Small GPS tracker

Hi !

I would like to create small GPS tracker, intended for Pets. I know that there are professional products out there, only problem is that I need access to this tracking data, and since none of current companies has open APIs that I could use, I was thinking of creating one such tracker myself...

What I need is following... I would need GPS module (shield) that connects to Arduino (I don't know which would be best, but it has to be small) and then GSM shield. Arduino needs to pool GPS every 10 s (or so) and send data to specific WebService (via GSM shield).

Now since I am very new to Arduino I would need some advice:

  1. Which GPS module to use?
  2. Which Arduino to use. Would Mini or Micro version be able to handle this two devices/shields?

Any advice is very welcome.
Andy

Anything with a "shield" won't be small, in my view. What are your size requirements?

jremington:
Anything with a "shield" won't be small, in my view. What are your size requirements?

As small as possible. I would need to have this attached to a dog (on collar perhaps). It shouldn't be too big, or dog won't like it and will try to remove it. Perhaps using it in pouch not around colar would give option to use something bigger.

I need modules as small as possible. I am very new to Arduino, so size difference between shield / modules are unknown to me at this point.

After looking arround I was thinking of combined GPRS / GPS shield (like Adafruit FONA 808) or perhaps using Bee module (GPS Bee Kit) for GPS, problem is that I can't find Bee module for GSM/GPRS...

Would I need full sized Arduino or could I use Mini/Micro with such shield (Adafruit)?

Andy

The Adafruit FONA 808 looks very promising. A Pro Mini would be enough to run it. I've had good luck with the cheap ones on eBay.

If you are a beginner, this will be a challenging project. Battery life is an issue, too.

Hi !

I can get hands on "Arduino Pro Mini Atmega328", or at least I hope so. Why will it be challenging project? I thought that you just need to connect modules together and write software... Most problem I see will be putting it into some box, so that I don't short curcuit anything.

What should I do with battery. Is there a way to use some rechargable batteries? Professional solutions always use rechargable batteries... (this trracker will be used when walking the dog, or when leaving him to his own devices, which means, we have several hours each day to fill the batteries).

Andy

While I understand the desire to build something one's self, an easier approach would be to buy a cheap android phone and install a tracking app. Solves the battery power, gps, network communications, and programming problems in a neat smallish package. You might want to put it in a waterproof container to protect it from the elements and to prevent Fido from blowing through your data allocation by posting on Facebook.

Actually using GPS on Phone can be quite draining on power. You get max. 2 hrs of GPS time, and if you need to keep sending data every 10 s through internet you need to have internet connection on all the time, which can be also draining... Cheap phones tend to have very small batteries, which would limit running time. Plus even cheap phones, might not that cheap...

Problem is that this project is sub project for my friend who is doing software (for diploma work), so using phone might not be the right solution, but I also thought about it... This will be my fallback scenario... Its time that I do something outside of programming... anyways and this seems like good "little" project for me...

Andy

I would start with a SIM808 (GSM/GPRS/GPS) breakout board, an Arduino Pro Mini (3.3V, 8MHz) or a raw ATmega328P, and a LiPo charger breakout board. A 3.7V LiPo cell can directly power the SIM808 and Pro Mini, saving the losses due to voltage regulation. You will probably want to keep your processor and SIM808 sleeping as much as possible.

AndyRozman:
Actually using GPS on Phone can be quite draining on power. You get max. 2 hrs of GPS time, and if you need to keep sending data every 10 s through internet you need to have internet connection on all the time, which can be also draining... Cheap phones tend to have very small batteries, which would limit running time. Plus even cheap phones, might not that cheap...

Problem is that this project is sub project for my friend who is doing software (for diploma work), so using phone might not be the right solution, but I also thought about it... This will be my fallback scenario... Its time that I do something outside of programming... anyways and this seems like good "little" project for me...

Andy

I think your run time estimate is a bit pessimistic. Regardless, the power drain issues don't go away as long as the requirement for a GPS sensor and wireless data link remain. I'm in the US which I understand to have very different cellphone service pricing structures relative to most of the world, but I can get a refurbished TracFone prepaid Android for under $20 and have it in service long enough to demo a system for another $20. One would be hard pressed to do the same with an Arduino based system.

That said, I understand that you might want to go a different route for academic reasons, to optimize for particular constraints, or to tinker with something different. I also well understand the occasional desire to build something that might appear entirely pointless to someone else (usually my wife), so I'm not trying to sell this particular approach, merely pointing out another option in your trade space.

A bit late to the party but I saw this on here and though it might be small enough for pet tracking.

Hi,

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/the-rspca-has-launched-a-secondgeneration-gps-tracking-system-for-wayward-pets/story-fnihsrf2-1226969960566

even ali has them.

Tom.... :slight_smile:

Hi Tom !

I found also other Services... Problem with all of them is that none of them has open API. You can either use their Android/IPhone App or their Website. I would need a tracker for which I have option to retrieve data (requires Open API) from their server, so that I can work with it.

Currently only FitBark offers Open API, but problem is that their device is not a tracker. Which is why I started this small Project.

In first phase I decided to go with Cheap Android sollution, but for 2nd phase I want to build tracker myself.

I would like thank all of you, who contributed with your answers...

Andy