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QGroundControl Ground Control Station
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deploy Revert "set QGC version from git"
doc README was added to doc directory with inforamtion on how to run doxy…
flightgear Resource restructuring
ios First stab at iOS builds
libs Stop annoying errors when there is no serial device.
resources travis-ci android
src New toolbar dropdown support
test travis-ci enable OSX builds
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.appveyor.yml appveyor run unit tests
.gitignore travis-ci android
.gitmodules QUpgrade submodule removed
.travis.yml travis-ci android add gstreamer Vim YouCompleteMe config Updates taking into account feedback
CodingStyle.h Use more normal double include ifdef
Custom-Info.plist Use QGroundControl team instead of PX4 Removing unused code
QGCCommon.pri Revert "Mac OS: Fix OS deployment version"
QGCExternalLibs.pri Fixing non Mac OS builds.
QGCInstaller.pri qmake handle android deploy in installer First stab at iOS builds
QGCSetup.pri Revert "Update NSIS script to include ANGLE dlls for windows, add NSI… Missing -r on qmake command line Moving Android defines to QGCCommon.pri
demo-log.txt Major stability improvements
license.txt Added Windows icon and NSIS script from Hendrik Working on video streaming
qgroundcontrol.desktop ubuntu package Revert "set QGC version from git"
qgroundcontrol.qrc Icon Tweaks
qgroundcontrol.rc Resource restructuring
testlog.txt Added NEW data plot view, fixed zoom issue in linechart
testlog2.txt changes added in widget WaypointList.ui: clear path button was added


Open Source Micro Air Vehicle Ground Control Station



For generating documentation, refer to this readme or the website.

Obtaining source code

There are three ways to obtain the QGroundControl source code from our GitHub repository. You can either download a snapshot of the code in a ZIP file, clone the repository, or fork the repository if you plan to contribute to development. If you prefer one of the last two options you will need Git installed on your system; goto GitHub Help and see Set Up Git.

Clone the Repository

This option assumes that you have Git already. To clone (checkout) the QGC repository, run the following command in the directory that you want the qgroundcontrol folder to be created:

git clone --recursive git://

Fork the Repository

If you plan to contribute to the development of QGC, you will want this option, which also requires that you have Git set up. To fork the QGC repository, do the following:

Goto GitHub Help and see Fork A Repo Fork the QGC Repo

Initialize submodules

After cloning or forking you will need to initialize and update the submodules using these commands in you qgroundcontrol source directory:

git submodule init
git submodule update

Each time you pull new source to your repository you should re-run "git submodule update" to get the latest submodules as well.

Building QGroundControl

QGroundControl builds are supported for OSX, Linux and Windows. See the individual sections below for instruction on how to build on each OS. Also make sure to look at the "Additional Build Notes" section below.

Build on Mac OSX

Supported builds are 64 bit, built using the clang compiler.

Install QT

  1. Download Qt 5.4 from:
  2. Double click the package installer and follow instructions.

Build QGroundControl

  1. From the terminal change directory to your groundcontrol directory
  2. Run ~/Qt/5.4/clang_64/bin/qmake -r -spec macx-clang. If you installed a different version of Qt, or installed to a different location you may need to change the first portion of the path.
  3. Run make

Build on Linux

Supported builds for Linux are 32 or 64-bit, built using gcc.

Install Qt5.4 and SDL1.2 prerequistites

  • For Fedora: sudo yum install qt-creator qt5-qtbase-devel qt5-qtdeclarative-devel qt5-qtserialport-devel qt5-qtsvg-devel qt5-qtwebkit-devel SDL-devel SDL-static systemd-devel qt5-qtgraphicaleffects qt5-qtquickcontrols
  • For Arch Linux: pacman -Sy qtcreator qt5-base qt5-declarative qt5-serialport qt5-svg qt5-webkit
  • For Ubuntu: Please be aware that the time of writing, Qt5.4 is unavailable in the official repositories Ubuntu 14.04/Mint 17
    • Add this PPA for Qt5.4: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:beineri/opt-qt541-trusty
      • If you get a 404 error from "apt-get update" below, open System Settings:Software & Updates:Other Software and edit the entry for opt-qt541-trusty to reference Distribution: trusty.
    • Run the following in your terminal: sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install qt54tools qt54base qt54declarative qt54serialport qt54svg qt54webkit qt54quickcontrols qt54xmlpatterns qt54x11extras qt54websockets qt54sensors qt54script qt54quick1 qt54qbs qt54multimedia qt54location qt54imageformats qt54graphicaleffects qt54creator qt54connectivity libsdl1.2-dev libudev-dev
    • Next, set the environment variables by executing in the terminal: source /opt/qt54/bin/ or copy and paste the contents to your ~/.profile file to set them on login.
    • Verify that the variables have been set: echo $PATH && echo $QTDIR. The output should read /opt/qt54/bin:... and /opt/qt54.

If you get this error when running qgroundcontrol: /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ version 'GLIBCXX_3.4.20' not found. You need to either update to the latest gcc, or install the latest libstdc++.6 using: sudo apt-get install libstdc++6.

[Optional] Install additional libraries

  • For text-to-speech (espeak)
    • For Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install espeak libespeak-dev
    • For Fedora: sudo yum install espeak espeak-devel
    • For Arch Linux: pacman -Sy espeak
  • For 3D flight view (openscenegraph)
    • For Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install libopenscenegraph-dev
    • For Fedora: sudo yum install OpenSceneGraph
    • For Arch Linux: pacman -Sy openscenegraph

Build QGroundControl

  1. Change directory to you qgroundcontrol source directory.
  2. Run qmake -r
  3. Run make

Build on Windows

Supported builds for Windows are 32 bit only built using Visual Studio 2013 or higher.

Install Windows USB driver to connect to Pixhawk/PX4Flow/3DR Radio

Install from here:

Install Visual Studio Express 2013

Only compilation using Visual Studio 2013 is supported. Download and install Visual Studio Express Edition (free) from here: Make sure you install the Windows Desktop version.

Install Qt5.4

Download Qt 5.4 from here:

  • The Qt variant should be for VS 2013, 32 bit (not 64) and include opengl.

Build QGroundControl

  1. Open the Qt Command Prompt program from the Start Menu
  2. Change directory to your 'qgroundcontrol' source folder.
  3. Run qmake -r -tp vc This will create a 'qgroundcontrol.sln' Solution file which is capable of building both debug and release configurations.
  4. Now open the generated 'qgroundcontrol.sln' file in Visual Studio.
  5. Compile and edit in Visual Studio. If you need to add new files to the qgroundcontrol project, add them to and re-run qmake from step 3.

Note that the Solution contains two projets. The main QGroundControl project and the QGC Geoservice Provider Factory plugin. From within Visual Studio, before running or debugging, make sure you have qgroundcontrol as the current project (right-click and select Set as Current Project)

Alternate (Qt Creator IDE) Build Type (Any OS)

All steps below assume you already have a running software development enviroment (i.e. gcc/g++ on Ubuntu, Xcode on Mac OSX along with the command line tools, Visual Studio on Windows, etc.) along with the various external dependencies described elsewhere in this document.

  • Download the Qt Online Installer executable from
    • On Ubuntu, you have to set the file to executable:chmod +x ~/Downloads/\
  • Run the installer and follow the installation steps.
    • Select the directory you want to install Qt, which is handy if you don't want to install system wide or don't have root access.
    • Select the components you want to install. Tools will be selected by default. You also want to install the Qt 5.4 module along with the targets you are interested in (i.e. 32-Bit OpenGL for Windows, etc.). On Ubuntu, Android armv7 will be selected by default as well. You may or may not want to install that, depending on your desire to target that platform. Same idea for OS X. It will have iOS Kits selected as well.
    • Accept the license and the installer will download all the necessary modules and install where you told it to install.
  • Go to the Qt Creator directory:
    • ~/local/Qt/Tools/QtCreator/bin for Ubuntu (if that's where you installed it)
    • ~/local/Qt/Qt for OS X (if that's where you installed it)
    • C:/local/Qt/Tools/QtCreator/bin for Windows (if that's where you installed it)
  • Launch Qt Creator and open the project.

When you open a project in Qt Creator for the first time, it will ask what targets (Kits) you want to target. The options will depend on what modules you downloaded above. For instance, on Mac OS X you would select Desktop Qt 5.4.1 clang 64bit. It's also a good idea to go into Projects/Build Steps (side tool bar) and select Make's Details. For Make Arguments, add -jx (/J x on Windows) where x is at least the numbers of cores you have. That is, if you are running on a Mac Pro with 24 cores, you would use -j24. That will run 24 concurrent compiler instances at a time and run the build a whole lot faster. Your mileage may vary depending on your disk IO throughput. Note that for Windows, this method will build QGC x many times faster than when using Visual Studio as described above. Visual Studio allocates one process per Project. As QGroundControl is one very large project, it will still compile one file at a time within that one process. When you build from within Qt Creator (and give the /J x option to make), it will use x number of concurrent compiler processes.

Qt Creator is a full-blown development IDE. You can even debug right from within it and it provides the full Qt API documentation. Just place the mouse cursor over a Qt class/element and hit the F1 key.

Additional build notes for all supported OS

  • Debug Builds: By default qmake will create makefiles for a release build. If you want a debug build add CONFIG+=debug to the command line.
  • Warnings as Errors: Specifying CONFIG+=WarningsAsErrorsOn will turn all warnings into errors which break the build. If you are working on a pull request you plan to submit to github for consideration, you should always run with this settings turned on, since it is required for all pull requests. NOTE: Putting this line into a file called "user_config.pri" in the top-level directory will set this flag on all builds without interfering with the GIT history.
  • Parallel builds: For Linux and OSX you can use the '-j#' option to run parellel builds. On Windows parallel builds are on by default.
  • Location of built files: Individual build file results can be found in the build_debug or build_release directories. The built executable can be found in the debug or release directory.
  • Incremental builds: Incremental builds may not be 100% reliable. If you find something strange happening that seems like a bad build. Delete your build_debug and build_release directories and run qmake again.
  • Single release congfiguration on Windows: If you want to build a vs project that does not create both debug and release builds. Include CONFIG-=debug_and_release on the qmake command line plus either CONFIG+=debug or CONFIG+=release depending on the build type you want.
  • Build using QtCreator: It is possible to build and debug using QtCreator as well. The above instructions should provide you with enough information to setup QtCreator on OSX and Linux. QtCreator on Windows is supposedly possible but we don't have any instructions available for that.
  • QGroundControl is using the Qt QLoggingCategory class for logging ( Since logging is on by default, an example qtlogging.ini file is included at the root of the repository which disables logging. Follow the instructions from Qt as to why and where to put this file. You can then edit the file to get a logging level that suits your needs.

Additional functionality

QGroundcontrol has functionality that is dependent on the operating system and libraries installed by the user. The following sections describe these features, their dependencies, and how to disable/alter them during the build process. These features can be forcibly enabled/disabled by specifying additional values for variables either at the command line when calling qmake or in the user_config.pri. When calling qmake additional variables can be set using the syntax VARIABLE="SPACE_SEPARATED_VALUES", which can be repeated for multiple variables. For example: qmake DEFINES="DISABLE_QUPGRADE DISABLE_SPEECH" MAVLINK_CONF="sensesoar" disables the QUpgrade widget, speech functionality, and sets the MAVLink dialect to sensesoar. These values can be more permanently specified by setting them in the user_config.pri file in the root directly. Create this file as a plain text file and ensure it ends in .pri (not .pri.txt!).

NOTE: Any variables specified at the command line call to qmake will override those set in user_config.pri.


QUpgrade is a submodule (a Git feature like a sub-repository) that contains extra functionality. It is compiled in by default if it has initialized and updated. It can be disabled by specifying DISABLE_QUPGRADE in the DEFINES variable.

To include QUpgrade functionality run the following (only needs to be done once after cloning the qggroundcontrol git repository):

  • git submodule init
  • git submodule update

The QUpgrade module relies on libudev on Linux platforms, so be sure to install the development version of that package.

Specifying MAVLink dialects

The MAVLink dialect compiled by default by QGC is for the pixhawk. Setting the MAVLINK_CONF variable sets the dialects.

Opal-RT's RT-LAB simulator

Integration with Opal-RT's RT-LAB simulator can be enabled on Windows by installing RT-LAB 7.2.4. This allows vehicles to be simulated in RT-LAB and communicate directly with QGC on the same computer as if the UAS was actually deployed. This support is enabled by default once the requisite RT-LAB software is installed. Disabling this can be done by adding DISABLE_RTLAB to the DEFINES variable.

Speech syntehsis

QGroundcontrol can notify the controller of information via speech synthesis. This requires the espeak library on Linux. On Mac and Windows support is built in to the OS as of OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and Windows Vista. This support is enabled by default on all platforms if the dependencies are met. Disabling this functionality can be done by adding DISABLE_SPEECH to the DEFINES variable.

3D view

The OpenSceneGraph libraries provide 3D rendering to the map overlays that QGC can provide.

OpenSceneGraph support is built-in to Mac OS X. On Linux it is commonly available through the libopenscenegraph and libopenscenegraph-qt developer packages. Windows support does not currently exist. This functionality with be automatically built if the proper libraries are installed. Disabling this feature can be done by adding DISABLE_OPEN_SCENE_GRAPH to the DEFINES variable.

3D mouse support

Connexion's 3D mice are supported through the 3DxWARE driver available on Linux and Windows. Download and install the driver from 3DConnexion to enable support. This support is enabled by default with driver installation. To disable add DISABLE_3DMOUSE to the DEFINES variable.

XBee support

QGroundControl can talk to XBee wireless devices using their proprietary protocol directly on Windows and Linux platforms. This support is not necessary if you're not using XBee devices or aren't using their proprietary protocol. On Windows, the necessary dependencies are included in this repository and no additional steps are required. For Linux, change to the libs/thirdParty/libxbee folder and run make;sudo make install to install libxbee on your system (uninstalling can be done with a sudo make uninstall). qmake will automatically detect the library on Linux, so no other work is necessary.

To disable XBee support you may add DISABLE_XBEE to the DEFINES argument.

Repository Layout

The following describes the directory structure and important files in the QGroundControl repository


  • data - Miscellaneous support files.
  • deploy - Contains scripts for packaging QGC for all supported systems.
  • doc - Output directory for generated Doxygen documentation. See README contained within for details.
  • files - Contains miscellaneous data including vehicle models and autopilot-specific data files.
  • images - UI images.
  • libs - Library dependencies for QGC.
  • qupgrade - Source file for the qupgrade, a firmware flashing utility for the APM. Compiled into QGC by default.
  • qml - QML source files for the project.
  • src - Source code for QGroundControl. Split into subfolders for communications, user interface, autopilot-specific files, etc.
  • tools - Additional tools for developers.

Important files:

  • - Primary project file for building QGC. Open this in qtcreator or pass this to qmake on the command line to build QGC.
  • - Builds a standalone executable for viewing UDP video streams from a vehicle.
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