Have you ever wondered how fast and far a Raspberry Pi robot runs throughout the day and night? With GPS capabilities and a Linux computer such as Raspberry Pi, you can track a robot or a multirotor and locate these on a map. But in general speaking, with a Raspberry Pi and a GPS unit you can build limitlessness indoor and outdoor applications.
In this article, I explored the most popular GPS systems compatible with Raspberry Pi boards and used in the DIY area. In the list are included GPS add-ons, expansion boards, dongles, shields and other modules such as RasPiGNSS, EM-506, NEO-7M-C, BU-353, the Adafruit Ultimate GPS, 3DR uBlox, and Navigatron v2 – I2C.
If some GPS units cost as much as four cups of coffee at Starbucks, there are also less accessible modules that exceed the price of 100.00€ ($113.00).
In this collection, I present you 14 GPS units with support for Raspberry Pi Model A+, B or B+. So fire up Raspberry Pi and get ready to get your hands dirty.
01. GPS add-on
The 25.75€ ($29.92) add-on for Raspberry Pi B is based on the NEO-6 GPS module. With an input voltage of 3.3V and UART interface, the module returns information such as the current location and time. The add-on is also compatible with the Raspberry Pi Model B+.
- How to setup the add-on: Raspberry Pi + ITead Studio GPS;
If the price is a problem, the 149.00€ ($173.00) RasPiGNSS is an expansion board that certainly is not on the top of the shopping list for any maker. Otherwise, the board is one of the most advanced tracking modules that provide precise positioning for the Pi models A, B, and B+.
- Installation guide here;
03. GPS expansion board
Specially designed for Pi Model B+, the GPS board provides general information about the position and time. At a price of 47.00€ ($55.00), the board is based on the low power usage and high-performance positioning module called Ublox MAX-M8Q.
On top of the board can be attached a battery to keep on the settings in the event of power loss.
04. USB GPS Dongle
The easiest way to turn your fruit-named single board computer into a navigation device is to use a USB GPS dongle. At a price of 39.00€ ($46.00), the small piece of hardware supports Linux and ARM architecture. Also, it’s based on the high sensitive GPS chipset called SiRF Star III.
- A tutorial to start working with the USB electronic device: Getting GPS to work on a Raspberry Pi;
05. GPS shield
Using the standard NMEA protocol to provide information like speed, position and altitude, the GPS shield works great both inside and outside. It is available at a price of €82.00 ($94.00) and enables the data via serial port. It’s not cheap, but it has great features.
- Step-by-step tutorial to start using the shield: GPS Module for Raspberry Pi Tutorial;
06. EM-506The €35.00($40) GPS module is another receiver based on the SiRF StarIII chipset. Like the USB GPS dongle described above, the EM-506 provides the position very accurate even in urban canyon and dense foliage environment. The features include a position accuracy of 2.5m, and without any network assistance, it can predict for up to three days the satellite positions.
With 56 receive channels and an IPX interface, the NEO-7M-C is easy to use and has a price of €24.00 ($28.00). The receiver is engineered to support a large variety of software like Google Earth, u-center and more.
08. Dexter Industries GPS
With an accurate position of 2.5 meters and a velocity of 0.1 m/sec, the Dexter Industries GPS is a good solution to build an all-in-one tracking application. The €39.00($45.00) shield can work on Raspberry Pi only with the Arduberry shield. The Arduberry shield is compatible with the Raspberry Pi and allows you to attach the receiver shield.
- An instructables tutorial that shows you how to setup and start receiving the data from the Dexter Industries shield: GPS and the Raspberry Pi;
Designed to work with any Linux computer, the €29.00 ($33.00) USB GPS receiver has a high sensitivity and an accurate position of 10 meters.
- Short guide to install the BU-353 on a Raspberry Pi: Raspberry BU-353 installation;
10. Adafruit Ultimate GPS
With a position accuracy of 1.8 meters and a velocity of 0.1 m/s, the Adafruit GPS Breakout is a very sensitive device for high speed movements. It has a price of €35.00($40.00) and a power consumption of only 20 mA during navigation.
- A guide to connect the module to Pi board: Adafruit Ultimate GPS on a Raspberry Pi;
11. 3DR uBlox
Designed for multicopters and rovers, the €79.00($90.00) GPS module is based on the HMC5883L digital compass. And because it’s a system for flying robots, the uBlox supports configuration to work with 3DR APM 2.6 autopilot system.
- Tutorial to connect the uBlox with Pi: How to connect 3DR GPS uBlox to Raspberry Pi;
12. GSM/GPRS & GPS shield
At a price of 11.50€ ($13.00), you have an expansion shield that provides you GSM, GPRS and GPS data. The shield is engineered to expand the Raspberry Pi functionalities for mobile applications, and because our focus is the GPS functionality, the stackable shield is definitely a good device for robot applications.
- Step-by-step tutorial that shows you how to add GSM, GPRS and GPS functionality to Raspberry Pi: A GSM/GPRS & GPS Expansion Shield for Raspberry Pi;
13. 3G/GPRS shield
The 3G/GPRS shield is a device designed for Internet of Things applications. And because we are talking here about GPS data, the shield also provides the location and stay connected to the 3G network. The price is huge, about €149.00 ($158.00), and it’s compatible with Pi, Intel Galileo and Arduino boards.
- Here is a tutorial to start working with the 3G/GPRS shield: New 3G + GPS shield for Raspberry Pi tutorial;
14. Navigatron v2 – I2C
With v2 – i2c we enter into the open-source area. The module has MultiWii 2.0 support and is a solution for low speed microprocessors. It has a price of €45.00 ($51.00).
- Guide to use the Navigatron with Raspberry Pi: Making an autonomous boat using a Raspberry Pi;