It’s hard to find a good, reliable GPS module for microcontroller use, which is why haven’t carried one. Most are complicated to use, power hungry, and require a completely clear view of the sky to get a decent fix. But when when we tested the Adafruit Ultimate GPS, we knew it was worthy enough to be in the Maker Shed. Not only is this module easy to use, it comes fully loaded. The Ultimate GPS breakout is based on the MTK3339 chipset which can track up to 22 satellites on 66 channels, has a high-sensitivity receiver, and a built in -165 db antenna. It’s capable of 10hz updates, has a position accuracy of 1.8 meters, a velocity accuracy of .1 meters per second, and it only draws 20ma of current. It’s also been successfully tested at over 88,000 feet! There’s even options to use a battery to power the RTC for “warm” starts and an output for adding an external LED to indicate a fix.
By far the most interesting feature of the Ultimate GPS Breakout though is its built in data logger. The module includes an on-board microcontroller and enough FLASH memory to log the time, date, longitude, latitude, and height every 15 seconds for up to 16 hours. All you need to do is send it a simple “start logging” command using an Arduino and it will begin! For more information, check it out in the Maker Shed.