver, and see the current position on a map. Garmap Win supports 124 MAP DATUMs. However, in the case of Bitmap files, they need to be calibrated before being used as a map.
GeoSetter is a freeware tool for Windows (note that it requires Internet Explorer 10 or a higher version) for both changing and showing geo data and other metadata (IPTC/XMP/Exif) of image files (for instance, images taken on digital cameras or phone). This app shows existing image directions, geo coordinates, and the tracks on embedded Google Maps. It also helps to set geo data by using embedded Google Maps map and automatically file locations such as IPTC fields and altitude values. However, you would need a steady internet connection for this. It easily synchronizes with track files such as GPX, LOG, NMEA, etc. and also with already geotagged images with buddy images. The interface is localizable.
5. Google Maps with GPS Tracker
This is undoubtedly one of the best free GPS software available. This app uploads your GPS position on a regular basis via GPRS or 3G/4G and then updates your position on a Google Map display automatically. While this should be ideally used with a GPS device, you can also try the GpsGate simulator software free for 14 days and then get a GPS device that meets your requirements. This app has many features like “up the slider” that lets you configure the time out in minutes. This software also lets you send GPS data to a wide range of outputs, like com protocols, Google Earth, and system ports.
Free GPS Software for Mobile Devices
1. amAze – This free GPS software is available for all mobile phones including Android, iPhone, windows, etc. It is loaded with helpful features like turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation, 2D and 3D (bird view) mapping navigation modes, day and night automatic modes, arrows navigation mode, routing setup tools, textual routing mode, navigation simulation mode, and many more. It also lets you see the location of your Facebook friends on the map and share your location with your preferred Facebook friends, it gives you driving and walking directions to your nearby friends, share your location via SMS with other amAze users, and also contribute your own information. You can also search for maps by latitude and longitude coordinates, white pages directories, etc. The software also has wide mapping coverage around the world, detailed street maps, and has easy mapping options. It also shows 5 days weather forecast for any point around the world. It also has multiple language support for user interface and voices that you can change any time of the day.
2. VITO FindMe
FindMe is a free GPS app for Pocket PC Phone Edition that will help your friends find your whereabouts immediately by just sending an SMS. After you install the app, all you need to do is set a codeword and give it to your friends. This will help them find your location. All they need to do is send you an SMS with the codeword and post that, they will receive an SMS with your coordinates. After they get the coordinates, they need to input the coordinates into the search box in Google Maps and they will get to see your location. This app also lets you send your location via email and see the location of your friends on a desktop.
This app transforms your Windows Mobile Smartphone or PDA into a customized digital tour guide. With this, you can load tours created with GeoTour into your mobile device and it displays the related media (audio, text or image) when you reach the designated tour location. During the tour, all locations are displayed with both distance and direction. All the tours can be previewed without a GPS receiver, however, a GPS receiver is a must for location triggers and tracking. This app lets you hear and see audio media for a tour location without even being there, the app also displays general tour information such as author name, number of locations, and tour type, cycle through program screens by pressing just a button, displays relative direction and distance to each tour location, plays audio alerts for locations without any associated audio, shows GPS information such as heading, latitude, longitude, number of satellites, and speed. And the best part is that the program layout adapts to all screen sizes and also shows your current location and tracklog.
4. Google Maps
One of the best maps for mobile devices, this app supports all phone types, including Android and iPhone. With Google Maps, you can track real-time traffic and see which part of your city is congested at what time and also estimate delays. The map also gives you detailed directions to a location, irrespective of whether you plan to walk or drive, everything is shown with step-by-step directions on the map itself. You can also get a bird’s eye view of your desired location and if you are looking for information about local businesses, you can find them on the map too. The maps are also interactive. So, it lets you zoom in and out according to your requirements.
This is another great app that can be used on all phone types, including Android and iPhone. Waze is actually owned by Google but exists as a different entity and is not a part of Google Maps. Waze is a community-based map and a navigation app that is only meant for drivers. Drivers can share real-time information about traffic situations, accidents, road closures, speed limits, etc. that can help other drivers who are on that route. You can also track the locations of other Waze users in real time. However, Waze does not offer directions for cycling, walking, or public transport directions and is also not available for offline use. The best part about Waze is that it offers real-time data and uses 3D graphics for display. You can either download the app or use their services on the Waze website.
Free GPS Software for Windows CE
1. Garmap CE
Garmap CE is a free software that runs on H/PCs or P/PCs running Windows CE 2.0 ( or a higher version). This software communicates with Garmin GPS receiver to handle track logs, Routes, and waypoints. It also shows your bearing, current position on a map, current speed, ETE, and track. If the need arises, the software can change maps based on your current position automatically. You can also create and upload Routes and waypoints to a Garmin GPS receiver with this software. The maps may be divided into segments to improve performance and Garmap CE can load 9 bitmaps at a time. The software uses the Garmin Protocol to handle navigation, route management, track Logs, and waypoints. It also uses NMEA data for NMEA Navigation. Garmap CE supports 124 MAP DATUMs.
This is a fantastic map on the move navigation program. To install the program, you need to first unzip the ZIP file of the program to an empty folder on your PC, you can then edit the file Gps.ini to adapt the settings of your GPS. If you are not aware of the settings, you can either check the manual or Google the GPS’ make and model. If you don’t have a GPS receiver, use ‘Fake=1’ to only use the map browser. Copy the entire directory (including the modified gps.ini) to your device and start maplorer.exe. This software works on Windows CE and Windows Mobile-based portable devices such as GPS systems, PDAs and even smartphones. Maps captured as JPG images also work fine on Maplorer. This software organizes the maps in tiles, lets you navigate through the maps, and also add points of interest as you go.
Navit is basically an extremely user-friendly car navigation system with routing engine. The software is capable of using vector maps of various formats for both routings and rendering on the screen. You can also use multiple maps at the same time with this program. To make navigation easier, various points of interest in different formats are displayed on the map. The current vehicle position is either read from GPSD or directly from NMEA GPS sensors. The routing engine calculates an optimal route to your destination, and also generates directions. And to add to it, the program even speaks to you using a feature called espeak. Currently, Navit is loaded with 49 languages and is capable of running on various platforms.
This is an open source (GPL) program that provides car navigation for Linux, UNIX and now Windows CE (a.k.a. PocketPC) and also for iPhones and iPods. This app shows the map of the streets, identifies the street matching the GPS position and announces the name of the crossing street at the next intersection, and also tracks the position provided by an NMEA-compliant GPS receiver. The trip feature of the app allows RoadMap to display routes and tracks, and also provide some basic navigation information like distance to the next waypoint, speed, etc. You can also use the voice messages feature. You can also view a specific area on this program by providing a postal address, the intersection of two streets or even latitude and longitude points.
If you often venture out in the wild and love to go on adventures, this is the app for you. It will help you plan all your adventures and even archive your GPS recordings. This app has Raster maps that are supported by GDAL, online maps, reproject maps on-the-fly to view’s projection, hill shading and slope coloring, GEMF raster maps, and digital elevation model independent from maps. With this app, you can both redo and undo history for all items, copy, combine and cut all tracks, rfine tune track statistics by activities, use various filters to enhance tracks, color tracks by activities or extensions, create your own routes and calculate them offline and online, and much more. The languages supported are English, German, and Russian.
In this article, we have tried to list some of the best free GPS software from across the globe. In our endeavor to do so we have tried to check all the possible software available and found out while some have great features, they might not be compatible on your desktop or phone. Hence, in this article, we have listed the five best GPS software based on operating systems and devices to make your search easier and faster. Do you know of some equally great GPS software or feel that we missed something? Let us know in the comments section below.