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GPS data logger for outdoor activities

This is a GPS-enabled data logger for outdoor activities (sports), featuring an SDcard to save collected data

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I am an outdoor person: from mountains to beaches to ski resorts to forests, I like to be out there!. I am also very competitive and like to keep track of every step I take out there, therefore I need a GPS. Now, commercial GPS wristwatches (like Garmin) cost anything from $150 up, and living in Brazil (South America) I cannot afford one of those; this is why I have decided to prototype a small portable device that can track my way/speed/elevation/time out there and save it to an SD card for after-party analysis.

I am a road runner (by foot) myself, and I like numbers and math as well (as an Engineering student). The idea of tracking/marking my running path for post-analysis has always fascinated me, but I always face a problem acquiring GPS-enable wrist watches: they are very very expensive, ranging from $150 up to $1,500 and so on.

That's a prohibitive price point for a hobbyist like me, so I decided to make my own GPS-enable tracker/logger for my road races. The idea was to unite my two passions (electronics and running) in a single solution to make my life easier and more fun.

This data logger works as follow:

1) Once you power the system up:

2) The GPS module searchs for satellites on the sky

3) The Arduino Pro Mini will manage to read data from the GPS module and write it to a micro SD card

4) this reading GPS and writing to SD card will repeat every 2 seconds.

5) step 4 until power down or end of battery juice

Here is a schematic diagram for the solution I implemented:

  • 1 × uBLox neo-6M GPS receiver
  • 1 × micro SD card reader Metalex micro SD card breakout board
  • 1 × 8-bit microcontroller Arduino Pro Mini
  • 1 × Boost converter 1-5V to 5V boost breakout board
  • 1 × Li-ion Battery 3.7V battery

  • I have shared this project on Instructables

    Clovis Fritzen04/29/2016 at 23:15 0 comments

    Intending to spread the word about this project even further, I have decided to share it with the Instructables community; you can see the full project in this link.

    Ps: I have not made any improvements on it so far (since the first release), but I am planning to get my hands dirty in the next few weeks to implement energy saving techniques (essentially for the battery to last a bit longer).

View project log

  • 1
    Step 1

    Choosig components:

    I wanted to keep the budget as low as possible while still being able to make it. So all components listed below were obtained from eBay sellers, even the cheapest ones I could find on that website. You are going to need:

    - Arduino Pro Mini > US$ 1,99

    - MicroSD card Breakout > US$ 2,00

    - 2GB (or greater) microSD card > US$ 2,49

    - GPS module (uBlox Neo-6M) > US$ 9,95

    - 3.7V/600mAh Li-ion Battery (model aircraft ones) > US$ 2,01

    - 3.7V to 5V step-up converter > US$ 0,76

  • 2
    Step 2

    Schematic diagram:

    The idea is that the Arduino Pro mini manages everything, from GPS readings to SD card writings, because the components needed are only those presented in the imagem below.

    Another important detail is the dc-dc boost converter; it is necessary to step-up and adjust the variable voltage from the battery (3.7V and down) to steady 5V that the Arduino Pro Mini and the GPS module requires.

    The imagem shows:

    - in RED the +5V and Battery voltages

    - in BLACK the ground (reference, GND)

    - in Green and Yellow the GPS serial communications line

    - The other colors are communications and control lines for the micro SD card breakout.

  • 3
    Step 3

    The Arduino code:

    The most updated version (if any) of this GPS data logger code can be found in my GitHub page, on this link.

    What the code below does is save Latitude, Longitude, date, time and speedto a .csv file called "rundata.csv", every 2 seconds.

    Click here to see the code (on GitHub) for the Arduino Pro Mini

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Clovis Fritzen wrote 03/16/2016 at 01:18 point

Hey, that's a clever application. I think you can do that by swapping the sd card module by a GSM/cellular module, so that you can track your bike by periodic messaging or something

  Are you sure? yes | no

j0z0r pwn4tr0n wrote 03/16/2016 at 01:14 point

I want to use this to track my motorcycle if it were ever stolen. They have services, but they are exorbitantly expensive and I trust something that I'm running myself more

  Are you sure? yes | no

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