Polaric Server

The “Polaric Server” is an advanced open-source web-based service to present tracking information (APRS) on maps and where the information is updated in real- time. It was originally targeted for use by radio amateurs in voluntary search and rescue service in Norway.

Some important features are:

  • The user interface is a web application which allows users to browse maps, view and manipulate live tracking information using a standard web browser.
  • It can use many open raster layer sources like e.g. WMS, WMTS, Google Maps or OpenStreetmap. It supports caching/storage of map tiles on server for offline use. It supports vector sources like WFS as well. It supports multiple map projections.
  • Authorized users can, on the server, add information (including APRS objects) and manipulate how objects are displayed in a view shared by all users. For example choice of icons, use descriptive labels (tactical callsigns), tagging, hiding of unnecessary information, etc..
  • To help dealing with information overload, servers can be set up with programmable filters to configure what items are displayed as well as how the items are displayed. Users can select from a set of predefined filters.
  • A server is an APRS client, and (optionally) an APRS igate. It can be connected to APRS-IS or TNCs (through serial ports or TCP/IP), etc.
  • Server can be connected to a GPS (through a serial port) for position and precise time.
  • Web-interface for the most important configuration settings.
  • Suitable for small devices like e.g. Raspberry PI 2 or Beagleboard and mobile use. See Aprs Box project by W6ELA.
  • Multiple Polaric Server instances can synchronize labels, tags, etc using authenticated APRS messages.
  • Extensible architecture to allow independent development of plugin-components. Plugins are made for use of AIS data, and use of a Postgis database for storage and retrieval.
  • Support for embedding in web-pages or web applications.
  • Language support.

Technically, it consists of a client web application (based on OpenLayers) and a server program (APRS daemon). The APRS daemon (aprsd) gets data from multiple sources, typically a TNC or APRS-IS. It can present and manipulate the information through a HTTP service. The APRS daemon can be installed independently of the web app.

Some of its use is discussed in this book chapter from 2018 and ISCRAM 2015 paper.


Polaric Server is free software. See GNU General Public License v.2 (future versions will probably be GNU AGPL v.3) Some parts of the source code may use compatible licenses like BSD. Copyright is owned by the respective authors of the software. We also encourage crediting the radio amateur (HAM) community and the Norwegian Radio Relay League for deveopment of APRS technology. If used for a publicly available online service and you make improvements or additions we encourage you to publish these improvements as open source. “APRS” is a registered trademark of Bob Bruninga.

How to install and run Polaric Server

The current software version is 2.3. (1.2 for webapp2)

Polaric Server runs on a fairly standard Apache/PHP platform (webapp) and a JVM platform (aprsd). Packages are available to allow easy installation on Debian based Linux distributions (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, etc..). Debian 'Buster' or later is recommended. Though we support the Linux platform, it is probably not a big deal to port it to other Unix or Windows platforms.

Help wanted!!!

This application has a great potential but it is limited what one man almost without ANY support, can do (without burning out).So if you find this interesting and want the project to grow, please consider helping the project or supporting it in any way: For example:

  • Software development. Client, server, plugins. The client is outdated so it is being re-written. SAR-functionality is much wanted. Interoperability with other software like SARTrack? Server REST API, etc, etc…
  • User-profiles, login using external services.
  • Better support for mobile devices. A mobile app? We have PolaricDroid but it is outdated now and will soon stop working.
  • Packaging, installation. It should be quite possible to install this on the Windows platform? Docker containers is also an interesting option.
  • Setup/Images for hardware like Raspberry PI, etc.. Or for virtual machines like VirtualBox.
  • Testing testing testing.
  • Translation to more languages.
  • Better documentation.
  • Financial support?
  • Feedback. Do you use it? How does it work for you? I would love to hear about it.

Developer information

Contributions to this project are welcome! Current version (running on aprs.no) is 2.3. Source code is available. The aprsd is written in Java and Scala. The Webapp is written in Javascript, HTML and PHP.

polaricserver.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/10 15:28 by la7eca
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