BlackBerry Cool How-To: GPS and your BlackBerry (Pt. 1)

26 Comments

BlackBerry Maps

If the news that RIM had released BlackBerry Maps for all Blackberrys wasn’t enough, our exposure to USGlobalSat’s Bluetooth GPS Receiver made it a no-brainer: we have to talk more about the wonders of LBS (Location-Based Services).

However, like most good things, GPS on your BlackBerry doesn’t necessarily come easy. Which is why BBCool HQ has put together a handy guide to get you started.

Note: Because most BlackBerry users will likely want to use GPS in conjunction with BlackBerry Maps, most of our How-To focuses on that lovely piece of RIM software. However, most of the general info about paring a GPS puck to your BlackBerry and proper GPS procedure applies to pretty much any other piece of LBS software (might we recommend Chronicle Road ).

Adding a Bluetooth GPS Receiver to the BlackBerry

If you want to use the LBS features of BlackBerry Maps, you’re going to need either a BlackBerry with internal GPS like the 7520 (not recommended as they are old and clunky), or a Bluetooth GPS Receiver, usually referred to as a GPS puck, to pair with your BlackBerry. Because we like rocking the new hotness, we’re going to show you how to pair said GPS puck with a BlackBerry Pearl.

Step 1: Turn on your GPS Receiver. It’s important to note that most brand new GPS pucks are fresh off the boat from Taiwan, so it’s going to take up to 10 minutes for it to acquire satellites and get your position. Subsequent attempts to get your position will usually take around 30 seconds to 1 minute once the GPS puck has acclimated itself to its new North American home.

USGlobalSat GPS Puck

It’s best if the puck’s first time is done outside, away from large buildings and with a clear view of the sky. Considering the weather this time of year, this can easily be done by throwing it on the dashboard of your car and checking back in 10 minutes. Make sure that you let the GPS puck acquire a signal first before you turn on your BlackBerry’s Bluetooth or BlackBerry Maps – otherwise, your puck will perform what is called a “warm” (i.e. less intensive) search, which might make it more difficult to find a satellite signal in bad weather or during certain times of the day when most satellites are on the horizon and hard to pick up. If you feel like your puck isn’t performing its due diligence, pull out the battery and pop it back in to guarantee it’s not doing a warm search.

  • Bruce

    Great review!! Will this work for the Vz 8700E which does not have GPS enabled?

  • Bruce

    Great review!! Will this work for the Vz 8700E which does not have GPS enabled?

  • Bruce

    Great review!! Will this work for the Vz 8700E which does not have GPS enabled?

  • Aaron

    Bruce, I’m sure it will work with the 8703e by Verizon. You just need to have the puck, and some software.

  • Aaron

    Bruce, I’m sure it will work with the 8703e by Verizon. You just need to have the puck, and some software.

  • Joaquin

    I have been using Blackberry Maps on a Blackberry Pearl paired with a BT-359. The GPS works really well on tracking the position. However, BlackBerry Maps is not reliable at all when the GPS is enabled for tracking. The maps do not refresh well and sometimes it takes a long time for the map to catch up with your location. I have been testing The GPS and Pearl going from home to work and back. Thank God I know my way from one point to the other, otherwise, I would have completly missed every single exit I was supposed to take.
    I love the Pearl and I like the GPS device, but I would not recomend this a reliable GPS traveling solution.

  • Joaquin

    I have been using Blackberry Maps on a Blackberry Pearl paired with a BT-359. The GPS works really well on tracking the position. However, BlackBerry Maps is not reliable at all when the GPS is enabled for tracking. The maps do not refresh well and sometimes it takes a long time for the map to catch up with your location. I have been testing The GPS and Pearl going from home to work and back. Thank God I know my way from one point to the other, otherwise, I would have completly missed every single exit I was supposed to take.
    I love the Pearl and I like the GPS device, but I would not recomend this a reliable GPS traveling solution.

  • Andree

    Wow, it’s an awesome mapberry. I’m currently using tomtom and PPC CE 5.0 GPS built-in for travel planning, and you can’t imagine how much hassles to go through it compared to this mapberry. Although the screen is most of the times not big enough, but the easiness and seamlessness of it just enticing me. Moreover, as far as i know, only google and blackberry are doing maps as far as this, and no need to say that RIM is the only one doing both hardware and software so far. I believe as long as they conntinue R&D and good support on this, it will conquer the world of travelling in the future. Go RIM!

  • Andree

    Wow, it’s an awesome mapberry. I’m currently using tomtom and PPC CE 5.0 GPS built-in for travel planning, and you can’t imagine how much hassles to go through it compared to this mapberry. Although the screen is most of the times not big enough, but the easiness and seamlessness of it just enticing me. Moreover, as far as i know, only google and blackberry are doing maps as far as this, and no need to say that RIM is the only one doing both hardware and software so far. I believe as long as they conntinue R&D and good support on this, it will conquer the world of travelling in the future. Go RIM!

  • Andy

    Hi,
    Everything works OK for the 8703e but I have Verizon and I can not get my current position nor can I get turn by turn or any location. Am I doing something wrong?
    Thanks,
    ewokdog@yahoo.com

  • Andy

    Hi,
    Everything works OK for the 8703e but I have Verizon and I can not get my current position nor can I get turn by turn or any location. Am I doing something wrong?
    Thanks,
    ewokdog@yahoo.com

  • Annie

    Hi, I just got the blackberry pearl and the BT-359 USGlobalSat GPS Receiver and I want to see if I can get it to show me points of interest… otherwise what is the point of a GPS? I want to be able to find the nearest bank or starbucks. google maps does this great, but it doesnt look like I can pair my GPS Receiver to Google maps. Can you help please? Thank you.

  • Annie

    Hi, I just got the blackberry pearl and the BT-359 USGlobalSat GPS Receiver and I want to see if I can get it to show me points of interest… otherwise what is the point of a GPS? I want to be able to find the nearest bank or starbucks. google maps does this great, but it doesnt look like I can pair my GPS Receiver to Google maps. Can you help please? Thank you.

  • hector

    hey i just picked up the blackberry pearl and im undecided whether to buy the bt-359

  • hector

    hey i just picked up the blackberry pearl and im undecided whether to buy the bt-359

  • Murtaza

    Hello, I have a Bt-5 GPS satellite receiver and have hooked up to the BB pearl..did all the settings as instructed in this forum. The blue lights comes up on the BT-5 the dash on BB maps application reads GPS reporting, A red arrows always shows N direction, ever time i move the track ball a message pops us saying updating in 10 sec and counts down till 0. but all i get is gray diagonal lines. I have never seen any map on my screen. i have tried mixed and match other menu options but no luck. pls guide how to get the maps and GPS thing working on my BB

  • Murtaza

    Hello, I have a Bt-5 GPS satellite receiver and have hooked up to the BB pearl..did all the settings as instructed in this forum. The blue lights comes up on the BT-5 the dash on BB maps application reads GPS reporting, A red arrows always shows N direction, ever time i move the track ball a message pops us saying updating in 10 sec and counts down till 0. but all i get is gray diagonal lines. I have never seen any map on my screen. i have tried mixed and match other menu options but no luck. pls guide how to get the maps and GPS thing working on my BB

  • Murtaza

    Hello, I have a Bt-5 GPS satellite receiver and have hooked up to the BB pearl..did all the settings as instructed in this forum. The blue lights comes up on the BT-5 the dash on BB maps application reads GPS reporting, A red arrows always shows N direction, ever time i move the track ball a message pops us saying updating in 10 sec and counts down till 0. but all i get is gray diagonal lines. I have never seen any map on my screen. i have tried mixed and match other menu options but no luck. pls guide how to get the maps and GPS thing working on my BB

  • CWF

    I have Deluo USB GPS Pro+ SiRFstarIII for my laptop. Is there a way to hook that up to my BlackBerry Pearl?

  • CWF

    I have Deluo USB GPS Pro+ SiRFstarIII for my laptop. Is there a way to hook that up to my BlackBerry Pearl?

  • Newbie4BB

    Great review Douglas…Do you get charged data by rogers for using external GPS device? do you know of any GPS receiver that gives you turn-by-turn directions?

  • Newbie4BB

    Great review Douglas…Do you get charged data by rogers for using external GPS device? do you know of any GPS receiver that gives you turn-by-turn directions?

  • Jon

    amaze gps does turn by turn with voice and its FREE

  • Jon

    amaze gps does turn by turn with voice and its FREE

  • Greg

    Is there a gps that I can put on my blackberry for oilfield use? I am looking to get the LSD location maps so I can pin point leases and gas plants. Any info please let me know thanks

  • Greg

    Is there a gps that I can put on my blackberry for oilfield use? I am looking to get the LSD location maps so I can pin point leases and gas plants. Any info please let me know thanks