A GPS tracker made as a citizen science project. Most Iridium GPS trackers are proprietary and expensive. We aim to create a cheap, open-source tracker that is small and adaptable to many purposes. It's powered by an Atmel AVR XMega microcontroller. Chosen due to it's number of serial ports. It allows us to have serial ports for GPS, satellite (Iridium), debug/command interface and other radios (such as GSM and XBee).
The Xmega series are relatively unpopular chips compared to the Mega series (Arduino), so development has been slow due to limited resources for learning how to use it.
The whole project has been developed (mostly) using open-source tools (Linux, Eclipse-AVR, KiCad, git, etc) So anyone can theoretically pick it up and expand upon it without any cost involved or requirement of proprietary software or operating system.
The project started as an employee from CSIRO approached the local Hobart Hackerspace, looking for help with some projects.
Hi all, wow! This project has accumulated a lot of followers! I'm grateful that you follow it.
It's a pretty cool project that I had the fortune of being able to work on while volunteering for CSIRO in Hobart Tas, Australia.
Unfortunately, life got in the way and massively derailed it. It didn't got completed :( I recall someone recently saying about the project (at my local Hackerspace), something like "it had a clear beginning, middle and end". To sort of promote it and the people that worked on it. No, it didn't 🤣 It's indefinitely postponed.
I have been working on other personal projects, and have had various jobs over the years.
I am however now self-employed, and sometimes have some flexibility/time off to work on my non-paying projects. My boss is the best (me).
One day, I might pick this up again. I still have the Iridium satellite radio transceiver. Which is an expensive little component. But at this rate, it won't be for quite a while, as I am picking my battles, and those battles are a bit easier/more fun than this project. This project is still pretty awesome, and I want to complete it one day, but a lower priority right now for me, personally. I might pick it up again in the not too distant future and give it a good rethink to get started again. But then working on it will be a lower priority.
I will likely have to change the chip I used as the XMega is not a chip I wish to work with any more, and I think it has been deprecated? Or end of life. Not many other people seem to be using it. I'll likely pick up and use an STM32 chip. As they are pretty cool, cheap, low power, many features and powerful.
So this project isn't over! I swear! But it's just going to take a long time before it gets up and going again. I think there is some use for it. An open source GPS tracker that works anywhere in the world is something that still doesn't really exist.
A similar recent alternative is the Apple Airtags, but they don't quite have the same awesome level of coverage that satellite trackers have. This will work in the ocean, the middle of the desert, Antarctica, etc. You wouldn't use an Airtag in Antarctica.