GPS Tracking...

I’ve been googling a lot, so I really hope someone here can give me a push.
This kind of GPS Shield looks pretty interesting: GPS datalogging shield for Arduino

The plan is I have several vehicles, moving around a 2-3 miles range. I want to find out where they are on Google Map (or at least knowing how far they are away from the end point).

I don’t want to spend money on mobile data plan, and wifi is not feasible at all. So I am down to radio transmission.

  1. Getting one of these GPS modules, at least 2 of them comes with antennae (GPS datalogging shield for Arduino), are they capable of transmitting data back to my office?

  2. Now the real question is: how do I capture the GPS data from each GPS module (each car) at any time? What equipments do I need? I am capable of writing some kind of server to handle the incoming data.

  3. Battery. I can’t use AA battery. Is there a cheap way to hook up the power to the car’s power?

  4. Can someone please list the basic hardware requiremnts? So far I need arduino, GPS module (with anteena support), and what else? What exactly is a receiver and transmitter? Which one is going to sit in my office?

  5. Any recommended pre-built module?

  6. Radio transmission. In particular, plain radio, or cellular? Different drivers have different phones. No way I can find a shield and an adapter that matches every one. I might have some misunderstanding here. Please correct me.

Thanks.

Just to clear up a misconception, the antenna connections on those GPS modules are for receiving GPS data (in the event that the large, peach-colored antenna already present on them is insufficient). You cannot transmit data with them.

Thank you. In this case, what antenna would be possible and what kind of transmitter?

I am looking for a solution because it seems like in order to transmit GPS data from device such as Tom Tom, I would need a data plan, which can cost a lot of money.

edit: THis might do the trick? http://www.parallax.com/Store/Sensors/CompassGPS/tabid/173/CategoryID/48/List/0/SortField/0/Level/a/ProductID/757/Default.aspx 9ft external antenna

You would need to see what type of transmitters, with the range you are looking for, are available in your country.

I have just worked on a pilot project to provide this type of facility to a law enforcement organisation, and they are using mobile data. The data, which contains much more than just location, is fully encrypted, but each burst is quite small. The monthly data usage is surprisingly low.

http://www.seeedstudio.com/wiki/GPRS_Shield

So it seems like GPRS would be an alternative (using celluar network). But most of them seems to require a SIM card. With 10 cars, and on-going for years, I don't think this is feasible...

I am looking for 2-3 miles range in NYC.

I am pretty sure high-altitude balloon uses plain radio transmission. They also use these really cheap GPS modules. http://www.hexoc.com/pages/hab/ferret.php

I just went searching for you. I didn't realize how expensive GPS tracking units are. Now I see why you are looking into Radio transmitted ones. I'm just impressed you've found cheaper options that are just radio signals and not GPS. Which, if you are working within a 2-3 mile range is totally feasible and more cost-effective. I wish I had better stuff to share with you, but you're research is better than what I've found and my knowledge. But I think you have found some good options!

I am pretty sure high-altitude balloon uses plain radio transmission. They also use these really cheap GPS modules.

Balloons generally use amateur radio (APRS), which is illegal to use if you don't have a license and illegal to use in a business or other for-profit scenario.

An APRS balloon tracker is about US$200 - higher if you use a commercially available all in one unit, less if you build it yourself from available parts or used equipment.

-j