The GPS world is full of shoddy, poorly-documented designs. All too many devices have behaviors that drive the harried maintainers of gpsd to shake their heads and mutter What were they thinking?

This page goes beyond the merely ordinary and commemorates the really special blunders — bugs and design errors so consummately brain-dead that the only possible responses are either rage or helpless laughter.

By naming and shaming the vendors who perpetrated these egregious blunders, we hope to exert some pressure for higher quality standards in the future.

Your contributions are welcome. If you're describing a firmware bug, it's best if you can identify the firmware version or range of versions it applies to.

NMEA violations

These are the screwups that lead us to wonder if the GPS chipset vendors ever read the NMEA documentation.

Implementation blunders

These are the screwups that lead us to wonder if the GPS chipset vendors ever actually test their hardware.

Documentation blunders

The best evidence that the GPS industry is run by morons is the quality (or, rather, utter lack of quality) of their chipset documentation. You would think they'd have figured out by now that good and readily available documentation, making it easy for others to interface to their hardware, will sell more hardware. But no; most vendors make documentation difficult to get, and it tends to be both incomplete and vague when you get it. A few vendors go above and beyond the normal stupidity...

Design blunders

GPS chipset vendors love their proprietary binary protocols. There is some excuse for this, given that the industry standard NMEA 0183 grew by a series of kluges and accretions and would probably have turned out better if it had been designed by chimpanzees on crack — but you'd think the vendors would at least make sure that their binary protocols are a functional superset of NMEA. But no; in the laugh-one-minute, puke-the-next world of GPS chipsets, it ain't so...