At a certain point over the past six weeks, I couldn’t remember for the life of me why I chose to build a GPS tracker. I was in the midst of wiring and re-wiring a breadboard, and at the point when you’re poking wires into very precise, small holes, you begin to question how you got to that place. A few weeks later, mired in the middle of Windows Command Prompt, I was beginning to think back fondly on wiring circuits. That challenge was dreamlike; nothing compared to typing in a command for the thirtieth time because you can’t easily copy-and-paste in Command, hoping that changing the programmer type, or the baud rate, or turning off the auto-verification would finally work. It’s worth it, though, when I consider that yes, the changes worked. When I saw the ’100% complete’ when burning my bootloader, I was thrilled inside and out.
I’ve learned a lot over the past six weeks: the fundamentals of how to code (I made my own “Hello world!” program!), how to read complicated schematics that I would never see in my physics class, a lot about the differences between compilers, and, of course, how to troubleshoot. For the most part I discovered how to fix things on my own. I read through old forum posts dredged from the depths of Google and went through dozens of lines of code attempting to figure out when my compiler was saying there was no main function when there clearly was. But best of all, I had the environment to do all this, and for that I’m very grateful. And now, I’m extremely close to having a fully functioning GPS tracking device. I’m not sure yet if it will be used for good or evil– though it was created with an innocent purpose in mind; to track my location around Manhattan when I went on a run or simply wandered– but the point isn’t only that I have it. It’s that I made it. And even better, there are the resources out there for other people to do the same thing.
My project was based on a design by someone at LucidScience.
Attached below are my design files (still pending), and please check out my videos!
DESIGN FILE: Schematic
DESIGN FILE: gps code
DESIGN FILE: Project Notes