Arduino GPS Tutorial – Complete Guide

Do I need to say more about GPS? See here for some background info: Global Positioning System (GPS)

In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to use Arduino, a GPS Arduino shield and a SD card to make a handheld Arduino GPS logger, to record your latitude and longitude over the course of a day.

I will be taking it step by step:

  1. How does it work?
  2. How to interface this into your robot or other projects

Basic GPS Working Concept

GPS satellites orbit the Earth at an approximate altitude of 20,000 km. For a GPS unit to fix its location it needs to receive signal from at least 3 satellites.

The GPS signal that is transmitted from each satellite contains:

  • Time (accuracy of millisecond) (GMT time).
  • Date
  • Position (accuracy of 2 to 3 meters)
  • Altitude

From these information, it is also possible to work out compass heading and speed.

The Tools

The reason we use Arduino is because it’s very easy to integrate into different projects, and it’s very popular among electronics hobbyists. I also will be paring the Arduino with a GPS Shield which uses a USGlobalSat EM-406A receiver.

This Shield has also a data logging facility that saves to a SD card .

Arduino GPS Work Through

Okay, let’s get our hands dirty. I will break the tutorial into 3 parts.

Arduino GPS connection

Part One: Receiving Data from the GPS Unit via Serial Port

Firstly, we set up the system in basic configuration. We will try to talk directly to the GPS via its serial port just by connecting a FTDI cable direct to the GPS shield board, so we can check what kind of data we will be receiving on our computer.

  • Remove the ATmega chip on the Arduino Board as we only need the serial circuit on the Arduino.
  • Place a jumper cable between digital i/o pin 2 and ground (as Shown Below).
  • This switches the GPS Unit on and you can use the Arduino’s serial port to read the data.

For more detail: Arduino GPS Tutorial – Complete Guide

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