[clug] GPS on Linux

Sam Couter sam at couter.id.au
Thu Aug 20 06:27:40 MDT 2009

Ian McLeod <ianmcleod75 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Can confirm that a BU-353 GPS dongle, an Ubuntu netbook with Navit
> running worked perfectly on the way home - an amazing level of
> detail - even traffic lights (although some were missed which I am
> interested in how to contribute to).

Use Osm2go or Potlatch or JOSM. Osm2go is good for modifying existing
maps, especially on smaller mobile devices. Potlatch is the flash-based
editor, right on the OSM site. JOSM is a full-blown desktop program,
written in Java, has many useful plugins available.

If you're doing lots of mapping, especially if you're starting from a
blank canvas and creating roads from scratch, use JOSM. If you're just
adding POIs, naming existing roads, and making relatively small
modifications, any of the three will do the job fine.


> Very impressive - for something still in development.

Navit seems to be the kind of software that's perpetually in
development. Unfortunately it doesn't get a lot of developer attention.
A full navigation system is a hard problem to solve and really needs more
people. Navit is mostly the efforts of just one main guy.

> Now if I can get speech working and a customised interface I
> basically have a proof of concept turn by turn navigation system.

On my n810, Navit talks to me using flite. It's available in Debian,
don't know about Ubuntu. In navit.xml:

<speech type="cmdline" data="flite -t '%s'"/>

Navit's internal interface has customisable on-screen displays for
things such as routing, navigation, satellite and speed. It's quite
flexible. There are a bunch of example layouts here:


The layouts are applicable to many devices other than the n810 but will
need some tweaking for different screen resolutions.
Sam Couter         |  mailto:sam at couter.id.au
OpenPGP fingerprint:  A46B 9BB5 3148 7BEA 1F05  5BD5 8530 03AE DE89 C75C
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