Free GPS on Your Laptop – Geosense for Windows
By on March 2nd, 2010

I have a GPS unit to keep me from getting lost while I’m driving, but it doesn’t hook up to my computer. If I wanted to use geolocation applications to show online friends where I was at the moment, I couldn’t do it.   Until now ….

Sathya Bhat sent me an email yesterday telling me about a new geo-location solution. Two crazy programmers named Long Zeng and Rafael Rivera have created a program that identifies where you are by using either your IP address, or Wifi triangulation. The application is called Geosense for Windows, but, it only works in Windows 7. Apparently Windows 7 has a built in location sensing API that nobody else is taking advantage of yet.

Here’s how to set it up:

First, go to the home page and download Geosense and install it.

To enable Geosense, go to your Start Menu and type location(without quotes) into the search box. Then click on Enable location and other sensors.

control-panel-location-search

Next place a check-mark in the check-box to enable Geosense.

control-panel-enable-location-sensor

Once you’ve clicked Apply, you won’t notice anything new. However, you’ll find that any location aware application you run, will now automatically know where you are.

The Geosense website offers a nice Google Maps test application to try out. You can also run the Windows Weather Gadget to find your local weather. Here you can see both of these running on my laptop.

google-maps-applet

They also mention that there’s a Twitter application called MahTweets which can grab the location and put it into your tweets.

Here’s the Geosense homepage: Check it out.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Geosense is not going to be able to replace my car’s GPS unit, but if I’m on the road, at least I’ll know about where I am, even when I’m away from the car. I did notice that it was only able to give an approximate location, within half a kilometer, so it’s not perfect. It’s a free app that makes excellent use of a previously hidden feature in Windows 7. I love it.

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Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
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Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at clif@techie-buzz.com.

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