Polaric Server

The “Polaric Server” is an advanced open-source web-based service to present tracking information (APRS or AIS) 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 real-time tracking information using a standard web browser.
  • It can integrate live tracking information from various sources. Currently running with APRS and AIS feeds.
  • It is a GIS software that 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, and file formats like GPX or GeoJSON. It can seamlessly switch between 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..
  • Support for drawing features directly on the map. Support for drawing distance circles (bike wheel model).
  • Plugin with database support (PostGIS) for safe storage of important information and storage and retrieval of tracking (trails) from the past. Very useful for looking up information about past missions.
  • To help dealing with information overload, servers can be set up with programmable filters and automatic tagging (sysadm can set up rules) to configure what items are displayed as well as how the items are displayed. For example we have full control over trail-lengths, use of labels, etc. Users can select from a set of predefined filters.
  • Support for APRS messages and bulletins.
  • Can be set up with multiple server instances that can synchronize labels, tags, etc using authenticated APRS messages. Can operate offline with cached map-data. Suitable for small devices like e.g. Raspberry PI and mobile use.
  • Based on Open Source software. Open REST API for interoperability.
  • Strong focus on security and privacy!
  • Supports role-based authorization of users. Highly configurable what groups of users may see and do.

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 and ISCRAM 2021 paper.

Don't forget to take a look at some screenshots .

Polaric Server is free software. See GNU General Public License v.2 and 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

Polaric Server (aprsd) runs on a fairly standard JVM platform and the client (webapp2) runs on a fairly standard Apache platform. Packages are available to allow easy installation on Debian based Linux distributions (Debian, Ubuntu, etc..). Debian 'Buster' or later is recommended. Raspbian (Raspberry PI) work quite well! Windows with Linux subsystem (With Debian or Ubuntu) should probably work. Though we support the Linux platform, it is probably not hard to port it to other Unix or Windows platforms.

Developer information

Contributions to this project are welcome! Current version (running on aprs.no) is 2.11. Source code is available. The aprsd is written in Java and Scala. The Webapp is written in Javascript, HTML and PHP.

Help wanted!!!

This application has a great potential but it is limited what very few people 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. Software development, testing, user feedback, etc… All help is appreciated.

polaricserver.txt · Last modified: 2023/02/03 22:20 by la7eca
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