I'm looking around for a GPS receiver and found 2 product that is frequently recommended; Adafruit Ultimate GPS and GlobalSat BU-353. In terms of technical specification and compatibility with Raspbian, which product is better?


BU-353 is a bit dated, you should definitely choose BU-353-S4 (SiRF4 instead of SiRF3), otherwise, the choice is between a breakout board, that require soldering, cables and enclosure from one side and complete plug-and-play solution from another side.

If you need a GPS to use, drop on your car roof and forget -- you should choose BU-353-S4, but if you prefer to solder things and play mostly indoors (why you need GPS indoors anyway?) -- then get one from Adafruit.

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  • indoor navigation is a huge topic in geodesy and geoinformatics. most approaches work with wifi (!) hotspot triangulation, though, because GPS/GNSS signals are blocked by roofs. – LuWi Apr 28 '14 at 18:38

gpsd (the GPS linux driver) does not work with the BU353-S4 in default binary mode (unless it has been fixed recently)... you have to switch it to NMEA with gpsctl -n (gpsd GPS control), actually it took me several days to figure that out. I'm not happy that SIRF binary mode doesn't work with gpsd.

The Adafruit works with gpsd NMEA Mode it has no binary mode. It also has 1pps for making your own NTP server for a laugh. It also picks up the Japanese QZSS satellites.

The S4 is magnetic suitable for attaching to a car... the Adafruit requires some soldering and the correct TTL to 3.3V level shifting usb cable or it can be connected to the GPIO ports directly. The adafruit is not weatherproof.

So for indoor projects and learning the Adafruit. If you're installing in a car as a tracker device then the S4 - as earlier answer.

I have both. The S4 was for a pc project and Adafruit for a NTP server on a Pi and other project ideas.

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