gpsd— a GPS service daemon
gpsd is a service daemon that monitors one or more
GPSes or AIS receivers attached to a host computer through serial or
USB ports, making all data on the location/course/velocity of the
sensors available to be queried on TCP port 2947 of the host
gpsd, multiple location-aware client applications
can share access to supported sensors without contention or loss of
gpsd responds to queries with a format that
is substantially easier to parse than the NMEA 0183 emitted by most
gpsd distribution includes a linkable C
service library, a C++ wrapper class, and a Python module that
gpsd-aware applications can use to
encapsulate all communication with
client bindings for Java and Perl also exist.
gpsd itself, the project provides auxiliary
tools for diagnostic monitoring and profiling of receivers and feeding
location-aware applications GPS/AIS logs for diagnostic purposes.
GPSD is everywhere in mobile embedded systems. It underlies the map service on Android phones. It's ubiquitous in drones, robot submarines, and driverless cars. It's increasingly common in recent generations of manned aircraft, marine navigation systems, and military vehicles.
In addition, the Android smartphone operating system (from version
4.0 onwards and possibly earlier; we don't know for sure when the
change happened) uses GPSD to monitor the phone's on-board GPS, so
every location-aware Android app is indirectly a GPSD client.
GPSD is also extremely widely deployed in mobile embedded systems: it's a basic building block for navigation used by UAVs, robot submarines, and driverless cars as well as more conventional applications like marine navigation and military IFF systems.
gpsd normally runs with zero
configuration. Binary packages for this program install hotplug
scripts that do the right thing when a USB device goes active,
gpsd if needed and telling
which device to read data from. Then,
gpsd deduces a
baud rate and GPS/AIS type by looking at the data stream.
Statistics about the code volume, commit history, and contributors associated with this project are available at OpenHUB
Our development platforms are open-source Unixes — Linux, and
the *BSD family. Presently Linux, OpenBSD and NetBSD are directly
supported. The code is also extremely widely deployed on Android
phones. We'll support proprietary Unixes if it's not too much work (and
it usually isn't). Apple's OS X is supported in a limited fashion. Some
older OS X drivers are buggy and prevent
gpsd from being
able to read from some USB-serial devices. No, we don't support Windows
— get a better operating system.
If you represent a GPS manufacturer interested in qualifying your device for use with Linux and other open-source operating systems, we are your contact point. We'll need (1) on-line access to interface documentation, (2) a few (as in, no more than three) eval units, and (3) an engineering contact at your firm. For more, see our page welcoming vendor cooperation.
If you appreciate GPSD, and especially if you make money from it, please leace a remittance at Patreon.
This web page was last updated on Fri Sep 2 12:26:05 2016. You can browse the project's news file or to-do list here. Note: because of the way this website is maintained, these files may reflect the state of the repository tip (development version) rather than the latest released stable version.
If you are using a Debian-based distribution (including Ubuntu) you
can probably install
gpsd through your regular package
manager or by typing
"sudo apt-get install gpsd" at the command
There are four project mailing lists:
gpsd, including support for application builders using
gpsdas a component.
The following manual pages describe the code. Note: because of the way this website is maintained, these files will describe the state and features of the repository tip (development version) rather than the latest stable version.
gpsprofprogram for plotting spatial scatter of fixes and fix latency.
gpsfaketest harness simulating a GPS.
gpsctltool for tweaking GPS settings.
gpscattool dumps output from a serial device. Optionally, it can packetize the data.
gpsmonreal-time packet monitor and diagnostic tool. (This replaces the
sirfmontool in older versions.)
gpsdreports and sends it to standard output.
gpsdto one or more aggregation sites via UDP.
Also, see the FAQ.
There is a Hacker's Guide to the project philosophy, design, and code internals. You should read this if you want to contribute code.
We maintain a GPS Hall of Shame that describes particularly egregious vendor blunders.
Some of the developers hang out regularly on IRC at channel #gpsd at irc.freenode.net.
gpsdfrom client applications. Explains the theory, points at working example source code, warns you what the edge cases and gotchas are.
gpsdis about, you might find this interesting.
gpsd2.0 rants in an at least semi-humorous way about everything that's wrong with GPS standards and vendors.
gpsdand vendor claims about binary protocols.
gpsd also works with some bluetooth
GPS receivers. Warning: there are serious problems with the
firmware in at least one family of Bluetooth implementations shipped
by Holux that may result in
gpsd bricking your GPS. See this
bug warning for a description
of the problem.
If you have an Android phone, it is possible to access its onboard GPS by pairing it as a Bluetooth device. Directions from Vargoville. There is also a GPS Tether app designed to work with GPSD, but it seems to be in early alpha.
The GPSDproxy project is a small program which reads GPS data from a running gpsd process and forwards it to a remote server via an UDP connection. GPSDproxy is intended to be run on GPS enabled mobile devices.
You can read detailed instructions on Synchronizing ntpd to a Garmin GPS 18 LVC via gpsd. This may be a useful tutorial even if your actual device isn't a Garmin 18; many of the setup steps and caveats will be the same.
Diego Berge has written a prototype Qt-based client, basically
xgps with a Qt look and feel.
Egil Möller has written agpsd, a gpsd replication and logging daemon with support for KML.
You can find Debian-unstable packages here.
gpsd is carried in the OpenBSD ports tree.
OpenStreetMap is a wiki aiming to build a freely available, world-wide streetmap.
Freedesktop.org is hosting a project called geoclue
that aims to provide a location service layer for all D-Bus-using
applications. It can use
gpsd as a source for location
Notes on setting up reliable timekeeping using a Navisys GR-601W USB GPS can be found here.
There used to be three Linux-based forks of
gpsd in the
wild, but this GPSD project reabsorbed one and the other two are now
defunct for unrelated reasons. You can read a brief history of the
gpsd project if
you are curious.
There was a project called
gps3d that ships a gpsd
with similar goals to ours, but which appears to be an independent
development. There haven't been any releases since early 2002. Their
website has been down: http://www.mgix.com/gps3d/
There is a
gpsd-like hack hosted under Microsoft
Windows. It provides gpsd service from data in netstumbler under
win32. This way programs such as JiGLE can still get GPS data from
netstumbler. This program is not genetically related to
gpsfeed+ is a program that simulates the output of a GPS in motion, and can be used for testing GPS-aware applications.
We aren't Green Parrot Software Development, nor are we the Greenville Public School District nor the Greater Peoria Sanitary District, nor even the Greater Portland Soccer District, nor the Green Party of San Diego, nor do we have anything to do with the General Product Safety Directive, the Guiding Principles of Sustainable Design, nor the Glatt Plagiarism Self-Detection Program.