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Tutorial - GlobalSat G-Star IV (SIRF Star IV)

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Tutorial - GlobalSat G-Star IV (SIRF Star IV)
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2018, 09:21:19 PM »


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you seen it here first, this is the first working tutorial for the latest version of this USB GPS dongle, on LL3 series.
The last working version of a tutorial for an earlier model of this was on Ubuntu 11. YouTube is full of requests for a tutorial for this for Ubuntu 16.04, so if you like to make tutorial videos this tutorial could be a good choice for a lot of views to your channel. Don't forget to point them all to Linux Lite.
If anyone using LL 4 series wants to try the tutorial and see if it works or needs tweaking slightly for a LL 4 series tutorial feel free to post that in a separate thread to save any confusion.

There are not many tutorials about this, most work partially, such as to install the drivers or the commands to run it using the terminal, we will be using Install/Remove Software.
Most either do not cover using maps, or recommend no longer available software, non free software, or software no longer worked on/updated.
A popular use with this dongle in tutorials seems to be Google Earth, in this tutorial we will instead be setting up and using FoxtrotGPS,  a free and Open Source GPS software. (FOSS)

Some solutions for making it run are long, they don't work now as they were wrote a long time ago, for earlier version of distros, so they are outdated for a modern OS like LL.
Trying to merge these things did not work either.

To make this tutorial I used parts of some peoples tutorials, parts of unrelated tutorials, parts of my own choice by looking around, trial and error.

Menu>System>Install/Remove Software  (Synaptic)

Search for and install  -


gpsd-clients  (tick to install additionals, Python tools)


Further info on using FoxtrotGPS (the friendly FOSS GPS) features can be found on their website -

Plug in your GlobalSat to your USB port.

First we need to determine which USB port it uses by typing in terminal - 

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ls /dev/ttyUSB*
replace /dev/ttyUSB0 in the below command, with the output of "ls /dev/ttyUSB*" command above.

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sudo killall gpsd; sudo gpsd /dev/ttyUSB0 -F -b /var/run/gpsd.sock

This part of the tutorial by editing the file in the below section was wrote for GARMIN GPS, I used it as a guide on how to edit the file, so this edit will also help with GARMIN GPS, the GARMIN GPS tutorial has 1 additional line at the end of the file in case you are using a GARMIN this additional line of code is -
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This does not seem to be needed to run the GlobalSat G-Star IV, so I removed it from the file edit, as we use it in the command in terminal instead. Some people may need to add it.

File to edit -

Browse to /etc/default/    directory.

Right click the gpsd file and Open as Administrator.

Change the file so it reads as below, but ensure that you replace /dev/ttyUSB0 in the below line named DEVICES, with the output of "ls /dev/ttyUSB*" command above be careful not to accidentally delete the " " 

File example  -

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# Default settings for the gpsd init script and the hotplug wrapper.

# Start the gpsd daemon automatically at boot time

# Use USB hotplugging to add new USB devices automatically to the daemon

# Devices gpsd should collect to at boot time.
# They need to be read/writeable, either by user gpsd or the group dialout.

# Other options you want to pass to gpsd

Save the gpsd file.

In terminal type - ensuring that you replace /dev/ttyUSB0 in the below command, with the output of "ls /dev/ttyUSB*" command above. 

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sudo killall gpsd; sudo gpsd /dev/ttyUSB0 -F -b /var/run/gpsd.sock
To try it out -

type in terminal -

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Code: [Select]

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The first gives you a GUI inside the terminal, with the data organized tidily.
The second gives you a batch of data, like a wall of text and numbers.
The third one gives you a seperate GUI with the SkyView of the satellites it is locking on to.

All have various options but I don't understand them yet and need to learn about it.
To escape #1 or #2 I used Hold down CTRL and press C to go back to the terminal prompt, for #3 the gui has menus and also an X to close it on the title bar.

To use with maps I do this -

Plug in the GPS dongle to the USB.

Open terminal and type -

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sudo killall gpsd; sudo gpsd /dev/ttyUSB0 -F -b /var/run/gpsd.sock
I then type in to terminal

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I wait about 2 seconds until I see the numbers running in the terminal, with the terminal open, I then use


This loads FoxtrotGPS with the maps and current locations as you travel around.

You can for example store "places of interest" on the maps.

If it does not begin I run again -

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sudo killall gpsd; sudo gpsd /dev/ttyUSB0 -F -b /var/run/gpsd.sock

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Hope it is useful for someone else and saves you a lot of time. :)
« Last Edit: October 23, 2018, 09:51:00 PM by bitsnpcs »


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