Robert Lipe - GPSBabel Developer
I designed the program that became GPSBabel and made it available to the world as open source. In December 2001, I bought a Magellan 330 and was frustrated by the tools available for UNIX and Linux to transfer waypoints to it in order to support my newfound hobby of Geocaching.
The idea of GPSBabel was born from me having some grubby Perl
code that named waypoints sensibly (the logic in that code later
became GPSBabel's "-s" option) and a collection of waypoints in an
obscure format. It occurred to me that while there may be an
infinite number of ways of expressing a named point in space (a
waypoint) there's a fairly small amount of information required to
express that. If I was disciplined in hooking my 'gpsutil' reader
up to the 'magellan' writer, I could also hook arbitrary formats up
to that data structure as easily.
In July 2002, I made the first public release of GPSBabel to Sourceforge. It was UNIX only and supported ten formats:
- Geocaching.com .loc
- GPX 1.0
- Magellan Serial
- Mapsource (which, incidentally, was totally broken because of a misunderstanding between JoGPS and myself)
Ten formats! That had to be the end-all, conversion utility, right? Well, since we've now surpassed up on 10x that many, it's a good reminder how naive I was.
GPSBabel is now downloaded over 400 times a day and is used in programs like Google Earth and GSAK, the Geocaching Swiss Army Knife.
GPSBabel Hits The Big Time
GPSBabel gets mentioned in all kinds of places. Here are some:
- Mapping Hacks contains several GPSBabel hacks.
- A Macworld article on GPS.
- Google Maps Hacks contains several GPSBabel hacks written by card carrying BabelHeads including Ron Parker and myself. I was a technical revier.
- We've been mentioned several times in Linux Journal.
- GPS For dummies has a sidebar on GPSBabel.
- If you know of more places GPSBabel is featured in the press, please let me know!
Other GPS stuff
In addition to GPSBabel, I also created and host other GPS resources on the web including:
- The Magellan GPS FAQs
- The Explorist FAQ
- My comparison of the reception of Garmin vs. Magellan receivers
- My review of review of Magellan DirectRoute
- I've tried to start a collection of GPS FAQS from the various lists I read.
By day, I'm a Senior Software Engineer with a very well known company. By night, I'm married with one son and live near Nashville, TN.
You want a piece of me?
I am available for consulting projects ranging from "please just convert this stupid file for me" to custom development.
Even when vacationing, I have a GPS with me!