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How to install GpsDrive on Fedora Core 3

by Balaji Krishnaprasad on Mar 05, 2005

Editor's Note: "mailtobob" is actual his email address so please do not contact us for correction.

This tutorial describes how to install GpsDrive on a Fedora core 3 system from the source. There are other tutorials which describes the installation procedure. But this tutorial will be very useful for users who have a GPS that can be connected only to a serial port and their laptop doesn't have a serial port. I am presenting a work around for this problem.

GpsDrive is a car navigation system that runs on Linux and FreeBSD. This software pinpoints your position on a map from your NMEA capable GPS receiver. The required map can be downloaded from the internet. Further documentation is available from


To compile GpsDrive, you need

  • GTK-+2.x (better >=2.2.x)
  • pango
  • atk
  • pcre
  • xdevel (X11 development)
  • gettext
  • libcrypt
  • glibc
  • gcc >=3.x
  • make

If you have done a full install of Fedora Core 3 you should have most of the above. If not you need to install them using apt-get/synaptic (an apt-get front end tool) or through any other method of your choice.

Installing and configuring GpsDrive

Once the above requirements are met, download the gpsdrive source tarball from any of the locations listed in the site.

[linux@linuxbox ~]$ cd /tmp
[linux@linuxbox tmp]$ wget
[linux@linuxbox tmp]$ tar -zxvf gpsdrive-2.09.tar.gz
[linux@linuxbox tmp]$ cd gpsdrive-2.09
The next step is to run ./configure. You can also use the --help option to find the different options that can be used. The syntax I used was
[linux@linuxbox gpsdrive-2.09]$ ./configure --disable-garmin --enable-auto-optimization
[linux@linuxbox gpsdrive-2.09]$ make
Now you need to login as root
[linux@linuxbox gpsdrive-2.09]$ su
[root@linuxbox gpsdrive-2.09]$ make install
Now depending on how you connect the GPS, you need to set the permission on the serial or usb port. Suppose if your laptop doesn't have a serial connection, then you can use an USB to serial hub (from Belkin) and connect the GPS (DigiTraveler Personal GPS Navigation System) via serial cable to the hub. Fedora detected the hub and it was listed a ttyUSB0 in /dev
[linux@linuxbox gpsdrive-2.09]$ sudo chmod 666 /dev/ttyUSB0 
I tried 644 but it would not receive data from the USB port so I had to make it 666 (It is due to the fact an ACK signal is required). By giving this permission, you can run GpsDrive as a normal user rather than root.

Now as a normal user, type in the following command from the shell

[linux@linuxbox gpsdrive-2.09]$ /usr/local/bin/gpsdrive

This will bring up the gpsdrive interface. Now we have to configure gpsd to get data from the GPS. To do this,

Click on the "Preferences" button in gpsdrive.
Go to the "Settings2" page.

=> Select the map server you want
=> uncheck all the checkboxes in GPS Settings panel
=> Set interface to be "/dev/ttyUSB0"
(without the quotes, this depends on which USB port the device is connected to, in my system it is under ttyUSB0, if you had multiple USB devices use the proper one)
=> Set baud rate to 4800
=> Click close
=> Click on "Start GPSD" (above the preferences button)

You should be in an open area while doing this so that GPS can receive signal from the sattelites. If you check the GPS Info window you should be able to see some activity there, if you click on it you will also get to see the number of satellites in view.

For installing maps, you need to know the latitude and longitude of the place and use the download map utility in the program. Also go through the manual page, check the website and read the FAQ for more information.