Robert Lipe - GPSBabel Developer

GPSBabel History

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
  • GPSman
  • GPX 1.0
  • Magellan Serial
  • Mapsend
  • Mapsource (which, incidentally, was totally broken because of a misunderstanding between JoGPS and myself)
  • PCX
  • GPSUtil
  • Tiger
  • CSV

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:

Other GPS stuff

In addition to GPSBabel, I also created and host other GPS resources on the web including:

Personal Life

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.

Robert in Alaska

Even when vacationing, I have a GPS with me!