What is APRS

The APRS system was invented and introduced by Bob Bruninga, an amateur radio operator (WB4APR).

Officially, APRS is the abbreviation for Automatic Position Reporting System.

Some feel APRS should be the abbreviation for Automatic Packet Reporting System. Originally the system only reported positional information. However, in recent years, APRS has become more than a standard for reporting the simple location of an object. It is now used for reporting weather, locations of objects that have no actual APRS systems aboard, like starting locations for races, check points for those races, etc.

Basically, an APRS system requires a location sensor (GPS, but sometimes just a person with a map), a Packet radio transmission system on one end and a packet radio receiver and a computer on the other end of the system.

The first system collects its current location and encodes it in a standardized format as a string of text and transmits that information as a beacon. The transmission is NOT directed at any one station but rather beaconed out for all listening stations to hear and interpret.

A second system receives the information using APRS software and then decodes the packet and, typically, places an icon on a map showing the transmitting station's location.

This page is only meant to provide this snapshot overview of APRS. Visit the links below to get more detailed information on this technology.

Links to APRS Information

Bob Bruninga's APRS Website is a good place to begin your research of this packet radio technology.

Tuscon Amateur Packet Radio has many good links to APRS related information.

A Google Search on APRS will also turn up many good links.

The technical specification for APRS formatted data. This is useful for individuals attempting to build software programs to encode/decode APRS data.

There are hundreds of pages on the net that deal with APRS and its various uses.