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ROSaic = ROS + mosaic


This repository hosts a ROS Melodic and Noetic driver (i.e. for Linux only) - written in C++ - that works with mosaic - one of Septentrio's cutting-edge GNSS receiver families - and beyond. Since Noetic will only be supported until 2025, we plan to make ROSaic compatible with ROS2.

Main Features:

  • Supports serial, TCP/IP and USB connections, the latter being compatible with both serial and TCP/IP protocols
  • Facilitates extension to further ROS messages, see instructions below
  • Supports (as of now) a handful of ASCII (including key NMEA ones) messages and SBF (Septentrio Binary Format) blocks
  • Tested with the mosaic-X5 receiver

Please let the maintainers know of your success or failure in using the driver with other devices so we can update this page appropriately.


The master branch for this driver functions on both ROS Melodic (Ubuntu 18.04) and Noetic (Ubuntu 20.04). It is thus necessary to install the ROS version that has been designed for your Linux distro.

The serial and TCP/IP communication interface of the ROS driver is established by means of the Boost C++ library. In the unlikely event that the below installation instructions fail to install Boost on the fly, please install the Boost libraries via

sudo apt install libboost-all-dev.


The binary release is now available for Melodic, yet will take another few days for Noetic. To install the binary package on Melodic, simply run

sudo apt-get install ros-melodic-septentrio-gnss-driver.

Alternatively, the package can also be built from source using catkin_tools, where the latter can be installed using the command

sudo apt-get install python-catkin-tools for Melodic or sudo apt-get install python3-catkin-tools for Noetic.

The typical catkin_tools workflow should suffice:

source /opt/ros/${ROS_DISTRO}/setup.bash                            # In case you do not use the default shell of Ubuntu, you need to source another script, e.g.
mkdir -p ~/septentrio/src                                           # Note: Change accordingly dependending on where you want your package to be installed.
cd ~/septentrio
catkin init                                                         # Initialize with a hidden marker file
catkin config --cmake-args -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo        # CMake build types pass compiler-specific flags to your compiler. This type amounts to a release with debug info, while keeping debugging symbols and doing optimization. I.e. for GCC the flags would be -O2, -g and -DNDEBUG.
cd src
git clone
rosdep install . --from-paths -i                                    # Might raise "rosaic: Unsupported OS [mint]" warning, if your OS is Linux Mint, since rosdep does not know Mint (and possible other OSes). In that case, add the "--os=ubuntu:saucy" option to "fool" rosdep into believing it faces some Ubuntu version. The syntax is "--os=OS_NAME:OS_VERSION".
catkin build
echo "source ~/septentrio/devel/setup.bash" >> ~/.bashrc            # It is convenient if the ROS environment variable is automatically added to your bash session every time a new shell is launched. Again, this works for bash shells only. Also note that if you have more than one ROS distribution installed, ~/.bashrc must only source the setup.bash for the version you are currently using.
source ~/.bashrc 
  • Notes Before Usage
    • In future bash sessions, navigating to the ROSaic package can be achieved from anywhere with no more effort than roscd septentrio_gnss_driver.
    • The driver assumes the user is logged into the Rx with an authorization level set to User, not just Viewer.
    • Currently, the driver only works on systems that are little-endian. Most modern computers, including PCs, are little-endian.
    • The development process of this driver has been performed with mosaic-x5, firmware (FW) revision number 2. If a more up-to-date FW (higher revision number) is uploaded to the mosaic, the driver will not be able to take account of new or updated SBF fields.
    • ROSaic only works from C++11 onwards due to std::to_string() etc.
    • Septentrio's mosaic receivers and many others are only capable of establishing 10 streams !in total! of SBF blocks / NMEA messages. Please make sure that you do not set too many ROSaic parameters specifying the publishing of ROS messages to true. Note that gpsfix accounts for 4 additional streams (ChannelStatus, DOP, MeasEpoch and VelCovGeodetic blocks).
    • Once the catkin package is installed, adapt the config/rover.yaml file according to your needs (the launch/rover.launch need not necessarily be modified). Specify the communication parameters, the ROS messages to be published, the frequency at which the latter should happen etc.:
# Configuration Settings for the Rover Rx

device: tcp://

  baudrate: 115200
  rx_serial_port: USB1
  hw_flow_control: off

frame_id: gnss

datum: ETRS89

  delta_e: 0.0
  delta_n: 0.0
  delta_u: 0.0
ant_type: Unknown
ant_serial_nr: Unknown

leap_seconds: 18

  pvt: 500
  rest: 500

reconnect_delay_s: 2

use_gnss_time: false

  mode: off
  caster: 0
  caster_port: 0
  username: 0
  password: 0
  mountpoint: 0
  ntrip_version: v2
  send_gga: auto
  rx_has_internet: false
  rtcm_version: RTCMv2
  rx_input_corrections_tcp: 6666
  rx_input_corrections_serial: USB2

  gpgga: false
  gprmc: false
  gpgsa: false
  gpgsv: false
  pvtcartesian: false
  pvtgeodetic: true
  poscovcartesian: false
  poscovgeodetic: true
  atteuler: true
  attcoveuler: true
  gpst : false
  navsatfix: true
  gpsfix: false
  pose: false
  diagnostics: false

In order to launch ROSaic, one must specify all arg fields of the rover.launch file which have no associated default values, i.e. for now only the param_file_name field. In practice, the launch command thus reads roslaunch septentrio_gnss_driver rover.launch param_file_name:=rover.

ROSaic Parameters

The following is a list of ROSaic parameters found in the config/rover.yaml file.

  • Parameters Configuring Communication Ports and Processing of GNSS Data

    • device: location of device connection
      • for serial connections, the device node, e.g., /dev/ttyUSB0
      • for TCP/IP connections, a host:port specification
        • 28784 should be used as the default (command) port for TCP/IP connections. If another port is specified, the receiver needs to be (re-)configured via the Web Interface before ROSaic can be used.
      • default: empty
    • serial: specifications for serial communication
      • serial/baudrate: serial baud rate to be used in a serial connection
      • serial/rx_serial_port: determines to which (virtual) serial port of the Rx we want to get connected to, e.g. USB1 or COM1
      • hw_flow_control: specifies whether the serial (the Rx's COM ports, not USB1 or USB2) connection to the Rx should have UART HW flow control enabled or not
        • off to disable UART HW flow control, RTS|CTS to enable it
      • default: 115200, USB1, off
    • frame_id: name of the ROS tf frame for the Rx, placed in the header of all published messages
      • In ROS, the tf package lets you keep track of multiple coordinate frames over time. The frame ID will be resolved by tf_prefix if defined. If a ROS message has a header (all of those we publish do), the frame ID can be found via rostopic echo /topic, where /topic is the topic into which the message is being published.
      • default: gnss
    • datum: datum that (ellipsoidal) height should be referenced to in all published ROS messages
      • Since the standardized GGA message does only provide the orthometric height (= MSL height = distance from Earth's surface to geoid) and the geoid undulation (distance from geoid to ellipsoid) for which non-WGS84 datums cannot be specified, it does not affect the GGA message.
      • default: ETRS89
    • marker_to_arp: offsets of the antenna reference point (ARP) with respect to the marker
      • The parameters delta_e, delta_n and delta_u are the offsets in the East, North and Up (ENU) directions respectively, expressed in meters.
      • All absolute positions reported by the receiver are marker positions, obtained by subtracting this offset from the ARP. The purpose is to take into account the fact that the antenna may not be located directly on the surveying point of interest.
      • default: 0.0, 0.0 and 0.0
    • ant_type: type of your antenna
      • For best positional accuracy, it is recommended to select a type from the list returned by the command lstAntennaInfo, Overview. This is the list of antennas for which the receiver can compensate for phase center variation.
      • By default and if ant_type does not match any entry in the list returned by lstAntennaInfo, Overview, the receiver will assume that the phase center variation is zero at all elevations and frequency bands, and the position will not be as accurate.
      • default: Unknown
    • ant_serial_nr: serial number of your antenna
    • leap_seconds: number of leap seconds that have been inserted up until the point of ROSaic usage
      • At the time of writing the code (2020), the GPS time, which is unaffected by leap seconds, was ahead of UTC time by 18 leap seconds. Adapt the leap_seconds parameter accordingly as soon as the next leap second is inserted into the UTC time or in case you are using ROSaic for the purpose of simulations. In the latter case, in addition please set the parameter use_GNSS_time to true and uncomment a paragraph in the UTCtoUnix() function definition found in the file septentrio_gnss_driver/src/septentrio_gnss_driver/parsers/parsing_utilities.cpp and enter the year, month and date to be simulated.
    • polling_period/pvt: desired period in milliseconds between the polling of two consecutive PVTGeodetic, PosCovGeodetic, PVTCartesian and PosCovCartesian blocks and - if published - between the publishing of two of the corresponding ROS messages (e.g. septentrio_gnss_driver/PVTGeodetic.msg)
    • polling_period/rest: desired period in milliseconds between the polling of all other SBF blocks and NMEA sentences not addressed by the previous parameter, and - if published - between the publishing of all other ROS messages
      • default: 500 (2 Hz)
    • reconnect_delay_s: delay in seconds between reconnection attempts to the connection specified in the parameter device
      • default: 2
    • use_GNSS_time: true if the ROS message headers' unix epoch time field shall be constructed from the TOW (in the SBF case) and UTC (in the NMEA case) data, false if those times shall be constructed by the driver via the time(NULL) function found in the ctime library
      • default: true
    • ntrip_settings: determines NTRIP connection parameters
      • The two implemented use cases are
        • a) The Rx has internet access, set rx_has_internet to true, and
        • b) The Rx has no internet access, set rx_has_internet to false, but Data Link from Septentrio's RxTools is installed on the computer.
      • The first nested ROS parameter, ntrip_settings/mode, specifies the type of the NTRIP connection and must be one of Client, Client-Sapcorda or off. In Client mode, the receiver receives data from the NTRIP caster. When selecting the Client-Sapcorda mode, the receiver receives data from the Sapcorda NTRIP service and no further settings are required, i.e. all other nested parameters are ignored. Note that the latter mode only works in Europe and North America. Set mode to off to disable all correction services.
      • Next, ntrip_settings/caster is the hostname or IP address of the NTRIP caster to connect to. To send data to the built-in NTRIP caster, use "localhost" for this parameter.
      • Note that ntrip_settings/port, ntrip_settings/username, ntrip_settings/password and ntrip_settings/mountpoint are the IP port number, the user name, the password and the mount point, respectively, to be used when connecting to the NTRIP caster. The receiver encrypts the password so that it cannot be read back with the command "getNtripSettings". The ntrip_settings/version argument specifies which version of the NTRIP protocol to use (v1 or v2).
      • Further, send_gga specifies whether or not to send NMEA GGA messages to the NTRIP caster, and at which rate. It must be one of auto, off, sec1, sec5, sec10 or sec60. In auto mode, the receiver automatically sends GGA messages if requested by the caster.
      • The boolean parameter rx_has_internet specifies whether the Rx has internet access or not. Note that an Ethernet cable is the only way to enable internet access on mosaic receivers (and most others) at the moment. In case internet is available, NTRIP will be configured with a simple command snts, ... ROSaic sends to the receiver.
      • The parameter rtcm_version specifies the type of RTCM data transmitted to ROSaic by the NTRIP caster, either RTCMv2 or RTCMv3. It depends on the mountpoint.
      • In case the connection to the receiver is via TCP, rx_input_corrections_tcp specifies the port number of the IP server (IPS1) connection that ROSaic establishes on the receiver. Note that ROSaic will send GGA messages on this connection, such that in the Data Link application of RxTools one just needs to set up a TCP client to the host name as found in the ROSaic parameter device with the port as found in rx_input_corrections_tcp. If the latter connection were connection 1 on Data Link, then connection 2 would set up an NTRIP client connecting to the NTRIP caster as specified in the above parameters in order to forward the corrections from connection 2 to connection 1.
      • Finally, in case we are facing a serial connection (COM or USB), the parameter rx_input_corrections_serial analogously determines the port on which corrections could be serially forwarded to the Rx via Data Link.
      • default: off, empty, empty, empty, empty, empty, v2, auto, false, RTCMv2, 6666, USB2
  • Parameters Configuring (Non-)Publishing of ROS Messages

    • publish/gpgga: true to publish septentrio_gnss_driver/GPGGA.msg messages into the topic /gpgga
    • publish/gprmc: true to publish septentrio_gnss_driver/GPRMC.msg messages into the topic /gprmc
    • publish/gpgsa: true to publish septentrio_gnss_driver/GPGSA.msg messages into the topic /gpgsa
    • publish/gpgsv: true to publish septentrio_gnss_driver/GPGSV.msg messages into the topic /gpgsv
    • publish/pvtcartesian: true to publish septentrio_gnss_driver/PVTCartesian.msg messages into the topic /pvtcartesian
    • publish/pvtgeodetic: true to publish septentrio_gnss_driver/PVTGeodetic.msg messages into the topic /pvtgeodetic
    • publish/poscovcartesian: true to publish septentrio_gnss_driver/PosCovCartesian.msg messages into the topic /poscovcartesian
    • publish/poscovgeodetic: true to publish septentrio_gnss_driver/PosCovGeodetic.msg messages into the topic /poscovgeodetic
    • publish/atteuler: true to publish septentrio_gnss_driver/AttEuler.msg messages into the topic /atteuler
    • publish/attcoveuler: true to publish septentrio_gnss_driver/AttCovEuler.msg messages into the topic /attcoveuler
    • publish/gpst: true to publish sensor_msgs/TimeReference.msg messages into the topic /gpst
    • publish/navsatfix: true to publish sensor_msgs/NavSatFix.msg messages into the topic /navsatfix
    • publish/gpsfix: true to publish gps_common/GPSFix.msg messages into the topic /gpsfix
    • publish/pose: true to publish geometry_msgs/PoseWithCovarianceStamped.msg messages into the topic /pose
    • publish/diagnostics: true to publish diagnostic_msgs/DiagnosticArray.msg messages into the topic /diagnostics

ROS Topic Publications

A selection of NMEA sentences, the majority being standardized sentences, and proprietary SBF blocks is translated into ROS messages, partly generic and partly custom, and can be published at the discretion of the user into the following ROS topics. All published ROS messages, even custom ones, start with a ROS generic header std_msgs/Header.msg, which includes the receiver time stamp as well as the frame ID, the latter being specified in the ROS parameter frame_id.

  • /gpgga: publishes custom ROS message septentrio_gnss_driver/Gpgga.msg - equivalent to nmea_msgs/Gpgga.msg - converted from the NMEA sentence GGA
  • /gprmc: publishes custom ROS message septentrio_gnss_driver/Gprmc.msg - equivalent to nmea_msgs/Gprmc.msg - converted from the NMEA sentence RMC
  • /gpgsa: publishes custom ROS message septentrio_gnss_driver/Gpgsa.msg - equivalent to nmea_msgs/Gpgsa.msg - converted from the NMEA sentence GSA
  • /gpgsv: publishes custom ROS message septentrio_gnss_driver/Gpgsv.msg - equivalent to nmea_msgs/Gpgsv.msg - converted from the NMEA sentence GSV
  • /pvtcartesian: publishes custom ROS message septentrio_gnss_driver/PVTCartesian.msg, corresponding to the SBF block PVTCartesian
  • /pvtgeodetic: publishes custom ROS message septentrio_gnss_driver/PVTGeodetic.msg, corresponding to the SBF block PVTGeodetic
  • /poscovcartesian: publishes custom ROS message septentrio_gnss_driver/PosCovCartesian.msg, corresponding to SBF block PosCovCartesian
  • /poscovgeodetic: publishes custom ROS message septentrio_gnss_driver/PosCovGeodetic.msg, corresponding to SBF block PosCovGeodetic
  • /atteuler: publishes custom ROS message septentrio_gnss_driver/AttEuler.msg, corresponding to SBF block AttEuler
  • /attcoveuler: publishes custom ROS message septentrio_gnss_driver/AttCovEuler.msg, corresponding to the SBF block AttCovEuler
  • /gpst (for GPS Time): publishes generic ROS message sensor_msgs/TimeReference.msg, converted from the PVTGeodetic block's GPS time information, stored in its header, or - if use_gnss_time is set to false - from the systems's wall-clock time
  • /navsatfix: publishes generic ROS message sensor_msgs/NavSatFix.msg, converted from the SBF blocks PVTGeodetic and PosCovGeodetic
  • /gpsfix: publishes generic ROS message gps_common/GPSFix.msg, which is much more detailed than sensor_msgs/NavSatFix.msg, converted from the SBF blocks PVTGeodetic, PosCovGeodetic, ChannelStatus, MeasEpoch, AttEuler, AttCovEuler, VelCovGeodetic and DOP
  • /pose: publishes generic ROS message geometry_msgs/PoseWithCovarianceStamped.msg, converted from the SBF blocks PVTGeodetic, PosCovGeodetic, AttEuler and AttCovEuler
    • Note that GNSS provides absolute positioning, while robots are often localized within a local level frame. The pose field of this ROS message contains position with respect to the absolute ENU frame (longitude, latitude, height), while the orientation is with respect to a vehicle-fixed (e.g. for mosaic-x5 in moving base mode via the command setAntennaLocation, ...) !local! NED frame. Thus the orientation is !not! given with respect to the same frame as the position is given in. The cross-covariances are hence set to 0.
    • In ROS, all state estimation nodes in the robot_localization package can accept the ROS message geometry_msgs/PoseWithCovarianceStamped.msg.
  • /diagnostics: accepts generic ROS message diagnostic_msgs/DiagnosticArray.msg, converted from the SBF blocks QualityInd, ReceiverStatus and ReceiverSetup

Suggestions for Improvements

  • Automatic Search: If the host address of the receiver is omitted in the host:port specification, the driver could automatically search and establish a connection on the specified port.
  • Incorporating PCAP: For PCAP connections the ROS parameter device could be generalized to accept the path to the .pcap file. In this case, the node could exit automatically after finishing playback.
  • Publishing the topic /measepoch: It could accept the custom ROS message septentrio_gnss_driver/MeasEpoch.msg, corresponding to the SBF block MeasEpoch (raw GNSS data).
  • Publishing the topic /twist: It could accept the generic ROS message geometry_msgs/TwistWithCovarianceStamped.msg, converted from the SBF blocks PVTGeodetic, PosCovGeodetic and others or via standardized NMEA sentences (cf. the NMEA driver).
  • Additional ROSaic parameter: endianness of the system.
  • Equip ROSaic with an NTRIP client such that it can forward corrections to the receiver independently of Data Link.

Adding New SBF Blocks or NMEA Sentences

Is there an SBF or NMEA message that is not being addressed while being important to your application? If yes, follow these steps:

  1. Find the log reference of interest in the publicly accessible, official documentation. Hence select the reference guide file, e.g. for mosaic-x5 in the product support section for mosaic-X5, Chapter 4, of Septentrio's homepage.
  2. Add a new .msg file to the septentrio_gnss_driver/msg folder.
  3. SBF: Add the new struct definition to the sbf_structs.hpp file.
  4. Parsing/Processing the message/block:
    • Both: Add a new include guard to let the compiler know about the existence of the header file (such as septentrio_gnss_driver/PVTGeodetic.h) that gets compiler-generated from the .msg file constructed in step 3.
    • SBF: Extend the NMEA_ID_Enum enumeration in the rx_message.hpp file with a new entry.
    • SBF: Extend the initialization of the RxIDMap map in the rx_message.cpp file with a new pair.
    • SBF: Add a new callback function declaration, a new method, to the io_comm_rx::RxMessage class in the rx_message.hpp file.
    • SBF: Add the latter's definition to the rx_message.cpp file.
    • SBF: Add a new C++ "case" (part of the C++ switch-case structure) in the rx_message.hpp file. It should be modeled on the existing evPVTGeodetic case, e.g. one needs a static counter variable declaration.
    • NMEA: Construct two new parsing files such as gpgga.cpp to the septentrio_gnss_driver/src/septentrio_gnss_driver/parsers/nmea_parsers folder and one such as gpgga.hpp to the septentrio_gnss_driver/include/septentrio_gnss_driver/parsers/nmea_parsers folder.
  5. Create a new publish/.. ROSaic parameter in the septentrio_gnss_driver/config/rover.yaml file, create a global boolean variable publish_... in the septentrio_gnss_driver/src/septentrio_gnss_driver/node/rosaic_node.cpp file, insert the publishing callback function to the C++ "multimap" IO.handlers_.callbackmap_ - which is already storing all the others - in the rosaic_node::ROSaicNode::defineMessages() method in the same file and add an extern bool publish_...; line to the septentrio_gnss_driver/include/septentrio_gnss_driver/node/rosaic_node.hpp file.
  6. Modify the septentrio_gnss_driver/CMakeLists.txt file by adding a new entry to the add_message_files section.


ROS Melodic and Noetic C++ driver for mosaic receivers and beyond




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