Adventures in GPSD and QGIS

I’ve got quite a bit to discuss about software and I haven’t had the time to sit down and collect my thoughts.

I did do something fun with QGIS. So I sat down with my linux laptop and upgraded it to the latest version of QGIS (1.8). I installed gpsd (version 3.4-2) . I also tossed some batteries in my Etrex Legend HCx. After some digging I came up with the following.

  1. Attach the Etrex garmin to the Linux Laptop (Ubuntu – 12.04).
  2. Load the module(as root): modprobe garmin_gps
  3. Kickoff GPSD as root: gpsd -D 5 -nN /dev/ttyUSB0

When you open QGIS you need to add the GPS panel. Connect to the GPSD daemon that you started in number 3. Note that it’s greyed out in the image below. It’s not when you fill out the information. The minute you connect successfully it grays out. I had to try to connect a couple of times. As to why I have no clue – I’m guessing the Garmin was still trying to lock onto satellites.

After doing all of that – mobile data collection.


There you have it – my location. The Etrex is beeping away and there I sit. Sometime this week I’m going to try to collect data. I know – I’ve just discovered 2005. I’m collecting data with a GPS and a laptop. I may have discovered 2001. It is an interesting thought. With QGIS and a cheap GPS I’ve got a scrolling map. I can collect data. Yeah I know – but it’s free. So my next big hurdle is getting this to work on windows. I’ve got a pretty good idea on what I need to do to get it to work but I’m going to try it out and report.