GPS

The Columbus V-900 is a nifty GPS device capable of tracking location over an extended period of time or streaming location data to a Bluetooth-enabled device in real-time.

Contents

Getting Started
Quickstart
Moving On
Documentation
Inspiration


Getting Started


Quickstart
  1. Download and install the latest version of Google Earth, which includes support for live GPS tracking.
  2. Launch Google Earth and navigate to Tools > GPS > Realtime. Be sure the NMEA protocol is selected, and check the box to Automatically follow the path.
  3. Turn on the GPS by pressing and holding the power button for three seconds. Press the flag button once to enter Bluetooth mode.
  4. Leave the device face-up in direct view of the sky for three to five minutes to negotiate the satellite connection. The green status LED will change from solid to a regular flash upon connection.
  5. Pair the device with a Bluetooth-enabled computer. (Need help?) If prompted, the passkey for the GPS is 0000. Your computer will automatically create a serial port to use with the device.
  6. Head back to Google Earth, and start the real time tracker. Walk around and your path will automatically be tracked!

Moving On
The GPS communicates via serial over Bluetooth with a baud rate of 38,400 It transmits data using the NMEA 0183 standard, which is proprietary and not well-documented.

We recommend that you use Python for your projects. While you could open a serial connection with pySerial and attempt to parse the NMEA data yourself, it's much simpler to use an existing library like GPSd, which provides Python bindings (see below).

You can create visualizations of GPS logs using Google Maps. The file actrex_CTF.zip contains scripts that were used to create videos of GPS tracks from games of capture the flag, as reported in (Sadelik & Kautz 2010).


Documentation


Columbus V-900 User Manual
Start here.

**GPSd**
A wonderful little daemon that will parse the raw NMEA data from the GPS and present it in a much more usable form. Provides bindings for C, C++, and Python. Designed for Linux and Mac, but unofficial support for Windows is available.
Download » | Client Application How-to »

**NMEA C Parser**For the particularly adventurous.



Inspiration