what gps will allow me to attach a tablet so I can see my map on a large screen

Started by clancy10, January 01, 2016, 06:20:03 AM

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I will be dirt biking in Colorado next summer. I have found the gps screen to be to small for my liking. I would like to link the gps to a tablet and have the tablet mounted on the handlebars. what gps brands and models support this function and what is it called
thanks for the help


I think you need to choose a tablet first. There are many options in both Android tablets and iPads. Another possibility is a large phone as some of them are approaching 6 inches now. Then you will need some kind of rugged case and mount.

Next you need to find some software that you like. There are a lot of options for both Android and iOS. Most of them are very inexpensive, some are free. There are plenty of choices where the map is stored internally on the tablet/phone so no cellular connection is needed.

Most (but not all) Android tablets will contain an internal GPS. iPads that have cellular radios have an internal GPS, the wifi iPads do not. All phones have an internal GPS.

You will have to try the tablet to see if you are happy with the performance of the internal GPS. I have an 8" Samsung Galaxy tab and while it does have an internal GPS, I have not been very impressed with it.

If you need an external GPS, there are several choices there too. A bluetooth device is easy to use and doesn't require any wires. Batteries on these units typically last about 12 hours and they can usually be operated on external power too. I have a Garmin GLO that I use with both the Android tablet and an iPhone 6s Plus.

A company named Dual makes several bluetooth devices, although I have not used them myself

There's another company called Bad Elf that has a range of different products.

Note that these GPS devices just constantly send your position over the wireless bluetooth connection. The software running on the tablet does everything else.

But the bad news is... you have probably come to the wrong website to discuss this. GPSFileDepot only has maps for dedicated Garmin GPS devices. None of these will be compatible with any tablets or phones.

There has been some discussion of Android options here before though


Thanks for the fast reply.
I am a little more confused than I was before.
my plan was to have the GPS do all the work and get the the screen on the gps to go to the tablet. I did not even look at letting the tablet run the map program and sending just the location to the tablet.  What is the name of the function that will send the location to the tablet. I have an old windows base tablet laying around. So could I buy topo and put my tracks in topo and send the location to the tablet?


Quote from: clancy10 on January 01, 2016, 07:27:55 AMmy plan was to have the GPS do all the work and get the the screen on the gps to go to the tablet.

That's a nice plan, but unfortunately there's no such thing.

There are very few options for using an "old windows tablet" anymore (I have a Windows 7 tablet myself). Garmin used to make a program called MobilePC that would let you use their maps. They discontinued it 4 or 5 years ago however so it's no longer an option.

Garmin has a really old program called nRoute. It is free, and you can download it here:

It should work with most of the maps on this site, but it's old software that performs very slowly and is awkward to use on a touchscreen. You could use the GPS devices in my links above if your tablet has bluetooth. You could also use a USB GPS device. These are less expensive than bluetooth. Some of the more expensive Garmin handheld GPS units have the ability to connect to a computer over USB too. However they are just sending your position and the software on the computer does all the work.

If you want to use your old Windows tablet like this, laptopgpsworld has a lot of threads on the topic. But as someone who has been there himself, I think it's a pretty poor option in today's world.


Thanks for all the help and information.
I am headed in a new direction and it appears to be a better fit.
The old tablet I have is running 8.1 which supports external gps.  we have a set of tracks that I want to download in a map of colorado.
thanks again


I wrote about using a windows tablet in my car about three years ago here. I don't use it anymore

But I was using MobilePC and as mentioned above, you can no longer get that software. Even if you found a copy on eBay it wouldn't help because Garmin no longer operates the server that is needed to activate the program.


Food for thought. You might look at a used Hisense Sero 7 Pro tablet. They go for cheap, and have built in WiFi and GPS. There's lots of APPs out there with all sorts of maps that are downloadable to the tablet for use without WiFi.
GPS sensitivity is excellent, as the GPS works in my house, as well as the car.
The tablets usually go for around $40 to $75 max on Ebay. You've just gotta shop around a bit. 


I just got a Samsung Galaxy Tab A, 8" screen (quad core, 16 Gb, built in GPS, Wifi, and Blue tooth, accepts up to a 128 Gb micro sd card) for Christmas.  It was on sale at Best Buy for $179, may still be on sale online on some sites.  The GPS only (without Wifi) is locking on inside my house in about 15 seconds.  So far I'm well pleased with it.

As mentioned, are a lot of free maps to download and save in cache or on the micro sd card that can be used without Wifi. 

I'm in the process of learing the apps, Orux Maps (free) and Back Country Navigator (topo $9.99).  Both allow you to save waypoints and tracks. 

Orux Maps uses your custom Garmin vector map .img file and your custom .typ file, but can only display 1 map at a time on the tablet.  Since it uses custom garmin maps the maps here on GPSFileDepot will work in Orux Maps.

Back Country Navigator uses your .gpx files or .klm or .kmz files (tracks and waypoints) and are overlaid on top of the map of your choosing.

BobT here on GPSFileDepot has been using a tablet for a few years now with custom maps and is very knowledgeable about setting up files and customizing symbols for the 2 above mentioned apps.


I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0, which I guess is an earlier version of yours? I believe mine only supports a max of 64gb memory cards. It was $200 at Best Buy last year.

I like OruxMaps a lot, but thought the "garmin compatability" was not very good. Yes, it can read garmin format maps, and it uses an open source library to render them as raster images. This is rather sluggish (maybe better on a newer tablet), but the point is, you are working with a raster image and not a Garmin vector map. So, in track-up mode for example, if you are driving South, all the labels will be upside down. ;)

It also doesn't wrap text for line features - all the road names are horizontal which can be confusing/cluttered. I suppose if there's a Garmin map you "must have", then at least you can use it.


Get and learn an up dated app for the tablet you choose.

I have Gaia, Back Country Navigator, OsmAnd and PDGMaps on my Android phone, Galaxy Note3, a Garmin for the cars and 2 Garmin GPSMaps for backbacking.
To my mind none of them is "the" solution tho the Garmin for the cars comes closest.