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Live GPS tracking

To activate Live GPS tracking in QGIS you need to select Settings ‣ checkbox GPS information. You will get a new docked window on the left side of the canvas.

There are 4 possible screens in this GPS tracking window:

  • mActionToggleEditing GPS position coordinates and for manually entering Vertices and Features.
  • gpstrack_barchart GPS signal strength of satellite connections.
  • gpstrack_polarchart GPS polar screen showing number and polar position of satellites.
  • mActionOptions GPS options screen (see figure_gps_options).

With a plugged in GPS receiver (has to be supported by your operating system) a simple click on [Connect] connects the GPS to QGIS. A second click (now on [Disconnect]) disconnects the GPS-receiver from your computer. For GNU/Linux gpsd support is integrated to support connection to most GPS receivers. Therefore you first have to configure gpsd properly to connect QGIS to it.


If you want to record your position to the canvas you have to create a new vector layer first and switch it to editable status to be able to record your track.

Position and additional attributes

mActionToggleEditing If the GPS is receiving signals from satellites you will see your position in latitude, longitude and altitude together with additional attributes.

Figure GPS Position:


GPS tracking position and additional attributes nix

GPS signal strength

gpstrack_barchart Here you can see the signal strenght of the satellites you are receiving signals from.

Figure GPS Strength:


GPS tracking signal strength nix

GPS polar window

gpstrack_polarchart If you want to know where in the sky all the connected satellites are, you have to switch to the polar screen. You can also see the ID numbers of the satellites you are receiving signals from.

Figure GPS polar window:


GPS tracking polar window nix

GPS options

mActionOptions In case of connection problems you can switch between:

  • radiobuttonon Autodetect
  • radiobuttonon Internal,
  • radiobuttonon Serial device
  • radiobuttonon gpsd (selecting Host, Port and Device your GPS is connected to).

A click on [Connect] again initiates the connection to the GPS receiver.

Figure GPS Tracking 2:


GPS tracking options window nix

You can activate checkbox Automatically save added features when you are in editing mode. Or you can can activate checkbox Automatically add points to the map canvas with a certain width and color.

Activating checkbox Cursor you can use a slider slider to shrink and grow the position cursor on the canvas.

Activating radiobuttonon Map centering allows to decide in which way the canvas will be updated. This includes ‘always’, ‘when leaving’ if your recorded coordinates start either to move out of canvas or ‘never’ to keep map extent.

Finally you can activate checkbox Log file and define a path and a file where log messages about the gps tracking a logged.

If you want to set a feature manually you have to go back to mActionToggleEditing Position and click on [Add Point] or [Add track point].