• Launchpad Entry: arm-m-gps-on-netbooks

  • Created:

  • Contributors: Alexandros Frantzis, Alexander Sack

  • Packages affected:


Identify use cases required for GPS on desktop/netbook. Establish working relationship with upstream community and communicate our needs. Integrate outcome of upstream development and make sure its available out of box.


GPS devices are being used by an increasing number of people (both technically-minded and not). The devices usually provide only a minimal UI and depend on users using a desktop application to take advantage of their full functionality. The lack of proper hardware support, suitable applications and integration between the two, prevents users that need to perform such tasks from migrating to Ubuntu.

User stories

  • Jabal is travelling a lot; whenever he traverses time zone bounds, his clock automatically gets the new time zone/location added to the locations list in the applet; he explicitly opted in to auto update main clock and now he always see the right time directly in the panel.
  • Jack wants to get a streemap with a fix at his current position; he clicks a button
    • called "Show current location" in the "me" menu and a browser window opens with google maps showing his current position.
  • John goes on a car trip and is excited about being able to get direct feedback on the the speed and direction he has heading for; he also sees his current position on google maps live.

Future User stories

  • Jack plans to go hiking and has planned his route in a mapping application on his Ubuntu machine. He connects his GPS device to his computer and with a few clicks he downloads the route to the GPS. He can now begin his hiking trip feeling confident that he will not get lost in the woods.
  • John is on a car trip to a foreign country and wants to find his way to a city. He turns on his ubuntu-on-arm powered netbook and connects his USB GPS receiver. He opens a mapping application which starts communicating with the GPS and shows his current location. He then plots a route in the application and lets the mapping application + GPS solution guide him to his destination.
  • Sofia decides to establish a new hiking path. She uses a map for general directions and at the same time records her route in a GPS device. When she comes home she turns on her Ubuntu machine and uploads route data from the GPS to a mapping application. She can now create a map containing the new hiking path.


  • We need an application or suite of applications that support:
    • Displaying routes both from GPS log files and live GPS data
    • Optional: Editing routes and downloading them to a GPS
    • Optional: Providing navigation along selected routes and auto-routing capabilities
  • Suitable middleware solution for providing abstract access to GPS services:
  • add at least one gps mapping application to the linaro netbook head


  • integrate and package current state of the art gps middleware
    • We make gypsy available in the archive
  • bring a mapper application to the archive; such as one of the following
    • maemo-maepper
    • map buddy
    • custom application
  • depending on the what applications were selected, the implementation varies a bit:
    • map buddy: dehildonize to make this feasible for non-hildon desktops; prepare package; add package to the archive; add package to selected netbook/phone profiles
    • maemo-map: dehildonize to make this feasible for non-hildon desktops; prepare package; add package to the archive; add package to selected netbook/phone profiles
    • custom application: package and add osm-gps-map gtk+ widget library to package; code a simple application that gathers gps data points from command line, from gpsd/gypsy or geoclue
  • to integrate gps properly for the user it is suggested to add gps controls to some panel area (such as on netbook: me menu or some other indicator); this involves:
    • implement a "Show current location button" that opens a browser with google maps and the current location selected.
    • optionally, implement a toggle that to automatically track your path through gps movements; additionally the user would need the ability to clear the current track displayed
  • on the hardware support front a few tasks need to be run
    • research what additional freesoftware plugins/drivers for gpsd/gypsy are missing in the archive
    • package those plugins/drivers and make them available in the archive
  • evaluate gpsd vs. gypsy and decide on future direction; in case we consider gypsy the right way forward we need to ensure that the linaro stack is properly migrating there upstream; this involves
    • communicating our evaluation results and our gps plans to upstreams that currently use gpsd and ask them to consider moving to gypsy or libgeoclue
    • ensure that libgeoclue supports gypsy in the archive, so that apps using libgeoclue will automatically use that

Test/Demo Plan

Unresolved issues

Specs/M/ARMGPSOnNetbooks (last edited 2010-06-10 18:37:53 by e176187054)