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Find your computer’s location with Windows 7 and Geosense

GPS enabled smartphones make it easy to get directions, weather, and many more location based services since they automatically know where you are.  With Geosense, you can bring this functionality to any Windows 7 computer even if it doesn’t have a GPS chip.

Windows 7 introduced the new Sensors and Location platform that would let Windows automatically respond to environmental changes sensed by light, orientation sensors, or GPS chips.  This makes your computer more aware of its surroundings and change itself accordingly.  The location platform is especially interesting, as it brings the potential of automatic location based search and maps to your PC.  Unfortunately, most laptops today are not equipped with GPS chips.  Thanks to Geosense, however, you can still use the location platform.

Geosense uses IP lookup, WiFi and Cell tower triangulation, and more to find your location as accurately as possible.  Geosense lists itself as a sensor in the Windows Sensors and Locations, so once you’ve installed it, all location-aware applications and services will be able to pickup your location from it.  Please note that Geosense only works on Windows 7 Home Premium and higher, as Windows 7 Starter doesn’t include the Sensors and Locations platform.

Getting Started:

Geosense is a free download for Windows 7, with both 32 and 64 bit editions.  Choose the correct one for your computer, and install.

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While installing, it will ask to install a device driver.  Simply press Install.  You may also see a UAC prompt, which you should accept as well.

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When it is finished installing, you are ready to use Geosense.  First, lets make sure Geosense is enabled.  Enter “Location” in your Start Menu search, and select “Location and Other Sensors”.

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Here you should see Geosense listed as a sensor.  If it is not enabled, click the check box beside it and click Apply.

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You can see more information about Geosense if you click its name.  This page lets you change the description, choose which users can use this sensor, and uninstall it if you choose.

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Using Geosense

There are few applications today that make use of the Location platform in Windows 7, but hopefully we will see more in the near future.  The weather desktop gadget, however, is location aware, so you can easily test out your Geosense location with it.  Once Geosense is installed, you will notice a grey logo beside your city’s name on the gadget that shows that a sensor is available.

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Click on the gear to open the options pane.  Here you can now select “Find location automatically” and it will display the weather for the location detected by Geosense.

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Now your gadget should show a blue icon beside the city name, showing that the location is coming from your location sensor.

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Unfortunately, sometimes Geosense cannot detect your location. If so, you will either see an entirely incorrect city (Seattle, WA is the default city, and usually is “detected” if Geosense fails to detect your location), or will show a red icon showing that it cannot detect your correct location.

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Location-aware Google Maps

Another location aware application is a Google Maps app available from the Geosense site (link below).  This will automatically open a Google map at your current location, so you can easily search for directions and nearby businesses.  This could be very useful at a hotspot in a new city, for instance.  Once again, though, if it cannot detect your location, it may simply show a default location or a generic Google maps.

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Conclusion:

Geosense and the Windows 7 Location Platform gives you a great way to make your mobile computing experience even more interesting.  Geosense brings location awareness to a much broader audience than previously possible, so hopefully we’ll see some unique and innovative uses in the near future.  Until then, even the current location aware apps are fun to try!

Note: If you’re concerned about privacy while using the Location-Enabled Google Maps Client, check out Google’s privacy policy regarding the service.

Link:

Download Geosense for Windows 7 and the Location-Enabled Google Maps Client

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 03/3/10

Comments (15)

  1. pete kilgannon

    I dont know if it is just me or if it applies generally in France but I can only get the location of my internet service provider and not my laptop location with this

  2. nakul

    haha my eye just went on “Please read this LENGTHY license agreement”. i am not sure if lengthy word is commonly used but i am seeing for the first time and they are promoting people not to read it.

  3. Kodess

    Really, a Windows application that doesnt use Bing maps?!
    It isnt that accurate if you dont have a GPS chip in it….
    it depends on how much information the ISP is willing to give about their access points

  4. Brandon

    This great article… and no link to d/l the software or get to the company’s website?

  5. Matthew Wilcoxson

    This is a nice piece of software – great idea, thanks for the heads up.

    Do you know if it’s possible to set a more accurate location for the different wi-fi access points I use most frequncy?

  6. mlm122

    Where is the windows 7 weather gadget that is referred to in this article? Is the weather gadget a third party app that you d/l in addition to Geosense? Link, please? Thanks!

  7. Matthew Guay

    @mlm122 – In Windows 7, right-click on your desktop, and select Gadgets. From here, you can add a variety of gadgets to your desktop including the weather gadget mentioned in this article.

  8. Adam

    @Brandon the link for this is at the bottom of the page, if you would stop complaining enough and actually “read” you would notice it says right at the bottom “Download Geosense for Windows 7 and the Location-Enabled Google Maps Client”. But then again that would require a brain and common sense, which oddly enough you dont have.

  9. John S

    This works very well most of the time, normally the location shown is within just tens of yards of the actual location. As I would expect the accuracy seems better in built up areas. Occasionally it shows a location miles away, possibly the location of the service provider. However when this has happened the correct location is indicated after a period of time. The weather gadget works well also, but from start up (before running the geosense google application) I will normally have to remove it from the desktop and add it again before it picks up the location. Strangely the weather gadget has shown the correct general location when the google app does not.

  10. kalinaki A

    thanks for your kind services

  11. suleiman

    during a windows vista installation. the select your computer’s current location screen fails to display. What could be a possible reason for the absence of this screen ?

  12. greg

    still not working…..
    the little weather gadget says service is not available in your area(Malta)
    anybody?

  13. scott

    worked just fine for me…….. but how do i get this off my computer?

  14. SnarkMaiden

    Nice, but failing to Seattle? One way to make sure no-one at Microsoft will ever know if it stops working ;-)

  15. jacky

    can i delete microsoft sensor? if so, how ?

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