nRF9160: GNSS

This sample demonstrates how to retrieve GNSS data. It also shows how to improve fix speed and accuracy with the nRF Cloud A-GPS library and how to use the nRF Cloud P-GPS library. Assistance data is downloaded from nRF Cloud using nRF Cloud’s REST-based device API.

The sample first initializes the GNSS interface. Then it handles events from the interface, reads the associated data and outputs information to the console. Because NMEA data needs to be read as soon as an NMEA event is received, a Zephyr message queue is used for buffering the NMEA strings. The event handler function reads the received NMEA strings and puts those into the message queue. The consumer loop reads from the queue and outputs the strings to the console.

When A-GPS and/or P-GPS support is enabled, a Zephyr workqueue is used for downloading the assistance data. Downloading the data can take some time and the workqueue ensures that the main thread is not blocked during the operation.

See GNSS interface for more information.


This sample operates in two different output modes.

In the default mode, the sample displays information from both PVT (Position, Velocity, and Time) and NMEA strings. The sample can also be configured to run in NMEA-only mode, where only the NMEA strings are displayed in the console. The NMEA-only mode can be used to visualize the data from the GNSS using a third-party tool.

You can enable A-GPS and P-GPS support for both the default mode (PVT and NMEA) and the NMEA-only mode. When assistance support is enabled, the sample receives an A-GPS data request notification from the GNSS module, and it starts downloading the assistance data requested by the GNSS module. The sample then displays the information in the terminal about the download process. Finally, after the download completes, the sample switches back to the previous display mode.

By default, the sample runs in continuous tracking mode. It can also be configured to run in periodic mode, where fixes are acquired periodically with the configured interval.


The sample supports the following development kit:

Hardware platforms


Board name

Build target

nRF9160 DK




The sample is configured to compile and run as a non-secure application on nRF91’s Cortex-M33. Therefore, it automatically includes the Secure Partition Manager that prepares the required peripherals to be available for the application.

You can also configure it to use TF-M instead of Secure Partition Manager.


See Configuring your application for information about how to permanently or temporarily change the configuration.

Configuration options

Check and configure the following configuration options for the sample:


The NMEA-only mode can be used for example with 3rd party tools to visualize the GNSS output.


This configuration option should be enabled if an external GNSS antenna is used, so that the Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) can be configured accordingly.


This configuration option enables A-GPS usage.

CONFIG_GNSS_SAMPLE_MODE_PERIODIC - To enable periodic fixes

This configuration option enables periodic fixes instead of continuous tracking. Set CONFIG_GNSS_SAMPLE_PERIODIC_INTERVAL and CONFIG_GNSS_SAMPLE_PERIODIC_TIMEOUT to configure the desired fix interval and timeout.

Building and running

This sample can be found under samples/nrf9160/gnss in the nRF Connect SDK folder structure.

The sample is built as a non-secure firmware image for the nrf9160dk_nrf9160_ns build target. Because of this, it automatically includes the Secure Partition Manager. You can also configure it to use TF-M instead of SPM.

See Building and programming an application for information about how to build and program the application.

If the sample is to be used with the SUPL client library, the library must be downloaded and enabled in the sample configuration. You can download it from the Nordic Semiconductor website. See SUPL client and SUPL client OS integration for information on installing and enabling the SUPL client library.


After programming the sample and all the prerequisites to the development kit, you can test the sample by performing the following steps:

  1. Connect your nRF9160 DK to the PC using a USB cable and power on or reset your nRF9160 DK.

  2. Open a terminal emulator.

  3. Test the sample by performing the following steps:

    If the default mode is enabled:

    1. Observe that the following information is displayed in the terminal emulator:

      Tracking:  0 Using:  0 Unhealthy: 0
      Seconds since last fix: 1
      Searching [-]
      NMEA strings:
    2. Observe that the numbers associated with the displayed parameters Tracking and Using change.

    3. Observe that the sample displays the following information upon acquiring a fix:

      Tracking:  7 Using:  5 Unhealthy: 0
      Latitude:       61.491275
      Longitude:      23.771611
      Altitude:       116.3 m
      Accuracy:       4.2 m
      Speed:          0.0 m/s
      Speed accuracy: 0.8 m/s
      Heading:        0.0 deg
      Date:           2020-03-06
      Time (UTC):     05:48:24
      PDOP:           3.1
      HDOP:           2.1
      VDOP:           2.3
      TDOP:           1.8
      NMEA strings:

    If NMEA-only mode is enabled:

    1. Observe that the following information is displayed in the terminal emulator:


    If A-GPS and/or P-GPS support is enabled:

    1. Observe that the following message is displayed in the terminal emulator immediately after the device boots:

      [00:00:04.488,494] <inf> gnss_sample: Assistance data needed, ephe 0xffffffff, alm 0xffffffff, flags 0x3b
    2. Observe the following actions in the terminal emulator:

      1. The sample downloads the requested assistance data if needed (with P-GPS, the data may already be available in the flash memory).

      2. The sample continues after the download has completed.


This sample uses the following nRF Connect SDK libraries:

It uses the following sdk-nrfxlib library:

It uses the following Zephyr library: