Can anyone help me get started with a gps tracker



  • Hi all,

    I am looking to make a gps tracker as I would like to loan a piece of equipment to a colleague. It will be gone for several months and I won't have access to it during that time. It'll need to send its location every 4-6 hours and at times could be up to 500km away from me. Using the cellular network would be easy but the battery won't last very long. I've been researching options and it seems LoRa and Sigfox could be good choices. Would anyone be able to point me in the direction of a tutorial to get me started? I am quite technical and know Python well.

    Thanks,

    James



  • @james-matthews I've experimented with a lopy (lora via the things network) and sipy (sigfox). Lora via TTN is not yet very well covered in my region (Belgium) Sigfox coverage is much better. But you need to check on there site to see if you region is covered. The pytrack module does it job mostly giving me a decent resolution. I had the sigfox running on a 2 amp lipo battery for over 2 months, waking up every hour. in my experience, the pytrack has problems getting a fix in a moving car. Sigfox is free the first year you sign up. Commercial lora providers can be expensive, and almost always orientated to commercial customers (meaning people who buy lots of devices).
    Andre



  • The problem is coverage... You probably won't find a LoRaWAN network with ubiquitous coverage. Not sure about Sigfox.

    Coverage will also depend on where the device is (i.e. indoors or outdoors and the type of environment: dense city, flat land, mountains...).

    If the device wakes up every 4-6 hours, then the cellular part won't necessarily be a burden, the time and energy used to get a GPS fix will probably outweigh the cellular connection bit.

    Also, remember that do get a GPS fix you need a clear view of several satellites, so here again, the environment is important.



  • Hi @james-matthews,

    You could use a FiPy that has support for cellular, or a LoPy 4, with the Pytrack board.

    You can find an example project on how to use the Pytrack board here. For LoRa and Sigfox, there are several tutorials on our documentation site. You can find the LoRa examples here, and Sigfox here.

    Let me know if you have any more questions!


 

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