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Python Team Awareness Kit (PyTAK)

Screenshot of ADS-B PLI in ATAK.

PyTAK is a Python Module for creating TAK clients, servers & gateways and includes classes for handling Cursor on Target (CoT) & non-CoT data, as well as functions for serializing CoT data, and sending and receiving CoT data over a network.

PyTAK supports the following I/O & network protocols:

  • TCP Unicast: tcp://host:port
  • TLS Unicast: tls://host:port (see TLS Support section below)
  • UDP Unicast: udp://host:port
  • UDP Broadcast: udp+broadcast://network:port
  • UDP Multicast: udp://group:port
  • stdout or stderr: log://stdout or log://stderr

PyTAK has been tested and is compatible with many situational awareness & common operating picture systems (SA & COP).



PyTAK is used by many CoT & TAK gateways:

  • aiscot: Automatic Identification System (AIS) to COT Gateway. Transforms marine AIS position messages to COT PLI Events.
  • adsbcot: Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) to COT Gateway. Transforms aircraft ADS-B position messages to COT PLI Events.
  • adsbxcot: ADS-B Exchange to COT Gateway. Transforms aircraft ADS-B position messages to COT PLI Events.
  • stratuxcot: Stratux ADS-B to COT Gateway. Transforms aircraft ADS-B position messages to COT PLI Events.
  • aprscot: Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) to COT Gateway. Transforms APRS position messages to COT PLI Events.
  • spotcot: Globalstar SPOT to COT Gateway. Transforms Spot satellite position messages to COT PLI Events.
  • inrcot: Garmin inReach to COT Gateway. Transforms inReach satellite position messages to COT PLI Events.
  • zellocot: ZelloWork to COT Gateway. Transforms ZelloWork user locations to COT PLI Events.

Support Development

Support Development: Sponsor this project on GitHub sponsors. Support Development: Buy me a coffee! Support Development: Buy Me a Coffee at

Tech Support: Email or Signal: +1-310-621-9598

This tool has been developed for the Disaster Response, Public Safety and Frontline Healthcare community. This software is currently provided at no-cost to users. Any contribution you can make to further this project's development efforts is greatly appreciated.


The following Python 3.7+ code example creates a TAK Client that generates takPong CoT every 20 seconds, and sends them to a TAK Server at tcp:// (plain / clear TCP).

To run this example as-is, save the following code-block out to a file named and run the command python3

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import asyncio
import xml.etree.ElementTree as ET

from configparser import ConfigParser

import pytak

class MySerializer(pytak.QueueWorker):
    Defines how you process or generate your Cursor-On-Target Events.
    From there it adds the COT Events to a queue for TX to a COT_URL.

    async def handle_data(self, data):
        Handles pre-COT data and serializes to COT Events, then puts on queue.
        event = data
        await self.put_queue(event)

    async def run(self, number_of_iterations=-1):
        Runs the loop for processing or generating pre-COT data.
        while 1:
            data = tak_pong()
            await self.handle_data(data)
            await asyncio.sleep(20)

def tak_pong():
    Generates a simple takPong COT Event.
    root = ET.Element("event")
    root.set("version", "2.0")
    root.set("type", "t-x-d-d")
    root.set("uid", "takPong")
    root.set("how", "m-g")
    root.set("time", pytak.cot_time())
    root.set("start", pytak.cot_time())
    root.set("stale", pytak.cot_time(3600))
    return ET.tostring(root)

async def main():
    The main definition of your program, sets config params and
    adds your serializer to the asyncio task list.
    config = ConfigParser()
    config["mycottool"] = {"COT_URL": "tcp://"}
    config = config["mycottool"]

    # Initializes worker queues and tasks.
    clitool = pytak.CLITool(config)
    await clitool.setup()

    # Add your serializer to the asyncio task list.
    clitool.add_tasks(set([MySerializer(clitool.tx_queue, config)]))

    # Start all tasks.

if __name__ == "__main__":


PyTAK requires Python 3.6 or above and WILL NOT work on Python versions below 3.6. It should run on almost any platform that supports Python 3.6+, including Linux, Windows, Raspberry Pi, Android, et al.


PyTAK is available as a Debian .deb package. This is the preferred method to install PyTAK on Debian-based (Ubuntu, Debian, Raspberry Pi) systems:

$ wget
$ sudo apt install -f ./python3-pytak_latest_all.deb

N.B. If you wish to use TAK Data Packages / Pref Packages you must install the Python cryptography module. If you're installing on a Debian-based OS:

$ sudo apt install -y python3-cryptography

See also:

Alternative Installation

You can install from PyPI or from source. Both of these methods will require manual installation of additional libraries.

1a. Debian, Ubuntu, Raspberry Pi: Install LibFFI:

$ sudo apt update -y
$ sudo apt install libffi-dev

1b. RedHat, CentOS: Install LibFFI:

$ sudo yum install libffi-devel

2a. Install PyTAK from the Python Package Index:

$ python3 -m pip install pytak[with_crypto]

2b. Install PyTAK from source:

$ git clone
$ cd pytak/
$ python3 install

Configuration Parameters

All configuration parameters can be specified either as environment variables or within an INI-style configuration file.

  • COT_URL: (optional) Destination for Cursor on Target messages. Default: udp:// (ATAK Multicast UDP Default)
  • DEBUG: (optional) Sets debug-level logging.
  • FTS_COMPAT: (optional) If set, implements random-sleep period to avoid FTS DoS protections.
  • PYTAK_SLEEP: (optional) If set, implements given sleep period between emitting CoT Events.

Data Package / Pref Package Support

PyTAK 5.5.0+ supports importing TAK Data Packages containing TAK Server connection settings, TLS certificates, etc. To use a .zip file with PyTAK, set the PREF_PACKAGE config parameter to the path of the .zip file.

For example, in the config.ini file:

Or on the command line: mycoolcotutil -p

TLS Support

TLS Support for connections to TAK destinations is configured with two settings:

  1. Specify tls:// in the CoT Destination URL, for example: tls://
  2. Specify the TLS Cert and other configuration parameters.

Client Certificates, Client Key, CA Certificate & Key must be specified in PEM format.

N.B: Encrypted private keys are not supported and must be saved in clear-text: openssl rsa -in my_cert.key.pem -out my_cert-nopass.key.pem

Minimum TLS Configuration

  • PYTAK_TLS_CLIENT_CERT: PEM Public Key Certificate that the PyTAK-based client will use to connect.

Optional TLS Configuration

  • PYTAK_TLS_CLIENT_KEY: PEM Private Key for the associated PYTAK_TLS_CLIENT_CERT
  • PYTAK_TLS_DONT_VERIFY: Disable destination TLS Certificate Verification.
  • PYTAK_TLS_DONT_CHECK_HOSTNAME: Disable destination TLS Certificate Common Name (CN) Verification.
  • PYTAK_TLS_CLIENT_CAFILE: PEM CA trust store to use for remote TLS Verification.
  • PYTAK_TLS_CLIENT_CIPHERS: Colon (":") seperated list of TLS Cipher Suites.

For example, to send COT to a TAK Server listening for TLS connections on port 8089:


FreeTAKServer Support

FTS (Free TAK Server) has built-in anti-Denial-of-Service (DoS) support, which restricts the number of CoT Events a client can send to a listening TCP Port. Currently this FTS feature cannot be disabled or changed, so clients must meter their input speed.

To use a PyTAK-based client with FTS, set the FTS_COMPAT configuration parameter to True. This will cause the PyTAK client to sleep a random number of seconds between transmitting CoT to a FTS server:


Alternatively you can specify a static sleep period by setting PYTAK_SLEEP to an integer number of seconds:


TAK Protocol Payload - Version 1 (Protobuf) Support

Version 1 of the TAK Protocol Payload is a Google Protocol Buffer based payload. Each Payload consists of one (and only one) atakmap::commoncommo::v1::TakMessage message which is serialized using Google protocol buffers version 3.


PyTAK natively sends and receives "TAK Protocol Payload - Version 0", aka plain XML. If you'd like to receive & decode "Version 1" protobuf with PyTAK, install the takproto Python module:

$ python3 -m pip install takproto

Here is an example of receiving & decoding "Version 1" using takproto.

N.B. The data type returned from this implementation differs from that of the "Version 0" implementation (bytes vs object):

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import asyncio

from configparser import ConfigParser

import takproto

import pytak

class MyRXWorker(pytak.RXWorker):
    async def readcot(self):
        if hasattr(self.reader, 'readuntil'):
            cot = await self.reader.readuntil("</event>".encode("UTF-8"))
        elif hasattr(self.reader, 'recv'):
            cot, src = await self.reader.recv()
        tak_v1 = takproto.parse_proto(cot)
        if tak_v1 != -1:
            cot = tak_v1
        return cot

async def my_setup(clitool) -> None:
    reader, writer = await pytak.protocol_factory(clitool.config)
    write_worker = pytak.TXWorker(clitool.tx_queue, clitool.config, writer)
    read_worker = MyRXWorker(clitool.rx_queue, clitool.config, reader)

async def main():
    The main definition of your program, sets config params and
    adds your serializer to the asyncio task list.
    config = ConfigParser()
    config["mycottool"] = {"COT_URL": "udp://"}
    config = config["mycottool"]

    # Initializes worker queues and tasks.
    clitool = pytak.CLITool(config)
    await my_setup(clitool)

    # Start all tasks.

if __name__ == "__main__":




Greg Albrecht W2GMD


  • PyTAK is Copyright 2023 Greg Albrecht
  • asyncio_dgram is Copyright (c) 2019 Justin Bronder


Copyright 2023 Greg Albrecht <>

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

  • asyncio_dgram is licensed under the MIT License, see pytak/asyncio_dgram/LICENSE for details.


Python Black, otherwise Google, then PEP-8.