Navit GPS on a Acer Aspire One

This is a small experiment to use my cycling gps device with the navit application on my Acer Aspire One as a car navigation system. The system was composed of the following elements:

  • GPS device
  • Acer Aspire one running Ubuntu linux
  • gpsd
  • navit
Navit GPS

Navit GPS

Required software

Step 1. Install all packages required to build navit from ubuntu repositories:

apt-get install build-essential pkg-config automake libglib2.0-dev libtool libxmu-dev libfribidi-dev gettext zlib1g-dev cvs gpsd gpsd-clients libgps-dev libdbus-glib-1-dev libgtk2.0-dev freeglut3-dev glutg3-dev libcegui-mk2-dev libdevil-dev libglc-dev libpcre3-dev libmng-dev libfreeimage-dev libtiff4-dev libgtk2.0-dev libsdl-image1.2-dev flite

Step 2. Download navit and extract it locally

Step 3. Compile navit. I had some problems with the standard ./configure, make related to a missing qtpainter.h. I was able to solve them by disabling the qtpainter.

./configure --disable-graphics-qt-qpainter

The GPS(d)

I have a Garmin ETrex Legend Hcx GPS which I use frequently. In order to make it work with gpsd these are the commands (as root):

modprobe garmin_gps
mount -t usbfs none /proc/bus/usb
[start the GPS connected via usb]
/usr/sbin/gpsd -N -D2 /dev/ttyUSB0

They start the gpsd in non-daemon mode. If everything works ok you should see some coordinate data on the screen. To stop everything I first stopped gpsd and then the gps device. I’ve had no locking problems as reported on various places on the net.


At this point I started navit which connected succesfully to the gpsd. As described in the navit documentation I’ve used the OpenSourceMaps for Romania without incidents. I’ve also tried to use flite for speech by commenting the corresponding line from navit.xml. It works but the sound is choppy.


  • technology: the effort to run/configure everything was reasonable and I was able to run the entire system for a few driving hours until the battery of my Acer was dead without experiencing dead-locks.
  • navigation: I think the navigation is ok if you have a co-pilot. Otherwise it was not very clear when or where to turn even if I activated the corresponing OSD parts in navit.xml.
  • voice-navigation: quite unusable, not a navit fault
Navit GPS

Navit GPS

Using a Holux M-241 GPS

I’ve also tried the same configuration using a Holux M-241 GPS. gpsd crashed on the 9600 baud rate and I had to add a -b option to make it work. Of course no garmin module was required:

/usr/sbin/gpsd -b -N -D2 /dev/ttyUSB0

Other resources

Find some other great resources for Linux GPS usage on

6 Responses

  1. […] the original here: Len » Navit GPS on a Acer Aspire One Category : Acer Aspire One / […]

  2. I have a similar blog entry about using Navit on a Asus Eee PC 701 running Ubuntu. You can have a look here:

  3. Hi Len,

    Thank you for your post. I found it searching for information on configuring Navit on my netbook. I have Navit up and running but I’m not sure how to work on getting voice working in ubuntu. Could you possibly post your navit.xml file for me to look at? Thank you.

  4. @Kristen: in order to have voice what I did was to install festival (flite – A small run-time speech synthesis engine) and configure the following line:
    speech type=”cmdline” data=”flite -t ‘%s'”
    but as I said the result was not quite useful, not many good things to say about speech synthesis yet.

    Salutare. Ma chinui sa gasesc un program bun de GPS care sa faca cam tot ce face Microsoft Streets & Trips. System: Linux Mint 9 (sau 10) – bazat pe Ubuntu 10.04 si respectiv 10.10, senzor GPS Pharos GPS-500 USB. Am incercat RoadNav si GPS Drive fara succes. Ma poti ajuta sa instalez, setez si folosesc acest Navit? Imi trebuie hartile ptr. SUA (locuiesc in SUA si sunt sofer de TIR). Mersi de ajutor

    Hi. I struggle to find a good software program able to do more or less everything that Microsoft Streets & Trips does. System Linux mint 9 (or 10) – based on Ubuntu 10.04 respectively 10.10, GPS sensor Pharos GPS-500 USB. I tried RoadNav and GPS Drive without any success. Can you please help me install, set and use this Navit? I need the maps for USA (I live in the USA and I’m a truck driver). Thanks.

  6. @Doruletz: din pacate nu stiu ce face programul de care zici iar solutia prezentata aici e mai mult experimentala, n-as recomanda-o decat ca un exercitiu pentru moment.

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