While at ApacheCon, legobuff showed me GPSDrive. It was very cool. But then his battery died, and I didn’t get to play with it much.

Last night, I got it working, and wow it is cool.

Tips for folks searching for stuff, as I did last night, finding very little.

* With the Magellan SporTrak Pro (or other Magellan devices, I expect) you have to turn on NMEA and set the baud rate to 4800, otherwise it won’t see your GPS.

* Installing the RPMs on RedHat 8 proved to be dependency hell, and I gave up on it. Installing PCRE from source proved to be the fastest way to get ./configure to run correctly, and then installing gpsdrive from source. I’ll omit my package management rant here, since I’m short on time.

* Very important! West longitude is negative. If you don’t use negative numbers, your waypoints end up somewhere in Uzbekistan or something.

The general idea here is that gpsdrive receives gps signals from your gpsr on the serial port, and then superimposes your position on top of maps downloaded from mapquest or Expedia. The Expedia maps seem to be more up-to-date.

The cool thing here is that it’s not downloading vector maps, just gif images, so they are very small, and whatever scale you want. It automatically chooses the best map that you have for the location you’re in, zooming in and out depending on how detailed a map you have for that position. If you’re online, you just click download, and it downloads the map for your current position.

Really, the only downside here is the increased tendency to run into things because you have a laptop sitting on the seat next to you, so a co-pilot is recommended. 😉

So, now I need to hack up some Perl scripts to convert my GPX files into waypoint files for GPSdrive. The syntax is very simple, so I should be able to do that pretty quick. Unless someone has already done it.

So, thanks, Legobuff!