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GPS stands for Global Positioning System. GPS devices (also referred to as GPS receivers) provide the user with his/her geographic coordinates. I'm using a Garmin Etrex Legend HCx; my experiences in this HOWTO refer to this device, but it should also work at least for any Garmin GPS receiver.


I'm mostly using gpsbabel; this command line tool can retrieve and send data from/to a GPS device.
There's also qlandkartegt which can deal with the data provided by the GPS receiver.
Both are available via SlackBuilds.org

Connecting the Device

When a GPS device is connected to the computer, it becomes recognized as a USB device by udev and the module garmin_gps is loaded. In most cases the module will not work for us. Fortunately gpsbabel comes with its own drivers so the module garmin_gps is not needed. On my computer I've blacklisted it in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf


If you want to access the device as a non-root user, the following udev rule allows users who are members of the plugdev group to access the GPS device.

# /etc/udev/rules.d/51-garmin.rules
ATTR{idVendor}=="091e", ATTR{idProduct}=="0003", MODE="666", GROUP="plugdev"

Sending Data to the Device

As an example here is the code which transfers a gpx waypoint file to a Garmin GPS device.

gpsbabel -i gpx -f $file -o garmin -F usb:

Further Reading

The website for gpsbabel
The website for qlandkartegt
The openstreetmap project


* Originally written by Markus Hutmacher

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