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Open GPS Tracker
 author: mike [AT] opengpstracker.org - www.opengpstracker.org


Intro | Build it! | Command reference | How it works | Download | Customize | Todo | User forum

 

  The Open GPS Tracker is a small device which plugs into a $20 prepaid mobile phone to make a GPS tracker. The Tracker responds to text message commands, detects motion, and sends you its exact position, ready for Google Maps or your mapping software. The Tracker firmware is open source and user-customizable.

The current supported hardware platform is:

* Tyco Electronics A1035D GPS module
* Motorola C168i AT&T GoPhone prepaid mobile phone
* Atmel ATTINY84-20PU AVR microcontroller

Project requires no interface chips! All you need is a GPS module, a phone, an ATTINY84, a voltage regulator, a PNP transistor, and a few passive components. This is a commercial grade tracker and is currently a second-generation stable beta V0.17.

This version stores messages while out of GSM coverage, and forwards them when it regains coverage.
 

Tracker components Phone showing location report Street map with GPS fix

 

Introduction


Welcome to the Open GPS Tracker site. The Open GPS Tracker is a small device which plugs into a $20 prepaid mobile phone to make a GPS tracker. The Tracker responds to text message commands, detects motion, and sends you its exact position, ready for Google Maps or your mapping software. The Tracker firmware is open source and user-customizable.

Project status: Current build is 0.17 assembled 04/24/2008
We currently have second-generation stable firmware and a reference hardware design. All parts are available from Mouser Electronics, and the phone is available from Target, Walmart, or Radio Shack. This site provides the firmware with source code, theory of operation, parts list, and exact assembly and checkout instructions. If you can solder, this is a one-sitting project. No PC board or surface-mount capability is required.

Programmed parts will be available as soon as the firmware is out of beta. We intend to have kits and assembled units available for purchase shortly thereafter. Commercial products are planned, but the firmware will remain open source.

The current supported hardware platform is:

  • Tyco Electronics A1035D GPS module

  • Motorola C168i AT&T GoPhone prepaid mobile phone

  • Atmel ATTINY84-20PU AVR microcontroller

We intend to support more phones and GPS devices in the future.
The Tracker's features are competitive with, or better than, many commercial products:

  • SiRFstar III receiver gets a fix inside most buildings.

  • Sends latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, course, date, and time.

  • Sends to any SMS-capable mobile phone, or any email address.

  • Battery life up to 14 days, limited by mobile phone. Longer life possible with external batteries.

  • GoPhone costs $10 per month for 1000 messages per month.

  • Configurable over-the-air via text message commands.

  • Password security and unique identifier.

  • Manual locate and automatic tracking modes controlled via text message.

  • Automatic tracking mode sends location when the tracker starts moving,
    when it stops moving, and at programmable intervals while moving.

  • Alerts when user-set speed limit is exceeded.

  • Retains tracking messages if out of coverage, and sends when back in coverage.

  • Retains and reports last good fix if it loses GPS coverage.

  • Remote reporting of mobile phone battery and signal status.

  • Extended runtime mode switches phone on and off to save battery life.

  • Watchdog timer prevents device lockup.

  • Firmware is user-customizable with a $35.91 programmer and free software.

In addition to being a GPS tracker, the firmware is easily modified to monitor and control anything from a weather station to a vending machine via text messaging. Please contact me for custom development.

Contact email: mike <at> opengpstracker <dot> org or use the forum.
 

 

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