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TomTom Navigator 3 for the Pocket PC

This page contains information on using the TomTom Navigator 3 route planning package on a Pocket PC.

Offer from TomTom

For information on later versions, see our TomTom Navigator page

Navigator Bundle
Navigator, from TomTom is a full navigation product designed for use with a Pocket PC handheld computer. It comes with the required bits to allow this to be used in-car, or you can use the software when strolling around if making use of a handheld CF card GPS unit, or a Bluetooth GPS receiver.

Navigator is normally supplied as a bundle including a GPS receiver terminated with a Pocket PC connector (IPAQ, Pocket Loox plus others), an in-car mount, and the Pocket PC mapping software. Considerably cheaper than a dedicated in-car unit, and just as powerful, this is a superb solution. This is a neat solution for those with an existing Pocket PC. If you already have a GPS receiver and a Pocket PC, you'll be pleased to know that you can buy the software only, for around £120.

Features of TomTom Navigator include:

  • Fast and reliable route planning on highly detailed, up-to-date maps
  • Automatic, one-second recalculation when you move off the route
  • Automatic positioning, zooming, and guidance by GPS
  • Guidance by means of clear and timely verbal instructions, symbolic arrows, and maps
  • Extensive lists of useful or interesting locations
  • Destination selection by means of: Favourites, Point of Interest, Clicking on map, Entering address
  • Realtime travel information via a GPRS mobile (Navigator v3)

The software runs on a wide range of Pocket PC and Windows Mobile 2003 devices, including: Compaq IPAQ 36xx, 37xx, 28xx, 39xx, 5400, iPAQ H5555 , iPAQ H6340 , iPAQ Hx4700 , iPAQ Rx3715, the Hewlett Packard Jordana 500, Casio Cassiopeia E-115, EM-125 and EM-500, the o2 XDA and XDA II range, Toshiba E330, E740, E750 & E800, the Fujitsu Siemens Pocket Loox 600/610, Packard Bell Pocket Gear 2030 / 2060 and the Dell Axim range. For the full list of supported devices, see the TomTom site

Buying TomTom Navigator

Looking to buy TomTom Navigator or accessories?

We recommend:

Using TomTom Navigator

Here's a summary of the hardware we're using:A loox, plus GPS card

  1. Handheld Pocket PC PDA - We use a Fujitsu Siemens Pocket Loox 600. Of key importance when choosing this machine, was the fact that the Loox has a CF card slot. CompactFlash on a PDA is most commonly used to add extra memory space, but can also be used to run CF modules, in this case, our plug-in GPS receiver. If you're looking for a cheap Pocket PC, it's well worth taking a look at the Dell Axim X5. Although we have no direct experience of this machine, at under £200 and with a CF slot, this is a hot machine.
  2. GPS receiver - To work out where you are on the planet, you need a receiver that can be pointed at the open sky. Options open to us were a CompactFlash card receiver, or a Bluetooth receiver. The CF solution was smaller, neater, and cheaper. We're using a CF GPS receiver that's quite new, and it's hard to get hold of in the UK at the moment. We got our GlobalSat BC-307 receiver in an eBay auction for under £100, but there are several around in the UK for under £150. A card that had positive feedback from users is the Pretec's CompactGPS-LP, which has the added advantage of coming with the CityMaps software, our current budget software of choice. You'll find this bundle at Amazon.

Using the software

TomTom Navigator Navigator is really designed to be used with live location data from a GPS unit - although it can be used stand-alone for route planning if required. If you're not planning to use GPS, then consider the cheaper TomTom Citymaps application, which does a great job of getting you from A to B at a fraction of the price, but lacks the bells and whistles we'll go on to discuss.

The Navigator software is supplied on a CD, and when you install it, you install the core application, the GPS software, and you make a choice about the type of map data to install. If you have enough free memory on a CF or SD card, you can copy the whole of the UK onto the card (95Meg), or you can select specific regions in 16, 32 or 64Meg chunks. Software and maps are installed via ActiveSync - a slow process with large maps (so speed up map installation, you can use a memory card reader if you have one).

Navigator scores over TomTom CityMaps and Microsoft Pocket Streets, in that it's more than a simple mapping or route-planning tool - it's a fully interactive co-driver. You plan a route based on your current position, obtained from the GPS receiver, and then enter a destination. You can do this by pointing to a location on the map, by entering the postal address (as well as street address, Navigator support house numbers and UK postcodes) that you want to go to, by picking a landmark or a saved location, or from the Pocket PC Contacts application list view. This makes selection of an address incredibly easy although searching for an address can be a little slow sometimes (not surprising really... there's a lot of streets in the UK, and to get a position for any UK address down to within a few feet, demonstrates the power of this application...)

You then have some choices - you can view a standard map (where if you're using GPS you can watch a moving dot superimposed onto the map showing you exactly where you are) or can see detailed navigation instructions in a list view. However, you'll probably want to live in the 'Navigator' mode when you're actually using the product on the move.

As soon as you select Navigation Mode, things change - and you get to see a 3D view of where you are, which streets are near, and the direction you need to go in. Set out on your journey, and prepare to be impressed. As well as the clear route map, you get spoken voice prompts along the way - normally about 10-20 seconds before a junction, and a repeat when you get to the junction. The messages are pretty accurate, and in our tests, very useful, with messages like "At the roundabout, take the second exit", or "at the end of the road, turn left then turn right". You also get warnings of which lane to be in, and when you're near your destination. Best of all, if you make a wrong turn, or know a better way, the software re-plans the journey on the fly without any need to touch the Pocket PC - and the planning is pretty intelligent (i.e. doesn't just tell you to turn around!). While you're moving, the display gives you distance to the next turn, your current speed, arrival time, how long it'll be before you reach the destination, the name of the next road, details of the GPS signal you're receiving, and icons to indicate any overlays on the way.

The software really is an impressive piece of work - without sounding too gushing (no, we're not on TomTom's payroll), this really is the killer app for the Pocket PC (shame the software costs over £100 though). The application is fully customisable, with a whole load of settings to play with, such as a high-contrast night view (complete with stars on the horizon!), different voices, road/area avoidance, a stack of overlays, and warnings of London's Congestion Charge areas.

Navigator Map
Navigation mode

Controlling the GPS

TomTom's GPS appThe TomTom software installs a mini-app in the Pocket PC control panel, that allows you to see information on the signal strength of the satellites you're receiving data from, a snazzy 'log' option that lets you record a journey, and play it back later in real-time, and a display of your long and lat positions, speed and direction (see the screenshot to the right). This applet also controls the settings and 'on / off' for the GPS connectivity.
Below is a screenshot of this part of the application. (1) is the On/Off box, (3) sets up which of the drivers to use... Navigator and CityMaps come with a couple of dozen built-in, including the DeLorme Tripmate, Destinator, Emtac CRUX and GPSJAQ, Garmin Etrex, Holux GM-200 and GM-210, the NAVMAN GPS1000, GPS3000 and GPS100, the Pretec CompactGPS, StreetNav iGPS, Rikaline GPS-6010, plus generic settings for NMEQ 0183 and SiRF, as well as TomTom's own range of receivers. CF, infrared, serial and Bluetooth connectivity are all supported. (4) controls a couple of sound - for acquisition and loss of signal, and (5) is a "you are here".

There are also settings for preferred speed format: kilometres-per-hour, miles-per-hour or knots (kts), as well as the option to change the longitude and latitude map co-ordinates display format: dº m' s" (degrees, minutes, seconds), dº m.m' (degrees decimal minutes) and d.dº (degrees and decimals).

We're not quite sure what (2) actually does... something to do with keeping the Pocket PC awake when Navigator is on (as opposed to turning off and power saving), but it's not clear, If anyone out there knows for sure, please tell us!

TomTom GPS setup

Real-time Traffic information

TomTom TrafficVersion 3 of TomTom Navigator saw the addition of a real-time travel information service. In the UK, the travel data is supplied by ITIS.

Traffic information is downloaded to the Pocket PC via a mobile phone with a GPRS data service. If your Pocket PC has a built-in phone (e.g. the o2 XDA), you already have a Pocket PC capable of using GPRS for Navigator. If not, you may be able to connect your Pocket PC to a mobile phone using either Bluetooth or Infrared.

The phone connects to the TomTom service over the Internet, and downloads information about traffic problems straight into the Pocket PC, which uses the information to update your route. There is a subscription charge for using this service.

In practise, the service works rather well, although the quality of the real-time traffic data sometimes lets it down.

For more on real-time road information, see our Travel page

Speed Cameras

TomTom Naivigator CamerasIf you're using Navigator on the move, you might want to consider adding a database of UK speed cameras. The best site we've come across is the PocketGPS Safety Camera Database. The database that they provide is intended to be used with TomTom's Navigator application. The database gives longitude and latitude co-ordinates for the cameras, and includes GATSO cameras, redlight cameras, and the locations of common mobile speed camera locations.

The database has to be copied to the map folder on the Pocket PC, and then you can add them to the map as an overlay (referred to as a POI - Point of Interest). You'll be able to see an icon of a speed camera in Navigator view. Below are some instructions for installing and using the database.

Now comes the clever bit - get hold of a free application called CheckPOInt, that can alert you audibly of an upcoming camera, by playing a WAV file of your choice when you near a camera.


Installing the UK Camera Database

Some basic instructions on how to install the UK Camera database onto a Pocket PC running Navigator 3

  1. TomTom  POI settingsDownload the latest version of the database from
  2. Unzip all of the files into a folder (If you need an unzip program, use [Winzip)
  3. There are lots of files in the ZIP file, which you may want to experiment with later, but we're going to start with the basics. You need to copy the following files from the ZIP file onto the Pocket PC. These need to be manually copied to the same Pocket PC folder as the one that holds the Navigator map files (which are called cline, cnode, cname, etc). To copy files, from the PC, connect with Activesync, open My Computer > Mobile Device, then drag the following files into the correct directory:
    - pocketgps_uk_gatso.ov2
    - pocketgps_uk_gatso.bmp
    - pocketgps_uk_redlight.ov2
    - pocketgps_uk_redlight.bmp
    - pocketgps_uk_mobile.ov2
    - pocketgps_uk_mobile.bmp
  4. Now, on the Pocket PC, start Navigator, go to Properties, and select the POI tab
  5. Make sure "Show points of interest" is ticked, scroll down the list and tick the three "pocketgps uk" options. Press 'ok' to shut down the Properties page
  6. When you next view a map or use Navigate, you should see the cameras

In addition to the above... note that optionally, a free application called CheckPOI can be used to provide an audible and visual alert when you're approaching a camera. Here are the instructions for using CheckPOInt:

  1. CheckPOIDownload & Install CheckPOInt from
  2. Start CheckPOInt - it should minimise onto the taskbar at the bottom of the Today screen.
  3. Tap on the minimised icon, and select 'General settings'
  4. Set 'Check for POIs' to 1 second and press 'ok'
  5. Tap on the minimised icon, and select 'Overlay settings'
  6. Expand "Not synchonized"
  7. For each of the pocketgps databases, select Properties and make the following changes:
    - Tick "Detect POIs from this overlay
    - Tick "Give a first warning" and select a sound file
    - Tick "Give a first warning" and select a sound file
  8. Select 'ok' when you've changed the settings for all three databases

Remember that you need to make sure CheckPOI is running each time you use Navigator

Frequently asked questions

  • Application crash. On a couple of occasions, we've hit application crashes, specifically the following: "TomTom Navigator.exe has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. If the problem persists, contact the program vendor. Program: TomTom Navigator.exe. Exception: 0xc0000005, Address: 000b2c6c". We got this using v2.24 (361). We've seen two solutions proposed online:
    • This may be a problem with custom POI files. Check the names used - the bitmap and the datafile must have identical names: first one capital - rest lowercase.
    • One user solved the problem by removing the optional colour schemes that were obtained from the TomTom site. Removal solved the problem.
    We found that reinstalling the map (not the application), solved the problem. If you get a similar crash, check the files in the map folder for anything odd.

Some useful links:

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