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Thursday, 11 August 2011

How To Use an External GPS Device with Your iPad or iPhone

If you bought a Wi-Fi only iPad and now you wish you could use GPS with it, this is the guide for you. Follow along to hook your iPad up to an external GPS unit and/or GPS-enabled smartphone phone.

There are a few reasons why you may want to undertake this quick project. Among those reasons: you have a GPS device with a long battery life and more accurate results than your iPhone or you have a Wi-Fi only iPad and want to add in mapping capabilities using GPS instead of coarse Wi-Fi location data.

What You’ll Need: -
1) An jailbroken iOS device (we’ll be using an iPad)
2) BTStack GPS (Available in the Cydia store from the Big Boss repository, $5)
3) A GPS receiver capable of sending coordinates via Bluetooth (we’ll be using an Android phone)
Installing BTStack GPS: -

1) Launch Cydia on your iOS device and use the store search function to search for BTstack GPS.

2) You should have the BigBoss repository active, if not you’ll need to activate it!!

3) Activate it by navigating to the main Cydia screen and clicking More Package Sources.

4) Once you’ve located BTstack GPS install it (the application is $5 and you can pay using PayPal or Amazon Payments). 

5) If you’re not sure if you want to shell out $5 for the application you can download it as a demo. 

6) In demo mode you’ll be able to see if your GPS device will connect properly but BTstack GPS will not share the GPS information outside of the primary application. 

After the application is installed hit up the Settings menu on your iOS device. You’ll want to do two things. First, look under the General Settings menu to make sure the native iOS Bluetooth is turned off. Second, look under the Extensions menu and click BTstack. BTstack, no iOS, should be checked.

Installing an Android Bluetooth Forwarder: -

Currently there are about a half dozen applications on the market that meet the needs of someone who wants to link their Android GPS chip to an external source via Bluetooth.

We had luck with Bluetooth GPS, alternatively you may want to try out ShareGPSNetwork/Bluetooth GPS, or Bluetooth GPS Output

1) Pairing Your Device

At this point your iOS device is using the alternative Bluetooth stack. Now it’s time to check out the actual GPS application paired with the BTstack. There should be a new icon on your springboard, simply labeled GPS. Click on that and you’ll see a very Spartan interface that simply lists the devices. On first launch is should say “Searching…” and if you have your Bluetooth device in discovery mode it will appear shortly. In the screenshot above you see our Android device after we scanned for available Bluetooth devices and the pairing prompt we sent the the iPad. In the screenshot below you see the result of that pairing prompt:

2) Once you connect the two, BTstack should kick you over to the mapping screen. If it doesn’t just tap the name of the paired device in the device list. You should see something like the following:
3) After a few seconds the GPS signal will fully resolve and you’ll see additional information.

NOTE: If the connection does not resolve then you need to try out a different GPS application on your Android device

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The main function of a GPS device is tracking; and it is a really great technology that can be used to track anything you want to, since it is connected to the world satellites. Thanks a lot.

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