GSAK and GPSBabel

I run Ubuntu and predictably there’s a derth of support for Geocaching on Linux based systems. It’s not that there isn’t open source alternatives – it’s just that they’re not quite designed for caching.

A truly great piece of shareware for Geocaching on Windows is GSAK, but there is no official Linux version and after 21 days you get a nag screen unless you pony up for the registered version. So imagine my surprise to find that GSAK relies upon an open source technology called GPSBabel to do the actual leg-work of exporting data to your device from your OS.

Basically GSAK is the glossy database that goes over the top – and it is a fine tool don’t get me wrong. Anyway I found a way to make GSAK work on Linux, by replacing the gpsbabel.exe file with an executable script named “gpsbabel.exe”. The original info I got from the GSAK forum provided by alancurry.

alancurry’s script didn’t work exactly, I had to make some tweaks:

case “$1” in
gpsbabel -i garmin -f usb:0 -o gpx -F “$HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/gsak/Temp/babel.gpx”
exit 0
gpsbabel -N -i xcsv,style=”$HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/gsak/GSAK.STL” -f “$HOME/.wine/drive_c/windows/profiles/{username}/Application Data/gsak/babel.txt” -vs -o garmin -F usb:
exit 0

I then saved this script as “gpsbabel.txt” in “$HOME/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/gsak/”.

Right now, after using it for 100+ days I’m getting bothered by the nag screen (‘The GSAK Spouse’), but I’m not going to pay and register it and there are a few reasons for this:

  • The developer appears to have no intention of supporting Linux.
  • Since it’s buggy under wine (crashes often) I only use it to load PQs and export them to my GPSmap 60CSx, I don’t save the data – I usually wipe it and start over each week.

So now I’m thinking of finding a quicker way to access the GPX file from the command line, order it like GSAK does and then export directly without having to load up a buggy, nagging GSAK UI.

If I find a way to make it work, maybe I’ll post it as an open source project and invite others to contribute. I’ll need to if I was to try and build a GUI since I know nothing of GUI development.

5 thoughts on “GSAK and GPSBabel

  1. I have been using gebabbel to go between my PQs and my Garmin. I download my PQs to the appropriate directory and set up gebabbel to write the caches to my GPSr and additionally to an html file. I can then get the information for a cache to display on my laptop by just searching on the cache name, using the GPSr to identify the nearby caches. The only down side is that the logs are not visible in the HTML file I have been using. There may be other output types, but this was working for me so I haven't gone further.

  2. If GSAK crashes under Wine and doesn’t crash on “real” Windows, that should be taken up with the Wine devs.

    You don’t have to involve GSAK at all to send a PQ to a GPS; GPSBabel knows how to read the PQ. If you use the -Sn option, GPSBabel knows how to create waypoint comments for the Garmins that contain diff/terr and cache type.

    Jeff, GPSBabel’s HTML writer can include logs when reading from PQs.

  3. Thanks for the info Robert. Actually since writing this post I’ve abandoned GSAK and just gone for using gpsbabel alone to update my PQs.

    I’ve even written a little shell script, but I didn’t know about the -Sn option (admittedly I haven’t spent long enough getting acquainted with it’s functionality).

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