This page was last updated on 10 February, 2014.

XCSoar is Open Source navigation software, released under the GPL v2 license. It runs on the following types of hardware:

XCSoar installation for a PNA with an SD card

This description assumes that you're installing the software and data files directly onto the SD card via an SD card reader attached to your PC. and that the PNA is running Windows Mobile 5 or 6.

First get a suitable SD card: 1 or 2 GB is more than enough space for a complete installation and more log files than you'll ever want to keep on the card. Its worth getting a good quality card (e.g. SanDisk or Crucial) because they are often faster than the cheap cards. SD card speed can be significant during start-up and/or if you have installed very large and/or detailed maps. A lot of the cheap cards, including those sold on eBay, are fakes with forged brand names and are often much smaller than the label says they are.

Setting up the SD card

Preparing XCSoar for execution

Like many embedded operating systems, Windows Mobile/Windows CE must be configured to match the hardware it controls. However, many vendors make other customisations too. Here we are concerned with the vendor's approach to booting off the SD card. Some PNA models are designed to keep additional maps on the SD card and so they boot their navigation software off the card. Others expect an update program on the SD card which, when booted, will update the maps and software in the PNA's built-in memory. This is reflected in the name of the executable on the SD card and this in turn affects us, since Windows Mobile will only boot a program with the name it was customised to use when it is in the expected place on the SD card. We fool the PNA into running the soaring program by renaming it or making other changes, e.g. using a shell.ini file. There is more on this in the notes about each type of PNA and in Creating a shell.ini file.

XCSoar executables can be put anywhere provided only that the PNA's operating system can find them. The data files (turnpoints, airspace, maps and polars), on the other hand, must be in the XCSoarData directory. This must be in the root directory of the SD card or, in the case of the Navman EZY 40, in the root directory of the PNA's built-in flash memory. Detailed directions by PNA make and model follow:

Create the directory XCSoarData in the root of your SD card alongside the XCSoar directory and put the airspace and turnpoint and map files for your area in it.

Once you have XCSoar installed on your SD card, you need to complete these steps:


Configuration is straight forward apart from the points listed below.

Data sources

These data sources tell you where to get the files you'll need to use XCSoar in the UK.


Usually, all you need to do when upgrading to a later version of XCSoar is to replace the EXE file you have been using with the later version, renaming it as described earlier. Then put the SD card back in the PNA and boot it up. All your settings are preserved in XCSoarData\xcsoar-registry.prf between runs, so the new version reads that file, automatically adjusts its content as needed and saves its changes for future reference.

The one exception is when you're upgrading from a version earlier than 5.2.2. Earlier XCSoar versions had a rather different xcsoar-registry.prf format that may not upgrade automatically. The usual symptom is that the text in infoboxes is too big. The workround is to shut XCSoar down, delete XCSoarData\xcsoar-registry.prf, and restart XCSoar. This will lose your custom settings but cure the problem. For this reason, its always a good idea to copy everything onto a new SD card and do the upgrade there. This way you can delete xcsoar-registry.prf if necessary, boot from the old card, note the changes you made and then reboot from the new card and apply your favourite settings.