How to connect an usb GPS receiver to a Linux computer?

This document serves as a guide for connecting a USB GPS receiver to your Linux computer. Please keep in mind that the instructions provided are based on Ubuntu. If you are using a different Linux distribution, there might be slight variations, but the general process should remain largely the same.

1. Plug in the GPS receiver

Once you have connected the GPS/GNSS receiver to a USB port, the system should automatically configure it. To confirm the connection, enter the following command:

ls /dev/tty* 

You will see the “/dev/ttyACM0” has been created automatically(above screenshot). 

(Special note for Columbus V-800 Mark III or Columbus P-7 pro GNSS receiver)

  • You will see “/dev/ttyUSB0” or “dev/ttyUSB0” “dev/ttyUSB1” instead. Since the default baud rates for V-800 Mark III is 38,400 and P-7 Pro is 57,600, Please run the below command to change the baud rate.
    • for V-800 Mark III:
      • sudo stty -F /dev/ttyUSB0 38400 
    • for P-7 Pro:
      • sudo stty -F /dev/ttyUSB0 57600

To further verify if the GPS has been found in this folder. please type 

sudo cat /dev/ttyACM0

(Special note for Columbus V-800 Mark III or Columbus P-7 pro GNSS receiver)

  • Please type
    • sudo cat /dev/ttyUSB0

The GPS input stream will appear similar to the following.

If you can see the above, it means that your GPS receiver is functioning correctly with your Linux computer.

2. Install gpsd

The next step in the installation process is to bind the “gpsd” daemon to the GPS receiver. This allows applications on Linux to access the GPS receiver through the “gpsd” daemon.

The purpose of “gpsd” is to establish a connection between applications and the GPS receiver hardware. It manages USB GPS devices, relieving applications from directly handling the hardware. By properly setting up “gpsd” with GPS receiver hardware in Linux, most GPS location-aware applications can retrieve GPS data by calling upon “gpsd”. Additionally, “gpsd” shares the GPS receiver among all applications running on the Linux machine.

To install “gpsd”, simply type the following command:

sudo apt install gpsd

The computer displayed a response similar to the screenshot below.

3. Test gpsd with xgps (optional)

If you are confident that the GPS is already functioning correctly, you can skip this section and proceed to section 4.
To initiate gpsd in interactive mode, enter the following command.

sudo gpsd -D 5 -N -n /dev/ttyACM0

(Special note for Columbus V-800 Mark III or Columbus P-7 pro GNSS receiver)

  • please type
    • sudo gpsd -D 5 -N -n /dev/ttyUSB0

It shows.

Now the GPS signal should be available for applications. Although it is not mandatory, it’s a good idea to confirm this by using a tool called “xgps”. “xgps” is included in the gpsd-clients package.

To install gpsd-clients, open another terminal session and enter the following command:

sudo apt install gpsd-clients

Above screenshot shows the “gpsd-clients” has been successfully installed. Now type


When the GPS signal is available, the xgps tool should display a similar interface as shown below.

4. Make gpsd available on boot.

To enable automatic startup of gpsd on boot, update the /etc/default/gpsd file as shown below.

Please make sure 


is included in the “gpsd” config file above. Restart your computer.

(Special note for Columbus V-800 Mark III or Columbus P-7 pro GNSS receiver)

  • please make sure
    • GPSD_OPTIONS="/dev/ttyUSB0"

5. Ready to serve

Now your GPS applications can utilize ‘gpsd’ to retrieve GPS data. For instance, the screenshot below demonstrates the ‘Marble’ application running on Linux, fetching GPS data from ‘gpsd’.

We have tested the below USB GPS/GNSS receivers

work with this instruction. They can be purchased from

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