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The DataStorm Locator

by Sterling Udell

The DataStorm Locator program (DSLocator) is a small Windows application that offers fun and useful features by interfacing directly with the DataStorm's GPS receiver. See the downloads page for current version information. The utility has the following major functionality:

  • Updates your location on the map, a fun website that lets you see where other mobile Internet users are.
  • Adds campsites to the Satellite-Friendly Database, a user-supported searchable list of campsites with satellite coverage.
  • Checks for any upcoming solar satellite outages.
  • Links to online maps and aerial photographs for your current location.
  • Links to weather forecasts, both for your current location and your satellite uplink.


You can install the DataStorm Locator by following these steps:

  1. Click on this link to download it:
  2. When prompted, save the file someplace you can find it on your computer, like your Desktop.
  3. After download completes, double-click on the DSLocator icon on your Desktop (or wherever you saved it) to run it.

The first time you run DSLocator, it will start off in the Settings tab, where you will set it up for use. It should look something like the picture below:

First, you need to tell it what kind of dish you have by selecting one from the Dish dropdown. Assuming you have a DataStorm, selecting this will enable the Data Source  dropdown, where you will need to choose either the LCU-1 or D2 positioner.

  • The LCU-1 is the original positioner with a serial interface, one large blue button on the right, and small green and red lights on the left.
  • The D2 is the newer positioner with a network interface, two buttons ("Search" and "Stow"), and several blue lights.

If you choose D2, you will also need to set the IP address of your positioner. This varies depending on your network setup; please refer to the D2 networking articles here for guidance, or ask your installer if you're unsure about this value.

If you're going to use DSLocator to submit your position to the map, you will need to set some of the values in the lower-left area. User ID should be picked up automatically; if not, log into the DataStormUsers forum (using Internet Explorer) and restart DSLocator. The other settings here generally mirror what you'll find on the "Show your location" page associated with the map.

The lower-right corner of the Settings page contains items related to the Satellite-Friendly Database. The information here should rarely need changing; set it now and the program will remember it. Rig Type is simply a short description of your RV to help other travelers decide on the usability of campsites you submit; you can either type your own description or select one of the common types in the dropdown. Similarly, Rig Length will accompany your database entries; this should just be the length of your primary unit, excluding any tow/ed vehicles. Finally, Transponder should be set automatically from the DataStorm interface, so don't worry about it here.

When you've finished your settings, click Close to exit DSLocator, saving your changes.

Using DSLocator

After you've set up DSLocator, double-clicking its Desktop icon will start it in the Location page, shown above. Like the Settings page, there are three major areas here.

The top section shows your GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude) as retrieved from the DataStorm interface. The easiest way to use this is to have your DataStorm positioner powered up (and for LCU-1 users, have your DataStorm Administrator program running) before starting DSLocator. In this case, it should retrieve the coordinates automatically. Otherwise, click the Retrieve button to get them.

The lower-left region of this page contains a checkbox for whether you want to submit this location to the map, as well as an area to enter a freeform Note to accompany your map entry. Type anything you want here; many people use it to show their current travel plans, or perhaps to link to a travelog website.

In the lower-right area are campsite-specific details for Satellite-Friendly. Park/Campground Name, Site Facilities, and Site Number are pretty self-explanatory, but Satellite Rating needs a bit of explanation. This is essentially your estimate of the satellite coverage for the campground as a whole, on the following scale:

  • Excellent: Large areas of the campground are completely clear
  • Good: Several sites are mostly clear
  • Poor: Your site has at least a partial view of one satellite, but that's about it for this campground

You can get a reminder of these ratings by clicking the "?" button just above them.

Once your coordinates have been retrieved, and you have entered your location-specific information, the Submit Location button sends your position off to the map and Satellite-Friendly websites.

Finally, the Tools button will open a menu of other functions (some of which are only available when coordinates have been retrieved or entered):

  • Open D2Admin will open Don Bradner's D2 Administrator program, if it's installed on your system.
  • Map Current Location opens a web page to, starting with your current location. This can be useful to verify your coordinates, or to access a variety of mapping and routing functions.
  • Aerial Photograph links to a photo website: see your campground and its surroundings from above!
  • Weather - Here opens a forecast page for your current location.
  • Weather - at Satellite Uplink shows the current and predicted weather for your satellite's base station. This is handy because bad weather at the uplink can affect your satellite connection.

If you have any remaining questions about DSLocator, you can click the Help button for more information, or post your query on the forums here at Enjoy!

About the author: Sterling Udell is a software developer who travels fulltime in a DataStorm-equipped RV.

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