Handheld & Mobility

Satmap: enhanced GPS performance

Homepage Satmap: enhanced GPS performance

Project Background

Satmap is a SME that manufacture rugged walking and sports GPS devices.

Based on the desire to improve their product range, Satmap has developed a new product called Active 20 which is based upon Windows Embedded Compact 2013.

With the launch of the Active 20 in 2017, Satmap wished to improve the technical characteristics of this device, specifically: to improve the battery life and low light performance to provide increased satisfaction to their users.

In developing this new device, Satmap was seeking a partner with an extensive Windows Embedded Compact expertise and a proven track record of system level optimization for mobile devices. This new product represents a step-ahead solution for serious enthusiasts of The Great Outdoors, especially walking, hiking, cycling, and off-roading.


Witekio applied its architecture and software expertise to the low-level software layer of the solution. This set of services includes embedded software optimisation relating to USB, backlight brightness management and power consumption. For a successful walking and sports GPS device, optimal management of the power consumption is a mandatory requirement.

Witekio collaborated with Satmap’s technical team to optimise the Pulse-width modulation (PWM) frequency control of the display backlight. This  allowed for a lower minimum level and a logarithmic brightness curve which replicates how the human eye perceives brightness, as well as  greater granularity of the display’s backlight. In line with Satmap’s expectations, Witekio also profiled and optimised power states, the gating of unused SoC peripheral clocks and completed a power optimisation review of all drivers.

These technical improvements provide a solid foundation for on-going platform optimisation and represent a key success in the development of the Active 20, an every-day product that must be reliable in any type of environment.

Satmap is the kind of company we strive to work with because of their highly-specialised product line, where our expertise can be leveraged to bring significant benefits. It’s great to work with a company who have a clear vision for their product and market. We enjoy working on battery-powered systems, where small improvements can yield big results. - Phil Robinson, Witekio UK, Site Manager


  • Product reliability and performance enhancement
  • Power consumption improvement
  • Significantly improved backlight driver
  • Time savings thanks to our proficient low-level expertise
  • Identification of potential further areas for improvement


Witekio are a great added-value partner for Satmap Systems Ltd., and have been instrumental in helping us get the Active 20 Sports GPS to market and support us with post-launch upgrades. In an efficient commercial manner, this has allowed Satmap to remain forward looking and customer focussed, and at the same time call upon leading edge, affordable, embedded, technical knowledge and insights to keep our GPS platform best-in-class. Witekio have worked closely with the management and technical teams at Satmap to develop a cost-effective development roadmap, and are always on hand to assist with short term issues. In all, a very strong and solid partner for us.” Howard Dyson - MD Satmap

Key facts

  • Low-level development on Windows Embedded Compact 2013
  • Display backlight optimization
  • Power management optimization
  • Reconfigure USB Mass Storage mode to improve reliability
  • USB reconnection support on Mac devices

Satmap Systems Ltd is a UK based company founded in October 2005. They have developed 3 high-end, Award winning handheld GPS devices. To compliment the Active series of GPS devices, they also have over 400 hundred high quality maps from a number of reliable sources such as Ordnance Survey and OpenCycleMap. As of 2014 they have developed the Satmap Adventure Layer mapping, which uses a special Satmap custom version of OpenCycleMap data. Maps are supplied on microSD cards that simply plug straight into the device, offering vast map coverage in a handy GPS.