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Uploading MapPoint Locations To Your GPS

"Having found the address with MapPoint, how do you get it into your GPS? Very often I have faced this problem," writes Evert Mouw.

You can use the “location sensor” to see the WGS 84 coordinates, but then need to enter the coordinates manually in your GPS receiver. Much work, very clumsy.

However, after discovering MP2K Magazine I quickly learned how to make a COM add-in from the examples and from the MSDN website to do just that. Originally, I expected much from the location object / property. But too bad, it doesn’t reveal the WGS 84 coordinates because of copyright regulations or whatever. So when I discovered the VBA function which was able to return the WGS 84 location given a location, I was very pleased. This code (freeware) was written by Gilles Kohl. Now I am able to walk through all pushpins and waypoints and get the coordinates.

But how do I get the coordinates directly into my GPS? The MapPoint 2002 object model doesn’t support that, but the NMEA serial port protocol is not very complicated. I gathered information about the NMEA commands. Using the MS Comm Control 6.0 that is included with Visual Basic 6.0 Professional (MSCOMM32.OCX), it’s possible to send text commands over the Com port.

And then it’s very easy to walk through all waypoint and pushpin locations, calculate the WGS 84 coordinates for each location and store the information in arrays, design a simple form to show the names of the locations and their coordinates, and create a button “send to GPS”. Now I can send my waypoints from MapPoint to my GPS very fast.

The project is still in alpha phase, there are some bugs and a number of things to improve. For starters, it would be nice if the add-in would detect the COM port automatically. Also, waypoints with the same name are overwritten without warning if they already exist in the GPS. Importing waypoints or pushpins from the GPS would be nice too. And it shouldn’t mix up pushpins when deleting pushpins, and I don’t like the error message after exiting MapPoint complaining about a “pure virtual function call”. And what about memory management? Currently, I use Dim points (1 to 100). When you have > 100 pushpins, I’m sorry. If you have just three waypoints, it uses too much memory…

The source code is available for persons who are willing to improve the code. The compiled code is available for everyone to play with, but be conscious about hidden bugs Of course, this little project must remain open source so everyone can improve and benefit.

See WaypointsToGPS on my webpage to download the binary and source code and view installation instructions

Discuss this story in the forum.

Author: Evert Mouw
Email: gps(AT)evert.net
URL: http://www.evert.net
Evert is a system administrator and freelance correspondent in the Netherlands. Besides techie things, he is interested in political science and likes to make long trips and hikes in Scandinavia on his motorcycle using GPS to find the way.



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