Bike cross country in your basement with Google Streetview

Biking cross-country is a worthwhile pursuit, but then you’ll have to deal with terrible drivers, rain, bugs, and heat. [Jeff Adkins] over at lowendmac has a neat solution to exploring the country via bicycle without ever leaving the safety and air conditioning of your basement.

For his build, [Jeff] used a magnetic reed switch attached to the frame of his stationary bike and the pedal crank. Whenever the pedal crank is turned, a reed switch closes on every revolution. This reed switch is connected to a new Arduino Leonardo programmed to transmit keyboard presses to a computer for every five revolutions of the pedal. From there, it’s a simple matter of loading up Google Streetview on a laptop and letting the Arduino automatically advance through Streetview images while pedaling.

The next part of [Jeff]’s project will be adding left and right buttons to his stationary bike to navigate Google Streetview images without taking his hands off the handlebars. You can check out a demo of [Jeff] cruising around after the break.

via reddit

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Location recorder and mapper

[Jeroen’s] student project is a module that uses GPS tracking to create travel data on Google maps. It’s not really a spy device as the data isn’t transmitted, but would be a lot of fun to use on cycling and hiking adventures. A PIC 18F2550 reads location and altitude data from a GPS receiver as well as data from an accelerometer. This information can be displayed on an attached touchscreen display and it is also saved to a pair of EEPROMs. When you get back from your trip, the data pulled from the device via a serial connection is processed by [Jeroen’s] C# application and used to overlay the route on a google map. He’s got a source code package available for download but we’ve saved you the trouble if the schematic is all you’re after. It’s attached after the break.

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Location tracking with Twitter and Google maps


[Ryan O’Hara] built a location tracker he could use on motorcycle trips. Ostensibly this is to give his wife piece of mind be we think that was an excuse to play with GPS and SMS. To stand up to the trials of the road [Ryan] took his breadboarded prototype to the next level, using a manufactured board and a SparkFun enclosure. Tucked safely away is a PIC 18F25K20 gathering longitude and latitude from a GM862, formatting the info into a Google Maps link, and sending it to the Twitter feed via an SMS message. If you’re not familiar with the GM862, in addition to being a GPS module it can send and receive cellular data on a GSM network.

This is a nice solid hardware platform from which we can envision a couple of other hacks. The feed could be parsed to make a nice map graphic like the webpage for that Twittering Road Bike. It also might be nice to have a d-pad and character LCD to post your own tweets to the feed at the end of the day.

Homebrew carputer

Avbrand's Carputer

Though not from scratch, [Avbrand] integrated a powerful set of tools into his Subaru station wagon. The system was compiled from off the shelf electronics, such as a Compaq notebook, 3G USB modem, touch screen, and an assortment of other peripherals. It is based around Windows XP, though most of the carputer-specific applications, such as backup camera integration, Google Maps – based car tracking, and automatic volume control had to be custom coded by [Avbrand] himself. Perhaps the single most impressive and useful feature of the system is synchronization with highway traffic cameras. The system streams video of segments of the highway before [Avbrand] gets to them, allowing him to make more informed navigational choices. He documents it pretty well on his website.

Google Maps adds arterial traffic monitoring

google_maps

Traffic monitoring has been available on Google Maps for some time, but has been limited to highways and major roads. According to the Google LatLong blog, traffic tracking support is now available for smaller surface roads in select cities. The data is gathered through mobile phones running My Location. Anybody wishing to help out can sign up their phone and opt into My Location to participate in the anonymous data collection. Now you won’t have to gamble on whether or not your back road alternative route is congested when there’s construction on the freeway. Dash tried something similar with their two-way traffic reporting, but we’re guessing that Google’s version will have even better performance thanks to a rapidly increasing install base.