Stacking GPS, GSM, and an SD card into an Arduino shield

A few years ago, [Phang Moh] and his compatriots were asked by a client if they could make a vehicle tracking device for oil tankers all around Indonesia. The request of putting thousands of trackers on tanks of explosives was a little beyond [Phang Moh]’s capability, but he did start tinkering around with GPS and GSM on an Arduino.

Now that tinkering has finally come to fruition with [Phang]’sĀ TraLog shield, a single Arduino shield that combines GPS tracking with a GSM and GPRSĀ transceiver. There’s also an SD card thrown in for good measure, making this one of the best tracking and data logging shields for the Arduino.

The shield can be configured to send GPS and sensor data from devices attached to an I2C bus to remote servers, or a really cool COSM server. [Phang] is selling his TraLog for $150, a fairly good deal if you consider what this thing can do.

Seems like the perfect piece of kit for just about any tracking project, whether you want to know the location of thousands of oil tankers or just a single high altitude balloon.

Tip ‘o the hat to [Brett] for finding this one.

18 thoughts on “Stacking GPS, GSM, and an SD card into an Arduino shield

  1. He didn’t sell his clients Arduinos + shields I hope.

    The SIM548C is a pretty cheap GPS+GSM/GPRS combo as well. Comes in SMT versions as well, and can be really cheap depending on how much Chinese you speak…

      1. I was playing with lots of GSM brands few years back and SIMCOM was one of them but had some buggy experience with them (those early SIM300 days). SIMCOM modules are better these days. But having worked with other brands soon after that and completely fell in love with Wavecom modules (now Sierra).

    1. It’s more on the interface with the oil/gas tank section that needs to be explosion proof. The tank drivers usually steal a portion of the oil/gas and replaced them with palm oil during the journey which is cheaper of course.

  2. That’s quite cool, but you can also just buy a cheap $50 phone instead and program it to send GPS data over GPRS. It should be easier, and cheaper, although it may not be adequate for all applications.

    1. That was my thought too. Why bother with all of this fancy custom-built hardware when a generic $40 (or less) Android has a built-in GPS, phone, and SD reader (okay, microSD but in this case who cares?)

  3. $150 !?

    I recently bought a TK106 (not Xexun) on eBay under $100.
    Hardware wise is a ARM Cortex-M3 NXP1763 + SIMCOM SIM900 and a Sirf III GPS
    The funcionality sucks on SMS mode and I’m going to reprogram it, altough it’s a shame the JTAG pins aren’t mapped on the PCB

  4. Those Sierra Wireless modules are quite a good solution for this sort of thing, and you can run them off a LiPo battery directly.

    The larger modules you can run software on directly too..

  5. How big is this? I’m looking for something like this for a small-scale laptop tracking solution so I’m wondering if it can be modified to fit into a laptop.

  6. I agree that a smartphone may offer similar functionality, but as far as the tanker requirements go there is a lot more involved once you think about using it on a tank trailer. There are a tremendous number of regulations around anything oil/gas/energy industry related. I work in the downhole telemetry part of the industry and know that many rigs require “intrinsically safe” hardware. I would not be remotely surprised if something on a tanker would require similar approval.

    In these situations phones don’t cut it. Purpose built products with extensive testing behind them are necessary…

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