GPS / Mapping ?

Discussion in 'General Linux' started by Videodrome, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. Videodrome

    Videodrome Active Member

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    I'm going to be making a road trip to my parents' place. When I used to be a commercial driver, I ran a laptop with Microsoft Streets and Trips that even included a GPS sensor. It was a neat way to keep track of my progress.

    I would like to try any Linux equivalent if anyone has a recommendation. It would be great if it worked with the GPS sensor (it plugs in the USB), but if not that's okay. I could just track myself by the highway mile markers.

  2. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    I always preferred a map to plan trips, and in those rare instances I got lost. As for keeping track of progress, I use road signs. It gives me something look at to break the monotony. (Can you tell I am not a fan of GPS?):)
    Good luck though with your search.
  3. grim76

    grim76 Active Member Staff Writer

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  4. Videodrome

    Videodrome Active Member

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    I've had trouble with these, but I'm sure it's because I tried them at the last minute.

    The one I used was called Foxtrot. It basically worked and recognized my GPS sensor, but the map data wasn't setup right. I have another trip coming up, so I might try it again.
  5. pane-free

    pane-free Active Member

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    OpenStreetMap looks to be worthy of a second look into details AFA GPS goes; should you wish to look deeper into mapping,
    QGIS may be one way to, say, download DRGs from USGS in UTM and plot out key intersections for input into a GPS device as waypoints, perhaps.

    The former I have little familiarity with, and may or may not do what you want; while the latter may do a lot more than what you may deem necessary for your purposes.
  6. Videodrome

    Videodrome Active Member

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    Yeah I'm thinking I was supposed to have gotten mapping info from OpenStreet or something.
  7. Videodrome

    Videodrome Active Member

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    Getting ready for another long haul, so looking into this again. Now I'm running Arch and found something in the AUR called GMapCatcher.

    I'm hoping this could really work for me. I think it does pull from sources like OpenStreet, but then caches them in a file to use later offline. It also looks like this could work with my GPS, but I still need to test it.
  8. pane-free

    pane-free Active Member

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    Please do so and let us know how GMapCatcher works for you and your purposes!

    Happy Trails!
  9. Videodrome

    Videodrome Active Member

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    I had some strange hardware detection setting this up in Arch Linux. I figure there was an obscure package that needed to be installed. Instead, I used to available hardware space to put Crunch Bang on here which is my favorite standby OS and I used it before with Foxtrot.

    So... with Crunchbang running, I installed GPSD from the repos which is just a daemon that keeps up communication with the GPS device. Gmapcatcher was not in the repos, but on their site I found a Deb file to install from.

    I just typed mapcatcher to start it from the terminal and configured the settings to use Gpsd. This allowed the program to use my old Microsoft Streets & Trips sensor and got me GPS tracking.

    The other important side to this program is the mapping. Unlike Streets and Trips, it does not come with full zoomable map. It has to pull that info from places like OpenStreetMaps while online.

    If you preview the key areas of your trips or use download options, it can save or "cache" the mapping areas you used so you can use them again later offline. This solved a problem I wasn't sure how to workout with Foxtrot.

    It also has a command line downloader where you can tell it to grab the map tiles from a specific city.

    I mostly used this during the beginning of my trip and especially at the end. I drove all the way from Michigan to Birmingham, Alabama. I had previously made it a point to make it grab important details on the Birmingham area which it did hold for later.

    So far, I'm actually pleased with the results and the program worked as described. I decided to come to Birmingham to look for work after finishing college. I can definitely imagine using the command line downloader to build me a detailed map of Birmingham so I have a functional GPS while I get familiar with the area.

    One last note: I did not see very good tools for auto-generating a Route between points,, but maybe I need to test this more.

    http://code.google.com/p/gmapcatcher/downloads/list
  10. pane-free

    pane-free Active Member

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    Thank you, Videodrome, for relating your experiences with Open Source GPS and the link! For others interested, the following is what I gleaned re: gpsd --

    GPSD is a service daemon that handles GPSes and other navigation-related sensors reporting over USB, serial, TCP/IP, or UDP connections and presents reports in a well-documented JSON application on port 2749.

    It thus provides a unified interface to receivers of different types, and allows concurrent access by multiple applications

    Most GPS receivers are supported, whether serial, USB, or Bluetooth. AIS is supported, as well.

    The goal of the gpsd project is to create a solid layer of open-source infrastructure for programs running under Linux and other open-source Unixes that want to be location-sensitive. We aim for simple, robust interfaces, unfussy operation, and an easy learning curve for application developers.
    I have learned something I can use from this thread. This is why Linux fora comprise the sum total of all my "social networking!"
    DevynCJohnson likes this.

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