Keeping tabs on your tabby with a camera and GPS

cat_eye_pictures_and_gps

[Janis] has an outdoor cat that likes to roam all over the neighborhood. He was curious to see what he was up to all day, so he decided to build a small cat cam to document the feline’s comings and goings. After the cat returned one evening with a snail riding along on his back, [Janis] thought it would be pretty interesting to see where the cat was going as well.

He calls his creation “CatEye”, and it consists of a small JPEG color camera and GPS sensor, both of which are managed by what looks to be an ATMega328. The camera snaps pictures as the cat roams around, while the GPS sensor records its location throughout its travels. All of the data is stored on an SD card, making it easy to transfer the pics and .KML files back to his computer. A few clicks later, he can see everywhere his cat has been, using Google Earth.

It seems like a pretty interesting project, and we would love to see some schematics and code so that we can strap one of these on [Caleb] our cat to see where he’s been all day.

30 thoughts on “Keeping tabs on your tabby with a camera and GPS

  1. I’m sure the cat loves wearing that small brick on his neck.

    Joking aside… have you thought about going smaller on the camera using one of those ‘808’ ebay-keychain cameras. Very small, have video, and easy to tear into.

    1. Initially I had no intention to spy on my cat. Once I was looking at GPS module, camera and Arduino in my hand trying to figure out how to kill some time and learn something new. And then I so a poor cat creature …

  2. Seems a little cruel to force the cat to wear that thing whilst out and about. Also, there doesn’t seem to be any safety catch for if the collar gets caught on something whilst fleeing.

    nonetheless, great idea but i wouldn’t like to try the same on any of my own cats without a few design changes.

    1. Yeah I don’t think this is very safe for the cat. I’ve seen cats get tangled up in even normal collars (which is why my cat doesn’t have one) – and this thing looks a lot worse for potential problems.

      Clever idea, but I think it’s a bad feline health hazard…

      1. I agree, but maybe to make one single video it’s OK, I mean you can keep an eye on things then too.
        But I’d certainly not put it on my cat.
        (And who is going to edit out the 18 hours of naptime anyway? :)

  3. @Jerome yeah I thought of Mr. Lee’s cam when I saw this, but adding the GPS is genius. It was obvous Mr. Lee’s owner had no idea where many of the pics were taken and in some cases little way to find out.

      1. Oops, I clicked accidently on “Report”.. Sorry for theat!

        Mr Lee’s GPS ist quite a good one! I bought one to do some stuff with it and it has quite a good reception even in rooms or in roofed hatches :)

        And it’s quite easy to control! :)

  4. I agree with the mention of a way to keep the cat from being strangled if it gets caught on something i think this idea would also be interesting placed on a car with actual video and audio to record accidents and police conduct

  5. I read where someone else did this a few years ago, also out of curiousity… he found out that basically all his cat did all night was Hunt. I believe that mine does too, randomly bringing home various prey. Not sure if it is the same with a non-neutered young male cat but that is what his did.

  6. I was reading Mr Lee’s guide and one of his complaints is that the camera he used didn’t have a flash…he really does want to torture his cat!

    Now they need to add video to these…preferably using large reel-to-reel tapes for comic effect.

  7. this project is very cool,i think we can add a SD card or a Mini TF Card to avoid no-flash problem.

    in fact , i have a total solution on this idea and has used on car monitor with video and audio recording in china for police judge in trafic accident.
    do you have any question please feel free contract me

  8. Degrading your cat – executing your voyeurism in your neighbourhood – is somewhat…

    I believe, that apparatus will shorten every cats lifespan – but who cares – if you have several… lives.

    /\_/\
    ____/ o o \
    /~____ =ø= /
    (______)__m_m)

  9. wouldn’t it be easier to rather than attaching a bunch of expensive hardware but instead a good old fashioned cinder block? At least then you will know where had has been and currently is without fancy electronics..

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