GPS for PolarView & PolarCOM

GlobalSat BU-353

The question of which GPS to use with PolarView and PolarCOM comes up almost every day. There is certainly a great variety of GPS devices out there, with many pros and cons to each.

That said, based on user feedback, GlobalSat BU-353 GPS “usb puck” seems to be a definitive leader, for many years consistently getting high marks for reliability, precision and generally doing what these devices are supposed to be doing. This GPS supports Windows (XP, Vista, 7), Mac OS and Linux.

Drivers for Windows and Mac are usually supplied with device. You can also download drivers online by following this link. These drivers are from original chipset manufacturer and seem to work best. They are listed for “PL-2303”, which is a type of microchip used in GlobalSat GPS device. Linux already includes drivers in most popular kernel distributions.

The only issue BU-353 tends to suffer from is “wandering” speed/course
when at complete rest. This is easily remedied by using data dampening option in PolarCOM, under “Configuration->Data->Data Dampening”.

A going price for GlobalSat BU-353 seems to be around $35 at Amazon or elsewhere, so they are easy on the budget too. Follow this link to order one.

2 Responses to GPS for PolarView & PolarCOM

  1. Edmund Henderson says:

    Do you have advice about using a bluetooth GPS receiver? I’d like to be able to use several computers interchangeably.

    • polarnavy says:


      A number of users reported successfully using Bluetooth GPS receivers. For purposes of PolarView/PolarCOM as long as Bluetooth port appears as a serial port under given operating system (as they generally do) and GPS provides data in NMEA 0183 format (again, as they generally do), this should work fine.

      Since Bluetooth GPS devices are evidently not quite as common as wired, there is no “clear leader” like BU-353 is for USB devices. I know that a few users have successfully used Globalsat BT-359.

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