GPS tracker serves many useful functions including keeping an eye on the kids, checking the distance to the nearest petrol outlet, and of course, using it with Google Maps. Integrating the GPS tracking with the Google Maps helps us see where we are heading in our automobile or which we should head in case we know the name of the place.
Cheap and simple
Building a GPS tracking app is fun and simple. Integrating it with the Google Maps can be done. First, there is no cost involved for the software since you can get everything you need under Creative Commons. You can purchase all the other components you need for under $200.
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The hardware you need to assemble has three main components. One is the Microcontroller. This unit controls the entire works and is the central controller. You can choose the Arduino Uno which might cost around $35. The second thing you need is the GSM/GPRS module. This helps you connect to the internet through the GGSN. It gets its input from the GSM Base Station and this helps you coordinate the working.
Relaying the signal
You use your Real Time GPS Tracker to connect to the GSM Base Station. The GPS tracker gets its input from the GPS Satellite. The GPS chip outputs the information on the positioning that goes over the GPRS link to the Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) of the mobile operator. This signal is then transferred to a remote server using a TCP connection. The server will store the positional data in a MySQL database.
The third part of the GPS Tracking unit is the GPS module. You can use the USGlobalSat EM-406A for your GPS Module. It is based on the SiRF Star III Chipset. It gives out timing and positioning data along with the SiRF binary protocol. This gives you an accuracy of 10 metres if you do not use WAAS. If you do, it will improve the accuracy to 5 metres. You can buy the GPS unit and a separate interface board and connect both. In all, it will cost about $80.
Assembly of the hardware
The hardware assembly is simple. Solder Arduino stackable headers on the GPS Shield and the GSM shield. Stack the GPS module on top of the GSM board after you solder it to the GPS Shield. Stack the two boards on top of the Arduino board. Now go to hhtp://www.arduino.cc/ and use the directions to compile and load the code onto the Arduino board. They use more libraries – TInyGPS, PString, and NewSoftSerial. Download and install these libraries first.
Please note that The code cell.println (“AT+CGDCONT=1, \”IP\”,\ “isp.cingular\””) ;establishes a PDP (Packet Data Protocol) context with AT&T’s APN (Access Point Name). Suppose you have a different service provider replace the “isp.cingular” with the correct APN. Go to the code in the line: cell.println(“AT+SDATACONF=1,\”TCP \”,\”your_ip_address\”,32000″); Change this to the IP Address for your TCP Server. You need to add more code to send serial commands to the cellular module. You can find it on the Instructables.com website.
Next, you connect the TCP Server. It is coded in Python. This receives the data and stores it in a MySQL database after opening a TCP port. The operation will run comfortably on Python 2 versions but for using with Python 3 versions you need to adjust the code.