NAME

gpsd_json - gpsd request/response protocol

OVERVIEW

gpsd is a service daemon that can be used to monitor GPSes, DGPS receivers, Marine AIS broadcasts, and various other location-related and kinematic sensors.

Clients may communicate with gpsd via textual requests and responses over a socket. It is a bad idea for applications to speak the protocol directly: rather, they should use the libgps client library (for C; bindings also exist for other languages) and take appropriate care to check in their code for the expected major and minor protocol versions.

The GPSD protocol is built on top of JSON, JavaScript Object Notation, as specified in RFC 7159: The JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) Data Interchange Format. Similar to ECMA 404.

GPSD’s use of JSON is restricted in some ways that make parsing it in fixed-extent languages (such as C) easier.

A request line is introduced by "?" and may include multiple commands. Commands begin with a command identifier, followed either by a terminating ';' or by an equal sign "=" and a JSON object treated as an argument. Any ';' or newline indication (either LF or CR-LF) after the end of a command is ignored. All request lines must be composed of US-ASCII characters and may be no more than 80 characters in length, exclusive of the trailing newline.

Responses are single JSON objects that have a "class" attribute the value of which is the object type . Object types include, but are not limited to: "TPV", "SKY", "DEVICE", and "ERROR". Objects are sent both in response to commands, and periodically as gpsd sends reports. Each object is terminated by a carriage return and a new line (CR-NL).

The order of JSON attributes within a response object is never significant, and you may specify command attributes in any order. Responses never contain the special JSON value null; instead, attributes with empty or undefined values are omitted. The length limit for responses and reports is currently 10240 characters, including the trailing CR-NL. Longer responses will be truncated, so client code must be prepared for the possibility of invalid JSON fragments.

The default maximum message length is set by GPS_JSON_RESPONSE_MAX in include/gpsd_json.h. at compile time.

In JSON reports, if an attribute is present only if the parent attribute is present or has a particular range, then the parent attribute is emitted first.

There is one constraint on the order in which attributes will be omitted. If an optional attribute is present only when a parent attribute has a specified value or range of values, the parent attribute will be emitted first to make parsing easier.

The next subsection section documents the core GPSD protocol. Extensions are documented in the following subsections. The extensions may not be supported in your gpsd instance if it has been compiled with a restricted feature set.

The protocol was designed and documented by Eric S. Raymond.

CORE PROTOCOL RESPONSES

Here are the core-protocol responses.

TPV

A TPV object is a time-position-velocity report. The "class" and "mode" fields will reliably be present. When "mode" is 0 (Unknown) there is likely no usable data in the sentence. The remaining fields are optional, their presence depends on what data the GNSS receiver has sent, and what gpsd may calculate from that data.

A TPV object will usually be sent at least once for every measurement epoch as determined by the "time" field. Unless the receiver has a solid fix, and knows the current leap second, the time may be random.

Multiple TPV objects are often sent per epoch. When the receiver dribbles data to gpsd, then gpsd has no choice but to dribble it to the client in multiple TPV messages.

The optional "status" field (aka fix type), is a modifier (adjective) to mode. It is not a replacement for, or superset of, the "mode" field. It is almost, but not quite, the same as the NMEA 4.x xxGGA GPS Quality Indicator Values. Many GNSS receivers do not supply it. Those that do interpret the specification in various incompatible ways.

All error estimates (epc, epd, epe, eph, ept, epv, epx, epy) are guessed to be 95% confidence, may also be 50%, one sigma, or two sigma confidence. Many GNSS receivers do not specify a confidence level. None specify how the value is calculated. Use error estimates with caution, and only as relative "goodness" indicators. If the GPS reports a value to gpsd, then gpsd will report that value. Otherwise gpsd will try to compute the value from the skyview.

See the file include/gps.h, especially struct gps_data_t, for expanded notes on the items and values in the TPV message.

Table 1. TPV object

Name

Always?

Type

Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "TPV"

device

No

string

Name of the originating device.

mode

Yes

numeric

NMEA mode:
0=unknown,
1=no fix,
2=2D,
3=3D.

status

No

numeric

GPS fix status:
0=Unknown,
1=Normal,
2=DGPS,
3=RTK Fixed,
4=RTK Floating,
5=DR,
6=GNSSDR,
7=Time (surveyed),
8=Simulated,
9=P(Y)

time

No

string

Time/date stamp in ISO8601 format, UTC. May have a fractional part of up to .001sec precision. May be absent if the mode is not 2D or 3D. May be present, but invalid, if there is no fix. Verify 3 consecutive 3D fixes before believing it is UTC. Even then it may be off by several seconds until the current leap seconds is known.

altHAE

No

numeric

Altitude, height above ellipsoid, in meters. Probably WGS84.

altMSL

No

numeric

MSL Altitude in meters. The geoid used is rarely specified and is often inaccurate. See the comments below on geoidSep. altMSL is altHAE minus geoidSep.

alt

No

numeric

Deprecated. Undefined. Use altHAE or altMSL.

climb

No

numeric

Climb (positive) or sink (negative) rate, meters per second.

datum

No

string

Current datum. Hopefully WGS84.

depth

No

numeric

Depth in meters. Probably depth below the keel…​

dgpsAge

No

numeric

Age of DGPS data. In seconds

dgpsSta

No

numeric

Station of DGPS data.

epc

No

numeric

Estimated climb error in meters per second. Certainty unknown.

epd

No

numeric

Estimated track (direction) error in degrees. Certainty unknown.

eph

No

numeric

Estimated horizontal Position (2D) Error in meters. Also known as Estimated Position Error (epe). Certainty unknown.

eps

No

numeric

Estimated speed error in meters per second. Certainty unknown.

ept

No

numeric

Estimated time stamp error in seconds. Certainty unknown.

epx

No

numeric

Longitude error estimate in meters. Certainty unknown.

epy

No

numeric

Latitude error estimate in meters. Certainty unknown.

epv

No

numeric

Estimated vertical error in meters. Certainty unknown.

geoidSep

No

numeric

Geoid separation is the difference between the WGS84 reference ellipsoid and the geoid (Mean Sea Level) in meters. Almost no GNSS receiver specifies how they compute their geoid. gpsd interpolates the geoid from a 5x5 degree table of EGM2008 values when the receiver does not supply a geoid separation. The gpsd computed geoidSep is usually within one meter of the "true" value, but can be off as much as 12 meters.

lat

No

numeric

Latitude in degrees: +/- signifies North/South.

leapseconds

No

integer

Current leap seconds.

lon

No

numeric

Longitude in degrees: +/- signifies East/West.

track

No

numeric

Course over ground, degrees from true north.

magtrack

No

numeric

Course over ground, degrees magnetic.

magvar

No

numeric

Magnetic variation, degrees. Also known as the magnetic declination (the direction of the horizontal component of the magnetic field measured clockwise from north) in degrees, Positive is West variation. Negative is East variation.

speed

No

numeric

Speed over ground, meters per second.

ecefx

No

numeric

ECEF X position in meters.

ecefy

No

numeric

ECEF Y position in meters.

ecefz

No

numeric

ECEF Z position in meters.

ecefpAcc

No

numeric

ECEF position error in meters. Certainty unknown.

ecefvx

No

numeric

ECEF X velocity in meters per second.

ecefvy

No

numeric

ECEF Y velocity in meters per second.

ecefvz

No

numeric

ECEF Z velocity in meters per second.

ecefvAcc

No

numeric

ECEF velocity error in meters per second. Certainty unknown.

sep

No

numeric

Estimated Spherical (3D) Position Error in meters. Guessed to be 95% confidence, but many GNSS receivers do not specify, so certainty unknown.

relD

No

numeric

Down component of relative position vector in meters.

relE

No

numeric

East component of relative position vector in meters.

relN

No

numeric

North component of relative position vector in meters.

velD

No

numeric

Down velocity component in meters.

velE

No

numeric

East velocity component in meters.

velN

No

numeric

North velocity component in meters.

wanglem

No

numeric

Wind angle magnetic in degrees.

wangler

No

numeric

Wind angle relative in degrees.

wanglet

No

numeric

Wind angle true in degrees.

wspeedr

No

numeric

Wind speed relative in meters per second.

wspeedt

No

numeric

Wind speed true in meters per second.

When the C client library parses a response of this kind, it will assert validity bits in the top-level set member for each field received; see gps.h for bitmask names and values.

Invalid or unknown floating-point values will be set to NAN. Always check floating point values with isfinite() before use. isnan() is not sufficient.

Here’s an example TPV sentence:

{"class":"TPV","device":"/dev/pts/1",
    "time":"2005-06-08T10:34:48.283Z","ept":0.005,
    "lat":46.498293369,"lon":7.567411672,"alt":1343.127,
    "eph":36.000,"epv":32.321,
    "track":10.3788,"speed":0.091,"climb":-0.085,"mode":3}

SKY

A SKY object reports a sky view of the GPS satellite positions. If there is no GPS device available, or no skyview has been reported yet, only the "class" field will reliably be present.

Table 2. SKY object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "SKY"

device

No

string

Name of originating device

time

No

string

Time/date stamp in ISO8601 format, UTC. May have a fractional part of up to .001sec precision.

gdop

No

numeric

Geometric (hyperspherical) dilution of precision, a combination of PDOP and TDOP. A dimensionless factor which should be multiplied by a base UERE to get an error estimate.

hdop

No

numeric

Horizontal dilution of precision, a dimensionless factor which should be multiplied by a base UERE to get a circular error estimate.

pdop

No

numeric

Position (spherical/3D) dilution of precision, a dimensionless factor which should be multiplied by a base UERE to get an error estimate.

tdop

No

numeric

Time dilution of precision, a dimensionless factor which should be multiplied by a base UERE to get an error estimate.

vdop

No

numeric

Vertical (altitude) dilution of precision, a dimensionless factor which should be multiplied by a base UERE to get an error estimate.

xdop

No

numeric

Longitudinal dilution of precision, a dimensionless factor which should be multiplied by a base UERE to get an error estimate.

ydop

No

numeric

Latitudinal dilution of precision, a dimensionless factor which should be multiplied by a base UERE to get an error estimate.

nSat

No

numeric

Number of satellite objects in "satellites" array.

uSat

No

numeric

Number of satellites used in navigation solution.

satellites

Yes

list

List of satellite objects in skyview

Many devices compute dilution of precision factors but do not include them in their reports. Many that do report DOPs report only HDOP, two-dimensional circular error. gpsd always passes through whatever the device reports, then attempts to fill in other DOPs by calculating the appropriate determinants in a covariance matrix based on the satellite view. DOPs may be missing if some of these determinants are singular. It can even happen that the device reports an error estimate in meters when the corresponding DOP is unavailable; some devices use more sophisticated error modeling than the covariance calculation.

The satellite list objects have the following elements:

Table 3. Satellite object
Name Always? Type Description

PRN

Yes

numeric

PRN ID of the satellite. 1-63 are GNSS satellites, 64-96 are GLONASS satellites, 100-164 are SBAS satellites

az

No

numeric

Azimuth, degrees from true north.

el

No

numeric

Elevation in degrees.

ss

No

numeric

Signal to Noise ratio in dBHz.

used

Yes

boolean

Used in current solution? (SBAS/WAAS/EGNOS satellites may be flagged used if the solution has corrections from them, but not all drivers make this information available.)

gnssid

No

numeric

The GNSS ID, as defined by u-blox, not NMEA. 0=GPS, 2=Galileo, 3=Beidou, 5=QZSS, 6-GLONASS.

svid

No

numeric

The satellite ID within its constellation. As defined by u-blox, not NMEA).

sigid

No

numeric

The signal ID of this signal. As defined by u-blox, not NMEA. See u-blox doc for details.

freqid

No

numeric

For GLONASS satellites only: the frequency ID of the signal. As defined by u-blox, range 0 to 13. The freqid is the frequency slot plus 7.

health

No

numeric

The health of this satellite. 0 is unknown, 1 is OK, and 2 is unhealthy.

Note that satellite objects do not have a "class" field, as they are never shipped outside of a SKY object.

When the C client library parses a SKY response, it will assert the SATELLITE_SET bit in the top-level set member.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"SKY","device":"/dev/pts/1",
    "time":"2005-07-08T11:28:07.114Z",
    "xdop":1.55,"hdop":1.24,"pdop":1.99,
    "satellites":[
        {"PRN":23,"el":6,"az":84,"ss":0,"used":false},
        {"PRN":28,"el":7,"az":160,"ss":0,"used":false},
        {"PRN":8,"el":66,"az":189,"ss":44,"used":true},
        {"PRN":29,"el":13,"az":273,"ss":0,"used":false},
        {"PRN":10,"el":51,"az":304,"ss":29,"used":true},
        {"PRN":4,"el":15,"az":199,"ss":36,"used":true},
        {"PRN":2,"el":34,"az":241,"ss":43,"used":true},
        {"PRN":27,"el":71,"az":76,"ss":43,"used":true}]}

GST

A GST object is a pseudorange noise report.

Table 4. GST object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "GST"

device

No

string

Name of originating device

time

No

string

Time/date stamp in ISO8601 format, UTC. May have a fractional part of up to .001sec precision.

rms

No

numeric

Value of the standard deviation of the range inputs to the navigation process (range inputs include pseudoranges and DGPS corrections).

major

No

numeric

Standard deviation of semi-major axis of error ellipse, in meters.

minor

No

numeric

Standard deviation of semi-minor axis of error ellipse, in meters.

orient

No

numeric

Orientation of semi-major axis of error ellipse, in degrees from true north.

lat

No

numeric

Standard deviation of latitude error, in meters.

lon

No

numeric

Standard deviation of longitude error, in meters.

alt

No

numeric

Standard deviation of altitude error, in meters.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"GST","device":"/dev/ttyUSB0",
        "time":"2010-12-07T10:23:07.096Z","rms":2.440,
        "major":1.660,"minor":1.120,"orient":68.989,
        "lat":1.600,"lon":1.200,"alt":2.520}

ATT

An ATT object is a vehicle-attitude report. It is returned by digital-compass and gyroscope sensors; depending on device, it may include: heading, pitch, roll, yaw, gyroscope, and magnetic-field readings. Because such sensors are often bundled as part of marine-navigation systems, the ATT response may also include water depth.

The "class" and "mode" fields will reliably be present. Others may be reported or not depending on the specific device type.

The ATT object is synchronous to the GNSS epoch. Some devices report attitude information with arbitrary, even out of order, time scales. gpsd reports those in an IMU object. The ATT and IMU objects have the same fields, but IMU objects are output as soon as possible. Some devices output both types with arbitrary interleaving.

Table 5. ATT object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "ATT"

device

Yes

string

Name of originating device

time

No

string

Time/date stamp in ISO8601 format, UTC. May have a fractional part of up to .001sec precision.

timeTag

No

string

Arbitrary time tag of measurement.

heading

No

numeric

Heading, degrees from true north.

mag_st

No

string

Magnetometer status.

pitch

No

numeric

Pitch in degrees.

pitch_st

No

string

Pitch sensor status.

yaw

No

numeric

Yaw in degrees

yaw_st

No

string

Yaw sensor status.

roll

No

numeric

Roll in degrees.

roll_st

No

string

Roll sensor status.

dip

No

numeric

Local magnetic inclination, degrees, positive when the magnetic field points downward (into the Earth).

mag_len

No

numeric

Scalar magnetic field strength.

mag_x

No

numeric

X component of magnetic field strength.

mag_y

No

numeric

Y component of magnetic field strength.

mag_z

No

numeric

Z component of magnetic field strength.

acc_len

No

numeric

Scalar acceleration.

acc_x

No

numeric

X component of acceleration (m/s^2).

acc_y

No

numeric

Y component of acceleration (m/s^2).

acc_z

No

numeric

Z component of acceleration (m/s^2).

gyro_x

No

numeric

X component of angular rate (deg/s)

gyro_y

No

numeric

Y component of angular rate (deg/s)

gyro_z

No

numeric

Z component of angular rate (deg/s)

depth

No

numeric

Water depth in meters.

temp

No

numeric

Temperature at the sensor, degrees centigrade.

The heading, pitch, and roll status codes (if present) vary by device. For the TNT Revolution digital compasses, they are coded as follows:

Table 6. Device flags
Code Description

C

magnetometer calibration alarm

L

low alarm

M

low warning

N

normal

O

high warning

P

high alarm

V

magnetometer voltage level alarm

When the C client library parses a response of this kind, it will assert ATT_IS.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"ATT","time":1270938096.843,
    "heading":14223.00,"mag_st":"N",
    "pitch":169.00,"pitch_st":"N", "roll":-43.00,"roll_st":"N",
    "dip":13641.000,"mag_x":2454.000}

IMU

The IMU object is asynchronous to the GNSS epoch. It is reported with arbitrary, even out of order, time scales.

The ATT and IMU objects have the same fields, but IMU objects are output as soon as possible.

Seee the ATT onject description for field details.

TOFF

This message is emitted on each cycle and reports the offset between the host’s clock time and the GPS time at top of the second (actually, when the first data for the reporting cycle is received).

This message exactly mirrors the PPS message except for two details.

TOFF emits no NTP precision, this is assumed to be -2. See the NTP documentation for their definition of precision.

The TOFF message reports the GPS time as derived from the GPS serial data stream. The PPS message reports the GPS time as derived from the GPS PPS pulse.

A TOFF object has the following elements:

Table 7. TOFF object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "TOFF"

device

Yes

string

Name of the originating device

real_sec

Yes

numeric

seconds from the GPS clock

real_nsec

Yes

numeric

nanoseconds from the GPS clock

clock_sec

Yes

numeric

seconds from the system clock

clock_nsec

Yes

numeric

nanoseconds from the system clock

This message is emitted once per second to watchers of a device and is intended to report the timestamps of the in-band report of the GPS and seconds as reported by the system clock (which may be NTP-corrected) when the first valid time stamp of the reporting cycle was seen.

The message contains two second/nanosecond pairs: real_sec and real_nsec contain the time the GPS thinks it was at the start of the current cycle; clock_sec and clock_nsec contain the time the system clock thinks it was on receipt of the first timing message of the cycle. real_nsec is always to nanosecond precision. clock_nsec is nanosecond precision on most systems.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"TOFF","device":"/dev/ttyUSB0",
     "real_sec":1330212592, "real_nsec":343182,
     "clock_sec":1330212592,"clock_nsec":343184,
     "precision":-2}

PPS

This message is emitted each time the daemon sees a valid PPS (Pulse Per Second) strobe from a device.

This message exactly mirrors the TOFF message except for two details.

PPS emits the NTP precision. See the NTP documentation for their definition of precision.

The TOFF message reports the GPS time as derived from the GPS serial data stream. The PPS message reports the GPS time as derived from the GPS PPS pulse.

There are various sources of error in the reported clock times. The speed of the serial connection between the GPS and the system adds a delay to the start of cycle detection. An even bigger error is added by the variable computation time inside the GPS. Taken together the time derived from the start of the GPS cycle can have offsets of 10 milliseconds to 700 milliseconds and combined jitter and wander of 100 to 300 milliseconds.

A PPS object has the following elements:

Table 8. PPS object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "PPS"

device

Yes

string

Name of the originating device

real_sec

Yes

numeric

seconds from the PPS source

real_nsec

Yes

numeric

nanoseconds from the PPS source

clock_sec

Yes

numeric

seconds from the system clock

clock_nsec

Yes

numeric

nanoseconds from the system clock

precision

Yes

numeric

NTP style estimate of PPS precision

qErr

No

numeric

Quantization error of the PPS, in picoseconds. Sometimes called the "sawtooth" error.

This message is emitted once per second to watchers of a device emitting PPS, and reports the time of the start of the GPS second (when the 1PPS arrives) and seconds as reported by the system clock (which may be NTP-corrected) at that moment.

The message contains two second/nanosecond pairs: real_sec and real_nsec contain the time the GPS thinks it was at the PPS edge; clock_sec and clock_nsec contain the time the system clock thinks it was at the PPS edge. real_nsec is always to nanosecond precision. clock_nsec is nanosecond precision on most systems.

There are various sources of error in the reported clock times. For PPS delivered via a real serial-line strobe, serial-interrupt latency plus processing time to the timer call should be bounded above by about 10 microseconds; that can be reduced to less than 1 microsecond if your kernel supports RFC 2783. USB1.1-to-serial control-line emulation is limited to about 1 millisecond. seconds.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"PPS","device":"/dev/ttyUSB0",
     "real_sec":1330212592, "real_nsec":343182,
     "clock_sec":1330212592,"clock_nsec":343184,
     "precision":-3}

OSC

This message reports the status of a GPS-disciplined oscillator (GPSDO). The GPS PPS output (which has excellent long-term stability) is typically used to discipline a local oscillator with much better short-term stability (such as a rubidium atomic clock).

An OSC object has the following elements:

Table 9. OSC object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "OSC"

device

Yes

string

Name of the originating device.

running

Yes

boolean

If true, the oscillator is currently running. Oscillators may require warm-up time at the start of the day.

reference

Yes

boolean

If true, the oscillator is receiving a GPS PPS signal.

disciplined

Yes

boolean

If true, the GPS PPS signal is sufficiently stable and is being used to discipline the local oscillator.

delta

Yes

numeric

The time difference (in nanoseconds) between the GPS-disciplined oscillator PPS output pulse and the most recent GPS PPS input pulse.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"OSC","running":true,"device":"/dev/ttyUSB0",
    "reference":true,"disciplined":true,"delta":67}

CORE PROTOCOL COMMANDS

And here are the commands you can send to gpsd.

?VERSION;

Returns an object with the following attributes:

Table 10. VERSION object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "VERSION"

release

Yes

string

Public release level

rev

Yes

string

Internal revision-control level.

proto_major

Yes

numeric

API major revision level.

proto_minor

Yes

numeric

API minor revision level.

remote

No

string

URL of the remote daemon reporting this version. If empty, this is the version of the local daemon.

The daemon ships a VERSION response to each client when the client first connects to it.

When the C client library parses a response of this kind, it will assert the VERSION_SET bit in the top-level set member.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"VERSION","version":"2.40dev",
    "rev":"06f62e14eae9886cde907dae61c124c53eb1101f",
    "proto_major":3,"proto_minor":1
}

?DEVICES;

Returns a device list object with the following elements:

Table 11. DEVICES object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "DEVICES"

devices

Yes

list

List of device descriptions

remote

No

string

URL of the remote daemon reporting the device set. If empty, this is a DEVICES response from the local daemon.

When the C client library parses a response of this kind, it will assert the DEVICELIST_SET bit in the top-level set member.

Here’s an example:

{"class"="DEVICES","devices":[
    {"class":"DEVICE","path":"/dev/pts/1","flags":1,"driver":"SiRF binary"},
    {"class":"DEVICE","path":"/dev/pts/3","flags":4,"driver":"AIVDM"}]}

The daemon occasionally ships a bare DEVICE object to the client (that is, one not inside a DEVICES wrapper). The data content of these objects will be described later as a response to the ?DEVICE command.

?WATCH;

This command sets watcher mode. It also sets or elicits a report of per-subscriber policy and the raw bit. An argument WATCH object changes the subscriber’s policy. The response describes the subscriber’s policy. The response will also include a DEVICES object.

A WATCH object has the following elements:

Table 12. WATCH object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "WATCH"

enable

No

boolean

Enable (true) or disable (false) watcher mode. Default is true.

json

No

boolean

Enable (true) or disable (false) dumping of JSON reports. Default is false.

nmea

No

boolean

Enable (true) or disable (false) dumping of binary packets as pseudo-NMEA. Default is false.

raw

No

integer

Controls 'raw' mode. When this attribute is set to 1 for a channel, gpsd reports the unprocessed NMEA or AIVDM data stream from whatever device is attached. Binary GPS packets are hex-dumped. RTCM2 and RTCM3 packets are not dumped in raw mode. When this attribute is set to 2 for a channel that processes binary data, gpsd reports the received data verbatim without hex-dumping.

scaled

No

boolean

If true, apply scaling divisors to output before dumping; default is false.

split24

No

boolean

If true, aggregate AIS type24 sentence parts. If false, report each part as a separate JSON object, leaving the client to match MMSIs and aggregate. Default is false. Applies only to AIS reports.

pps

No

boolean

If true, emit the TOFF JSON message on each cycle and a PPS JSON message when the device issues 1PPS. Default is false.

device

No

string

If present, enable watching only of the specified device rather than all devices. Useful with raw and NMEA modes in which device responses aren’t tagged. Has no effect when used with enable:false.

remote

No

string

URL of the remote daemon reporting the watch set. If empty, this is a WATCH response from the local daemon.

There is an additional boolean "timing" attribute which is undocumented because that portion of the interface is considered unstable and for developer use only.

In watcher mode, GPS reports are dumped as TPV and SKY responses. AIS, Subframe and RTCM reporting is described in the next section.

When the C client library parses a response of this kind, it will assert the POLICY_SET bit in the top-level set member.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"WATCH", "raw":1,"scaled":true}

?POLL;

The POLL command requests data from the last-seen fixes on all active GPS devices. Devices must previously have been activated by ?WATCH to be pollable.

Polling can lead to possibly surprising results when it is used on a device such as an NMEA GPS for which a complete fix has to be accumulated from several sentences. If you poll while those sentences are being emitted, the response will contain only the fix data collected so far in the current epoch. It may be as much as one cycle time (typically 1 second) stale.

The POLL response will contain a timestamped list of TPV objects describing cached data, and a timestamped list of SKY objects describing satellite configuration. If a device has not seen fixes, it will be reported with a mode field of zero.

Table 13. POLL object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "POLL"

time

Yes

Numeric

Timestamp in ISO 8601 format. May have a fractional part of up to .001sec precision.

active

Yes

Numeric

Count of active devices.

tpv

Yes

JSON array

Comma-separated list of TPV objects.

sky

Yes

JSON array

Comma-separated list of SKY objects.

Here’s an example of a POLL response:

{"class":"POLL","time":"2010-06-04T10:31:00.289Z","active":1,
    "tpv":[{"class":"TPV","device":"/dev/ttyUSB0",
            "time":"2010-09-08T13:33:06.095Z",
            "ept":0.005,"lat":40.035093060,
            "lon":-75.519748733,"track":99.4319,"speed":0.123,"mode":2}],
    "sky":[{"class":"SKY","device":"/dev/ttyUSB0",
            "time":1270517264.240,"hdop":9.20,
            "satellites":[{"PRN":16,"el":55,"az":42,"ss":36,"used":true},
                          {"PRN":19,"el":25,"az":177,"ss":0,"used":false},
                          {"PRN":7,"el":13,"az":295,"ss":0,"used":false},
                          {"PRN":6,"el":56,"az":135,"ss":32,"used":true},
                          {"PRN":13,"el":47,"az":304,"ss":0,"used":false},
                          {"PRN":23,"el":66,"az":259,"ss":0,"used":false},
                          {"PRN":20,"el":7,"az":226,"ss":0,"used":false},
                          {"PRN":3,"el":52,"az":163,"ss":32,"used":true},
                          {"PRN":31,"el":16,"az":102,"ss":0,"used":false}
]}]}
Note

Client software should not assume the field inventory of the POLL response is fixed for all time. As gpsd collects and caches more data from more sensor types, those data are likely to find their way into this response.

?DEVICE; ?DEVICE=

This command reports (when followed by ';') the state of a device, or sets (when followed by '=' and a DEVICE object) device-specific control bits, notably the device’s speed and serial mode and the native-mode bit. The parameter-setting form will be rejected if more than one client is attached to the channel.

Pay attention to the response, because it is possible for this command to fail if the GPS does not support a speed-switching command or only supports some combinations of serial modes. In case of failure, the daemon and GPS will continue to communicate at the old speed.

Use the parameter-setting form with caution. On USB and Bluetooth GPSes it is also possible for serial mode setting to fail either because the serial adaptor chip does not support non-8N1 modes or because the device firmware does not properly synchronize the serial adaptor chip with the UART on the GPS chipset when the speed changes. These failures can hang your device, possibly requiring a GPS power cycle or (in extreme cases) physically disconnecting the NVRAM backup battery.

A DEVICE object has the following elements:

Table 14. DEVICE object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "DEVICE"

path

No

string

Name the device for which the control bits are being reported, or for which they are to be applied. This attribute may be omitted only when there is exactly one subscribed channel.

activated

No

string

Time the device was activated as an ISO8601 time stamp. If the device is inactive this attribute is absent.

flags

No

integer

Bit vector of property flags. Currently defined flags are: describe packet types seen so far (GPS, RTCM2, RTCM3, AIS). Won’t be reported if empty, e.g. before gpsd has seen identifiable packets from the device.

driver

No

string

GPSD’s name for the device driver type. Won’t be reported before gpsd has seen identifiable packets from the device.

subtype

No

string

Whatever version information the device driver returned.

subtype1

No

string

More version information the device driver returned.

readonly

No

boolean

True if device is read-only.

bps

No

integer

Device speed in bits per second.

parity

No

string

N, O or E for no parity, odd, or even.

stopbits

Yes

string

Stop bits (1 or 2).

native

No

integer

0 means NMEA mode and 1 means alternate mode (binary if it has one, for SiRF and Evermore chipsets in particular). Attempting to set this mode on a non-GPS device will yield an error.

cycle

No

real

Device cycle time in seconds.

mincycle

No

real

Device minimum cycle time in seconds. Reported from ?DEVICE when (and only when) the rate is switchable. It is read-only and not settable.

The serial parameters will (bps, parity, stopbits) be omitted in a response describing a TCP/IP source such as an Ntrip, DGPSIP, or AIS feed; on a serial device they will always be present.

The contents of the flags field should be interpreted as follows:

Table 15. Device flags
C #define Value Description

SEEN_GPS

0x01

GPS data has been seen on this device

SEEN_RTCM2

0x02

RTCM2 data has been seen on this device

SEEN_RTCM3

0x04

RTCM3 data has been seen on this device

SEEN_AIS

0x08

AIS data has been seen on this device

When the C client library parses a response of this kind, it will assert the DEVICE_SET bit in the top-level set member.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"DEVICE","bps":4800,"parity":"N","stopbits":1,"native":0}

When a client is in watcher mode, the daemon will ship it DEVICE notifications when a device is added to the pool or deactivated.

When the C client library parses a response of this kind, it will assert the DEVICE_SET bit in the top-level set member.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"DEVICE","path":"/dev/pts1","activated":0}

ERROR

The daemon may ship an error object in response to a syntactically invalid command line or unknown command. It has the following elements:

Table 16. ERROR notification object
Name Always? Type Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "ERROR"

message

Yes

string

Textual error message

Here’s an example:

{"class":"ERROR","message":"Unrecognized request '?FOO'"}

When the C client library parses a response of this kind, it will assert the ERR_SET bit in the top-level set member.

RTCM2

RTCM-104 is a family of serial protocols used for broadcasting pseudorange corrections from differential-GPS reference stations. Many GPS receivers can accept these corrections to improve their reporting accuracy.

RTCM-104 comes in two major and incompatible flavors, 2.x and 3.x. Each major flavor has minor (compatible) revisions.

The applicable standard for RTCM Version 2.x is RTCM Recommended Standards for Differential NAVSTAR GPS Service RTCM Paper 194-93/SC 104-STD. For RTCM 3.1 it is RTCM Paper 177-2006-SC104-STD. Ordering instructions for both standards are accessible from the website of the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services under "Publications".

RTCM WIRE TRANSMISSIONS

Differential-GPS correction stations consist of a GPS reference receiver coupled to a low frequency (LF) transmitter. The GPS reference receiver is a survey-grade GPS that does GPS carrier tracking and can work out its position to a few millimeters. It generates range and range-rate corrections and encodes them into RTCM104. It ships the RTCM104 to the LF transmitter over serial rs-232 signal at 100 baud or 200 baud depending on the requirements of the transmitter.

The LF transmitter broadcasts the approximately 300khz radio signal that differential-GPS radio receivers pick up. Transmitters that are meant to have a higher range will need to transmit at a slower rate. The higher the data rate the harder it will be for the remote radio receiver to receive with a good signal-to-noise ration. (Higher data rate signals can’t be averaged over as long a time frame, hence they appear noisier.)

RTCM WIRE FORMATS

An RTCM 2.x message consists of a sequence of up to 33 30-bit words. The 24 most significant bits of each word are data and the six least significant bits are parity. The parity algorithm used is the same ISGPS-2000 as that used on GPS satellite downlinks. Each RTCM 2.x message consists of two header words followed by zero or more data words, depending upon the message type.

An RTCM 3.x message begins with a fixed leader byte 0xD3. That is followed by six bits of version information and 10 bits of payload length information. Following that is the payload; following the payload is a 3-byte checksum of the payload using the Qualcomm CRC-24Q algorithm.

RTCM2 JSON FORMAT

Each RTCM2 message is dumped as a single JSON object per message, with the message fields as attributes of that object. Arrays of satellite, station, and constellation statistics become arrays of JSON sub-objects. Each sentence will normally also have a "device" field containing the pathname of the originating device.

All attributes other than the device field are mandatory. Header attributes are emitted before others.

Header portion

Table 17. SKY object
Name Type Description

class

string

Fixed: "RTCM2".

type

integer

Message type (1-9).

station_id

integer

The id of the GPS reference receiver. The LF transmitters also have (different) id numbers.

zcount

real

The reference time of the corrections in the message in seconds within the current hour. Note that it is in GPS time, which is some seconds ahead of UTC (see the U.S. Naval Observatory’s table of leap second corrections).

seqnum

integer

Sequence number. Only 3 bits wide, wraps after 7.

length

integer

The number of words after the header that comprise the message.

station_health

integer

Station transmission status. Indicates the health of the beacon as a reference source. Any nonzero value means the satellite is probably transmitting bad data and should not be used in a fix. 6 means the transmission is unmonitored. 7 means the station is not working properly. Other values are defined by the beacon operator.

<message type> is one of

1

full corrections — one message containing corrections for all GPS satellites in view. This is not common.

3

reference station parameters — the position of the reference station GPS antenna.

4

datum — the datum to which the DGPS data is referred.

5

constellation health — information about the satellites the beacon can see.

6

null message — just a filler.

7

radio beacon almanac — information about this or other beacons.

9

subset corrections — a message containing corrections for only a subset of the GPS satellites in view.

16

special message — a text message from the beacon operator.

31

GLONASS subset corrections — a message containing corrections for a set of the GLONASS satellites in view.

Type 1 and 9: Correction data

One or more satellite objects follow the header for type 1 or type 9 messages. Here is the format:

Table 18. Satellite object
Name Type Description

ident

integer

The PRN number of the satellite for which this is correction data.

udre

integer

User Differential Range Error (0-3). See the table following for values.

iod

integer

Issue Of Data, matching the IOD for the current ephemeris of this satellite, as transmitted by the satellite. The IOD is a unique tag that identifies the ephemeris; the GPS using the DGPS correction and the DGPS generating the data must use the same orbital positions for the satellite.

prc

real

The pseudorange error in meters for this satellite as measured by the beacon reference receiver at the epoch indicated by the z_count in the parent record.

rrc

real

The rate of change of pseudorange error in meters/sec for this satellite as measured by the beacon reference receiver at the epoch indicated by the z_count field in the parent record. This is used to calculate pseudorange errors at other epochs, if required by the GPS receiver.

User Differential Range Error values are as follows:

Table 19. UDRE values

0

1-sigma error ⇐ 1 m

1

1-sigma error ⇐ 4 m

2

1-sigma error ⇐ 8 m

3

1-sigma error > 8 m

Here’s an example:

{"class":"RTCM2","type":1,
    "station_id":688,"zcount":843.0,"seqnum":5,"length":19,"station_health":6,
    "satellites":[
        {"ident":10,"udre":0,"iod":46,"prc":-2.400,"rrc":0.000},
        {"ident":13,"udre":0,"iod":94,"prc":-4.420,"rrc":0.000},
        {"ident":7,"udre":0,"iod":22,"prc":-5.160,"rrc":0.002},
        {"ident":2,"udre":0,"iod":34,"prc":-6.480,"rrc":0.000},
        {"ident":4,"udre":0,"iod":47,"prc":-8.860,"rrc":0.000},
        {"ident":8,"udre":0,"iod":76,"prc":-7.980,"rrc":0.002},
        {"ident":5,"udre":0,"iod":99,"prc":-8.260,"rrc":0.002},
        {"ident":23,"udre":0,"iod":81,"prc":-8.060,"rrc":0.000},
        {"ident":16,"udre":0,"iod":70,"prc":-11.740,"rrc":0.000},
        {"ident":30,"udre":0,"iod":4,"prc":-18.960,"rrc":-0.006},
        {"ident":29,"udre":0,"iod":101,"prc":-24.960,"rrc":-0.002}
]}

Type 3: Reference Station Parameters

Here are the payload members of a type 3 (Reference Station Parameters) message:

Table 20. Reference Station Parameters
Name Type Description

x

real

ECEF X coordinate.

y

real

ECEF Y coordinate.

z

real

ECEF Z coordinate.

The coordinates are the position of the station, in meters to two decimal places, in Earth Centred Earth Fixed coordinates. These are usually referred to the WGS84 reference frame, but may be referred to NAD83 in the US (essentially identical to WGS84 for all except geodesists), or some other reference frame in other parts of the world.

An invalid reference message is represented by a type 3 header without payload fields.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"RTCM2","type":3,
    "station_id":652,"zcount":1657.2,"seqnum":2,"length":4,"station_health":6,
    "x":3878620.92,"y":670281.40,"z":5002093.59
}

Type 4: Datum

Here are the payload members of a type 4 (Datum) message:

Table 21. Datum
Name Type Description

dgnss_type

string

Either "GPS", "GLONASS", "GALILEO", or "UNKNOWN".

dat

integer

0 or 1 and indicates the sense of the offset shift given by dx, dy, dz. dat = 0 means that the station coordinates (in the reference message) are referred to a local datum and that adding dx, dy, dz to that position will render it in GNSS coordinates (WGS84 for GPS). If dat = 1 then the ref station position is in GNSS coordinates and adding dx, dy, dz will give it referred to the local datum.

datum_name

string

A standard name for the datum.

dx

real

X offset.

dy

real

Y offset.

dz

real

Z offset.

<dx> <dy> <dz> are offsets to convert from local datum to GNSS datum or vice versa. These fields are optional.

An invalid datum message is represented by a type 4 header without payload fields.

Type 5: Constellation Health

One or more of these follow the header for type 5 messages — one for each satellite.

Here is the format:

Table 22. Constellation health
Name Type Description

ident

integer

The PRN number of the satellite.

iodl

bool

True indicates that this information relates to the satellite information in an accompanying type 1 or type 9 message.

health

integer

0 indicates that the satellite is healthy. Any other value indicates a problem (coding is not known).

snr

integer

The carrier/noise ratio of the received signal in the range 25 to 55 dB(Hz).

health_en

bool

If set to True it indicates that the satellite is healthy even if the satellite navigation data says it is unhealthy.

new_data

bool

True indicates that the IOD for this satellite will soon be updated in type 1 or 9 messages.

los_warning

bool

Line-of-sight warning. True indicates that the satellite will shortly go unhealthy.

tou

integer

Healthy time remaining in seconds.

Type 6: Null

This just indicates a null message. There are no payload fields.

Unknown message

This format is used to dump message words in hexadecimal when the message type field doesn’t match any of the known ones.

Here is the format:

Table 23. Unknown Message
Name Type Description

data

list

A list of strings.

Each string in the array is a hex literal representing 30 bits of information, after parity checks and inversion. The high two bits should be ignored.

Type 7: Radio Beacon Almanac

Here is the format:

Table 24. Constellation health
Name Type Description

lat

real

Latitude in degrees, of the LF transmitter antenna for the station for which this is an almanac. North is positive.

lon

real

Longitude in degrees, of the LF transmitter antenna for the station for which this is an almanac. East is positive.

range

integer

Published range of the station in km.

frequency

real

Station broadcast frequency in kHz.

health

integer

<health> is the health of the station for which this is an almanac. If it is non-zero, the station is issuing suspect data and should not be used for fixes. The ITU and RTCM104 standards differ about the mode detailed interpretation of the <health> field and even about its bit width.

station_id

integer

The id of the transmitter. This is not the same as the reference id in the header, the latter being the id of the reference receiver.

bitrate

integer

The transmitted bitrate.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"RTCM2","type":9,"station_id":268,"zcount":252.6,
        "seqnum":4,"length":5,"station_health":0,
        "satellites":[
            {"ident":13,"udre":0,"iod":3,"prc":-25.940,"rrc":0.066},
            {"ident":2,"udre":0,"iod":73,"prc":0.920,"rrc":-0.080},
            {"ident":8,"udre":0,"iod":22,"prc":23.820,"rrc":0.014}
]}

Type 13: GPS Time of Week

Here are the payload members of a type 13 (Groumf Tramitter Parameters) message:

Table 25. Ground Transmitter Parameters
Name Type Description

status

bool

If True, signals user to expect a type 16 explanatory message associated with this station. Probably indicates some sort of unusual event.

rangeflag

bool

If True, indicates that the estimated range is different from that found in the type 7 message (which contains the beacon’s listed range). Generally indicates a range reduction due to causes such as poor ionospheric conditions or reduced transmission power.

lat

real

Degrees latitude, signed. Positive is N, negative is S.

lon

real

Degrees longitude, signed. Positive is E, negative is W.

range

integer

Transmission range in km (1-1024).

This message type replaces message type 3 (Reference Station Parameters) in RTCM 2.3.

Type 14: GPS Time of Week

Here are the payload members of a type 14 (GPS Time of Week) message:

Table 26. Reference Station Parameters
Name Type Description

week

integer

GPS week (0-123).

hour

integer

Hour of week (0-167).

leapsecs

integer

Leap Seconds (0-63).

Here’s an example:

{"class":"RTCM2","type":14,"station_id":652,"zcount":1657.2,
        "seqnum":3,"length":1,"station_health":6,"week":601,"hour":109,
        "leapsecs":15}

Type 16: Special Message

Table 27. Special Message
Name Type Description

message

string

A text message sent by the beacon operator.

Type 31: Correction data

One or more GLONASS satellite objects follow the header for type 1 or type 9 messages. Here is the format:

Table 28. Satellite object
Name Type Description

ident

integer

The PRN number of the satellite for which this is correction data.

udre

integer

User Differential Range Error (0-3). See the table following for values.

change

boolean

Change-of-ephemeris bit.

tod

uinteger

Count of 30-second periods since the top of the hour.

prc

real

The pseudorange error in meters for this satellite as measured by the beacon reference receiver at the epoch indicated by the z_count in the parent record.

rrc

real

The rate of change of pseudorange error in meters/sec for this satellite as measured by the beacon reference receiver at the epoch indicated by the z_count field in the parent record. This is used to calculate pseudorange errors at other epochs, if required by the GPS receiver.

Here’s an example:

{"class":"RTCM2","type":31,"station_id":652,"zcount":1642.2,
    "seqnum":0,"length":14,"station_health":6,
    "satellites":[
        {"ident":5,"udre":0,"change":false,"tod":0,"prc":132.360,"rrc":0.000},
        {"ident":15,"udre":0,"change":false,"tod":0,"prc":134.840,"rrc":0.002},
        {"ident":14,"udre":0,"change":false,"tod":0,"prc":141.520,"rrc":0.000},
        {"ident":6,"udre":0,"change":false,"tod":0,"prc":127.000,"rrc":0.000},
        {"ident":21,"udre":0,"change":false,"tod":0,"prc":128.780,"rrc":0.000},
        {"ident":22,"udre":0,"change":false,"tod":0,"prc":125.260,"rrc":0.002},
        {"ident":20,"udre":0,"change":false,"tod":0,"prc":117.280,"rrc":-0.004},
        {"ident":16,"udre":0,"change":false,"tod":17,"prc":113.460,"rrc":0.018}
]}

RTCM3 DUMP FORMAT

The support for RTCM104v3 dumping is incomplete and buggy. Do not attempt to use it for production! Anyone interested in it should read the source code.

AIS DUMP FORMATS

AIS support is an extension. It may not be present if your instance of gpsd has been built with a restricted feature set.

AIS packets are dumped as JSON objects with class "AIS". Each AIS report object contains a "type" field giving the AIS message type and a "scaled" field telling whether the remainder of the fields are dumped in scaled or unscaled form. (These will be emitted before any type-specific fields.) It will also contain a "device" field naming the data source. Other fields have names and types as specified in the AIVDM/AIVDO Protocol Decoding document on the GPSD project website; each message field table may be directly interpreted as a specification for the members of the corresponding JSON object type.

By default, certain scaling and conversion operations are performed for JSON output. Latitudes and longitudes are scaled to decimal degrees rather than the native AIS unit of 1/10000th of a minute of arc. Ship (but not air) speeds are scaled to knots rather than tenth-of-knot units. Rate of turn may appear as "nan" if is unavailable, or as one of the strings "fastright" or "fastleft" if it is out of the AIS encoding range; otherwise it is quadratically mapped back to the turn sensor number in degrees per minute. Vessel draughts are converted to decimal meters rather than native AIS decimeters. Various other scaling conversions are described in "AIVDM/AIVDO Protocol Decoding".

SUBFRAME DUMP FORMATS

Subframe support is always compiled into gpsd but many GPSes do not output subframe data or the gpsd driver may not support subframes.

Subframe packets are dumped as JSON objects with class "SUBFRAME". Each subframe report object contains a "frame" field giving the subframe number, a "tSV" field for the transmitting satellite number, a "TOW17" field containing the 17 MSBs of the start of the next 12-second message and a "scaled" field telling whether the remainder of the fields are dumped in scaled or unscaled form. It will also contain a "device" field naming the data source. Each SUBFRAME object will have a sub-object specific to that subframe page type. Those sub-object fields have names and types similar to those specified in the IS-GPS-200 document; each message field table may be directly interpreted as a specification for the members of the corresponding JSON object type.

Table 29. SUBFRAME object

Name

Always?

Type

Description

class

Yes

string

Fixed: "SUBFRAME"

device

Yes

string

Name of the originating device.

gnssId

Yes

integer

Constellation of transmitting satellite

tSV

Yes

integer

ID of transmitting satellite (Not PRN)

TOW17

No

integer

Type 17 bits of the next GPS Time Of Week

frame

No

integer

Frame number

scaled

Yes

boolean

True is values scaled

SEE ALSO

gpsd(8), libgps(3), libgpsmm(3)

RESOURCES

Project web site: https://gpsd.io/

RFC 2783: https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/rfc2783
Pulse-Per-Second API for UNIX-like Operating Systems

RFC 7159: https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/rfc7159
The JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) Data Interchange Format

COPYING

This file is Copyright 2013 by the GPSD project
SPDX-License-Identifier: BSD-2-clause