BackCountry Navigator on Trimble Nomad

BackCountry Navigator has teamed up with the Trimble Nomad™, a rugged Windows Mobile device with a sharp full VGA screen and built-in GPS. The Nomad features an 806 MHz Marvell PXA320 XScale processor, plus integrated Bluetooth and 802.11. Meeting rigorous MIL-STD-810F military standard for drops, vibration, humidity, altitude and extreme temperatures, it also has an IP67 rating so it can easily travel to the back country with you. All Trimble Nomads include a 21-day trial version of BackCountry Navigator.

You can learn more about the Nomad and other Trimble Devices at

The following are some tips for using BackCountry Navigator on your TDS Nomad™,  including some screenshots from the actual device.

Windows Mobile 5 and 6 have GPS settings for sharing a device between programs, such as BackCountry Navigator and the SatViewer program.

By default, the Programs port is COM3. The hardware port settings are COM2 and 9600 baud.

For sharing the GPS between different programs, select the box that says "Manage GPS Settings" automatically.

Ensure that programs are using the Program Port, COM3, in order to share the GPS.

Note: For more recent Nomad products (Second Half 2010), the VTG sentence is already on by default. For older Nomads, this step is reccommended. 

The GPS tab on SatViewer also has advanced settings for the GPS. You can access these settings through the "Advanced…" button. Ensure that the VTG sentence is on, if you want real time updates for bearing and speed in BackCountry Navigator. The setting allows you to choose the number of seconds between VTG updates. BackCountry Navigator will receive speed and bearing updates at the frequency you specify for the VTG sentence.


On BackCountry Navigator, go to the GPS tab and push the "Detect" button. BackCountry Navigator will detect the "Shared GPS device" if the control panel is set to Manage GPS Settings automatically. Otherwise, it will find the hardware port on COM2. Push the connect button, and the GPS will begin acquiring satellites.  This may take up to a few minutes the first time.

To be able to download data and use other features of BackCountry Navigator, you will want to choose a filename. If you did not do this when prompted earlier, it can be done by using the New… button on the Data Tab. This can be in main memory since the device has plenty of onboard storage, or on a storage card if you have one attached.

Once you have created a map file, you can use features like the PlaceFinder to find a familiar location. After pushing the Find button, choose a name and state to search for a place.

If you choose a spot from the list and press Ok, the place will be added to your map. You may have to activate View->Labels for the name to show up as well.

Further instructions for using BackCountry Navigator can be found in the rest of this tutorial section.