I was having dinner with a friend who works in the Transportation Department aof the local government and he was marveling about the new Blackberry Maps feature and how it will aid him in his job. "If only it had GPS" he lamented. Well, Martha it is now possible to get GPS on the CrackBerry. As you would expect it isn’t as easy as simply downloading a software program but here is how you can do it.
BlackBerryMaps is only available for devices running software 4.1 and newer so, for the purpose of this article, we will use the new Pearl and how to synch the GPS with Blackberry Maps. If you want to use the Location Based Services (LBS) features of BlackBerry Maps, you will need either a BlackBerry with an internal GPS (which can be very slow) do it is recommended that you have get Bluetooth GPS Receiver (GPS Puck).
1. Turn on your GPS receiver. Initially, the puck will take some time trying to locate and acquire a satellite signal. This can take as long as 10 minutes. Subsequent acquisition times will be significantly lower (usually 30 to 60 seconds). Ensure that the GPS puck acquires a signal before you turn on the BlackBerry Bluetooth or you fire up BlackBerry Maps But to ensure your puck has acquired the signal first will reduce the performance of the puck it will have a harder time searching for a signal.
2. Select “Set Up Bluetooth” option from the main application menu on the BlackBerry Pearl.
3: In the dialog box it should read “Please Ensure your Bluetooth Device is in Pairing Mode.” Press OK. The Blackberry will search for Bluetooth devices within range. This usually takes about 30 seconds.
4. The Pearl will list all the devices in range (which may be many if there are a number of devices nearby with Bluetooth capabilities). The GPS puck will have “GPS” in the device name. Select it and the Pearl will ask you for a “Pass Key.” Unusually this is either 0000 or 1234. Once that is entered the Bluetooth is enabled and your device is listed.
5: Although the Bluetooth in now enabled on your BlackBerry, it is not necessarily “On.” Applications like BlackBerry Maps will actually indicated that the BlackBerry is paired to a device even when your Bluetooth is not on. Ensure the Bluetooth connection is “On” by selecting the Bluetooth icon in the main application menu.
6: Now enter BlackBerry Maps and select “Options” from the menu. Highlight “GPS Device Option,” click the TrackBall or select “Change Option” from the menu. The device you just paired should appear as one of the devices listed. Select it and click the TrackBall. The GPS receiver icon should now be highlighted. Save your changes when you exit the menu.
7: From BlackBerry Maps menu select “Start GPS.” If the puck has acquired its position, you should see a Chevron indicating current bearing and speed. If you zoom in it should indicted the street. Some people want North to always be “up” on the screen. If so, select “North Up” from the main menu. If you prefer the map to show up as the direction of travel “Track Up.”
8: On the Pearl, hitting the Q key will give you information such as the time, battery strength, and how many satellites you are accessing (you need to access at least three for the GPS to work). On devices with a full keyboard, hit the “U” key. To display the map full screen, hit the space bar and the GPS mode switches to “Map Mode”. (The GPS is still active but the info is not being displayed).