Revision 3 as of 2010-06-07 16:50:39

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  • 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 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
    • Editing routes and downloading them to a GPS
    • Providing navigation along selected routes and auto-routing capabilities
  • Suitable middleware solution for providing abstract access to GPS services:
    • GPSD: most likely candidate

    • Check GPSD hardware support, see how we can improve things
    • Make sure selected applications can talk to GPSD.


Test/Demo Plan

Unresolved issues