I was having trouble downloading the maps for RoadNav, and I didn’t notice a lot of progress or change on the problem.  So, I checked for alternatives, and I found this.  I tried the first on the list: NavIt.


I didn’t find NavIt in the Ubuntu repository, and so, I had to install manually.  The Wiki has a getting started section with instructions for installing on Linux.

First, I had to install the dependencies so that I could compile it.  I installed the list from the dependencies section.

sudo apt-get install build-essential pkg-config automake libglib2.0-dev libtiff-dev libtool libxmu-dev libfribidi-dev gettext zlib1g-dev gpsd gpsd-clients libgps-dev libgtk2.0-dev freeglut3-dev glutg3-dev libcegui-mk2-dev libdevil-dev libglc-dev libpcre3-dev libmng-dev libfreeimage-dev

Next, I ran the configure and make.  Instead of installing, I just ran it from the directory where I compiled it.


At this point, I had it working as long as I ran it from the directory where the program exists.  But, it didn’t have any maps for my area.  Next, I had to tackle configuring with the XML file.

First, I created a hidden directory and copied the xml file to it:

$ mkdir ~/.navit
$ cp /home/skp/bin/navit-0.1.0/navit/navit.xml  /home/skp/.navit/

Next, I opened the xml file with Gvim (my favorite text editor).  “Gvim ~/.navit/navit.xml”.  You could use any text editor to open it.

The first change I made was to change the default position.  I got my default coordinates from here as suggested in the Wiki.  I found that these coordinates got me close, but not quite the address I had requested.  So, I checked them with Google maps.  If you notice, the URL on the “Link” link in the upper right corner has the coordinates of the map you request.

I tried to run it at this point from my home directory, but it would not work.  It was looking in other directories, and so, I took the easy route and just keep running it from the source directory.  It still read my xml file from my home directory.

Next, I had to setup the maps.  I followed these directions.  I used the maps from CloudMade, which has maps of the United States.  I downloaded the * files and extracted them to ~/.navit/.  For example, I downloaded the Florida map: to ~/.navit/florida.navit.bin.  Finally, I added this to the XML file:

<mapset enabled=”yes”>
<map type=”binfile” enabled=”yes” data=”/home/skp/.navit/florida.navit.bin” />

Now, when I started it up, I saw a map with where I wanted it to start!

Creating a Shortcut

The last thing  I did was create a shortcut in my application menu.  This was pretty easy.

The first step was to create a simple shell script to launch the program.  This was necessary because the program has to run from the source folder.  Here is what my script looked like:


cd ~/bin/navit-0.1.0/navit

Note: change the cd path to the location where you downloaded and compiled the program.

Then, make the script executable with:

chmod +x

To add the menu, I used the Menus application by right clicking on the Applications menu and choosing “Edit Menus”.  I clicked on the Accessories menu and clicked the New Item button.  Here are the options that I chose:

  • Type: Application
  • Name: NavIt
  • Command: /home/skp/bin/
  • Comment: <blank>

Note: change the Command path to the script that you created to launch the program.

For the icon, I clicked on the little spring icon on the left to choose a different icon.  For the path, I chose: /home/skp/bin/navit-0.1.0/navit/xpm/desktop_icons/128×128.

To troubleshoot, you may want to change the Type from Application to Application in Terminal because the terminal window will show you the output messages from the program.