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October 17, 2008 @ 20:40

Bluetooth GPS Fedora howto

If you have bluetooth GPS dongle that you have laying around, or can borrow one from somebody, and like driving a bike or a car around then this is the guide for you.

You need to have bluetooth wireless chip already installed on your laptop. If you have a laptop or a desktop without bluetooth you can buy and use USB bluetooth dongle.

You can check if you have a bluetooth and that it is working correctly using this command:
hcitool dev


Then let’s make sure you have bluetooth service running:
service bluetooth status

if it is not running just start it with:
service bluetooth start

Turn on your bluetooth GPS dongle and find its bluetooth mac address with this command:
hcitool scan
Scanning ...
00:1E:EE:00:11:22 LG KU990
00:02:78:99:FF:00 SJ GPS
00:12:EE:55:00:FF Device01


If you find more than one bluetooth device you should know the name of your GPS dongle. My GPS dongle has a “GPS” in its name so it is easy to catch its mac address: 00:02:78:99:FF:00 (SJ GPS)

You need to install gpsd and setup bluetooth config files, so let’s first install gpsd:
su -
yum install gpsd gpsd-clients -y


Then you need to edit bluetooth config file so that gpsd connects automatically to GPS bluetooth dongle.

gedit / etc/bluetooth/rfcomm.conf

and add these lines:

rfcomm0 {
# Automatically bind the device at startup
bind yes;

# Bluetooth address of the device
device 00:12:EE:55:00:FF;

# RFCOMM channel for the connection
channel 1;

# Description of the connection
comment "GPS Bluetooth dongle";


After reboot check if you have /dev/rfcomm0 device with:
ls -al /dev/rfcomm0

If after reboot (or you don’t wan’t to reboot) you still don’t have /dev/rfcomm0 then just issue this command:
rfcomm bind rfcomm0

Now start gpsd daemon:
gpsd /dev/rfcomm0

Now you can start having fun! :)

Install gps applications like tangogps, gpsdrive and gpsbabel.
yum install -y tangogps gpsdrive gpsbabel

Now just start tangogps and gpsdrive and enjoy…

Filed under english, fedora, gps, linux, openstreetmap, tips&tricks


  1. Posted by Scott Williams

    October 17, 2008 @ 21:15

    Excellent write-up. We should post this on http://fedorasolved.org !!

  2. Posted by Robert Lipe

    October 18, 2008 @ 7:29

    In almost every case, GPSBabel can read straight from the rfcomm device when in realtime tracking mode.

    GPSD has a place, but for commodity GPSes hocking up either plain ole NMEA or Garmin PVT, GPSBabel can slurp right from the BT device just fine.

  3. Posted by valent

    October 18, 2008 @ 21:18

    @Scott Williams
    Sure I’ll post it to http://fedorasolved.org

    @Robert Lipe
    I’m using 2-3 GPS apps at the same time so there for my setup gpsd is must because I need to give access to GPS data to more that one app.

  4. Posted by Eli Hadad

    November 15, 2008 @ 13:29

    Great article, with few minutes I could make my GPS work with my Fedora9 on my laptop.

  5. Posted by bugthing

    April 28, 2009 @ 13:06

    Thanks for the article.

    I am using Fedora 10 on an Acer Aspire One with a bluetooth usb dongle and a Holux GPSlim 236.

    The above instructions all go well, except when I reboot their is no /dev/rfcomm0, but when I run ‘rfcomm bind rfcomm0′, it appears, so all good :) (i guess)

    gpsd seems to run ok.

    The problem comes when I run tangogps or gpsdrive, they both report there is not GPS receiver :(

    … any ideas??

  6. Posted by valent

    April 29, 2009 @ 15:00

    Hi, thank you for your comment.

    Tangogps and Gpsdrive need gpsd deamon running so please start it, read the instructions in my post how to start it once more and if you have further questions don’t be shy, just ask.

  7. Posted by bugthing

    April 29, 2009 @ 15:21

    thanks for the reply…

    I do have the gpsd running. It does not complain so I guess it is happy.

    From further investigation it seems to not be able to read the /dev/rfcomm0.

    When running:
    cat /dev/rfcomm0

    I think the above should spit out some data, but it does not…

    … hold on …

    It is working! :-D

    I think it is because before I did not restart the GPSlim after installing all the gpsd etc.

    thanks alot :)

  8. Posted by /kernel_reloaded/

    December 20, 2009 @ 19:46

    [...] gpsd -b -N -D2 /dev/ttyUSB0   If you want to use igotU GT200 via bluetooth you can use this Bluetooth GPS Fedora howto guide to set it up. [...]

  9. Posted by Jos

    January 28, 2012 @ 15:18

    Does this also work with Ubuntu (instead of Fedora)? Jos Muller

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