Surface Position from External GPS

Is it possible to show current position of operator in QGroundControl through an external GPS connected to topside computer? I’d like the inset to be populated with vessel position while performing a survey.

All thoughts appreciated.

Hi Robert,

Not sure if you can display within QGC (I haven’t been able to find any info on that) , but I use my phone with location on, bluetooth connected to the Surface Pro, using Bluetooth GPS Output app to push GPS to the computer. Then use GPS Visualizer to display data, with the window minimized to fit in the QGC menu bar. Then I screen record (or use an external screen capture card) to have GPS embedded in the video.

@iamrobertm I use the same method as Marcus with a Wifi hotspot from a cell phone and making sure the Location Services are ON with my Surface Pro. This get’s me vessel position and an updated satellite map. However, you need to be in 4G range. I think I also tried it with an external USB GPS ( an it seemed to work fine for me getting position.

I’m trying to get nautical charts to work through a Mapbox token, but I’ve been unsuccessful so far.

Thank you both. I was thinking the same. I have used Bluetooth gps apps and have a gps embedded in one of my laptops. I was hoping there was a way to trick the system to use an external gps in place of the done embedded gps. But the screen capture method with another map or coordinate window in the corner is simple enough and smart I’ll do too.

I’m not sure if the new third party underwater GPS device has a modified QGC because I know that allows onscreen lat/long. So presumably they’ve modified the software to allow for other inputs; whether or not it allows for GPS input independent of their system would be interesting to know.

I was skeptical to use the phone GPS, but I couldn’t get my Garmin handheld to connect to the surface pro. But even in flight mode (so only using internal GPS), my samsung galaxy s5 is +/- 1/1000 of a minute within my onboard brand new Raymarine plotter…pretty impressive!!

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I have made ship navigation systems to send position, depth etc to ROV computer.
For that I use Fransson GPS splitter: GpsGate Splitter - GpsGate
Communication between computers can be wired or wireless.
That does not make position show up in QGC, but I can use other softwares.

Hi all,

@spotxuv is right, we added this sort of functionality when we were testing the Water Linked system. We’re still working on it and haven’t made it publicly available yet. This hasn’t been extended to support other GPS devices yet, but that’s a good idea and can be done in the future.


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I’ve been pretty impressed by phone GPS recently as well. In my case, I’d take coordinates from anything given I can’t track the ROV anyways. Seems screen capture is the way to go. It will be interesting to see how software evolves to handle the underwater GPS. Integrating operator and vehicle positions would be a nice feature.

Yes, being able to plot two positions in a single package is a great feature when trying to follow the ROV with a vessel. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

It would be very useful and also a big step to “professionalize” the system if the possibility for overlay such as text, logo and Lat Long or East North could be visible on the QGC

Hi @jwalser . I had a search but couldn’t see if this is possible yet (ie, connect a handheld GPS on the boat to QGC via USB and have position displayed on the QGC screen)? I haven’t updated software for a while…

Yes, this feature is available. Check for the settings on the General tab of the Application Settings page (click the purple Q icon).

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Great, thanks JAcob

Hi Jacob,

Have you noticed any stability issues when running the external GPS? I am using QGround Control 3.2.4 Rev 6, and I can see my device in the com port list. But if I select it, Ground Control regularly crashes straight away, and then will usually not allow me to open the program again, with it crashing on startup several times,until eventually it does regain stability. It does this whether a GPS device is plugged in or not. And I can see the GPS is working fine in another program (not running at the same time) (NMEA, 4800 bps)

Any thoughts? Thanks,