How to Use your Laptop as GPS

A woman looking at a map on her laptop.
Getting a GPS receiver is much cheaper than buying a global positioning system. sarote pruksachat / Getty Images

Rather than buying a global positioning system, which uses satellites to tell you how to get from one place to another, why not save money and just buy a GPS receiver that you can hook up to your laptop? In addition to being cheaper, it will allow you to use your laptop, with which you are already familiar, to control the GPS rather than having to learn how to use a whole new device.

Here's how to set up the GPS on your laptop.


  1. Charge the battery of your GPS receiver before using it.
  2. Install the software that came with your GPS receiver onto your laptop.
  3. Use the cable that came with your receiver to connect the receiver to your laptop [source: TomTom].

Now you're ready to locate a signal so you can use your laptop as a GPS.

  1. Open the software that you installed.
  2. Move your car to an open area where it will be easier to find a signal. Steer clear of parking garages and tall buildings. You may have to wait several minutes for the GPS receiver to find a signal [source: Garmin].

Once you've found a signal, search for your destination using one of the methods listed below:

  • Select Where To? and either type in the name of the location you want to travel to or choose a location from a list of points of interest (restaurants, hotels, gas stations, ATMs, etc.).
  • Click View Map and choose your destination on the map.
  • Choose your destination from a list of Favorites you've previously saved [source: Garmin].

After you've chosen your destination, click Go. Now you can drive to your destination by:

  • Following the path that's delineated on the map
  • Reading the directions that appear on the screen
  • Following the voice prompts as they direct you where to go [source: Garmin]

Happy trails!


Frequently Answered Questions

Do I have GPS on my laptop?
No, your laptop does not have GPS.