[CentOS] USB GPS

John R Pierce pierce at hogranch.com
Fri Feb 12 08:29:25 UTC 2010


Mathieu Baudier wrote:
>> Anyone ever used the iGPS-500 under CentOS 5?  Any recommendations on a
>> USB-based GPS that "just works"?
>>     
>
> I use the Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx on CentOS.
> This is a very good device (but more for "offroad" activities).
>   

there's two generic families of GPS's, simple antenna+radio-only units 
which just report position over USB (or on older ones, rs232 serial), 
and fancy handheld units that have mapping and tracking and all kinda 
bells and whistles such as the various Garmin units

most folks who want a GPS to connect to a computer are probably more 
interested in the simple kind, as they want to use the computer for any 
mapping etc.  most all simple GPS's speak in NMEA, which just transmits 
a constant stream of simple ascii 'sentences' with the current location 
and some metadata.   fancy GPS's like the garmins can speak either 
simple NMEA or their own Garmin protocol  which supports mapping, 
waypoints, etc

typical NMEA output is...

$GPGGA,123519,4807.038,N,01131.000,E,1,08,0.9,545.4,M,46.9,M,,*47

(12:35:19 UTC, 48 deg. 07.038' N, 11 deg 31.000' E latitude), quality 1, 8 sats, etcetc


most any NMEA USB simple GPS should work, they all emulate a USB serial 
port on the PC side, and just spew their NMEA stream over this 'serial' 
port.  for instance, this 
http://www.amazon.com/GlobalSat-BU-353-Waterproof-USB-Receiver/dp/B000PKX2KA  
which uses thee excellent SIRF GPS chip, uses a Prolific PL2303 
USB-serial adapter chip, which I'm pretty sure is easily supported on 
linux (havent tested it, hwoever)





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