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X Amateur Station Tracking and Information Reporting


Xastir is an open-source project to create a free X11 graphical APRS(tm) client. APRS(tm) uses amateur radio and Internet services to convey GPS mapping, weather, and positional data in a graphical application. It has been developed by and for amateur radio enthusiasts to provide real-time data in an easy to use package.


Xastir was originally created by Frank Giannandrea, KC2GJS (was KC0DGE) for Linux. At the time it was created, Xastir was an attempt to overcome some of the problems and limitations of the then available clients. Frank released Xastir under the GPL V2.

I think these are Frank's own words - but can't verify that fact.

Brief history
This project started about the beginning of July 1998, Hopefully it will continue to a version of my own GPS Tracker. 
I have seen a  little bit of APRS[tm] for DOS and WINDOWS. I have not installed them as of yet. I do have a fairly 
good idea of what they do and how they work. I have also heard that there was a version that did run on another UNIX 
variant. I have seen very little of this version on the net, links usually lead to information about the JAVA APRS[tm].
JAVA APRS[tm] is a great program, but I really wanted a X version that had the controls and commands like the OS 
specific ones. I now felt the need to take my programming skills out and do something for the Linux-HAM community. 
At this point you may be wondering why? Well I thought it would be a neat and challenging project!

The Future
My plans for the future, Well I need to start with a full functioning program. First I will be working to include all 
the basic functions. My immediate work will include the TNC interface, filtering and tracking stations. In the end I 
would like to include the server software in this version so you to can broadcast your connections via the net. Another 
use for this program will be the connection of command and control software for the Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) 
High Altitude Balloon Group.

Since about 2000, development has been wrangled by Chuck Byam. Chuck 'herds' a very dynamic and active group of developers and users called The Xastir Group. See the Authors file included with the Xastir source for details. Xastir is by far and away the most rapidly progressing APRS client of any type. With development snapshots released almost monthly, the only real way to keep up with it's rapid development is to perform nightly CVS updates. Even then, you may not always have the latest available version.

Please, do NOT contact Frank for Xastir Support, Comments, Ideas, Bug reports, etc.
Though he is still around, active and helping, all such request go to The Xastir Group. Thanks!


Currently, Xastir is being used on Linux, several flavors of BSD, Mac OS X, Solaris, Unix, MS Windows and likely a few other platforms I've forgotten. We'll have to wait for the Xastir web site to return for information on those aspects.

Xastir excels in the sheer number and types of data and maps - locally stored and online - that it can use and display. Not just in sheer numbers of formats, but by how these maps, data and layers can be configured to display useful information graphically. Many APRS clients can display most of the same information, but only Xastir offers such a high level of control and configurablility to how that data is displayed. This allows each user to design displays - choosing the data and presentations - that meet their needs.

Some of the online sources Xastir can display include (my notes are clearly, US centric. Not by intent, just experience.):

  • USGS topo maps
  • USGS Satellite Images
  • US Census Beuro Tiger data
  • NOAA Weather Radar
  • Any and all objects, items and information available on the APRS-IS

This site has several Xastir screen shots showing a few of the many maps it can use. But note: it's from an older version! The number and types of maps and data have increased since this site was assembled.

Future ?

There has been talk, if not plans, for a full rewrite of Xastir. General design ideas tossed around have included a modular structure, database backend and cross-platform display clients. The working label commonly used is 'Xastir 2'. As far as I know, no new code has been written, yet.

The Xastir web site

The official web site is http://www.xastir.org - but it, and the email reflector, have been down for maintenance since about 8 December or so. In the interim, I hope to offer some info here on my facets of interest with Xastir. This is NOT meant to be a replacement for the official site! Just a fill in for one facet - Fedora and Xastir.

The Xastir site on Sourceforge is up and available. This was an older site created before the xastir.org domain went live, and contains good, general information. However, since it's not been kept up to date, well - you get the idea.

Xastir on Fedora, a "HowTo"

Grew too big! So I gave it it's own page, Here


APRS is a registered trademark of APRS Software and Bob Bruninga, WB4APR.