Kubuntu Trusty Maps and GPS


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Kubuntu Trusty Maps and GPS
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Maps and GPS

In addition to several online mapping services (such as Google Maps, MapQuest, and the open source OpenStreetMap), self-contained map packages can be installed on your computer (to be used with or without Internet access).


Marble is a virtual globe and world atlas for the KDE desktop similar to Google Earth. Also see the OpenStreetMap intro to Marble. Install:

sudo apt-get install marble
  • OpenStreetMap can be imported and viewed:
Marble -> File -> Download Maps... -> Osmarender OpenStreetMap -> Install
-> Map View -> Projection: Flat Map -> OpenStreetMap
  • Routing (i.e. point-to-point directions) is available using one (or more) of several services. See the Marble manual. Map files for offline routing can also be installed using the MoNav routing tool:
Marble -> Routing -> Configure -> Monav

Google Earth

Google Earth gives you an annotated eagle's eye view of our planet. This is a free proprietary package (you must accept the license to use this package).

sudo apt-get install googleearth-package
make-googleearth-package --force
Doubleclick on the resulting .deb file.
-- or --

To install the latest Linux binary, download and save the GoogleEarthLinux.bin (currently version 5 ) package from Google Earth downloads. (You may alternatively download the previous version (4.3), named googleearth-linux-plus-4.3.7284.3916.bin or something similar.)

wget http://dl.google.com/earth/client/current/GoogleEarthLinux.bin

Then install:

chmod +x GoogleEarthLinux.bin


K menu -> Internet -> Google Earth 3D planet viewer

You should turn off the Google Earth -> View -> Atmosphere setting, or you might see clouds everywhere and the ground won't show up.


  • If Google Earth opens, shows the splash screen, and then crashes, you’re probably experiencing a common issue. Running ~/google-earth/googleearth in a terminal will show this error:

./googleearth-bin: relocation error: /usr/lib/i686/cmov/libssl.so.0.9.8: symbol BIO_test_flags, version OPENSSL_0.9.8 not defined in file libcrypto.so.0.9.8 with link time reference

To fix this, browse to the folder you installed Google Earth into. (If you installed manually, this will be google-earth in your home folder.) Find the file libcrypto.so.0.9.8 and rename it to something else, like libcrypto.so.0.9.8.bak. Google Earth should now start correctly.

cd ~/google-earth
sudo mv libcrypto.so.0.9.8 libcrypto.so.0.9.8.bak
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 ~/google-earth/libcrypto.so.0.9.8
(Note: You can also specify /home/user/google-earth instead of ~/google-earth ).
  • On my display, I had to disable desktop effects (K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Desktop -> Desktop Effects) to get the display to work.

For other issues, see the Ubuntu help pages on Google Earth. Be careful of some of the suggestions there.

For example, if you turned on OpenGL desktop effects (using K Menu -> System Settings -> Desktop -> Desktop Effects -> General -> Advanced Options) and your display goes blank and you can't restore it, you will have to edit the settings file manually from the command-line to reset your mistake.

nano ~/.kde/share/config/kwinrc

In the section title [Compositing], under the line Backend=OpenGL (or whichever backend you had selected) change the line below it to read:


The will reset your display and you can then reboot successfully into your default display (to try different settings from the menu again, if you wish).

Uninstall Google Earth

To uninstall run the uninstall shell script located in the /home/user/google-earth folder (or whichever folder you installed google-earth into).


Merkaartor is a Qt-based cross-platform map viewer and editor that uses the Open Street Maps project. It is complex and difficult to configure and is more suitable for advanced needs than for the average user. Install:

sudo apt-get install merkaartor

Open Street Maps

A list of other packages available for (K)Ubuntu that use Open Street Maps is here (and a full list for Debian is here).


Under construction

  • HERE maps is a system sponsored by Nokia that provides an alternative to Google Maps. Using A-GPS and WiFi positioning, Ubuntu will soon integrate real-time mapping, GPS positioning, and routing into its products. Stay posted.


Tux Mobil has a list of Linux applications for use with GPS devices, and compatible hardware. Two GPS packages are available from the Ubuntu/Kubuntu respositories:

  • Viking is a free open source package to view GPS data in maps, and to plot co-ordinates. This has been reviewed as the best Linux GPS mapping program.
sudo apt-get install viking
  • GPS Drive is a free navigation software package that displays your position on a zoomable map using your GPS device. It is GTK-based but can be used in Kubuntu. It uses the gpsd daemon that interfaces with a variety of GPS hardware. A .deb package of the current version is also available from the website. Install:
 sudo apt-get install gpsdrive
  • tangoGPS is a beautiful, lightweight GPS mapping program that uses map data from the Openstreetmap project. Is is a GPL-licensed open source project. A .deb package can be found here.

Celestial (Star) Maps


Celestia is a free planetarium and space simulator for the desktop. Install:

sudo apt-get install celestia


Stellarium is an astounding planetarium for the desktop. Install:

sudo apt-get install stellarium
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