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Sources of realtime spatial data

Wondering if there are any free real time GPS feeds available for consumption. I am preparing a presentation about GIS and I thought a neat demo would be to show a map that updates in real time using this data source.

  • Hey Steve---I noticed you have a high SO rep, so assuming you are a programmer, you could probably create a simple Google Map that updated a line using a local GPS source. Look for a GPS receiver (you'll probably want a USB) that uses the SiRF V chipset---it's very good (IV is okay, but not as good as V), and then write yourself a piece of middleware to interface with it on whatever COM port it installs to. Since the GPS pulses across the COM port, you just have to open the port and start listening. Oh, and the data syntax is called NMEA, it's not too hard to parse.
    – elrobis
    Dec 15, 2012 at 23:58
  • I ran out of space: basically, you would want your middleware to open/listen to the COM port, and then push the parsed/processed values across a TCP/IP socket that your Google Map could listen to. I only recommend Google because they have an easy-enough API to get your head around, but if you get really into this, you might want to consider OpenScales or OpenLayers---OpenLayers has a bigger following, but I'm a fan of OpenScales (Flex/ActionScript) because I prefer working with compiled languages.
    – elrobis
    Dec 16, 2012 at 0:00

1 Answer 1


You could look at something like an AIS feed.

A sample from Sydney, Australia: http://www.electrotech.net.au/service/live-ais-tracking/ais-sydney

  • Signed up just to say wow, that's pretty sweet.
    – Worthy7
    Feb 1, 2018 at 5:11

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